Kraft Heinz finds buyer for New York cheese plant

Facility was scheduled to close doors Aug. 23.

When H.J. Heinz Co. bought Kraft Foods Group Inc. in 2015, it was announced that the Kraft Heinz cheese plant in Campbell, N.Y., would be closed. The closure was later delayed by up two years as state officials and the company sought to find a buyer.

The official closure was slated for July 31, 2017, and then was later delayed to Aug. 23, but now the plant will not close, because a deal has been reached.

Kraft Heinz Co. and Upstate Niagara Cooperative, a farmer-owned cooperative of 360 dairy farms throughout western New York, said they have signed an agreement by which Upstate Niagara will purchase the plant. Closing of the deal is expected to be completed within the next 30-60 days.

“We’re thrilled to announce that Upstate Niagara Cooperative has agreed to purchase our Campbell dairy facility and has signed a long-term co-packing agreement with Kraft Heinz,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs at Kraft Heinz. “This deal guarantees that at least 125 jobs will remain in Campbell, with anticipated growth to 150 within a year, during which our business customers will experience zero disruption in the service of our dairy products. As part of our commitment to this transaction, Kraft Heinz has pledged an ongoing investment of $3-5 million to improve and maintain the Campbell facility.”

Larry Webster, chief executive officer of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, said the co-op looks forward to adding the Campbell cheese facility in the coming weeks. “As a dairy cooperative owned by farm families throughout the region, this acquisition is an investment by our member owners towards continued and long-term growth for our cooperative and the Campbell facility. We are proud to be able to keep manufacturing jobs within the community while offering additional products and manufacturing capabilities to our customers,” Webster said.

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