Biscuit and chocolate producer Mondelēz International will invest €40 million in new technology and equipment for chocolate production at its Herentals factory in Belgium.
The biscuit factory in Herentals is one of its largest in Europe with an annual production of around 70,000 tonnes of cookies.
However, it has outdated equipment and capacity limitations, making it less efficient than Mondelēz’s other European production sites.
Increased Production Capacity
The new installations will boost the production capacity of chocolate bars and crispy chocolate wafers, strengthen the site's competitiveness, and support the future growth of brands like Côte d'Or and Milka-Leo.
The investment will enable the factory to take over the production of chocolate bars from other facilities, enabling the confectionery giant to increase capacity and competitiveness.
Unions are worried about potential job losses, but Mondelēz claims 'everyone is needed' and natural layoffs are not planned, adding it will work with unions.
For certain other products characterised by small-scale and labour-intensive processes, possible future options are currently being sought within and outside the Mondelēz production network.
This is the second investment in the Herentals bakery plant this year after Mondelēz announced in March it has earmarked over €30 million to support increased production capacity.
The investment includes a new production line for TUC crackers, creating an additional +6.500 tons capacity, available to support up to +40% future growth, and a new production hall for the Prince biscuit, producing chocolate cream filling with the latest technology. The new installations will be operational in early 2024.
Mondelēz’s Benelux operations are headquartered in Mechelen and employ over 2,000 people. In Belgium, it has two production sites: Herentals and a factory in Namur for processed cheese.
In November, Mondelēz International hiked its annual sales and profit growth forecasts for the third time this year, betting on consumers to continue snacking on the Oreo maker's chocolates and baked snacks despite price increases.