Nestlé announces nutrition deal, but confirms 573 job cuts

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé has acquired health and nutrition firm The Bountiful Company
Nestlé has acquired health and nutrition firm The Bountiful Company

Related tags: Confectionery, health & wellness

Nestlé has agreed to acquire The Bountiful Company’s core health and nutrition brands in a deal worth $5.75bn (£4.09bn), while confirming hundreds of job cuts across its KitKat and Fruit Pastilles factories.

The manufacturer’s acquisition includes the Bountiful Company’s Nature's Bounty, Solgar, Osteo Bi-Flex and Puritan’s Pride brands and its US private label business.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021, following the completion of customary closing conditions, including regulatory clearance.

Nestlé Health Science chief executive Greg Behar said the acquisition complemented its existing health and nutrition portfolio in terms of brands and channels.

“It will establish Nestlé Health Science as the industry leader in mass retail, specialty retail, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer in the US, while offering significant opportunities for geographic growth,”​ he added.

Value and growth

The Bountiful Company’s chief executive Paul Sturman said the announcement recognised the transformation of the company over the past three years, as well as the collective value and capability of the organisation.

“I am incredibly grateful to the more than 4,500 colleagues around the globe who have worked tirelessly to get us to this point,”​ said Sturman.

“As a leader in global nutrition, we take seriously our responsibility and role in consumers' health and wellness. We're incredibly proud of the trusted brands we've built and are confident that they will be strong assets for Nestlé.”

The reveal of Nestlé’s acquisition of the Bountiful Company’s core brands followed the manufacturer’s proposals to cut 573 roles across its Fawdon and York production sites – 475 and 98 roles respectively.

Roles lost at the Fawdon, Newcastle site would be the result of proposals to shut the factory by the end of 2023.

Nestlé said the cuts were the result of a need to reorganise and simplify its network of manufacturing sites across Europe.

Reduce complexity

A statement from the manufacturer said: “The decision to propose Fawdon’s closure follows significant investment and a sustained effort by the factory team to reduce that complexity and introduce new products in recent years.

“The skilled and dedicated team at Fawdon have worked tirelessly to deliver those changes and these proposals are absolutely no reflection on their efforts.

“If these proposals go ahead, we would expect, in future, to be manufacturing a higher volume of products overall while operating a smaller number of factories.”

Ross Murdoch, national officer at workers union GMB, accused Nestlé of ruining the lives of its employees in the pursuit of profit – employees that had kept the company going throughout a global pandemic.

“Nestle is the largest food producer in the world, with astronomical profits. It can afford to treat workers right,”​ said Murdoch. “Instead, they’ve allowed factories to deteriorate, outsourced production overseas and now slashed 600 jobs.  

“It’s corporate greed at its worst – GMB and Unite will fight for every job.” 

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