In a subtle detail of a partnership press release shared March 24, the J.M. Smucker company said it will soon close a coffee manufacturing facility in Virginia next spring.
Smucker tucked the closure news near the end of an announced strategic partnership with JDE Peet's — the world's largest pure-play coffee and tea supplier — in which Peet's will support Smucker's Away From Home liquid coffee business with product development, production and foodservice equipment innovation.
Orrville, Ohio-based Smucker — which owns the Folgers, Jif and Milk-Bone and other popular food brands besides its namesake Smucker's — said that in a decision related to the new partnership, it plans to close and pursue a sale of its Suffolk, VA production plant in the spring of 2022. Media reports cite an emailed statement from the company saying the closure will impact 80 employees of the plant, who will receive transitional support. Financial details were not disclosed.
In late February, Smucker issued an emailed statement in which it said it would be laying off an undisclosed amount of employees amid the company's evolving corporate organizational structure, though specifics about what job titles would be impacted, at which locations and a timeline for those layoffs was not disclosed. In the company's 2020 third quarter earnings call with analysts on Feb. 25, company CEO Mark Smucker shared that the layoffs decision was on behalf of the long-term health of the company: "We really want to create a leaner and flatter organization, ensuring that we align ownership accountability, incentives and so forth to the financial statements, and we do have high confidence this is going to make us more agile," he said.
Regarding the Peet's partnership, Smucker said didn't share additional details besides saying the deal will allow the ocmpany to more aggressively pursue liquid coffee innovation opportunities that will drive category growth. The partnership does not impact Smucker's retail coffee business.
"Our proprietary liquid coffee system efficiently delivers large quantities of premium coffee in a hygienic manner, making it the perfect solution for hospitals, universities, hotels, conference centres and many other out-of-home customers," said Satya Menard, JDE Peet's Out-of-home global president.