Kraft to shutter flavored water facility

by Eric Schroeder
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BERLIN, N.H. — Kraft Foods Inc. announced June 30 plans to close its 10,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Berlin. Production at the facility, which manufactures Fruit20 flavored waters, will be transferred to a plant in Littleton, Mass., in September, the company said.

Kraft acquired the Berlin facility in March 2004 as part of its acquisition of Veryfine Products Inc., a privately held beverage manufacturer whose products include 100% juice and juice drinks, the Fruit20 family of flavored waters and Balsam’s spring water.

"This is part of a broad restructuring program Kraft announced last year to help improve the company’s cost structure and streamline its operations worldwide," said Glen Berrington, vice-president of manufacturing for Kraft’s Beverage & Grocery sector. "With the consolidation of the Fruit20 production into the larger Littleton plant, we will support the company’s Sustainable Growth Plan by making more efficient use of our assets."

Mr. Berrington noted that the Berlin plant was disadvantaged because of its small scale and location for transportation efficiency. And, the Littleton plant already produces Fruit20, as well as Veryfine juices, and can readily absorb the additional production.

"It is more cost effective to consolidate production into Littleton than to bring production to Berlin," he said.

The 19 employees affected by the closing will receive severance packages and job placement help, Mr. Berrington said.

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