Unilever will sell a factory in the Netherlands to Zwanenberg Food Group, which will continue to produce smoked meat, sauces and canned soup at the site in Oss under Unilever’s Unox brand.
Zwanenberg intends to to relocate a volume of approximately 18,000 tons of its own canned meat production to the factory in Oss – in the south of the country – in 2019, leading to a 50% increase in volume at the factory.
Unox will utilise Zwanenberg’s expertise in meat, vegetarian foods and snack products. The two companies said the deal would lead to further growth of the Unox brand, allowing it to ‘respond more effectively to the current consumer trends’.
In addition to Unox products, the factory in Oss also produces Bertolli and Knorr products. The site will become the largest factory within the Zwanenberg network.
Unilever Benelux general manager Conny Braams said: “Unox is and remains a very important brand to Unilever in the Netherlands. A brand with a rock solid local reputation. The decision to embark on a strategic partnership with Zwanenberg has been taken with the sole purpose to accelerate the brand’s growth. We expect to achieve substantial benefits as a result of the capitalisation of our joint scale in Oss. In addition, the fact that Unox will be able to use both the innovative and investment power of Zwanenberg enhances the growth possibilities of the brand. Hence, the partnership with Zwanenberg is the best choice for a healthy future for the factory, its employees and the Unox brand.”
Zwanenberg chairman Aldo van der Laan said: “Acquiring the factory is part of our strategy to further develop and expand the company by means of a wider range of foods, with a focus on long shelf-life products. Furthermore, the new situation gives Zwanenberg the opportunity to broaden the position in soups and sauces it currently primarily holds in the UK and the US, to the Netherlands and the rest of the European continent.”
The sale of the factory means that 325 Unilever employees in Oss will be transferred to Zwanenberg. The transition will be submitted for approval to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets and for advice to the works councils of Unilever and Zwanenberg respectively.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020