Job cuts threatened at Mars UK production site

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

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In a review of manufacturing operations as part of ongoing initiatives to remain competitive, Mars UK said that there could be potential job losses at its facility in Slough.

Mars stated that it is constantly looking for ways to improve its performance in providing high quality products to consumers, and announced yesterday that 45 positions were threatened by what it termed “opportunities to improve parts of our manufacturing operation.”

The company did not disclose the nature of the restructuring plans but a spokesperson for the company said that discussions with those likely to be impacted by the move were ongoing.

Mars remains committed to producing chocolate confectionery at its Slough site, continued the spokesperson: “Over £75m has been invested in the Slough site over the past four years, with further investments of £20m already committed for the next two years.”

The recent plans to create a R&D facility, with an investment of £5.2m, is an example of the ongoing commitment to the Slough site, added the spokesperson.

R&D investment

Last month saw the start of construction on the new research facility, which the firm said will house all chocolate R&D activities and will be equipped with kitchens, laboratories and a pilot line to enable products to be test-manufactured on a larger scale.

The project, it stated at the time, is expected to be completed in two years and will be built in harmony with Mars’ own sustainability goals, including a “zero-waste-to-landfill” assurance will be made on all building materials.

In 2005, 500 jobs were axed from Mars Slough facility when UK production of its Twix and Starburst brands was outsourced to Continental Europe.

Volume sales

Data from market analyst Nielsen show a decline in volume sales of 2.6 per cent for the UK chocolate market, with leading bars including Snickers, Aero, Twix, and Milky Way all seeing a fall in 2009.

Chewing gum sales were also affected by the economic gloom, according to the data with Wrigley’s Extra recording a drop of £21.4m (€24m).

But, according to Nielsen, two bars bucked this trend, with Cadbury’s Wispa increasing five-fold to £58m (€65m), and Kit Kat rising by 10.9 per cent to more than £100m (€112m).

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