Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Bad Day at Black Rock
I know it's got nothing to do with beer, but this morning's news that American processed cheese manufacturers, Kraft have finally won their battle to buy Cadbury's must come as a blow, not only to all chocolate lovers, but to anyone who holds this much-loved, iconic British company in their affection.
To hear Cadbury's chairman declaring on the six o'clock news that the £12 billion deal will be good for shareholders just about sums up all that is wrong with British business today. His comment that the deal will be less good for Cadbury's employees, whilst brutally honest, just shows how the interests of shareholders (often large, faceless city institutions), seems to override those of both workers and consumers alike.
The whole affair has a sadly familiar ring to it, looking back to the takeover of Rowntrees, by Swiss giant Nestle, but at least Nestle had a background in chocolate and confectionery. All Kraft manufacture is plastic, processed American cheese, packed full of salt, artificial colours and other nasties. Just where Cadbury's fit into Kraft's scheme of things remains to be seen, but as is inevitable following any such takeover, the victor will seek to recuperate some of their costs by closing plants, slashing jobs and cutting back on investment.