Kraft Announces Turnaround Plan, but Says No New Layoffs Ahead

Rumors swirled earlier today that Kraft was planning to trim its workforce by another 8,000 workers and shutter 20 production plants.

The erroneous information, pulled from an Associated Press wire story and subsequently included in hundreds of news stories, had recruiters abuzz.

Many speculated that the company was massively expanding on its three-year restructuring plan as the company absorbs rising energy and ingredient costs.

Since the first stage of its turnaround plan was announced in 2004, the company has eliminated at least 5,500 jobs. Kraft has about 94,000 employees.

However, the AP writer “probably had some old information and thought it was applicable for this year. It’s definitely a mistake,” says Niya Moon, a Kraft media relations associate.

Instead, the world’s second-largest food and beverage maker said it will spend an additional $300 million to $400 million in 2007 on developing and marketing new products to spur revenue growth by at least 3%.

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Kraft said its four strategies are to rewire its organization for growth, make its categories more relevant to consumers, exploit its sales capabilities, and drive down costs without compromising quality.

In 2008, the company expects its operational turnaround to gain momentum, and by 2009, to hit its stride.

While the company has no immediate plans for a new round of layoffs, these new aggressive plans certainly leave room for speculation over additional staff cuts and factory closings within the year.

Kraft manufactures Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Maxwell House coffee, Oreo cookies, and Jell-O desserts.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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