Customer demand for pouches will mean job losses at Wisbech as Nestle Purina Petcare says its canning production line will close in October
PUBLISHED: 11:53 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:17 02 April 2019
Canning is to end at Nestle Purina Petcare in Wisbech later this year – with a number of jobs from the 600 workforce set to go.
The company says it is has seen a fall off in demand for canned pet food in favour of pouches which will continue to be produced at the Wisbech plant.
No details have been provided about the number of possible job losses but a spokesman described the canning line as a “small but significant” part of their operation in the Fens.
“It’s happening because of the ongoing fall in demand for canned pet food,” said the spokesman.
Workers were told of the closure of the canning line last Thursday and the company has begun a formal consultation with employees at the Cromwell Road factory.
The spokesman said the company would work with those workers affected by the end of canning to “support them at every stage of the process”.
Canning is expected to come to an end in October.
The official statement from the company said: “Nestlé Purina Petcare has been communicating with employees about proposed changes at its factory in Wisbech. “Purina is addressing the ongoing fall in demand for canned pet food by announcing the difficult proposal to end canning production at Wisbech by the end of October 2019.
“The company will now enter into a consultation with the potentially impacted employees, and their representatives where appropriate, at both sites – working closely to support them at every stage of the process.”
Before Nestlé Purina took over operating the plant in 1998 it was owned by Spillers Pet Foods.
Nestlé Purina’s Wisbech site originally started life as a jam factory, and is now one of the largest employers in the area.
More than 600 people currently work at the factory and there are more than 20 different nationalities working together to produce some of the UK and Europe’s best-selling pet food brands, including Felix, Winalot, Gourmet, Bakers and Friskies.
In addition to the main site, just a mile away, more than 300 DHL employees work for Nestlé Purina Wisbech in the multi-packing facility. Here, the products produced at the factory are prepared for transportation around the UK and further afield into Europe.
The spokesman added: “Wisbech is Purina’s only ‘wet’ pet food manufacturing site in the UK – our other plant is in Sudbury, which produces dry pet food.”