The new line – opened by former home secretary David Blunkett MP – will produce both Oreo and BelVita biscuits for the UK, Ireland and other European markets.
It will be capable of producing more than 1M Oreos in 24 hours and is part of a £6M investment that will safeguard 70 jobs.
The investment includes a new oven to bake the Oreo biscuits, which will be one of the biggest in the Mondelēz International network. Output is rated at 3t of Oreos an hour.
This cash injection forms part of a wider £50M investment in UK chocolate and biscuit manufacturing since 2010.
European biscuit factory
Sheffield staff received training to operate the new facility at the manufacturer’s European biscuit facility in Spain and its Biscuit R&D Centre in Saclay, Paris.
Blunkett said: “It’s good to see this investment by Mondelēz International in the local area, which will undoubtedly help maintain Sheffield’s position as a premier manufacturing city and complement the other famous brands produced here. I am pleased that Oreo will now be manufactured in Sheffield. The additional investment and commitment to training are particularly welcome at a time of such great uncertainty for our economy.”
Maurizio Brusadelli, president of the UK and Ireland at Mondelēz International, said the investment signalled the importance of the UK as a manufacturing base for the firm.
‘Nation of biscuit lovers’
“We know that Britain is a nation of biscuit lovers – it is currently the biggest biscuit market in EU. In addition, our Sheffield factory is currently the largest sugar confectionery plant in Europe,” said Brusadelli. “Our employees here have the manufacturing expertise we need to turn their hands from sweets to biscuits. This investment is a first step – we hope to follow it with further investment and innovation in biscuits.”
Ian Dearn, head of manufacturing at the Sheffield site, said the new line was an important investment in the local community. It would provide the opportunity to create new partnerships with local suppliers for the ingredients to create the Oreo brand, he added.
First baked in the US in 1912, Oreo is now the globe’s biggest biscuit brand, worth more than £1.3bn.
Launched in the UK in 2008, the brand now registers sales worth £22M, said the company. Sales are growing at the rate of 16% year-on-year.
Mondelēz International plans to launch the production of BelVita Breakfast Biscuits in the UK later this year.
Following its launch in 2010, BelVita sales total £50M, making it the leading breakfast biscuit in the UK and the number five biscuit brand in the UK, claimed the firm.