Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cadbury's and Kraft Are as Different as Choc and Cheese

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cadbury's and Kraft Are as Different as Choc and Cheese

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon English

KRAFT Foods was very sorry but it had, it said, "no alternative".

It closed the Terry's chocolate factory in York with a loss of 316 jobs in 2005, ending an association between the company and the city that went back more than 100 years.

The council made noises about "preserving the heritage of Terry's" while Kraft moved production of the Chocolate Orange to cheaper plants in Poland and Slovakia.

It was all so different when Kraft acquired Terry's in 1993. Back then, it was a growth story - Kraft bought Terry's because it recognised the strength of the business. More than that, it admired the staff and management and it intended to nourish the brand. Under its powerful ownership, all connected with the firm would be enriched.

A similar tale emerged yesterday.

Kraft's [pounds sterling]10.2 billion bid for Cadbury is of such clear benefit to all concerned it's a great wonder the Cadbury board didn't immediately bow down in wonder.

Michael Osanloo, Kraft's executive vice president of strategy - who speaks, if yesterday's conference call was anything to go by, entirely in American management cliches - was certain. "This combination is all about growth," he repeated.

Let's be clear about Kraft Foods: it is a global, rapacious and ruthless entity. It has zero interest in the well-being of Cadbury, certainly not its staff.

Cadbury itself is no longer a business to get misty-eyed over either. Its history as a paternalistic and socially-aware employer is just that. But for as long as the company is UK-owned, the memory of Bourneville, the village set up by the Quaker founders to give decent housing and leisure time to the workers, cannot not be ignored.

If Kraft was even aware of this history before it launched its bid, it would have regarded it as little more than a public relations issue to be hurdled. …

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