In February, Kellogg’s announced changes to its salty snacks network that would see the production of Zesta and Toasteds crackers moving from the plant in Hamilton County to its facility in Jackson, Tennessee. The move will necessitate the shut down of two production lines and the termination of 250 jobs.
The expiration of a major contract with the Ferrera Company to produce vanilla wafer cookies has also impacted the Mariemont plant – with 65 workers laid off in mid-2021. The Italian confectioner brought wafer production inhouse, after its parent company, the Ferrero Group, acquired Kellogg’s fruit-flavoured snacks business, the Keebler cookies brand and several other assets for $1.3bn in 2019.
“[In the first quarter of this year,] we announced changes to our salty snacks network that, unfortunately, impact approximately 230 hourly and 20 salaried employees at the Mariemont plant,” Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said.
“We are on track to complete those changes by the end of the year. Since the announcement, many of the impacted employees have voluntarily left the company or retired.”
She added the company informed State Rep Tom Brinkman and Marimont Mayor Bill Brown of its decision at the time of the announcement, and has kept Brown attuned to the status of the project.
Brown has been lobbying to have some or all of the cuts could be reversed – estimating Mariemont would lose up to $200k in annual tax revenues if Kellogg proceeds with its plans. The plant has been a fixture in Mariemont for nearly 80 years, dating back to its 1942 origins as the home of the Strietmann Biscuit Company, known for its Zesta soda cracker brand.
It will continue to produce Club and Townhouse crackers.
'Never an easy decision'
“We appreciate [Brinkman’s and Brown’s] interest in our operations and show of support for our employees,” added Bahner.
“While this would be the right thing to do for the business, it is never an easy decision to make when people are impacted,” she said earlier this year.
Kellogg recently announced investments to install a new production line at its Jackson plant and reconfigure an existing line. The facility – which employs around 1,500 people seasonally – is considered one of the stars in Kellogg’s network of North American plants, noted for excelling in safety, service and quality.
“These changes would allow for future growth in crackers, while providing cost savings to our business,” said Bahner.
“While this would be the right thing to do for the business, it is never an easy decision to make when people are impacted.”