PepsiCo makes its biggest investment in 25 years
PepsiCo has invested £58 million into the Walkers manufacturing site in Leicester to make sustainable improvements.
Celebrating 75 years of Walkers crisps, PepsiCo has made its biggest investment in the UK in the last 25 years, with £58 million going to the Walkers manufacturing site in Leicester, England.
The factory in question is reportedly one of the world’s biggest crisp factories and is home to Walkers crisps and snacks. Putting the money to use, the funding will be spent on installing a new manufacturing line, replacing existing machinery with “more sustainable” equipment and upgrading employee facilities.
PepsiCo has said that it has invested more than £120 million in its UK manufacturing operations and supply chain since 2020. It hopes that this investment will secure the future of the factory and position Walkers for further growth in the long-term.
“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,” said Jason Richards, SVP and General Manager, PepsiCo UK and Ireland.
“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.
“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,” Richards continued.
The investment has four focus areas that have reportedly been designed to deliver sustainable growth, with specific updates being made to drive progress towards packaging and health goals. The four focus areas include:
- A new production line to meet demand for Walkers snacks
PepsiCo has said that the installation of the new line will “increase capacity at the factory and enable the production of more Walkers snacks, notably Wotsits and Monster Munch”. In fact, it has disclosed that Wotsits Giants and Monster Munch Giants (which are currently manufactured in Europe) will be made in Leicester once construction is complete in 2024, in a bid to reduce transport related emissions.
- Investing in sustainable equipment
PepsiCo has said that there will be equipment upgrades including changing from gas fired ovens to electric ones “supplied with 100 percent renewable electricity”. It has said that this will drive progress towards reduction targets across its supply chain and reaching net-zero emissions by 2040.
What’s more, new compact packaging equipment is set to be installed to reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in multipack outer packaging by 56 tonnes a year.
- Supporting Walkers’ healthier choices ambition
The funding will also bring in “innovative technology to enable the development of further healthier ranges from 2024”, according to PepsiCo. These are set to play a key role in helping Walkers meet its ambition to have half of its snacks sales come from products that do not classify as HFSS or those sold in portions of 100 kcal or less by 2025.
- Improving workplace facilities
Finally, the investment will be used to open new training and upskilling opportunities for the 1,120 Leicester employees that work at the factory. Additionally, up to 100 new roles are set to be created to manage workload across the new equipment and technology.
PepsiCo has also said that there will be a “major refurbishment of employee facilities” with training areas, a new on-site restaurant, modern meeting rooms and a dedicated celebration space near completion.