Heinz to make ketchup in the UK again after food giant reveals plans to invest £140m in Wigan plant

Luis Spinardi
X The Business Desk

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The Kraft Heinz Company, is planning to make a £140m investment in Kitt Green, Europe’s largest food manufacturing facility located near Wigan.

This would be the biggest Kraft Heinz investment in more than two decades in an existing manufacturing site outside of the US and could create up to 50 full-time jobs. The proposed investment is subject to final US approvals from Kraft Heinz later in the year.

The investment will be focused on further modernising the manufacturing capabilities of the site over the next four years, focused around three key pillars – bringing Heinz’s iconic sauce manufacturing back to the UK to build additional European capacity, further upgrading machinery and driving the plant to deliver its ESG commitments.

The Kitt Green plan is a strong vote of confidence in post-Brexit Britain, aligning with the UK Government’s levelling up agenda and is a demonstration of Kraft Heinz’s commitment to the UK and its food manufacturing capabilities, the group said.

Kitt Green currently produces 1.3 billion cans of food per year, of which 94% is consumed in the UK.

Iconic Kraft Heinz brands, including Heinz Beanz, Soups and Pasta, will continue to be produced at the Kitt Green site for the UK market.

Plans to bring sauce manufacturing for products such as Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Mayonnaise and Salad Cream are designed to meet the demand from a new generation of UK consumers.

The investment will also fund updated manufacturing equipment and technology, the first of its kind across the Kraft Heinz network.

Kitt Green will become much more of a modern facility producing premium products of higher quality with its new machinery. With this, the site will minimise the use of non-renewable sources, producing items that are fully recyclable and ultimately helping to considerably reduce the site’s CO2 footprint, aligning with its ESG commitments.

To enable employees to operate this machinery, Kitt Green will be providing upskilling opportunities whilst envisaging the creation of up to 50 new full-time positions.

Luis Spinardi, site director at Kitt Green, said: “This is a very exciting time for Kitt Green and I am proud that the potential for the site to grow and modernise is being recognised.

“As a result of this proposed investment, we are now in the fortunate position where Kitt Green can become a much more modern facility and our teams will have the ability to adopt more contemporary ways of working whilst exemplifying the highest global standards for food manufacturing.

“Not only are we excited to be expanding our product mix by bringing sauces back to the UK, but also look forward to a more efficient facility with a sustainable future. Consumers remain at the centre of everything we do, and this was particularly evident during the pandemic. I would like to thank all our teams for their relentless dedication, commitment and resilience throughout the year helping to feed the nation.

Heinz Kitt Green plant

“We are proud to continue our journey as a motivated team to reach our common goal of establishing Kitt Green as a world class manufacturer, delivering exceptional performance in everything we do.”

Joe Clarke, national official, food drink and agriculture with Unite the Union, said: “Brexit and near the end of a global pandemic, this is tremendous news for the hard working members at Kraft Heinz and reflects the exceptional cooperative working that has been built upon over many years, especially over the past 12 months with everybody pulling together through COVID, keeping the nation fed throughout the global pandemic. Here’s just rewards for everybody’s hard work and effort.”

Gerry Grimstone, Minister for Investment said: “Whether you’re a Heinz Mayonnaise or Ketchup fan, the Kraft Heinz investment is a vote of confidence in the UK economy from a major US firm and a boost that will mean jobs and growth for the local economy in Wigan.

“The US is a key trading partner and we are committed to striking an ambitious trade deal that opens up new opportunities for our businesses, brings in more investment and creates better jobs for people across the whole of the country.”

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