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3 minute read - 29th September 2023

Coca-Cola to make £31m investment at Wakefield plant

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), the world’s largest independent bottler of Coca-Cola, has announced a new £31m investment at its manufacturing site in Wakefield, Europe’s largest soft drinks plant by volume.

The investment will help develop a new state-of-the-art canning line, which will be operational in 2024 and will be capable of producing 2,000 cans per minute. The new line will provide additional production capabilities for CCEP’s lightweight 330ml cans, with advanced technologies incorporated into the line to help minimise energy, water and CO2 consumption.

Energy and water savings will come from innovations such as air rinsing capabilities, dry lubrication on conveyors and an auto-sleep function on motors. In addition to the 500-strong workforce at the site, the new line will also create 28 roles and additional training opportunities to upskill the workforce.

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is to invest £31m at its Wakefield site, Europe’s largest soft drinks plant by volume / Picture: Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

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Funding will also go towards infrastructure upgrades to optimise the factory for production and future innovations. This will include the construction and fit of a new raw materials storage warehouse, plus additional utilities storage and the expansion of other facilities on site. It also supports the recent implementation of attached cap production capabilities on two of the site’s lines, making it easier to recycle the entire plastic bottle with no cap left behind.

The site has received £118m in investment since 2017 and this latest milestone marks another step in supporting CCEP’s sustainability action plan, This is Forward. Colleagues at the site in Wakefield are also focused on attracting more diversity into the business’s supply chain as part of CCEP’s ‘Everyone is Welcome’ ethos. This includes encouraging women and others who might not have considered a career in manufacturing previously.

As part of these efforts, the bottler has opened up multiple vacancies which will also include roles for the new line at CCEP’s site in Wakefield specifically for those with little or no experience of working in manufacturing. The business’s apprenticeship programme has also evolved over recent years, targeting all ages and skill levels to open up pathways for those looking to step into the world of work, or change career direction.

The Wakefield plant has received £118m in investment since 2017 / Picture: Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

Vanessa Smith, director of supply chain operations, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, said: “We’re committed to developing our sites to keep at the forefront of innovation, ensuring we can continue to deliver drinks to our customers and to consumers in a sustainable way. This latest investment underscores our commitment to our Wakefield site and the 500 colleagues who work here, from our apprentices to our longest-serving employees.

“As well as innovating our production capabilities, we’re committed to recruiting more diversely to reflect the communities we operate in, including bringing on more women and others into manufacturing, logistics and distribution roles. We’re shifting hiring processes to focus on skills and aptitude rather than just historical qualifications, for example, and are offering more flexible working options to better suit a range of lifestyles.”

Stephen Moorhouse, vice-president and general manager, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (GB), added: “The latest development at Wakefield is a milestone investment that will allow us to take the next step in our sustainability journey while making positive contributions to our local community here in Wakefield. Wakefield is our largest manufacturing site, offering a wide range of modern manufacturing jobs and sitting at the heart of many of the latest manufacturing technologies. As a result, in just five years, we’ve invested more than £100million into the factory, helping us to accelerate our path to net zero and support the local economy.”

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