Choc shock as Dunedin fundraising campaign drops Cadbury bid
An ambitious campaign to keep the production of famous Kiwi Cadbury products in Dunedin is over.
But the group, Dunedin Manufacturing Holdings (DMH), is eyeing another chocolate venture.
The man behind DMH, Jim O'Malley, confirmed crowd-funding venture Own the Factory would withdraw its bid before global food giant Mondelez.
The bid was to keep production of some of Cadbury's iconic Kiwi brands – including Jaffas, Pineapple Lumps, Buzz Bars and Pinky Bars – in Dunedin.
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The venture, which had attracted almost $6 million in pledges by Monday, would now focus on making "high quality chocolate", O'Malley said.
"Given Mondelez's requirements to ensure continuous production and supply of these products, we cannot access the equipment and people we need to establish our operation in the timeframe required to meet the quality and production goals of Mondelez," he said.
Despite withdrawing its bid, the venture was buoyed by the "enormous support for saving chocolate production in Dunedin".
Over the next few months, DMH would develop a business plan to produce high quality, short-run batch chocolate in Dunedin.
"The withdrawal is not the end of our attempt to save chocolate manufacturing in Dunedin but rather a recognition that our energies are better placed focusing on other objectives."
O'Malley, a Dunedin City councillor and former pharmaceutical executive, said he would maintain a relationship with Mondelez.
"I want them to understand that they have a responsibility to this community and that they can live up to that responsibility by not destroying the chocolate-making equipment that remains on the site after they leave."
Earlier this week, sources alleged Mondelez had advised its workers not to invest in DMH's campaign.
A Mondelez spokesman said the company would continue to work with the remaining two New Zealand manufacturers who had put in bids "to see if a viable option exists".
"If we can't find an option in New Zealand, we will make these products in Australia to the same taste and quality standards as consumers expect today."
DMH would contact the almost 4500 people who pledged to the campaign, asking them to stay involved in the second stage.
Mondelez announced earlier this year it would stop manufacturing Cadbury products in Dunedin in March 2018, with the loss of 350 jobs.
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