Tasty jobs boost for Leicester as Walkers bags £58m investment

Iconic British crisp and snack brand Walkers is set to create up to 100 new jobs at its Leicester production facility following a £58m investment from parent company PepsiCo.

Plans for the 75-year-old site include the installation of a new manufacturing line, the replacement of existing machinery with sustainable equipment and an extensive revamp of staff facilities.

1,120 people currently work at the site.

The investment is PepsiCo’s largest in the country for a quarter of a century and adds to the £120m-plus it has spent on its UK manufacturing operations and supply chain since 2020.

The new manufacturing line will increase capacity at the factory and enable the production of more Walkers snacks including Wotsits and Monster Munch. It is expected to reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in the brand’s multipack outer packaging by 56 tonnes a year.

Wotsits Giants and Monster Munch Giants, which are currently manufactured in Europe, will be made in Leicester when construction completes in 2024, helping to reduce transport-related emissions by an estimated 915 tonnes a year. Meanwhile, gas-fired ovens currently used at the plant will be replaced with models powered by 100% renewable electricity.

PepsiCo says scores of new jobs will be created to manage workload across the new equipment and technology at the site.

Jason Richards, SVP and general manager of PepsiCo UK and Ireland, said: “In 2023 we’re celebrating 75 years of Walkers crisps, so there’s no better time to renew our commitment to Leicester – a city and community that have been crucial to our success in the UK.”

The funding will also enable the development of further healthier snack ranges.

Richards added: “As we look ahead to the next 75 years and future-proof our UK operations, this £58m investment will transform our manufacturing site and installing state-of-the-art equipment will help us deliver on our ambitions on packaging and health. Alongside upgrades to meet increased demand for our snacks, we’re proud to be investing in creating better facilities for our people, who remain at the heart of bringing our most loved snacks to households across the country.”