Kellogg closing Charlotte snack plant, cutting 195 jobs

Michigan-based Kellogg Co. said Tuesday that it plans to shutter a Charlotte snack factory as part of a plan to cut costs.

The Kellogg plant will close by the end of 2014, a company official said in a statement, and about 195 jobs will be cut. Kellogg’s Charlotte plant is on Louise Avenue, just east of uptown. Workers there produce cookies including Famous Amos, Austin Sandwich Creme and Iced Animals.

“As with any project that impacts people, these are difficult decisions,” CEO John Bryant said in a statement. “We are very mindful of the impact these changes will have – particularly to our employees. As our employees and others would expect from Kellogg, we will help those who are impacted through their transitions.”

The factory was formerly Jack’s Cookie Co., according to property records. In 1987, Jack’s was acquired by Murray’s Bakery Products, an Atlanta-based company, which was then acquired by Keebler and finally Kellogg.

Kellogg also said Tuesday that it will close two production lines at its snack factory in Cincinnati.

The closures are part of the company’s “Project K,” an initiative meant to save money and increase efficiency. In December, the company announced plans to close plants in Australia and Canada. At the same time, the company is increasing production at a plant in Thailand and building a new Malaysian snack factory.

Project K is expected to cost between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion, the company told investors recently. The program is expected to save at least $425 million annually by 2018.

The company reported lackluster results in its most recent quarter, with sales flat at $3.7 billion and profits up less than 1 percent at $326 million. Sales in North America overall fell 1.3 percent, at $2.4 billion, and U.S. snack sales fell 2.5 percent, Kellogg said.

In addition to its portfolio of breakfast cereals, Kellogg makes snacks including Cheez-Its, Pringles and Pop Tarts.