Walkers, renowned for producing beloved British crisps like Wotsits and Monster Munch, is set to receive a £58 million investment, leading to the creation of up to 100 new jobs at its Leicester site.
Owner Pepsico said the move represents the company’s largest investment in the UK in the past 25 years.
As the site commemorates its 75th anniversary, PepsiCo plans to install a new manufacturing line and replace existing machinery.
The investment will also focus on enhancing employee facilities for the site’s workforce of 1,120, including the development of training areas, a new on-site restaurant, and meeting rooms.
PepsiCo’s investment aims to secure the future of the factory and position Walkers for long-term growth.
The planned production line will increase capacity and enable the production of more Walkers snacks, particularly the popular Wotsits and Monster Munch brands.
With the completion of construction in 2024, some products, currently manufactured in Europe, such as Wotsits Giants and Monster Munch Giants, will be produced in Leicester.
Additionally, the funding will be allocated towards replacing ovens to run on renewable electricity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 1,000 tonnes annually.
Compact packaging equipment will also be installed to reduce plastic usage in snack multipacks.
PepsiCo responded to previous calls from campaigners by ensuring its packaging can now be recycled at major supermarkets.
The company plans to invest further in the development of healthier snack ranges.
Jason Richards, senior vice president and general manager at PepsiCo UK and Ireland told BBC: “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.
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“As we look ahead to the next 75 years and future-proof our UK operations, this £58m 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.”
Furthermore, it will create new training opportunities and up to 100 positions to manage the increased workload resulting from the implementation of new equipment and technology.
This announcement follows PepsiCo’s £24 million investment in its Lincoln factory in 2021, as well as previous investments in the Leicester distribution center, and Walkers sites in Skelmersdale and Coventry.