Ontario backs Mondelez’s Toronto bakery expansion

One of the world’s biggest snack food companies is up for an eight-figure investment from the Ontario government to boost production at its Toronto plant.

The province on Monday announced the Mondelez Canada bakery in East York will get up to $22.6 million from the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, by way of that program’s Food and Beverage Growth Fund.

The funding will go toward an expansion of the plant — which today makes Oreos and Peek Freans and Lifestyle biscuits — including installation of two new bakery lines and upgrades of an existing bakery line.

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The expansions, upgrades and added lines are expected to allow Mondelez to create new products at the East York plant, the province said in a release.

The public investment “will support opportunities in master baking, technician and engineering skills development,” the province said.

The Food and Beverage Growth Fund — one of four streams of the Jobs and Prosperity Fund launched in 2015 — is meant to support food, beverage and bioproduct manufacturing projects that “help create and retain jobs, increase domestic and export market access and enhance innovation and productivity.”

Illinois-based Mondelez, which booked 2017 net revenues of about US$26 billion, billed itself as holding the No. 1 spot in the biscuits and candy market worldwide last year. Biscuits accounted for about 42 per cent of the company’s 2017 net revenues.

Mondelez was formed in 2012 when Kraft Foods split its global snacks business off from its North American grocery business into two separate publicly traded companies.

The East York plant, which today operates 24/7 and employs over 450 people, dates back to 1949, when it was set up by the Canadian arm of British biscuit maker Peek Frean.

Peek Frean’s Canadian business later rebranded as Associated Biscuits before being taken over in 1983 by Nabisco, which in turn was taken over by Philip Morris in 2000 and merged into another Philip Morris subsidiary, Kraft Foods, in 2001.

“Since the 1950s, this facility has provided employment opportunities, supported local wheat farmers and other ingredient suppliers and developed new products to help increase Ontario’s profile in international markets,” Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal said in the province’s release.

“This investment, added to our own, will help us progress on our journey towards manufacturing excellence, which ensures that our products can continue to be made in the province,” Juan Carlos Torres Rodriguez, the East York plant’s manager, said in the same release.

“This investment brings state-of-the-art equipment, and the opportunity to increase the skills of our people in new and exciting ways, supporting jobs at the site. All this will enable us to remain globally competitive and help grow Ontario’s agri-food exports.” — AGCanada.com Network

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