UK – Kraft Heinz, the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world, has announced plans to invest £140 million (about US$197.7m) in expanding and modernizing Manufacturing capabilities its Kitt Green food facility, which is located near Wigan, in the UK.

The company says that the proposed investment- which is subject to final US approvals from Kraft Heinz later this year- could create up to 50 new full-time positions

If approved, the project would be Kraft Heinz’s biggest investment in more than two decades in an existing manufacturing site outside of the US.

The Kitt Green makes brands such as Heinz Beans currently produces 1.3 billion cans of food per year, of which 94% is consumed in the UK.

Kraft Heinz says that it plans to use the investment to bring sauce manufacturing for products such as Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Salad Cream back to the UK, in order to build extra European capacity.

In addition, the investment will fund updated manufacturing equipment and technology, helping the site to reduce its CO2 footprint.

“This is a very exciting time for Kitt Green and I am proud that the potential for the site to grow and modernise is being recognised,” said Luis Spinardi, site director at Kitt Green.

“Not only are we excited to be expanding our product mix by bringing sauces back to the UK but also look forward to a more efficient facility with a sustainable future.”

Commenting on the investment, Gerry Grimstone, UK Minister for Investment, said: “The Kraft Heinz investment is a vote of confidence in the UK economy from a major US firm and a boost that will mean jobs and growth for the local economy in Wigan.”

Earlier, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) announced that they have withdrawn a proposal asking Kraft Heinz Co (KHC) to publish a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA).

ICCR believes an HRIA will help Kraft Heinz mitigate against significant operational, financial, and reputational risks associated with negative human rights impacts throughout its supply chain.

The withdrawal was however made following Kraft Heinz’s commitment to conduct a HRIA consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

The UNGPs, considered one of the leading global standards for best-practice corporate human rights performance, make clear a company’s responsibility to “know and show” its human rights risks.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE