Plans to bring production of Heinz tomato ketchup back to Wigan could create up to 50 jobs
Kraft Heinz is intending to plough £140m into its Kitt Green facility - with tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and salad cream being made at the Wigan plant once more.
The company says this would be its biggest investment in two decades in one of its existing plants outside the United States and could also bring up to 50 new jobs to Wigan.
As part of the investment the iconic Heinz sauce manufacturing of products such as tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and salad cream will return to the UK at the Wigan plant.
The money will also be spent upgrading machinery and helping the firm meet its environmental and social commitments.
Kraft Heinz described its plan to pump money into Wigan as a vote of confidence in post-Brexit Britain and a demonstration of its commitment to the borough and to food manufacturing in the UK.
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.
“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.”
The firm also said it hopes its investment in the borough lines up with the Government’s levelling-up agenda.
Kraft Heinz’s plans have been welcomed by ministers and trade unions.
Joe Clarke, national official for food, drink and agriculture at Unite the Union, said: “This is tremendous news for the hard-working members at Kraft Heinz and reflects the exceptional co-operative 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.”
The firm says it is increasing its European capacity due to increased public demand.
The Kitt Green plant currently produces 1.3 billion cans of food per year, of which 94 per cent is consumed in the UK. Heinz brands of soup and pasta will continue being made at the site.
The money will also fund upgraded machinery and technology to make the plant far more modern.
The company says it is also committed to reducing its carbon footprint, with plans to minimise non-renewable sources and create fully recyclable products.
As well as creating new full-time positions, Kraft Heinz says workers will also be upskilled to help them operate the new machinery.
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