Utz to close Pennsylvania factory

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Dive Brief:

  • Snack manufacturer Utz Brands will close its Carlisle, Pennsylvania plant, its oldest facility, in Q1 of next year, the company announced late last month. 
  • The company is also selling three other plants amid a network downsizing. The company sold its Bluffton, Indiana plant and all related assets, and has listed two idled Louisiana and Alabama sites for sale.
  • The closures are part of cost cutting measures by Utz, as it transfers more production capacity to co-manufacturing partner Super-Pufft Snacks USA, including for some of its TGI Fridays products. 

Dive Insight:

Utz’s Carlisle plant, located near the company’s headquarters in Hanover, Pennsylvania, was its lowest-volume manufacturing facility. The site primarily makes kettle chips, producing the company’s Utz, Grandma Utz and Zapp’s brand products. 

Utz plans to sell the site after it closes next year, and there will be no job losses as a result, the company said. The manufacturing volume at the Carlisle facility will be absorbed by its plant in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, which opened last year.

“It will improve inventory management by managing items in one single location and will facilitate customers’ ability to order multiple brands on a single order, streamlining transaction flow and improving customer service,” according to the announcement. “The more optimized warehouse footprint will enable investment in automation and the implementation of a best-in-class warehouse management technology system.”

Following the closures, Utz will operate 13 active plants.

The Bluffton plant, which makes products associated with the TGIF brand, was sold to Super-Pufft Snacks. Super-Pufft received real estate and manufacturing assets in the deal, but the financial terms of the sale weren’t disclosed.

Utz noted in the release it eventually expects to shift this production back to company-owned and operated manufacturing facilities, but did not specify a timeline for doing so.

In July, the company closed its manufacturing facility in Birmingham, Alabama, and laid off 175 workers. Utz’s Louisiana plant has been shuttered since it was damaged by Hurricane Ida in 2021.

Despite the recent closures, the potato chip and pretzel snack company is opening a new 650,000-square-foot distribution center in Q1 2025, noting in the announcement it outgrew its existing network infrastructure.

The increase in Utz’s volume matches the state of the pretzel industry. Last year, the pretzel category was one of two snack segments that saw growth in both dollar and unit sales, reaching $1.8 billion in sales.

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