Nestlé’s scheme to expand operations at its Product Technology Centre in York cleared the final hurdle last week at a planning meeting of City of York Council.
“Confectionery is an exciting business which moves at a rapid pace,” said Stefan Palzer, director of the technology centre. “This expansion will allow us to accelerate and intensify confectionery product development, using sustainable and high quality raw materials, innovative manufacturing processes and reliable and efficient equipment.”
Councillor James Alexander, Labour Leader of the council, told confectionerynews.com: “This was a vote of confidence for a good planning scheme from an important York employer and, of course, an opportunity not to be missed for economic growth and increasing jobs.”
The York centre is part of Nestlé’s global network of specialist facilities that each focus on a different area of interest. The development work at York targets confectionery, including new chocolate products, fruit and wafer-based confectionery, coatings and chocolate ingredients for ice cream products.
Last week’s planning decision paves the way for an extension of the site’s pilot plant, where technologists test new technologies and processes at a smaller scale before moving full-scale production operations. The site’s sensory testing facility will also benefit from an extension.
Nestlé said that the planned extension has been designed to minimise waste while maximising output.
The company added that the design will be built according to the principles of lean construction, which is a global standard for designing and constructing more efficient and environmentally sustainable production systems.
Since Nestlé’s acquisition of York-based Rowntree Macktinosh in 1988, the city has played a role in developing confectionery products for Nestlé’s global operations, as well as manufacturing household names for the UK market, including Kit Kat, Aero, and Milky Bar.
Nestlé cut around 600 jobs from its workforce in the city five years ago, prompting fears that it might withdraw altogether. However, the firm pledged to continue investing in York and today employs around 1800 people.
“York has a long and rich heritage in the world of chocolate and confectionery,” added Palzer. “The city’s early confectionery companies pioneered the ideas and technology to produce quality products on a mass scale, a tradition which Nestlé continues today.”
In a separate development, the council granted permission earlier this year for Nestlé to redevelop land at its main factory site in York with a scheme including affordable housing, offices, retail units and community facilities. The move is expected to create nearly 600 jobs.