MEXICO – British multinational consumer goods company, Unilever has invested MXN5.5bn (US$275.6m) in two Mexican food plants to increase production capacity to supply the local and international markets.

The Ben& Jerry’s owner said the factories in Tultitlán and Lerma, located in the north-east and south-east of Mexico, respectively, will be able to improve infrastructure, add new equipment, and buy technologies to optimize water and energy usage.

During the undertaking of the expansion projects that are expected to be completed by 2024, both companies will also use some of the investment capital toward training employees.

This project will increase the capabilities of the company, which will also be able to develop healthier food formulas, in support of local producers, who will strengthen their distribution reach, taking advantage of the logistical advantages offered by the state.

The two factories manufacture a range of products from the Wall’s Helados Holanda ice-cream line to foods sold under the brands Knorr, Hellmann’s, Best Foods, and Maizena.

Unilever confirmed that the facilities also serve the company’s food service customers, along with exports to Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil while also shipping products to the US and Canada and the Caribbean.

At its Tultitlán plant, Unilever produces more than 200 ice cream, mayonnaise, and dressing products for brands such as Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s generating 812 direct jobs and 4,800 indirect jobs.

The Lerma facility creates 250 products, including broths, soups, and Maizena atoles, and employs 700 direct workers and 4,200 indirect jobs.

Lourdes Castañeda Cañas, general director of Unilever Mexico, explained that the scope of this project will also promote care for the natural environment and join efforts to promote the use of renewable energy, the reduction, and recycling of plastics.

He added that the responsible disposal of solid waste with sustainability in the facilities’ manufacturing processes, and the rational use of water will help to strengthen the parent company’s effort to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 100% by 2030.

Unilever has been present in Mexico since the 1960s but does not report individual sales for the country. In its first-half results issued in July, turnover in emerging markets grew 10%, based on the key underlying sales growth (USG) metric, to EUR17.4bn (US$17.2bn).

The group as a whole reported a turnover of EUR29.6bn (US$29.37bn), up 8.1% in terms of Underlying Sales Growth (USG), and an operating profit of EUR4.5bn (US$4.47bn), a 1.7% increase.

In addition to its leadership in the food sector, Unilever participates in the chemical industry, a prominent sector in the Mexican industry, which represents 8.8 percent of the state economy, with 924 economic units and more than 32 thousand jobs generated.

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