Simplot to exit frozen meals category

leancuisineSimplot Australia is planning to exit the frozen meals category to concentrate on its core capabilities in potatoes, vegetable, seafood, pasta and sauces. The Australian food manufacturer is also proposing to close its Pakenham meal manufacturing facility as a result.

Simplot Australia managing director Graham Dugdale said in a statement that Simplot would be undertaking widespread consultation with its employees and key stakeholders about the proposed closure.

“To ensure customers and consumers experience a smooth transition we are developing plans to consolidate other Simplot products currently produced at Pakenham into the wider Simplot network,” Dugdale said.

“We do not envisage any impact to our current supply and trading relationships,” he added.

The Pakenham site manufactures food items such as chilled pasta and sauce, potato pommes and frozen meals. The company’s other manufacturing sites will not be impacted.

Nestlé announced on Wednesday that it will be exploring alternative options for its Lean Cuisine brand in Australia after Simplot’s decision not to renew its licence agreement to manufacture and market the frozen meals brand from end November 2019.

The company has manufactured and marketed the brand under licence since 2009.

A statement from Nestlé confirmed that the two companies will work closely to ensure that Lean Cuisine customers experience a smooth and seamless transition.

A final decision on the proposed closure of the Pakenham facility is due to be made by the end of September 2018. Dugdale said that Simplot plans to work closely with stakeholders through what is expected to be “up to a 12 month transition period”.

“Throughout this process the welfare of our people will be our main focus.”

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