Cadbury's and Kraft chiefs under fire from angry MPs

Executives from Cadbury's and its new American owner came under fire from angry MPs today amid uncertainty about the chocolate-maker's future in the UK.

Marc Firestone, executive vice-president of US food giant Kraft, and Cadbury's president Trevor Bond were repeatedly challenged about their long-term commitment to Bournville as they appeared before the Commons Business Select Committee.



They insisted that they intended to keep production in Britain but stopped short of any specific long-term commitments.



Asked exactly how many years Kraft planned to maintain production at the Birmingham base, Mr Firestone said: "Bournville remains at the heart of the Cadbury business and we intend to maintain it, we intend to invest in it, we intend to ensure that it remains competitive."



Mr Bond also said that the company needed to keep its UK operations "competitive"



Asked specifically whether Cadbury's Dairy Milk would continue to be produced in the UK, he said: "Yes."



Pressed as to how long for, he added: "For as long as our consumers are delighted by the product and the taste that we produce."



Tory MP Brian Binley, a member of the cross-party committee, interrupted: "That simply is not good enough for the workforce."



Fellow committee member Lindsay Hoyle, a Labour MP, said Kraft had made the same promises to Terry's of York before moving production of the Chocolate Orange to Poland.



He accused Kraft of doing "exactly the same" to York as the Vikings, saying: "They pillaged and asset-stripped that company."



Thousands of British workers have been left fearing for their jobs after Kraft's multi-billion pound takeover, especially as the American firm changed its mind about keeping open the Somerdale factory near Bath.



Kraft had said it would keep the plant open, but later changed its mind, saying it would close after all, with the loss of 400 jobs.



The company chiefs today insisted there were no plans to rebrand Cadbury's products.



"We have no plans to rename Cadbury's Creme Egg or Cadbury's Dairy Milk into anything else," Mr Bond said.



"They are great brands that our consumers love, that our factories produce to a really high standard, and we intend to keep up providing consumers with the products and the brands that they love."



Mr Firestone added: "It's absolutely our plan to preserve the identity of the brands themselves as well as the identity of the company itself.



"It's absolutely our intention that Cadbury will remain the name on the building, that Cadbury will remain the name on the flag."









Mr Firestone later promised that there would be no manufacturing job losses at Cadbury for the next two years.

He said that, having listened to unions, MPs and the Press, it was "clear that our reputation requires action more than words".



"First, I will say that we can commit that, for a period of at least two years, there will be no further closures of manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom," he said.



"I can also commit that, beyond any programmes that I mentioned that have already been negotiated and announced, there will be no further compulsory redundancies of manufacturing employees in the United Kingdom.



"These are statements I believe are helpful in removing a cloud of uncertainty and creating an atmosphere where we truly do, as Kraft, want to regain the trust of our colleagues, of the Government, of the public."



Mr Firestone said Kraft wanted to "move beyond the controversy" and develop a "stronger growth platform" in the years ahead.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor