NETHERLANDS – Dutch multinational dairy cooperative, FrieslandCampina, is planning the closure of its ‘s-Hertogenbosch butter-producing facility and moving all its operations to Lochem by mid-2025.

The company attributes this shift to the rising demand for cream products used as raw materials for butter which will lead to less cream being available for butter, which will in turn create a structural overcapacity in butter production.

 “For a robust and future-proof production network, an optimization of the butter production network is necessary,” Jan-Willem ter Avest, the director of corporate media relations said in an interview with FoodIngredientsFirst.

We have planned to close the ‘s-Hertogenbosch butter production site and transfer the production volume to our site in Lochem.”

All the butter production operations will be moved to the Lochem facility where they will be combined with the company’s butter oil and powder production to make the facility more efficient.

This development will see to the loss of around 90 jobs which according to the company will be partly absorbed into the transition to the Lochem facility.

All the affected employees and trade unions have been informed and as the closure is scheduled for next year, the employees are said to have ample time to adjust to the changes, according to Ter Avest.

“We realize that this intended decision marks the end of our decades-long presence in Hertogenbosch in a couple of years and that this farewell will be an emotional moment for many employees,” said Roel van Neerbos, the president of FrieslandCampina food & beverage.

The expansion is however anticipated to create 27 new job opportunities. “Investment in making our production more sustainable is a priority,” Ter Avest added.

“Besides a better use of the capacity of our production, we are looking at more energy-efficient installations and reducing CO2 emissions.”

The company aims to produce net climate-neutral dairy by 2050, according to its climate plan.

“We see in our portfolio a shift to more profitable cream products in food service and out-of-home markets. This means overcapacity in our butter production network.”

The company had previously announced that is determining how to optimize its production network which resulted in the 2022 closure of production locations in Rotterdam and Friesland in the Netherlands.

The dairy giant further sold a production location in China and divested part of its German dairy operation to focus on high-performing brands.

Group CEO, Hein Schumacher, also recently stepped down to take up a new position as chief executive at Unilever, effective April 2023.

In response to his departure, FrieslandCampina announced that it has “initiated an accelerated process to select his successor”.

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