MAXTON — Campbell’s Soup announced this week that it planned to close its Sacramento, Calif., plant and shift part of that production to the facility in Maxton.
The company has not said if the change will mean more jobs for the soup maker’s Robeson County plant. Officials at the Maxton plant referred questions to the corporate office in New Jersey. Officials there issued a statement, but declined to say more about the shift.
According to the statement, the Sacramento plant employs about 700 full-time workers. The company plans to shift the majority of Sacramento’s production of soups, sauces and beverages to plants in Maxton; Napoleon, Ohio; and Paris, Texas.
Campbell officials said closing the California plant should help trim costs amid declining consumption of canned soups. The Sacramento plant, built in 1947, held the distinction of being one of the oldest production facilities and one of the most expensive.
Campbell also plans to close a spice plant in South Plainfield, N.J., that has 27 employees. Production will be shifted to the company’s other spice plant in Milwaukee, officials said.
The company said the moves will result in annual savings of about $30 million.
“We recognize this is difficult news for employees in Sacramento and South Plainfield,” Mark Alexander, president, Campbell North America, said in a statement. “We expect the steps we’re announcing to improve our competitiveness and performance by increasing our asset utilization, lowering our total delivered costs and enhancing the flexibility of our manufacturing network. These actions also will eliminate the capital investments needed to maintain the Sacramento plant.”
Employees at the two closing plants were notified on Thursday.
Campbell will close the Sacramento facility in phases, with plans to cease operations there by July 2013. The New Jersey plant will close by March 2013.
Over the past decade, overall canned soup consumption is down 13 percent, according to the research firm Euromonitor International, as fresh soups have become more widely available at supermarkets and restaurants. Campbell’s share of the market has also declined to 53 percent, down from 67 percent a decade earlier.