Ketchup maker Heinz closing Ontario plant in 2014, affecting more than 700 jobs


LEAMINGTON, Ont. – After more than a century operating in the heart of Ontario’s tomato country, ketchup-maker Heinz Canada is shutting down its plant in Leamington next year.

The food manufacturer and processor said the decision will cut 740 jobs over the next six to eight months.

Workers at the plant were told of the shutdown on Thursday afternoon.

Heinz has been in Leamington, Ont. since 1909, after choosing the city in 1909 for its first expansion outside the U.S.

Heinz said production will now be shifted to factories in the U.S. and Canada.

“We reached this decision after thoroughly exploring extensive alternatives and options,” said Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen in an email.

“Heinz fully appreciates and regrets the impact our decision will have on employees and the communities in which these factories are located.”

The company also said it would close its manufacturing facilities in Florence, S.C., costing 200 jobs; and Pocatello, Idaho, which will affect 410 positions.

“Our decision to consolidate manufacturing across North America is a critical step in our plan to ensure we are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible,” he wrote.

In total, Heinz is eliminating 1,350 positions across Canada and the U.S.

Earlier this year, a consortium led by American billionaire Warren Buffet bought the company.

Fast food chain McDonald’s announced last month that it was ending its relationship with Heinz because they had named former Burger King CEO Bernardo Hees as their president.

The company is best known for processing ketchup and condiments, infant foods, pasta sauces, canned beans and pasta, and specialty sauces and salad dressings. Heinz Canada is a division of H.J. Heinz Company, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Ketchup maker Heinz closing Ontario plant in 2014, affecting more than 700 jobs

  1. Two words: Free Trade.

    • Heinz said production will now be shifted to factories in the U.S. and Canada. [emphasis added]

      It may well be that Canadian production levels will remain, but at a different Canadian location. Not enough info here to assume free trade had anything to do with it.

      • No, free trade couldn’t possibly have anything to do with shutting down this plant. More than likely it was the tooth fairy dropping off a little something for Warren Buffet.

        Unfortunately for you economics and agribusiness Professor Ken McEwan head of the Ridgetown campus of U Guelph thinks differently:

        “The plant grew up in an early-20th century world, largely immune to global pressures. Now, all Ontario food processors are struggling to keep pace with international competition and that challenge is not likely to go away.”

        • I didn’t say she is wrong; I said not enough info here to know. Maybe the loss of the McDonalds contract was the final straw.

          Though I’m surprised a right-winger like you would be on here making protectionist arguments when your party is trying hard to make their EU trade deal look like the key to prosperity.

    • From the 80s??? Be serious.

  2. Well I can make a personal promise.
    I won’t be drinking any of Warren Buffet’s Chinese Tomato Juice.

    Warren Buffet can stick it!

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