Cadbury owner drops choc bomb over NZ fundraising campaign
Soon-to-be-redundant factory workers were advised not to invest in a crowd-funding campaign to keep some Cadbury products manufactured in New Zealand, a worker claims.
Management from the food giant, including international managing director Australia and New Zealand Amanda Banfield, were in Dunedin last week.
A source alleges workers were told not to support the Own The Factory campaign, which by Sunday had raised more than $5.7 million.
A Mondelez spokesman rejected a suggestion the company was advising workers not to invest in the initiative.
"In response to confusion amongst our Dunedin factory team, we advised them that the nature of crowdfunding may mean any contribution is a donation, rather than an investment and they should consider their options before making any financial commitment to this or any other initiative".
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He confirmed Banfield talked with the Dunedin factory leadership team, and also walked around the plant and talked to workers.
The Dunedin-based volunteer group wants to keep production of Cadbury's famous Kiwi brands – including Jaffas, Pineapple Lumps, Buzz Bars and Pinky Bars – in the country.
The spokesman confirmed two New Zealand manufacturers had joined the crowd-funded initiative in expressing interest in production.
However, the Own The Factory campaign may struggle with Mondelez signalling it was after an established player.
"Given the challenges posed by the scale of this volume, as well as the obvious food safety, quality, and taste matching requirements, we are conducting a full request for pricing process where we will be assessing all three interested parties," the spokesman said.
"Along with these technical assessments, we will also conduct our standard financial probity and governance checks to ensure the supplier meets the standards we expect of any key business partner.
"This includes an assessment of their financial position, the track record of the executive team, and ability to meet food safety standards and best practice manufacturing processes."
But Mondelez would support all three interested parties before moving to the next phase in July, he said.
The man behind the campaign, Jim O'Malley, a former pharmaceutical executive and current Dunedin City councillor, declined to comment.
Mondelez announced earlier this year it would stop manufacturing Cadbury products in Dunedin in March 2018, with the loss of 350 jobs.