UK – Snacks and drinks giant PepsiCo has invested £24.5m (US$28.92m) into its Walkers crisp factory in Lincoln in order to upgrade the facilities, meet growing demand for its Quavers snacks and secure the future of the site.

The investment will see the company replace existing machinery at the site with new equipment, such as a compact packaging machine that will help PepsiCo to remove packaging from its supply chain by 30%.

The project will also increase the factory’s capacity for Quavers – which PepsiCo claims are now bought by nearly one in three households in the UK – as well as make space for new production lines.

“For decades, our Lincoln factory has brought much-loved Quavers snacks to consumers up and down the country, and with this state-of-the-art technology, we’re confident that the site will continue to serve the nation for many years to come,” said Nigel Beilby, Lincoln site operations manager, PepsiCo.

PepsiCo will also create training opportunities for employees and apprentices, some of whom will be upskilled to be able to use the newly installed equipment and technology.

The company’s latest investment coincided with a £1m (US$1.18m) commitment by the manufacturer into its Walker’s Coventry factory– which produces snacks such as Doritos, Wotsits, French Fries and Cheetos – for additional equipment to maintain production during the work at Lincoln.

Last month, PepsiCo announced plans to open a 1bn Polish zloty (£187m) production facility in Poland, said to be its most sustainable food manufacturing plant in Europe.

Commenting on the Lincoln investment, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said, “It’s brilliant to see PepsiCo doubling-down on its commitment to Lincoln through this significant investment in the city centre factory Walkers has called home for more than half a century.

This investment will help to deliver on our plan to spread opportunity across the Midlands by future-proofing the jobs of the factory’s outstanding employees by training them to use state of the art equipment, and further bolstering the workforce through their apprenticeship scheme.”

The new equipment at the Lincoln plant will be installed by mid-2022, with initial work now underway.

In the US, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division recently announced a US$200 million investment to further expand its Rosenberg site in Texas, which produces more than 117 million pounds of snacks per year.

The huge investments in the snack portfolio aligns with the manufacturing giants focus to optimise its business as it shifts focus to healthier snacks, zero-calorie beverages, and better-for-you products. 

To this end, American multinational food and beverage company recently agreed to sell certain juice assets across North America and Europe to private equity firm PAI Partners for US$3.3 billion.

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