The Anonymous Widower

Are Kraft Heinz Up To Something?

This article on The Times, is entitled Ketchup On Its Way Back To Britain As Kraft Heinz Invests In UK Site.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Heinz tomato ketchup will be made in Britain again after its owner announced plans for a £140 million upgrade of a site on the outskirts of Wigan.

Europe’s largest food manufacturing facility is set to start making the sauces of Kraft Heinz, which also include mayonnaise and salad cream, in a move designed to meet demand in the UK.

I wrote about Kraft recently in Kraft Heinz And Freight Innovation, where they were experimenting with Network Rail to get goods to their Wigan site faster and with less carbon emissions.

I think the two stories might fit together.

have just looked at my 435 gram bottle of Heinz tomato ketchup. It states on the bottle that every 100 grams of the sauce is made from 174 grams of tomatoes. I suspect leaving in the pips and the skins would make a rather lumpy sauce!

But this means that for every tonne of sauce, there is a need for 1.74 tonnes of tomatoes.

Could this be a reason why Kraft Heinz ran an experiment a couple of months ago with bringing in goods to the site at Wigan by rail?

There could be TomatoLiner trains all the way from Spain or Italy.

Or perhaps, they could link Wigan to Lincolnshire or South Yorkshire, where tomatoes could be grown in large automated greenhouses, heated by the waste heat from all the power stations. Carbon dioxide from gas-fired power stations could also be used to make the tomatoes grow big and strong.

Why shouldn’t we eat the carbon dioxide we produce?

The more I look at Google Maps of Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire, the more I think that cost-competitive UK-produced tomatoes could be one of the reasons for this move.

I have found companies like Yorkshire Grown Produce, who grow the speciality varieties of tomatoes for supermarkets. and CambridgeHOK, who design and build the automated greenhouses.

But the problem, all growers of fruit and vegetables face, is the lack of people to do the harvesting, at an affordable price.

  • As a Control Engineer, who has worked on automation, it is my view that robot or automatic harvesting is needed.
  • After all robots don’t get drunk at the weekend and not turn up on Mondays.

I haven’t found a robot that would pick tomatoes yet, but I suspect there’s a company out there working on it.

Yorkshire Grown Produce are in Brough, a few files to the South-West of Hull. and say they can provide quality tomatoes from March to November.

So could a company provide affordable tomatoes to Kraft Heinz’s specification for 9-10 months of the year?

  • Looking at bottles of Ketchup, it appears they have a shelf life of at least a year, so the month’s without tomatoes could be bridged by a warehouse.
  • I also suspect that automated greenhouses could turn out guaranteed Organic tomatoes.
  • The tomatoes would arrive in Wigan the day they are picked.
  • It probably wouldn’t be a large train every day and the line at Wigan is not electrified, so it wouldn’t necessarily be a zero-carbon trip across the Pennines.

I can see an efficient system for the production of tomato ketchup, which could be labelled organic and 100 % British.

How many tonnes of carbon emissions would be saved? Probably not many! But it’s the thought that counts.

If this isn’t technology-aided marketing, I don’t know what is?


How many other production and delivery processes can be simplified by the use of rail?

June 1, 2021 - Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | ,


  1. Clive, a prize-winning German robot, can recognise common types of little left by humans, so a similar machine could probably learn to recognise tomatoes at the ideal stage for harvesting. See:

    Kind regards, John Davison

    On Tue, 1 Jun 2021 at 13:28, The Anonymous Widower wrote:

    > AnonW posted: “This article on The Times, is entitled Ketchup On Its Way > Back To Britain As Kraft Heinz Invests In UK Site. This is the first two > paragraphs. Heinz tomato ketchup will be made in Britain again after its > owner announced plans for a £140 million upgrad” >

    Comment by John Davison | June 2, 2021 | Reply

  2. Thanks for that!

    Comment by AnonW | June 2, 2021 | Reply

  3. I suspect the ratio isn’t quite 1:1.74, allowing for packaging, other consumables, and marginal amounts for other ingredients.

    A big chunk of the weight loss would be water, of course. Which should be recycled with other organic wastes into agriculture.

    Generally the most efficient process would be to move condensed pulp from the growing country in rail tanker cars, with UK plant just finalising the product and packaging, which would make the ratio closer to 1:1.

    Comment by MilesT | June 2, 2021 | Reply

    • As it says it on the bottle, if it wasn’t true, they would be breaking the law!

      Comment by AnonW | June 2, 2021 | Reply

      • True for the contents, but for train transport in and our it is the gross weight that matters for your calculation

        Comment by Milest | June 2, 2021

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