Folgers taking steps to restart plant and manage supply

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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CINCINNATI — The Procter & Gamble Co.’s Folgers brand garnered access to its four separate facilities in the New Orleans area late last week for an initial damage assessment, and hopes to restore some operations at its coffee facilities soon.

More than 50 employees and 50 contractors already are working at the Folgers plant, repairing equipment, restoring phone lines and ensuring a water-tight facility. The New Orleans plant organization has secured 150 trailers that will be used as temporary housing and will provide free meals to employees. Folgers said it is committed to restarting its operations in New Orleans where it has had a presence for 45 years.

"I’m excited to be back at work and to help get the plant operating again to rebuild our community," said Bart Blackston, a plant employee at P&G.

Additionally, the Port of New Orleans opened Tuesday afternoon; the first boat to enter the port included a shipment of Folgers coffee.

The company also notified retailers Monday that there may be temporary supply restrictions resulting from the impact of Hurricane Katrina on several of its coffee production and storage facilities in the affected regions. Folgers and Millstone coffee may be temporarily unavailable or may appear on-shelf in different packaging until operations resume.

Folgers and Millstone will have in-store communications informing consumers if the product is temporarily unavailable and encouraging consumers to visit www.redcross.org to join them in supporting the American Red Cross Katrina relief efforts. Folgers and Millstone will also supply retailers with "ready-to-use" information to share with their employees about the reasons for the shortages and what customers may do to help.

The company is still assessing the financial impact of Katrina on the business, if any. It will provide an update by Sept. 20.

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