Kraft Heinz to Move Oscar Mayer to Chicago

By Lauren R. Hartman, Product Development Editor

Nov 05, 2015

Kraft Heinz Co., Pittsburgh and Northfield, Ill., announced on Nov. 4 that it is moving the Oscar Mayer headquarters and the company's U.S. meats business from Madison, Wis., to Chicago. The plan will add 250 jobs to Chicago's Aon Center, which is also where Kraft Heinz will relocate from Northfield in 2016, occupying 170,000 square feet over five floors. Kraft Heinz will also maintain its offices in Pittsburgh.

The company also announced plans to consolidate Oscar Mayer production facilities during the next two years, a shutdown of seven Oscar Mayer North American manufacturing facilities: Fullerton, Calif.; San Leandro, Calif.; Federalsburg, Md.; St. Mary's, Canada; Campbell, N.Y.; Lehigh Valley, Pa., and the one in Madison.

The closings will result in the loss of about 2,600 manufacturing jobs at the company, including 700 in Madison. About 50 non-manufacturing positions in Madison also will be cut and not moved to Chicago. The company added it plans to transfer part of its cheese production in Champaign, Ill., to other factories in its network, which could mean the loss of some of the 1,400 jobs at that facility, which will still produce sauces and dry goods like mayonnaise, Miracle Whip and pourable salad dressings.

The substantial consolidation "is a critical step in our plan to eliminate excess capacity and reduce operational redundancies for the new combined company," explained Kraft Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen in a statement. "This will make Kraft Heinz more globally competitive and accelerate the company's future growth. We have reached this difficult but necessary decision after thoroughly exploring extensive alternatives and options," he added.

The cuts are the most yet for Kraft Heinz, which was created in July after a mega merger of Northfield-based Kraft Foods with Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz. The combined company announced in August it would fire about 2,500 people, including about 700 or more than a third of its workers at Kraft's headquarters in Northfield.

No details were provide as to how much the closures will save the company and how much they will cost.

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