Cargill to modernize, centralize cocoa operations

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Cargill, which earlier this fall completed the $440 million acquisition of Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s global chocolate business, said it will take steps early in 2016 to improve and expand its chocolate, compound and chocolate liquor production offerings and services for North American food and beverage companies.

In January 2016, Cargill said it plans to close its plant in Lititz, Pa., and shift production to its other, more modern and efficient plants in Mount Joy, Lititz (West Lincoln Avenue) and Hazleton, Pa.; Milwaukee; and Ontario.

Also in January, Cargill said it plans to centralize its North American cocoa and chocolate leadership, administrative and customer-focused roles in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Previously the functions were based in Lititz and other locations throughout North America.

“Cargill’s Milwaukee facility features extensive production and product development capabilities and an expansive, modern office space,” the company said. “Minneapolis is home to Cargill’s corporate headquarters and this move will bring its North American Cocoa and Chocolate business closer to the company’s vast administrative, research and development and marketing resources.”

The changes are expected to result in the elimination of approximately 130 jobs in Lititz. Approximately 30 other employees will be reassigned or offered relocation options for positions at one of Cargill’s other North American cocoa and chocolate sites, the company said.

“These are very difficult decisions, especially when they involve people who have done such great work for us over the years,” said Bryan Wurscher, president of Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate North America. “We are committed to helping those who are impacted find other employment and assist them with this transition.”

The Wilbur Chocolate Candy Americana Museum and Candy Store in Lititz will remain open. Cargill will continue to employ approximately 2,200 employees in its Cocoa and Chocolate and other businesses throughout Pennsylvania.

Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business operates globally with 27 sites in 11 countries with more than 3,000 employees and serves customer needs worldwide with a range of cocoa and chocolate products for confectionery, bakery, dairy and other applications. The company’s product range includes Gerkens cocoa powders, chocolate, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters.