Unilever shuts down historic Colman’s factory

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

The last jar of Colman#s Mustard roled off the production line on Wednesday
The last jar of Colman#s Mustard roled off the production line on Wednesday
Unilever has finally stopped production of Colman’s Mustard at its Norwich factory, ending 160 years’ of manufacturing of the iconic British condiment at the site.

A Unilever spokesman said: ​The precise closure date is to be confirmed but is expected to be early 2020 with production of some products continuing until this point.

“We recognise that this closure has been difficult news for our Norwich employees, their families, and the whole community in Norwich and we are committed to supporting our employees during this difficult time.”

Employees at the site said the last jar of mustard came off the production line at 6pm on Wednesday 24 July, with 30 members of staff leaving the factory at 3pm yesterday (25 July). The last run of jars had their best before end dates replaced with the message ‘Norwich's Last. By Its Finest. July 24th 2019’.

‘Heart-breaking end’ of mustard production

Stanley Dow, regional officer for workers’ Union unite described the factory closure as a “heart-breaking end of two centuries of mustard-making in Norwich”. 

“It is a social and economic blow for Norfolk – not only for those who worked there, but to the wider county economy and also in the social context as Colman’s mustard will always be synonymous with Norwich,” ​he added.

“It is a sad indictment of how modern capitalism works, where ‘follow the money’ trumps commitment to particular communities.” 

Planned closure

The manufacturer confirmed plans to close the site in January last year, with the jobs of 113 workers caught in the crossfire. The bulk of production has been moved to Burton-on-Trent, along with 43 roles.

A further 25 staff were transferred to a new mustard and mint milling facility in the Norfolk Food Enterprise Park in Honingham Thorpe near Norwich, in and attempt to keep part of the production in the local area.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland-based baker and health foods manufacturer Linwoods has revealed plans to close its bakery – with up to 70 jobs to be axed at the site – following a significant and long-term decline in market demand for its products.

Related topics: People & Skills, Ambient foods

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