Saturday, January 26, 2008

How They Get The Fig Out

How do they get the fig in Jacob's Fig Rolls?

They've been making their biscuits in Tallaght for thirty years, and for thirty years, they've toyed with us. How do they get the fig in those tasty biscuits?

Jacob's has been a fixture in Ireland for over one hundred years. Their range of products was considered high quality, the sort of thing you'd serve to important guests while the little chislers got the cheap goods. If you want to give yourself a treat, buy a tin of their Afternoon Tea assortment and enjoy.

The manufacturing plant in Tallaght is set to close for good within a year. The twenty acre site where the factory sits is now in an area ripe for redevelopment. It makes economic sense to outsource production and sell the land, reaping the rewards of owning a parcel while the city grew up around it and the land grew in value.

There's more than mere real estate speculation in the decision to close the plant. Jacob's can manufacture their sweet nuggets of sugary pleasure for less money elsewhere. The cost of labor is high in Ireland, and there are plenty of other places to go that supply a work force willing to take less per hour.

What will be left in Tallaght? Administrative offices will remain, to provide sales and marketing and finance to the outsourced operations. They plan to do research and development there, always in a hunt for new products and innovations to make existing biscuits better.

The 220 biscuit bakers made redundant will get training for other jobs, but you can't turn an assembly line worker into a computer programmer in a few weeks time. Chances are, many of those who lose their jobs may never find another.

It's been said that the Jacob brothers, heeding their Quaker faith, founded their biscuit bakery in 1850 to help the starving Irish Catholics during the potato famine. Now that charity is being taken elsewhere, to provide employment to another population in need of work. Do you imagine that the people working at the Jacob's facility in 1850 England were up in arms over the outsourcing?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a massive fan of the Afternoon Tea box. It will be a sad loss alright.