O’Keeffe described the talks as “extremely positive’ and added that Kraft had committed to planned investments in its Cadbury Ireland manufacturing facilities over the next two years.
‘The government and Enterprise Ireland are anxious to explore the strategic role Cadbury Ireland can play in maximising business growth opportunities for Kraft Foods over the coming period,” said O’Keeffe.
Cadbury Ireland is a key player in Ireland’s food and drink sector and employs more than 1,000 workers.
Kraft Food’s promise comes shortly after the announcement of a major restructuring plan for its Cadbury business across the Irish Sea and within continental Europe.
Earlier this month the company unveiled plans to close its Cheltenham HQ and relocate commercial, administrative and other support staff to Bournville and Uxbridge within 18 months.
Cadbury Bournville, in the British Midlands, is to become a global centre of excellence for chocolate research.
Although Kraft's European research and development centre at Munich will remain open, some jobs will transfer to the UK.
Despite a promise to keep Cadbury’s Keynsham plant open, Kraft announced in February that it would close and production would transfer to Skarbimierz, Poland.
Meanwhile, last week a new report from Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) underlined the sector’s importance to the Irish economy and highlighted the need for government to deliver and implement what it called “a coherent and coordinated strategy with industry to put the food sector at the very heart of the Irish economy.”
Its report 2020 Strategy criticised what it termed “a lack of policy coordination across the range of departments."
The Irish food and drink sector could grow its output from €20bn output to €30bn, which will lead to the creation of many more new jobs, according to FDII director Paul Kelly. But that could be achieved only with better coordination between government departments and agencies in how they support, promote and regulate the sector, he warned.
“The food and drink sector is Ireland’s most important indigenous industry,” said Kelly.
“230,000 jobs are linked to it through direct and indirect employment. It exports over €7bn of produce and it accounts for almost 50 per cent of the goods and services sourced in Ireland by the manufacturing sector.
“The full extent of the supply chain, from farm to fork, is located here in Ireland. This means that both government policy and the regulatory environment affect the sector more than any other.”