(April 24) Improving efficiencies is the reason behind the upcoming closure of a packaged salad plant in Norfolk, England, by the British subsidiary of Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc., the company said April 20.

Del Monte said April 11 it was closing the 20-year-old plant it acquired from the Albert Fisher Group in 2002 and shifting production to a nearby operation.

“We have to put it in perspective,” said Jean-Pierre Bartoli, senior vice president for Europe, Africa and the Middle East for Monaco-based Del Monte Fresh Produce International Inc., which has two other plants in Britain that will remain open. “It’s a $40 million a year (plant), and it needs to be put in perspective compared to a $3 billion-a-year company.

“It’s just above 1% of revenues. It’s important in a sense that we have 250 employees that are going to leave us. We’re talking about people, and that concerns us.”

But the closure doesn’t reflect any downturns in the packaged-salad business in the U.K., Bartoli said.

“It’s growing more and more,” he said. “Our (other) plants are highly profitable. We have a range of products there, for supermarkets and foodservice.”