The announcement of the company’s investment in production coincides with Warburtons revealing it was investing £56m to boost manufacturing and distribution capabilities to manage increased demand across the UK.
Heck has added 3,716m2 to its existing factory, allowing it to branch into new sectors and capitalise on its growing interest in cooked snacks, it said.
Heck recently launched its first grab-and-go product, mini cooked cocktail versions of its 97% and Chicken Italia sausages, which are stocked by Tesco, WH Smith and Boots.
Commenting on Heck’s launch into the food-to-go market, co-founder Jamie Keeble said: “Our vegan and frozen range were big growth areas in 2020 and we are now launching a completely new range of cooked snacks into Boots, WH Smith and Tesco. This is a massive market opportunity, particularly with travel and leisure opening up.”
The 20 jobs will be spread across factory operations as well as the manufacturer’s show team. The new space will also include a crèche and gym, as part of Heck’s commitment towards safeguarding employees’ mental and physical health.
Heck’s expansion includes the installation of a new vertical farm to grow herbs and vegetables for its Italia and Veg with Edge product lines.
Keeble described the vertical farm as a ‘world first’, allowing the manufacturer to be the first food brand in the world to grow herb and vegetables onsite to put into its products.
Vertical farming benefits
“There are huge benefits to vertical farming,” Keeble added. “No pesticides or herbicides, less water and food waste, no transport, more efficient production, taste control and better shelf life.
“Micro-nutrients will also provide fantastic health benefits as well as giving us a unique selling point. We are farmers originally and it’s really exciting to now be investing in the future of sustainable, cutting-edge agriculture and not relying on imports.”