The Norwich factory that has been the home of Colman’s Mustard for 160 years is to close, Unilever, the food brand’s multinational owner, said on Thursday.
The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company, which acquired the condiment brand in 1995, announced that “unfortunately” the factory would be shut by the end of 2019, with a phased transfer of production to other facilities starting later this year.
Unilever pledged to “protect the historic links” with Norwich, with a new mustard milling facility in the area. It said it would also continue to source raw mustard seeds locally “as we have for generations”.
But the bulk of production would shift to its Burton-on-Trent factory — home of Bovril and Marmite. A German factory, which already makes the dried mustard product, would absorb additional volumes.
Unilever said the decision would affect 113 employees, 40 of whom would transfer to Burton. It expected the new milling facility in Norfolk would create 25 jobs.
Unite, the union, urged Unilever to “look again” at the decision.
But it conceded the future of the factory was already in doubt after Britvic, the drinks company with whom Unilever shared the site, said in October it would shut next year.
William Shaw, an arts fundraiser who was brought up in Norwich, said: “People are very proud of the association — a bit like Leicester and Walkers (crisps).”
Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, said on Facebook: “You also wonder whether Unilever’s choice to shift some production inside the single market (Germany) is connected to this government’s disastrous Brexit policy.”
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