Heinz ketchup may be made in the UK again after its maker unveiled one of its biggest investments in decades outside of the US.
Kraft Heinz said that it would pump £140 million into its Wigan plant Kitt Green, which is already the largest food manufacturing site in Europe.
It will modernise the factory over the next four years, installing new machinery and bring back the production of Heinz tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and salad cream “to meet the demand from a new generation of UK consumers”.
The move is expected to create about 50 full-time jobs and would be the biggest investment in an existing manufacturing site outside the US by Kraft Heinz in more than two decades.
“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 recognized,” said Kitt Green site director, Luis Spinardi.
“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.”
The investment was also welcomed by Joe Clarke, a national official for food, drink and agriculture at Unite the Union.
He said that after “Brexit and near the end of a global pandemic, this is tremendous news for the hardworking members at Kraft Heinz and reflects the exceptional cooperative 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.”
Kraft Heinz said that its new machinery would help minimise the use of non-renewable products, allowing its packaging to be fully recyclable, which much of it not recyclable at present.
Staff will need extra training to be able to operate the machines alongside the dozens of additional jobs that will be created.