OPINION: Why Heinz's £140m investment in Wigan to bring ketchup manufacture back to the UK is so welcome

HJ Heinz has been a cornerstone of the Wigan economy for longer than most people can remember.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 9:29 am
An aerial view of the vast Heinz Kitt Green site

Thanks to advances in automation it doesn’t employ anywhere near as many staff as it did decades ago, but its presence has remained significant and it is a matter of pride that such a famous brand chooses to make Wigan the home of its biggest European base.

When the Brexit debate raged, there were some who voiced fears that severing ties with Europe might price Wigan out of the market and Heinz would take its business away from Kitt Green and onto the mainland.

But what a wrong call that has proved to be!

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This week Kraft Heinz announced that, subject to board approval, there are plans to invest a massive £140m in Kitt Green - the largest outlay outside the US in decades.

It will mean that the Wigan plant won’t just continue producing all of the continent’s tinned goods, including the famous Heinz Beanz along with soups and pasta, but also now its popular sauces such as ketchup and salad cream.

That’s a huge coup for the town in itself but there will be the bonus of several dozen jobs’ being created too.

It has been wigantoday’s solemn duty to report the demise of so many businesses in the last 18 months - especially previous big hitters in the retail sector - that it is particularly heartwarming to be carrying such good business news on our pages for once.

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