|The Jacob's biscuit factory in Bishop Street, off Camden Street in Dublin, now the site of the National Archives' building|
The Jacob Fruitfield Food Group has announced a restructuring of its manufacturing arrangements which will lead to the cessation of production at its biscuit factory in Belgard Road, Tallaght by early 2009. Regrettably, 220 manufacturing jobs will be lost in Tallaght. When the planned restructuring and investment programme is completed, it is expected that Jacob Fruitfield Food Group will directly employ 120 people at its various manufacturing sites and head office in Ireland.
All existing brands of Ireland’s most popular biscuits will continue to be available as before, including Jacob’s Fig Rolls, Kimberley and Mikado. The new manufacturing strategy will ensure more cost efficient biscuit production, an increased capability for flexibility and innovation, and a greater focus on direct control of the production of premium products.
Jacob's brand name dates from 1881 when a small biscuit bakery W & R Jacob was opened in 1881 in Waterford, Ireland. It later moved to Bishops Street in Dublin, Ireland and also opened a branch in Liverpool, England. In the 1920s the two branches separated, with the Dublin branch retaining the W & R Jacob name while the Liverpool branch was renamed Jacob's Bakery Ltd. In the 1970s, W & R Jacob in Dublin merged with Bolands Biscuits to form Irish Biscuits Ltd and moved to Tallaght, Ireland.
In making the announcement Michael Carey, Chairman, Jacob Fruitfield Food Group, said that the decision had been taken following an extensive review.
“The existing biscuit manufacturing facility at Belgard Road is extremely uncompetitive with outdated manufacturing equipment. It was built in the 1970’s and has been operating for many years at just 16% of its full capacity. It simply does not have the cost structure to compete, either when producing our own brands or undertaking contract manufacturing for export. Given the continued escalation of costs in recent years and the intensity of competition, we simply cannot continue to absorb the losses generated by this facility.”
A fund in excess of €10 million has been committed by the Jacob Fruitfield Food Group to provide financial support for those employees affected by this decision. This support will include generous redundancy terms and support for retraining and identifying new jobs. The redundancies will take place on a phased basis from September 2008 through to early 2009.
The sales, marketing and administration part of the business will continue to operate in Tallaght, while biscuit manufacturing will be transferred to a number of manufacturing facilities in Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe. Premium biscuit manufacturing will continue in Cork where there are plans for investment to increase that factory’s capacity to innovate.
Manufacturing of premium sauces and jams will continue at the Jacob Fruitfield factory at Drogheda while Jacob’s Wafers will continue to be manufactured at Gweedore, Co Donegal. A new Food Innovation Centre of Excellence will also be established to focus on the research and development of new food products.
Commenting on the restructure, Michael Carey said: “It is regrettable that we must implement these changes, resulting in job losses. We have given as much notice as possible and aim to reach an agreed financial settlement with the employees directly affected by this change. A fund in excess of €10 million has been committed for this purpose and we will be immediately entering talks with the employees and their unions.
We believe that the restructuring will ensure the future of our great brands and will also afford us the opportunity to introduce real innovation into the Irish biscuit market.”