The food manufacturing plant that has employed Wiganers for decades

Heinz has been a major employer in the borough for more than 60 years.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 9:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 9:28 am
An aerial shot of the Heinz site in Kitt Green in the 1970s
An aerial shot of the Heinz site in Kitt Green in the 1970s

Heinz opened the doors of its giant Kitt Green facility in 1959.

Before that the manufacturer was already a presence in Wigan opening a factory in Standish in 1946.

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Scientists at work in the Heinz laboratories

The enormous factory churns out an astonishing 383,000 tonnes of canned goods each year.

At one point thousands of Wiganers were working at Heinz, but even with reductions in the workforce size over the years it remains one of the borough’s largest employers. It had some 850 people on its books at the time the firm marked the factory’s 60th anniversary in 2019.

To keep up with the changing demands of the industry there has been a steady stream of investment at Kitt Green over the years, something that was accelerated by Heinz’s global merger with Kraft in 2015 .

The factory has been visited by an array of famous names over the years, with the Queen Mother arriving to have a look round shortly after it opened and the Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh turning up in Wigan to help mark 50 years in business.

The Queen on a visit to the factory

The US ambassador to the UK also visited a few years ago, while the factory also featured on the nation’s TV screens when Channel 5 cameras went inside to show working life there.

Heinz products have been a feature of British shelves since Victorian times, with the company first selling goods at the upmarket Fortnum & Mason store in London in 1886,

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Volunteers and staff doing a meal pack for the firm's charity Rise Against Hunger