Del Monte to expand

PUBLISHED: 12:28 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:18 02 June 2010

WISBECH based Del Monte is to expand and take on more staff following a massive 43 per cent year on year increase in its cut-fruit production. Already one of the town s biggest employers- with 400 staff- the Weasenham Lane based firm is going forward sa

WISBECH based Del Monte is to expand and take on more staff following a massive 43 per cent year on year increase in its cut-fruit production.

Already one of the town's biggest employers- with 400 staff- the Weasenham Lane based firm "is going forward" says managing director Peter Miller.

The news for Wisbech in stark comparison to the company's West Lynn factory which has announced it is halting production on February 29 after a period of consultation with employees.

Bosses say the move has been made due to market pressures and that it is more able to remain competitive if it outsources fruit-juice packing to more efficient competitors.

The firm says the carton-drinks market has become extremely competitive and that own-brand supermarket fruit juices had made it impossible to compete at the Lynn factory, which was old and would require a lot of investment.

Mr Miller, managing director of Del Monte in the UK, said the firm was not cutting back, just doing things in a different way.

"The market place in which we operate is extremely competitive and the business has not got the critical mass to make us competitive and enable us to hold our own against some of the other major manufacturers, primarily supermarket own-brand products," he said.

"We are not cutting back - we are doing it in a different way, outsourcing our packing. "You will still see the juice on the shelves and our factory at Wisbech is going forward.

"It produces fresh cut fruit for a market which has grown 43pc year on year, and the rest of the business is going forward.

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