The Arnott’s Group has announced a major upgrade of its Campbell’s Soup plant in Victoria that will enable it to bring more food manufacturing into Australia.

The upgrade is set to increase the production capacity at Campbell’s Shepparton plant, driving export growth and delivering business, jobs and skills opportunities in regional Victoria.

The Shepparton upgrade will be delivered in three phases, with the first commercial production of new export volume having commenced on 1 December 2020.

This first phase will distribute soup made in Shepparton into Asian markets which was previously sourced out of Campbell’s US network and in Malaysia.

By June 2021, a $3.9m investment in new plant and machinery will enable Shepparton to produce larger soup can sizes in demand in a range of Asian markets, including a 1.4-kilogram can. The project involves converting and relocating an existing production line to fill, close and pack cans, and the purchase and installation of new machinery.

A further $3.9m is planned for the next financial year to upgrade plant infrastructure and equipment used to make non-canned products, such as stocks.

The $8m upgrade will see the Shepparton plant able to manufacture an extra 16.5 million kilograms of Campbell’s soups and stocks each year.

This will equate to a 30 per cent increase in overall production volume in the next 12 months and 400 per cent increase in export volume.

The local team will take over preparation of Campbell’s soups and stocks for export to new markets including Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, as well increase exports to existing markets in Hong Kong and Japan over the next 12 months.

The three-phased project will help secure the financial future of the Shepparton plant and is expected to deliver up to 12 new full-time jobs as part of planned increase in production.

The Arnott’s Group CEO, George Zoghbi said the upgrade shows the business’ commitment to bringing production to Australia.

“We have a rich history in Australian food-making, and this upgrade at Shepparton shows our commitment to making more delicious food right here.

“We are proud that this iconic plant in regional Victoria will drive more Australian exports to Asia. We plan to be a regional powerhouse of food brands based in Australia, and today, Shepparton brings us closer to that goal.

“Declining domestic demand for soup products had meant our Shepparton plant was underutilised. This upgrade also secures the plant’s medium-term future.”

Image source: ABB

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