Wigan Heinz factory gets birthday visit from US ambassador

(Left) Ambassador Johnson with Mr Spinardi
(Left) Ambassador Johnson with Mr Spinardi

Wigan’s huge baked beans factory rolled out the red carpet for the US ambassador to Great Britain!


A decade after The Queen called in at the Kitt Green site as it celebrated its golden jubilee, Donald Trump’s man in the UK, Robert Wood Johnson, was the VIP guest invited to mark its 60th anniversary.

This year also marks 150 years of the Heinz brand.

Ambassador Johnson met Luis Spinardi, newly appointed site director, Stuart Lawson, director Global Centre of Excellence, and John Brockley operations manager for canmaking.

The Kraft Heinz canned food factory makes more than one billion cans a year including three million tins of Heinz Beanz every day for which the US is an important source of raw beans.

Kitt Green is the largest food processing plant in Europe and the largest of Kraft Heinz’s factories around the world.

On a short tour of the planty, Ambassador Johnson viewed some of the new machinery that has been installed over the last three years as part of a $150m investment programme including new canmaking and filling lines.

The visit this week also marks the 60th anniversary of the Kitt Green factory which was officially opened on the May 21 1959 by the Lord Chancellor, the Rt Hon Viscount Kilmuir. Just a few weeks after the official opening, the factory was honoured with a visit by HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on June 24 1959.

On May 21 2009 to celebrate 50 years since the factory opened, the Kitt Green site was host to a royal visit by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

As part of the celebrations this week to mark 60 years of serving the nation, every employee received an eye-catching souvenir can of Heinz Beanz or Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup. The specially-created labels have been based on designs originally used in 1959 for these Heinz varieties when they rolled off the lines in Kitt Green in 1959.

Also as part of the celebrations this week, the Heinz Beanz and Cream of Tomato Soup window displays which were created for London’s famous Piccadilly store Fortnum & Mason to celebrate 150 years of the Heinz brand, will be installed in the staff canteen (see above).

Altogether eight window displays were part of a six-week birthday celebration of 150 years of the Heinz brand during February and March this year. The HJ Heinz Company was first established in 1869 by Henry J Heinz and Fortnum & Mason became the first UK stockist of Heinz varieties in 1886.

Mr Spinardi said: “We were immensely proud to host US Ambassador Johnson at the Kitt Green site this week as part of our birthday celebrations.

“This is a mark of 60 very successful years of developing this site and now looking forward we will continue to examine opportunities to further grow and develop the site for the future prosperity of all those who work here.”