GRAND FALLS, N.B. — Dr. Oetker Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Oetker Group, on Jan. 30 announced it will close its pizza manufacturing plant in Grand Falls by the end of May, citing “an increasingly challenging” retail food climate in recent years, both in terms of price and cost.
“This very difficult announcement does not reflect on the quality of work and dedication of our Grand Falls employees,” said Cecile Van Zandijcke, executive vice-president of Dr. Oetker. “There is nothing our Grand Falls employees could have done differently. Food manufacturers have been facing severe economic pressures over the last few years, and today’s market has become ultra-competitive. In order for Dr. Oetker to continue operating efficiently within this challenging environment, we needed to restructure our Canadian manufacturing operation.”
Dr. Oetker said most of the manufacturing being done in Grand Falls will remain in Canada, with an estimated 70% being transitioned to the company’s hub production facility in London, Ont., and 30% being transitioned to its Lodi, N.J., plant. The London facility was opened in 2014 and with the addition of transitioned production from Grand Falls is expected to make more than 40 million frozen pizzas a year.
The company said it has committed to establishing a $4 million Grand Falls Community Fund to assist with job retraining and economic development.Dr. Oetker makes pizzas under the Ristorante, Casa di Mama and Giuseppe brands. The company also distributes a variety of dessert mixes and baking ingredients.