Ever since I started following the plight of the Oompa-Loompas over three years ago, times have been tough. They’ve suffered layoffs at Hershey, Cadbury, and Kraft. They’ve had to deal with the repercussions of E. Coli, melamine contamination, chocolate covered crickets in the Ferrero Rocher, stowaways, seizures, chemical accidents that ended a few careers, fire, and price-fixing lawsuits. For the past three years, not a quarter went by without more bad news. However, ever since Hershey announced it was to trim 5% of its workforce in June, things have been rather quiet despite the flurry of chocolate related news articles over the last three months. Let’s hope things stay this way.
So what did the summer bring?
Other than metal pieces in the chocolate chunk cookies, a look into the benefits of FairTrade cocoa, an expansion of the luxury chocolate factor in Cambridgeshire, news of Hershey’s domination of the U.S. Market (and its lag behind its competitors in avoiding forced labor, human trafficking, and abusive child labor — profits come at a price), and a report from Packaged Facts on The Chocolate Market in the U.S., it’s been a quiet summer for the oompa-loompas. No more massive layoffs, and no new major scandals. Let’s hope it stays that way.
However, Cracked.com ran a great story on the 5 bitter truths about chocolate that you might want to check out. While we’d like to continue to believe that chocolate comes from a purple garbed man in a whimsical factory, the real chocolate world is far darker and far harder than we ever would have thought.
When we last checked in on the Oompa Loompas, we found that there was No Valentines Day for the Cadbury Oompa Loompas who were sacked only one week after Kraft promised not to close a factory and lay them off. And to add insult to injury, Kraft beat estimates and posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit for first quarter — which I’m betting would have been more than enough money to keep the plant operating and the oompa loompas employed.
And now the Hershey Oompa Loompas are feeling the pain. Despite the fact that Hershey stock recently hit a high on sweet sales, with a better-than-expected sales volume first quarter that resulted in a raise in its full year forecast, and that Hershey expects to save $60 Million to $80 Million annually from its “Next Century” modernization program to enhance its supply chain, it just announced that it is going to trim 5% of its workforce.
At this rate, you have to wonder if there are going to be any oompa loompas left to enjoy the Orange County Chocolate Festival that is coming up this November. Personally, I don’t know what the problem is. Considering that the industry’s revenue for 2009 was approximately 4.9 Billion in the US alone (Reuters), you’d think they’d be able to keep the oompa loompas employed! And now that new research has determined that a little chocolate might cut cholesterol, you know sales have nowhere to go but up!
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I’ve been following the rather hostile takeover of Cadbury by Kraft for months now, just waiting for the hammer to fall. And this week it did.
400 Cadbury’s workers sacked after Kraft confirms factory will close just ONE WEEK after U.S. firm promised to keep it open.
I guess that says it all. For a history of the takeover (bid), here are direct links to some of the more relevant articles over the past few months:
- Nov 19, 2009: Hershey in joint talks for Cadbury bid
- Nov 19, 2009: Kraft, Cadbury, and Hershey: A Not-So-Sweet Deal?
- Dec 18, 2009: Cadbury to slash procurement spending
- Jan 05, 2010: Buffett votes against Kraft bid for Cadbury
- Jan 19, 2010: Kraft reaches $19 billion deal for Cadbury
- Jan 19, 2010: Will Kraft Takeover Mean Job Losses in Cadbury Supply Chain?
- Jan 21, 2010: Loss of Cadbury’s independence ‘very sad’
- Jan 25, 2010: Procurement cuts to save Cadbury jobs
- Jan 25, 2010: Kraft’s Cadbury purchase highlights new logistics market
When we last checked in, the road was still rocky for the Oompa Loompas who had to deal with E. Coli at the Nestle Plant, Venezuala seizing coffee companies (and catching them in the cross-fire), and a death at the New Jersey Chocolate Plant.
Since then, there has been very little news about the Oompa Loompas. Very little. Besides these low-key articles where:
and this nice press on CNN.com that noted that dark chocolate is the ultimate superfood,
I haven’t seen anything on what seemed to be a never-ending plight for the oompa loompas since our last update. Could this mean that, after two long years, things are finally shaping up for the oompa loompas? What do you think?
When we last checked in on the Oompa Loompas, things were finally starting to look up. Not much, but with Cadbury’s going fair trade, the opening of the TCHO waterfront factory, and the UAE premium chocolate business resisting recessionary dynamics it looked like, after almost two years of hardship, that things were taking a turn for the better.
But did we speak too soon? Since then:
There was some good news too, but does it balance the bad?
Will the oompa loompas ever see a quarter without hardship?