The Journey Of The Bean

The journey begins thousands of miles away on vast farms in North America and Canada as tiny, hard pale navy beans are harvested by the lorry-load.

They are transported across the Atlantic in large containers to Liverpool Docks then driven in lorries to the Heinz factory in Kitt Green.

Each container carries 10 "bags" of beans, each bag holding two tonnes of beans.

The bean then goes through 25km of conveyor lines, taking a journey of 60 minutes to be transformed into the famous Heinz bean. Members of staff carry out quality checks at various stages to ensure the machines are working correctly.

Click on the green play icon above to watch part one of our video The Journey Of The Bean ...

On the top floor of the factory: The beans are conveyed to a five-ton dry bean hopper, which are then taken down a vibratory conveyor that feeds the "blanchers" with the dried beans.

The purpose of a blancher is to condition and hydrate the beans to create the ideal texture.

The factory is equipped with three blanchers.

The beans are taken through two shells (containers), which contain water at a high temperature, before travelling down a steam conveyor.

Laser beams are used to detect any beans that are discoloured or have any other defects.

Within a millisecond, these beans are then ejected from the conveyor system and sent to the reject bin.

On the ground floor of the factory: Open cans are made on site using sheet steel. They are transferred over a small cable in a single line.

The beans are then poured into the can and filled with the tomato sauce.

In order to keep the freshness, the lid is put on the can within 0.8 seconds.

There are nine filling lines, with four supplementary filler lines for more complex varieties.

The cans are then conveyed to one of eight sterilisers which have steamed shells. These cook and sterilize the beans at a high temperature.

Heinz add no preservatives and so rely on sterilization to preserve the beans.

The cans are then cooled at around 40 degrees, labelled and put into bulk packaging on one of eight packaging lines. Each line labels an astonishing 600 cans per minute.

Six out of 10 tins of Heinz beans are packaged in multipacks.

After being labelled, they are put into packs of 12, in trays.

The tins of beans are then distributed to various supermarkets and other stores for sale.

Don't forget Beanz Meanz Heinz!