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MPs tour Mars to ‘see inside food manufacturing’

By Mike Stones , 13-Jun-2012
Last updated the 13-Jun-2012 at 10:26 GMT

Mars Chocolate UK in Slough – home of Mars, Snickers, Galaxy and Maltesers – hosted a visit by MPs and Peers yesterday (June 12) as part of ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ (SIM) initiative.

The visit – organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Food and Drink Manufacturing Group (APPG), and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) – was designed to offer parliamentarians greater insight into food and drink manufacturing - the UK’s largest manufacturing sector.

Mars is one of 11 food and drink manufacturers opening their doors in support of the SIM throughout June. “The initiative aims to help dismiss the poor image of manufacturing and inspire young people to consider careers in sectors such as food and drink,” said the FDF.

Mars’ chocolate supply chain director Dale Creaser said: “We are delighted to welcome the All Party Parliamentary Group to Slough, the home of the Mars bar, to show them around our factory where we have been manufacturing for 80 years.

Champion and nuture

We hope today’s visitors will spread the word that food and drink companies like ours offer progressive, exciting and varied jobs that continue to champion and nurture Britain’s skills.”

John Stevenson, Conservative MP for Carlisle and APPG Chair, said: “I’m proud to showcase the food and drink industry to parliamentarians as part of See Inside Manufacturing to promote the image of this complex and innovative industry.

“The food and drink industry continues to deliver for UK economic growth, as the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, and parliamentarians must continue to play our part to support this growth.”

The urgent need to attract a new generation of recruits into food and drink manufacturing was highlighted at the HR Forum, organised by FoodManufacture.co.uk’s sister title Food Manufacture at Foodex.

137,000 vacancies

Jack Matthews, former chief executive of Improve, the sector skills council, said: “We have 137,000 vacancies to fill over the next five years. When we look at the demography of the sector, too many young people will retire and there are not enough young people to replace them.”

Yesterday's tour followed previous visits to Coca-Cola Enterprises in Edmonton, Britvic in London, General Mills at Uxbridge and other food and drink manufacturers. (See list below).

The SIM initiative is organised by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. It aims to offer young people (from secondary school age to 21 year olds) insight into careers within the food and drink, automotive and aerospace companies.

To watch our video interview with Terry Jones, FDF communications director, about plans to raise the industry’s profile with young people, click here .

To watch the Chilli Baby video, designed to attract young people into food manufacturing, click here . The video has now attracted more than 20,000 hits on YouTube.

Meanwhile, Mars Chocolate warned yesterday that urgent action was needed to avert a global supply crisis of cocoa within the next 10 years. To read the full story, click here .

Other SIM visits staged in June

  • Apetito ……………………….. Trowbridge
  • Ginsters …………….………… Callington
  • Adams Foods ………………… Leek 
  • William Jackson Food Group .. Hull
  • United Biscuits ……………….. Manchester
  • Warburtons …………………… Bolton
  • Kraft Foods UK ………………. Sheffield

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