Walkers to open new snack factory in UK

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

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Crisp and snack company Walkers is to open a new UK plant in
Skelmersdale. The plant will produce Walkers snack products and
will take over some of the production from the soon to close
Swansea factory, the company has said.

The new plant, due to begin manufacturing in March, will initially create around 100 new jobs, with the prospect of increasing this number as production expands. Walkers, owned by PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay, said the plant will not be replacing the Swansea factory, but will complement existing manufacturing sites in Leicester, Coventry, Lincoln and Peterlee. "When the Swansea plant closes, the production of snacks will be moved to other sites which are closer to our distribution centres, including Skelmersdale. This will allow us to make cost savings on the snacks that are currently made in Swansea and enable us to distribute them more efficiently to retailers," said a company spokesperson. The Skelmersdale plant was previously owned by rival company Golden Wonder, and was acquired by Walkers several years ago. The closure of the Swansea plant, announced last month, is a move to cut costs and time by shifting production nearer to distribution centres, the company said. The closure is to be phased in over six months and will result in the loss of 250 jobs in the region. The company would not reveal the estimated cost of the plant closure or the investment that went into the new factory. Walkers is currently brand leader in the UK crisp market, with sales boosted by the firm's premium Sensations brand. According to Mintel, between 2002 and 2004, sales of standard crisps declined in value by 7 per cent, whereas premium crisps increased in value by 15.8 per cent. External links to companies or organisations mentioned in thisstory: Walkers PepsiCo

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