1. ITV Report

Historic Colman's Mustard to leave Norwich after 200 years

Unilever, the owners of Colman's Mustard, have confirmed they are to close their operation in Norfolk. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire/PA Images

Unilever, the owners of Colman's Mustard, have confirmed they are to close their operation in Norwich.

It will end 200 years of historic mustard-making in the area although the company says it will maintain a link by opening a new mustard production, packing and milling operation in the Norwich area.

  • Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Helen Keenan

Unilever share a factory site in the Carrow area of the city with another food producer, Britvic, which had already announced its intention to move in 2019.

More than 200 people work for Britvic in Norwich with more than 100 other jobs at risk at Unilever.

Around 40 roles will transfer to Unilever in Burton-on-Trent and 25 jobs are expected to be created at the new milling facility near Norwich.

Historic Colman's Mustard is set to leave Norwich after 200 years. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire/PA Images

“Under the proposals which we have shared with our employees, Unilever’s Norwich factory, where we make Colman’s products, would unfortunately close at the end of 2019, with a phased transfer of production likely to begin in 2018.

“We will protect the historic link between Colman’s and Norwich by retaining the production and packing of Colman’s mustard powder, the historic mustard milling process, and mint processing in a new state-of-the-art facility in the Norwich area, created through a new long-term partnership with a consortium of local farmers, backed by significant investment from Unilever.

"We will also continue to source our mint and mustard locally as we have for generations."

– Unilever

The GMB union said it was "absolutely devastating news" for the workforce at Colman’s, for the city of Norwich and for manufacturing in East Anglia.

The union Unite said it had vowed to fight compulsory redundancies.

The closure of Colman's in Norwich will see the loss of more than 100 jobs in the city.

“It is a devastating day for Norwich that the production of Colman’s Mustard will cease production in 2019, ending a tradition stretching back two centuries. “We are urging Unilever to look again at its business case for closure.

"The decision last month by Britvic to close its half of the site, which produces its Robinsons and Fruit Shoot brands, was unhelpful for the future of Colman’s Mustard in Norwich – but we still don’t believe that closure is the only option for the dedicated workforce."

– Rhys McCarthy, Unite Union
Unilever will maintain a link with Norwich by opening a new mustard production, packing and milling operation near the city.

Colman’s Mustard has been based in Norfolk since Jeremiah Colman started his mustard and flour business in 1814 in Stoke Holy Cross, just south of Norwich.

In 1858, the production factory moved to Norwich to its current site at Carrow Works by the River Wensum.

Colman’s became part of Unilever in 1995 when it was purchased from Reckitt & Colman. Unilever acquired the dry sauces, condiments and mustards sold under the Colman’s brand name.

Colman's Mustard has been based in or near Norwich since 1814. Credit: Colman's / Unilever

More on this story