Cadbury may boost production

A Cadbury executive has flagged the possibility of a three-fold increase in the production of crumb at the company's Dunedin factory.

The factory yearly produces 13,000 tonnes of crumb - the milk, sugar and cocoa base for chocolate - in a $20 million plant set up about two years ago.

However, Australia-New Zealand managing-director Mark Callaghan said production could be increased to 45,000 tonnes.

"That's very much in our forward plans."

Dunedin crumb was already being sent to Australia, Pakistan, China and Malaysia, and it was the company's intention for Dunedin to supply "a lot more" to Australia.

Cadbury corporate communication manager Daniel Ellis said last night a three-fold increase in crumb production would require "very little increase" in the number of staff because of the efficiency of the new equipment.

However, if new crumb-making facilities and milk plant needed to be installed "then it is likely there would be new jobs created".

The existing plant is capable of producing 18,000 tonnes of crumb a year.

In a busy month, the factory takes in 150 tankers of fresh milk to make 1300 tonnes of crumb.

Each tanker contains about 24,000 litres of fresh milk, from farms throughout the South Island.

The plant also uses a small amount of powdered milk.

Cadbury's Claremont plant, in Hobart, also produces crumb and Mr Callaghan said Cadbury would be looking at its Claremont plant.

"I think it's more likely that Dunedin's crumb plant is where we are going to start investing further again, to increase the capacity of that equipment."

Mr Ellis said the Dunedin plant was more modern and had a greater ability to produce more crumb in a quicker time, but Cadbury "would aim" to balance the crumb operations between the two plants.

In 2006, when there were concerns the Dunedin factory might close, the Government invested $2 million in Cadbury on the condition the company trebled the factory's chocolate crumb production to its present level.

In 2007, the Dunedin City Council granted Cadbury a $218,000 rate relief grant over four years to help fund its $18 million investment in its crumb plant.

Of the Government investment, Mr Callaghan said it had been "a terrific joint venture".

"I do owe them a debt. That was one of those factors that helped me secure Dunedin."


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