Walkers crisps supplier to move 150 jobs to Hungary

By Lorraine Mullaney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Walkers crisps Manufacturing Lay's

Givaudan is moving its savoury flavour production to Hungary
Givaudan is moving its savoury flavour production to Hungary
A Merseyside factory that manufactures flavours for Walkers crisps is moving 150 British jobs to Hungary.

Global flavour supplier Givaudan is moving most of its current savoury flavour production from the UK and Switzerland to a new plant in Hungary in an investment it predicts will streamline its production in Europe and increase its capacity by 50%.

As a result of the move, more than 150 jobs will be lost at Givaudan’s factory in Bromborough, Merseyside by the end of 2013.

The factory makes two flavours for Walkers Crisps: Prawn Cocktail with Vale of Evesham Tomatoes and Sour Cream with Chives.

A spokeswoman for Givaudan told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “In December 2010, following a three-month consultation period with unions and staff, we confirmed our intention to move our savoury manufacturing activity to a major new plant to be built in Mako, Hungary. Our Bromborough site has remained fully operational during the transition period, delivering high-quality products to our customers.

Loss of around 150 manufacturing roles
“As we communicated back in 2010, the move will result in the loss of around 150 manufacturing jobs in Bromborough during the course of 2013. The remaining 24 roles will transfer to other sites, including some in the UK.

Unite the union steward Kevin Berry told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The situation’s very bad for work locally because there’s been a massive decline in manufacturing in the Wirral area. We lost a couple of food companies last year – Burton Foods and Cadbury.”

British ingredients such as Vale of Evesham tomatoes will now be transported to Givaudan’s Hungary site to be manufactured into flavours. These will then be transported from Hungary to Walkers’ crisp factory in the UK.

British-grown ingredients

Last month (February) Walkers announced that it would be introducing British-grown ingredients to flavour its core range of crisps including Cheddar from Somerset, Tomatoes from the Vale of Evesham, and Salt from Cheshire and sour cream from Dorset.

The crisp manufacturer’s “biggest innovation behind the product range for 10 years”​ was supported by this month’s (March’s) TV campaign in which football TV presenter Gary Lineker celebrates British ingredients as the stars of the Walkers brand. The redesigned packs also feature a Union Jack potato stamp to reinforce the British provenance of the potatoes used to manufacture the crisps.

Announcing the redesign, Walkers senior marketing manager Marianne McGoldrick said: “By making our flavours even more irresistible with delicious home-grown British ingredients and communicating it on pack, on TV and through social media, we are confident we are creating a significant sales opportunity for retailers. Walkers is a trusted British brand, renowned for flavour innovation.”

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Are Givaudan and Walkers nuts?

Posted by Yann Cherruault,

Givaudan's choice is an economic nonsense driven by short-term profits in mind.

That kind of company is destroying the environnment, jobs and local manufacturing.

I really hope Walkers will walk away from such an ugly-minded company and choose, as soon as possible, a new British-based supplier.

The best choice would be Walkers buying the Bromborough factory to save money, fuel, jobs and skills.

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Is Givaudan knowingly helping to destroy the environment to save some wages?

Posted by JT,

That the jobs will be lost in the UK is terrible, but people in Hungary could argue that they also need jobs in manufacturing. Givaudan can argue that labour is cheaper in Hungary and therefore the shift makes sense from a financial sense. Though given the cost of shipment does it? Tolls for trucks all the way across Germany, ferries &/or Chunnel, etc

But, what no-one can possibly argue with is the (tragic) inefficiency of shipping fresh produce clear across Europe and then… shipping the processed flavouring all the way back! The mentioned tomatoes from the Vale of Evesham as used in Walker's Crisps, with the current arrangement, should result in a total transport to manufactured product of about 400km (Evesham to Wirral to Leicester) . I would think this is just about acceptable in today's world of centralized production… still halfway “local” or at least “regional”.

But. With the new Givaudan factory in Makó, Hungary the transport for the same tomatoes to Walkers Crisps factory in Leicester becomes over 4200km! I presume this will be by truck? What does this mean for the CO2 balance of the product? Should anyone with a conscience or any interest in the environment still purchase Walkers Prawn Cocktail crisps? Walkers has made a commitment to UK produce... will they now scrap this as well to correct the ludicrous transit distances to Hungary and back?

I am the only one who finds this completely ridiculous? Do companies no longer run life cycle assessments on their products?

Perhaps Walkers should find a new local supplier for flavours based in the UK within a reasonable distance of the raw materials and their production?

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