Pineapple Lump saviour wanted as investors sought for Cadbury sweet production
Time is running out for investors interested in taking over production of New Zealand's iconic sweets when Cadbury quits Dunedin.
A working group has been meeting, to determine the fate of New Zealand sweets such as Jaffas, Buzz Bars, Pinky and Pineapple Lumps, after the decision was made to close the Dunedin Cadbury factory next year, axing 350 jobs.
The group met again on Friday, spokesman Jake Hatton said.
He said the discussion focused on the information that had been made available to potential manufacturers that had expressed an interest in producing the products. "We've received initial expressions of interest from three existing confectionery manufacturers to date."
It is possible that manufacture could shift to Australia, or that another New Zealand company could take over.
"This information is also available to any investors who may be interested in establishing a manufacturing facility to take on the work here in Dunedin."
But so far, no investors have indicated they want to set up a local Dunedin factory to make the products.
"We are urging any interested parties to reach out to us now. Given the timelines associated with a seamless transition when production ends in Dunedin in March 2018, we need to hear from interested parties in the next couple of weeks to ave an opportunity to properly consider their capabilities."
He said expressions of interest would close in June.
It was possible the factory could be used for something else.
"The group also discussed the potential for an investor to take on the certified dairy processing plant currently manufacturing sweetened condensed milk in the standalone warehouse which could be repurposed to meet the needs of an existing dairy producer or potentially boutique operator."
Dunedin has had a chocolate factory since 1884. About 70 per cent of what it produced was exported, mostly to Australia.
It plans to keep its Cadbury World tourist attraction open.
About 130 staff are being kept on.