Press Release

for January 8, 2016

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** January 8, 2016


Stu Loeser or Khan Shoieb | | (212) 858-9400


Company Will Retain Brooklyn Headquarters and Focus on Product Development, Marketing, Distribution and Sales

Family-Owned Company Has Been Brooklyn Institution for Over 60 Years Because it Preserved Manufacturing Jobs Long After Competitors, Other Manufacturing Left

Shift Follows Re-Emergence of Food Manufacturing, Other Industry in NYC That Now Creates Other Potential Job Opportunities for Workers

Brooklyn, NY, January 08, 2016 — Cumberland Packing Corp., which preserved its food manufacturing and packaging jobs in Brooklyn for over 60 years when most other manufacturing jobs left New York, announced today that it will complete its transition out of the manufacturing and packaging businesses over the next year. Cumberland’s manufacturing and packaging functions have been split between its Brooklyn headquarters and other domestic ‘co-packing’ companies for decades, and over the next year domestic co-packers will take on the entirety of these operations.

Cumberland hopes to work with its workforce, their representatives, and the Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions at the New York State Department of Labor to help every employee who wants a new job find one.

In the decades after WWII, most manufacturing jobs left Brooklyn and New York. Because of its strong roots in Brooklyn, Cumberland was resistant to do the same because there were few other job options in the area for its employees. For the same reasons, Cumberland also rejected many lucrative offers to sell the business to conglomerates or move out of Brooklyn and New York City. In recent years, however, food and other manufacturing jobs have returned to Brooklyn and New York, in large part because of concerted efforts by the City of New York that began under Mayor Dinkins.

Many of Cumberland’s competitors have long used outside companies for manufacturing and packing work. Since the 1980s, Cumberland has split its manufacturing and packaging responsibilities between in-house employees and other domestic companies, but is now exiting the manufacturing and packing functions in order to remain competitive. The company will retain its Brooklyn headquarters and will grow its business by focusing on product development, marketing, distribution and sales functions.

“Our family has been manufacturing and packaging our products here the same way for more than half a century. We ignored the experts who came in like clockwork to tell us we had to do things with fewer people. We passed up big offers to sell our brands to bigger conglomerates, in large part because we worried that the people who made up our company would be left without any other options. For a long time, it felt like we were some of the only manufacturers left in Brooklyn, but thankfully that’s changed in the last few years. This borough and this city will always be our home- as we move out of manufacturing, Cumberland will hone our focus on product development, marketing, distribution and sales here,” said President and CEO Steven Eisenstadt.

"The City and the de Blasio administration have been incredibly supportive. Their policies are the right ones, but our corner of the industry has incredible competition that's changing our business model. We trust the Navy Yard will move quickly to bring new firms and new jobs from its long waiting list in to fill our space,” added President and CEO Steven Eisenstadt.

“We want to work with the union to help everyone find a new job if they want one. Small manufacturers have led an industry-wide resurgence in Brooklyn, and it is our intention to help our employees find positions among the thousands that these businesses have created,” said Jeff Eisenstadt, a Member of the Board and Cumberland’s President and CEO from 1994 to 2009.

“I have seen the company my parents started grow over the last 60 years, and now we’re taking every measure possible to do right by the people who have given Cumberland their time and talents,” said Chairman Marvin Eisenstadt.

Cumberland and Manufacturing in NYC History

Ben Eisenstadt founded Cumberland Packing Corp. in 1946. The company became a household name eleven years later when his son Marvin developed Sweet’N Low, the first granulated sugar substitute.

Cumberland kept the doors of its facility - located across from the Brooklyn Navy Yard - open through decades of economic downturn in New York City, serving as one of the City’s remaining providers of middle-class manufacturing jobs even as other companies started packaging Cumberland’s products in other parts of the country in the 1980s.

In 1947, the manufacturing industry employed over 1 million people throughout the five boroughs. By 1980, half of these jobs were gone, and employment in the sector hit an all-time low.[1] By the early 1990s, over 100 major corporations had relocated their headquarters.[2]

The manufacturing industry’s road to recovery began when Mayor David Dinkins launched a major push to reverse manufacturing declines, advocating for zoning that would allow new industry to flourish and collaborating with organizations like the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center to transform deserted factory spaces into headquarters for small manufacturers and artisans.[3]

Between 2011 and 2014 the City gained almost 1,000 manufacturing jobs, and the sector continues to grow.[4] At the end of 2014, over 76,000 people held manufacturing jobs in New York City according to the New York State Department of Labor[5], which is more than worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during the height of World War II.[6]

Food Growth in Brooklyn

Much of the manufacturing industry’s recent growth can be attributed to the booming food production sector. New York City is now home to a $5 billion food manufacturing industry[7], including numerous artisanal companies that have set up shop in Brooklyn and marketed their products - and the Borough - around the world. According to the Center for an Urban Future, food manufacturing is currently the largest manufacturing subsector in New York City, providing over 21% of the City’s manufacturing jobs. Food manufacturing is also the only manufacturing subsector in the City that has seen net gains in employment over the last ten years, with a 17.7% total increase in jobs.[8]

New York City is working hard to expand this development, building on the solid foundation Mayor Dinkins’ policies created. In recent years the City has made major investments in manufacturing hubs like the Brooklyn Navy Yard, including the expansion of public transportation to these sites to in-turn create jobs.[9] In November, Mayor de Blasio announced his Industrial Action Plan, a robust initiative that will provide grants to develop new industrial space, offer training programs and other resources to manufacturing startups, protect existing jobs with a $37 million investment and oversee the creation of a high-tech Advanced Manufacturing Center.[10] The City estimates that the Industrial Action Plan will grow the sector by at least 20,000 jobs.[11]

In this environment of industrial revitalization and job growth, Cumberland Packing Corp. wants to work with employee representatives and the New York State Department of Labor to help anyone who wants a new position try to secure one of the thousands of manufacturing jobs in the City.

Cumberland in the Community

Though other domestic companies will take on the manufacturing and packaging operations previously performed at Cumberland’s headquarters, the company will remain a family-owned business in Brooklyn. The Eisenstadt family will continue its very generous support of charities and institutions across Brooklyn and New York City.

Maimonides Hospital, Brooklyn’s busiest medical facility, dedicated the Ben & Betty Eisenstadt Administration Building in honor of the couple, and named the Abe Gellman Pavilion across the street after Betty’s brother, who was killed during a heroic act in World War II. Ben established the Maimonides Research and Development Foundation in 1983, and the Foundation is currently chaired by Marvin’s son Steven.

Honoring Ben and Marvin’s dedication to promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing obesity, Steven’s brother Jeff created a grant program that helps fund youth sports teams in New York City and across the country. The Eisenstadts support local organizations including the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Greenway, the Brooklyn Historical Society, Prospect Park Alliance, Transportation Alternatives and Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, as well as national organizations including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

About Cumberland Packing Corp.

Cumberland Packing Corp. is a family owned and operated business, serving the public for almost 60 years. Their product lines underscore the important roles diet and exercise play in maintaining good health, making products such as Sweet'N Low®, helping millions of people manage their weight by sweetening food and beverages without added sugars and unnecessary calories, and the In The Raw® selection of premium sweeteners, enabling consumers to have versatility.


[2] The Power of the Mayor: David Dinkins: 1990-1993, pp. 63