PepsiCo to invest £58 million in Leicester factory

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PepsiCo to invest £58 million in Leicester factory

PepsiCo to invest £58 million in Leicester factory
June 12
10:55 2023
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PepsiCo UK & Ireland has announced a £58 million investment in its Walkers Leicester factory – the group’s biggest investment in the UK in the last 25 years. The factory in Leicester is one of the world’s biggest crisp factories and home to Walkers crisps and snacks, which celebrates its 75th birthday this year. The investment will see a new manufacturing line installed, the replacement of existing machinery with more sustainable equipment, as well as an extensive upgrade of employee facilities for the site’s 1,120-strong workforce.

PepsiCo has invested more than £120 million in its UK manufacturing operations and supply chain since 2020. The scale of this latest investment is purposeful in securing the future of the Leicester factory and positioning Walkers – which was recently named Britain’s third biggest grocery brand[1] – for further growth in the long-term.

Jason Richards, Senior Vice President & General Manager at PepciCo UK & Ireland.

Jason Richards, Senior Vice President & General Manager at PepciCo UK & 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.

The investment has four focus areas designed to deliver sustainable growth, with specific updates being made to drive progress towards packaging and health goals set as part of pep+ (PepsiCo Positive), the group’s strategic end-to-end business transformation with sustainability at the heart.


Installation of the new line will increase capacity at the factory and enable the production of more Walkers snacks, notably Wotsits and Monster Munch. These products have grown in popularity in recent years, in part due to new flavours and formats such as Wotsits Crunchy.

Additionally, Wotsits Giants and Monster Munch Giants, which are currently manufactured in Europe, will be made in Leicester once construction is complete in 2024. This move will help reduce transport-related emissions by an estimated 915 tonnes a year, equivalent to taking around 540 cars off UK roads[2].


Further upgrades include changing from gas fired ovens to electric ones, supplied with 100% renewable electricity, helping cut around 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually[3] – equivalent to the heating and cooking related emissions of 366 UK households[4].  These efforts will drive progress towards the pep+ commitment to target an absolute reduction across the value chain by more than 40% by 2030[5], reaching net-zero emissions by 2040.

New compact packaging equipment will also be installed to reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in multipack outer packaging by 56 tonnes a year[6], as the business moves towards its pep+ goal of eliminating virgin fossil-based plastic from its crisp and snack bags across Europe by 2030.

This follows 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.


The funding will also bring in innovative technology to enable the development of further healthier ranges from 2024. These are set to play a key role in helping PepsiCo to meet its ambition to have half of Walkers snacks sales come from products that do not classify as HFSS or those sold in portions of 100 kcal or less by 2025.


The upgrades will open up new training and up-skilling opportunities for the 1,120 Leicester employees, with up to 100 new roles being created to manage workload across the new equipment and technology. A major refurbishment of employee facilities is also underway, with training areas, a new on-site restaurant, modern meeting rooms and a dedicated celebration space near completion.

This announcement follows a £24 million investment in PepsiCo UK & Ireland’s Lincoln factory announced in 2021, as well as further multi-million-pound investments in its Southern Region Distribution Centre in Leicester and the Skelmersdale and Coventry Walkers sites in recent years.

[1] The Grocer/NiQ – 52 w/e 31 December 2022 

[2] https://www.nimblefins.co.uk/average-co2-emissions-car-uk

[3] 2022 baseline

[4]  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1064923/2021-provisional-emissions-statistics-report.pdf & https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/articles/researchoutputssubnationaldwellingstockbytenureestimatesengland2012to2015/2021

[5] 2015 baseline

[6] 2022 baseline

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