The decision to close Terry's chocolate factory in York will hit the community hard, a union has warned.
York has been synonymous with chocolate for more than 200 years
Parent company Kraft Foods announced the decision on Monday, ending Terry's 237-year association with the city.
More than 300 jobs will be lost when production is switched to other parts of Europe in the second half of 2005.
The GMB Union said it would try to fight the decision and confirmed staff were "absolutely devastated" by the announcement on Monday.
"It has come like a bolt out of the blue - completely unexpected," said spokesman John Kirk.
"The workforce down at Terry's have been one of the most loyal and flexible workforces that I have ever come across.
Terry's of York
1767 - confectioners Bayldon and Berry founded
1823 - Terry's name first appears when Joseph Terry becomes a partner
1886 - Joseph Terry Jnr builds chocolate factory in Clementhorpe, York
1923 - Frank and Noel Terry join the business and launch the Chocolate Orange
1939 - During the Second World War the factory makes aeroplane propellers
1975 -Terry's of York acquired by United Biscuits.
1993 - Kraft General Foods buys Terry's Group from United Biscuits and amalgamates it with Jacobs Suchard to create Terry's Suchard
2004 - Kraft announces closure of Terry's site
"The impact is not only on the workforce but York itself will be very hard hit."
The York plant produces confectionery products for the domestic and international market including Terry's Chocolate Orange, Terry's All Gold and Twilight.
Future production is expected to be transferred to Kraft's existing facilities in Sweden, Belgium, Poland and Slovakia.
The company said on Monday the closure reflected a decline in "export volumes that, together with the size and configuration of the site, has resulted in a cost structure that is unsustainable".
Plant director John Pollock said: "The York employees have made terrific efforts over many years to improve efficiencies, but given a combination of factors it has not been possible to preserve the plant.
"Our clear priority now is to discuss the situation with the unions and each and every employee over the coming days and weeks."
City of York Council said it had prepared a support package for the staff who face redundancy and would be discussing the issue with management at the factory.