Nestle to spread out at London ice cream plant

A multi-phase overhaul at Nestle Canada’s southwestern Ontario ice cream factory is moving further ahead with a plant expansion.

The company’s London, Ont. ice cream plant, which has operated since 1966 and supplies brands such as Haagen-Dazs, Drumstick, Parlour and Skinny Cow for all of Canada, is in the midst of a four-phase, $51.5 million renovation.

Groundwork has already begun for the phase announced Friday, which the company said will boost the factory’s footprint by 9,000 square feet “to create more capacity for future growth of Haagen-Dazs and other popular products.”

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The expansion is expected to be operational early next year, the company said in a release, creating 12 “new job opportunities” and shifting 45 jobs from seasonal part-time status to full-time employment.

Swiss-based Nestle, which has operated in Canada since 1918 and has its Canadian head office at North York, Ont., didn’t specify Friday how much more milk the London plant will require, or by how much the expansion will boost its capacity.

However, it said the “resulting production” from the expansion “will increase ingredient, packaging and raw material supplier purchases,” and noted it’s “one of the largest purchasers of Canadian dairy for its extensive portfolio of market-leading products.”

The London plant’s overhaul began in early 2016 with “reconfiguration and consolidation of production lines to increase its capacity and flexibility for Haagen-Dazs.” Nestle has produced the Haagen-Dazs brand for North America under license from the Pillsbury Group since 2002.

In its second phase, the London plant added a second production line for Drumstick, “to further meet the ever-increasing demand for the popular frozen treat.” Nestle has made Drumstick cones since it bought the Drumstick Company in 1991.

The third phase, Nestle said, “helped to modernize the existing processes to allow for greater flexibility within the production lines.”

The Ontario government, through its Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, announced Friday it has put up $390,750 toward the expansion, “supporting an additional investment of $2,214,250 from the company.”

The development fund money, Nestle said Friday, went specifically into “an early phase of the investment which enhanced the cleaning technology for each individual production line, a step that was essential to the success of the expansion.”

Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal said Friday the province’s funding “is helping create good jobs and economic opportunities for workers, dairy farmers and communities throughout the London area.” — AGCanada.com Network

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Nestle Canada announced an expansion Friday for its London, Ont. ice cream plant. (CNW Group/Nestle Canada Inc.)

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