Mars won't chop and change

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Carbon dioxide, Mars incorporated

Mars won't chop and change
Mars boss says the merger with Wrigley won't bring on a big round of job cuts

There will not be a huge swathe of job cuts or significant restructuring in the UK following Mars's merger with Wrigley, according to the boss of its UK confectionery division.

Mars Snackfood md Fiona Dawson said: "We'll transfer sugar confectionery [Skittles and Starburst, which are made in the Czech Republic] to Wrigley next year, which will mean some staff transferring, but the plan is to run the two operations as standalone businesses with the head of Wrigley reporting to our global president."

She added: "There will not be a big round of job cuts. We bought Wrigley because it's a great company with great brands, a strong culture and a deep belief in innovation. This isn't about synergies. We are very decentralised already, as we fundamentally believe in category focus."

She would not say whether Mars's sugar confectionery staff would remain at its head office in Slough, or whether they would transfer to Wrigley's headquarters in Plymouth. However, it is understood that a very small number would be affected by such a move.

Mars Snackfood grew sales by 8.5% in 2007 in a confectionery market up 5.2%, said Dawson. But it has also made significant strides to reduce its carbon footprint, reducing waste from its Slough factory by almost a fifth since 2005 and cutting water usage by 40%. The plastic used in its chocolate bar wrappers had been cut by 10% while 65% of paper used in confectionery packaging was now recycled, said Dawson.

But Mars has also set itself ambitious targets, aiming to eradicate waste going to landfill by 2011, cut carbon dioxide emissions from transport by 30% by 2012 and reduce office waste by a quarter by 2010, added Dawson.

However, she said there were no immediate plans to put carbon footprint labels on chocolate bars: "We have calculated the carbon footprint of several products, but there are other issues such as recycling, food waste and packaging that are more meaningful to consumers at the moment, and that's what we're concentrating on."

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