The funds will be used to install a new production line to increase capacity and enable the manufacture of more Walkers snacks – notably Wotsits and Monster Munch.
PepsiCo will also bring production of Wotsits Giants and Monster Munch Giants – currently manufactured in Europe – to the site once construction is complete in 2024, a move that will reduce transport-related emissions by an estimated 915 tonnes a year.
Further upgrades include changing from gas ovens to electric equivalents supplied with 100% renewable electricity, and new compact packaging equipment to reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in multipack outer packaging.
Commitment to Leicester
Jason Richards, senior vice president and General Manager at PepsiCo UK and Ireland, said: “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.
“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.”
This round of upgrades will also open up new training and upskilling opportunities for the Leicester sites 1,120 members of staff, as create 100 new roles to manage workload across the new equipment and technology.
String of investments
PepsiCo’s spend at its Leicester site is the latest in a string of investments across its UK manufacturing operations and supply chain since 2020 worth more than £120m.
It followed sustainable food packaging innovations announced last year, including new cardboard designs replacing outer plastic packaging on millions of Walkers 20-bag multipacks, and the use of new nanotechnology to create a stronger stretch film on our pallets that uses less virgin plastic.
Last year also saw the manufacturer invest £24m in its Lincoln factory, as well as a further multi-million-pound investment in its Southern Regional Distribution Centre and the Skelmersdale and Coventry Walkers sites in recent years.
Meanwhile, meat processor Kepak has announced plans to create 150 new jobs as part of a £16m planned investment into its Welsh meat plant.