Processing of Yoplait yoghurts for Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will revert back to France after dairy giant Glanbia’s sale of the franchise back to Yoplait.
Speaking in the wake of the €18m deal’s announcement, a spokeswoman for Glanbia told FoodNavigator: “Yoplait will take back production and it will transition progressively back to France.”
The move would apply to all Yoplait brands previously made under franchise by Glanbia. That includes Yoplait Fruit Yogurt, Yop, Petits Filous, Mixed Seeds, Superfruits, 0%, Smootheze, Everybody and Everykid. In addition, Yoplait, which is owned by General Mills, would also take back the emarketing for the brand in these regions, she said. Referring to the 50 jobs that would be lost as a result of the closure of the Wexford site in the Irish Republic, where it made the Yoplait products, she said: “Most of those are from the plant, some are from sales in Northern Ireland.
“We are ceasing production and these jobs are going, but the consultation period starts now and individual situations will be looked at.”
No decision has yet been made on whether the physical plant will be retained or sold.
Minimal impact on farmers
The closure would have minimal impact on Glanbia’s dairy farmer suppliers and their milk would be re-routed to its other facilities in the region, she continued. “We receive and process more than 1.6bn litres of milk a year [in Ireland] and less than 1% of that was going to the Yoplait operation, so there’s minimal impact there.”
She refused to comment on whether Glanbia was planning to quit other franchises or operations.
The decision to move away from the franchise model “recognises the current challenging Irish retail environment” and formed part of a strategy to focus on core brands, said Glanbia in a statement. The firm has held the franchise for the manufacture and sale of Yoplait in Ireland since 1973.
Glanbia will continue to distribute Yoplait branded products and provide field sales support through its consumer products business based in Dublin.
Focus on core beverage and food brands
Colin Gordon, chief executive of Glanbia Consumer Products said: “This agreement to reconfigure the relationship with Yoplait will enable Glanbia Consumer Products to focus on ongoing innovation and the development of our core beverage and food brands, such as Kilmeaden Cheese, Avonmore, Premier and our other fresh milk brands.”
Glanbia will continue to distribute Yoplait-branded products and provide field sales support through its consumer products business based in Dublin. The company employs more than 1,800 people in Ireland of which more than 600 are employed at the Consumer Products business, which has locations at Dublin, Louth, Kilkenny and Kildare.
Glanbia Consumer Products’ brands include Kilmeaden cheese and the Avonmore, Premier, CMP, Snowcream, Golden Vale/ Dawn and Tullamore Dairies fresh milk products.