Kendal factory changes hands

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Today marked a new era for the Heinz factory in Kendal as it become Kendal Nutricare after 25 years.

At its peak this factory employed around 300 people. At the moment it employs around 88 plus contractors. The new company hopes to keep all those jobs and create more.

"There's been a long period of uncertainty here: we've had 12 months of redundancies and a lot of work's gone from the site but I think it's great news for me personally and everyone in Kendal because I've just had a baby and I need the job and it's great for the future."

– Darryl Hall, electrical control software engineer

The pharmaceutical research company makes food such as baby milk and will still produce some Heinz products but it's now run by an Irish entrepreneur rather than a multinational company, and he has big plans.

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"We've a core team now you know not just production, we have research, we have our own laboratories in house and what we want to do is we want to take in apprentices, we want to take people in from the community who want a long-term career here and we intend to develop new products for exports to the Asian markets and across Europe, so we're looking for graduates, we're looking for craft workers and technicians and I want to say to people locally, 'you know, you can come here and have a long-term career'."

– Ross McMahon, managing director, Kendal Nutricare Ltd

Both companies - Kendal Nutricare and Heinz - are hailing the change as a positive move for the site. In a statement, Heinz said:

"The deal includes a two-year co-pack arrangement for Kendal Nutricare to manufacture Heinz infant cereals for the UK as well as Heinz infant formula for the Chinese market.

"The sale offers a positive future for the factory and for the people employed at the site."

Credit: ITV Border