PepsiCo is investing £58 million in its Walkers Leicester factory to transform its manufacturing site and future-proof operations.
This comes as the brand’s biggest investment in the UK in the last 25 years, and will see a new manufacturing site installed, the replacement of existing machinery with more sustainable equipment, and an extensive upgrade of employee facilities.
The new line will increase capacity and enable the production of more Walkers snacks, while Wotsits Giants and Monster Munch Giants, which are currently manufactured in Europe, will be made in Leicester when contruction is complete in 2024.
This will help to reduce transport-related emissions by an estimated 915 tonnes per year.
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Other upgrades include switching from gas fired ovens to electric, supplied with 100% renewable energy which will help to cut around 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
New compact packaging equipment will also be installed to reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in multipack outer packaging by 56 tonnes a year.
“In 2023 we’re celebrating 75 years of Walkers crisps, so there’s no better time to renew our commitment to Leicester – a city and community that have been crucial to our success in the UK,” PepsiCo UK and Ireland senior vice president and general manager, Jason Richards said.
“As we look ahead to the next 75 years and future-proof our UK operations, this £58 million investment will transform our manufacturing site and installing state-of-the-art equipment will help us deliver on our ambitions on packaging and health.”
The investment will also bring in new innovative technology to enable the development of further healthier ranges from 2024 as Walkers looks to have half of its snack sales coming from products that do not classify as HFSS or those sold in portions of 100 kcal or less by 2025.
Richards added: “Alongside upgrades to meet increased demand for our snacks, we’re proud to be investing in creating better facilities for our people, who remain at the heart of bringing our most loved snacks to households across the country.“