Two years after the unpopular takeover of Cadbury, US food giant Kraft Foods has opened its Global Centre of Excellence for chocolate research and development in Bournville, Birmingham.
The centre is part of a £17m investment that the American conglomerate sees as a way to confirm its commitment to the UK. It includes laboratories that will support the development of new products.
Tim Cofer, the head of Kraft in Europe, said Bournville will become “the beating heart and soul of chocolate R&D.” The company also increased its focus on research and development at the Banbury plant and expanded its Reading Science Centre, where new products for different markets are tested.
The investment will generate about 100 new jobs, of which 44 in Bournville. The announcement, however, came only two months after Kraft said it would axe 200 manufacturing jobs in Birmingham.
David Willetts, minister of state for universities and science, said: “This significant investment from Kraft Foods will help drive long-term, sustainable growth as well as supporting hundreds of high tech jobs in both Birmingham and Reading.”
Jean Spence, executive vice president of research, development and quality at Kraft Foods, commented: “Two of our global and one of our regional centres of excellence are based here in the UK – making it a centre for world class R&D and a significant part of our global R&D network. We are committed to continued investment in R&D in the UK and for the whole business across the globe, making us an increasingly nimble and dynamic organisation.”