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Consumer concerns prompt Nestlé factory closure

By Catherine Boal , 24-Nov-2006

European confectionery giant Nestlé is feeling the heat from consumer worries over health and nutrition with the closure of three of the company's main facilities in France.

The company is blaming the drop in popularity of iconic brand Lion Bars - which has seen volumes fall by around 50 per cent in ten years - as well as the general consumer trend towards healthier products and greater nutritional awareness for the closures.

Nestlé spokesperson Valérie Frapier told confectionerynews.com: "Regarding Dijon factory, Nestlé is investigating for a partnership able to bring additional volumes because of the low activity. In the context of increased obesity, one of the explanations is the change in consumer insight towards more nutrition and health."

The Quimperlé site produces pet products while Challeranges manufacturers milk powder and Dijon produces Lion Bars.

The imminent closures, which have prompted strike action from workers, follow restructuring of Nestlé's operations elsewhere.

In September, the Swiss company shifted production of core brands such as Smarties and Black Magic away from the UK to mainland Europe.

The move was part of a £20m (€29.8m) investment in Nestlé's York-based factory over the coming year to streamline and boost production at the plant.

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