Smucker to cut 40 percent of Orrville production workers as new plant comes online
The J.M. Smucker Co., which makes the nation’s best-selling brands of jams, jellies and coffee, is investing $220 million over the next three years to consolidate its fruit spreads and coffee production from seven plants to three.
The 113-year-old company’s largest-ever capital investment includes a sizeable expansion of its Orrville headquarters on Strawberry Lane, where a new jam-and-jelly manufacturing facility will eventually replace the current 60-plus-year-old plant.
The downside is that larger, more efficient and technologically advanced food processing plants don’t require as many workers, so Smucker will end up letting go about 700 people, or 15 percent of its 5,300-person workforce, by the end of 2013.
Smucker, like all food manufacturers, was “under constant pressure to be as efficient as possible” in order to stay competitive, said Scott Testa, a food industry consultant and professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia.
“No one wants to see people laid off, especially in this economy, but at the end of the day, as food manufacturers become more efficient, quite frankly you need less and less people.”