German food group Dr Oetker plans to close its leased pizza manufacturing plant in New Brunswick, Canada, due to a “challenging” operating environment.

The owner of the Ristorante brand of frozen pizzas and maker of baking ingredients will shut the facility in Grand Falls in May, with employees to be offered severance packages.

Dr Oetker said today (30 January) that the business climate in which it operates has “become increasingly challenging in recent years, both in terms of price and cost, adding significant additional pressures in the manufacturing environment”.

Emphasising its commitment to Canada, the company said 70% of the production capacity at Grand Falls will be transferred to its owned site in London, Ontario, while the other 30% will move to Lodi in the US state of New Jersey.

Executive vice president Cécile Van Zandijcke acknowledged the contribution of the workers at the Grand Falls’ plant, all of whom will be offered assistance in finding work.

“Food manufacturers have been facing severe economic pressures over the last few years and today’s market has become ultra-competitive,” Van Zandijcke said. “In order for Dr Oetker to continue operating efficiently within this challenging environment, we needed to restructure our Canadian manufacturing operation.”