- General Mills announced Monday the official details surrounding the closure of its Vineland, NJ, Progresso soup plant, according to a news release.
- The plant's 370 employees will receive a severance package and transition benefits, per the company's agreement with union officials representing the workers.
- General Mills will officially close the plant by the first quarter of its fiscal year 2018, after being in operation since 2001. The company's Progresso soup production will then move to Hannibal, MO.
General Mills had left open the possibility that it would spare the plant pending union negotiations when it originally revealed it would shut down the plant in July. But the company is moving forward with that piece of its plan to sell or close five plants in the U.S., Brazil and China, to the tune of about 1,400 job cuts.
These facility closures are part of a massive restructuring. General Mills is working to better align the company's production and investments with a new growth plan outlined along with its latest earnings report. In this case, canned soup sales have lagged in recent years, due primarily to canned soup's perception as heavily processed and potentially contained in packaging made with a BPA lining.
General Mills attempted to use marketing and local ingredient sourcing claims tied to its Vineland plan to turn around brand sales. But Campbell took issue with the ingredient claims, which led to a split decision from the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau. General Mills could continue calling Vineland Progresso's "home," but had to modify or discontinue certain TV ads that claimed Progresso sources most or all ingredients from farms in rural, southern New Jersey.
When that plan backfired, it was only a matter of time before General Mills made its next move for the brand. By consolidating production, General Mills frees up investment dollars for other fast-growing brands and categories. That includes the company's yogurt portfolio, which will undergo a massive overhaul and better assimilates with consumers' health trends.