Heather Mills To Create 300 Jobs As Major New Vegan Factory Poised To Open

The entrepreneur, athlete, and vegan advocate recently purchased an old Walkers Crisps factory in the North East - and has revealed that operations will start soon
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Heather Mills

Entrepreneur Heather Mills

Entrepreneur, athlete, and advocate Heather Mills has revealed that the former Walkers Crisps factory she bought to use to make her VBitesvegan food will open for business within the next three months.

Mills purchased the 180,000 sq foot factory in Peterlee in November. Since then she's been working to hire staff and make the facility ready to manufacture VBites' new range of vegan sausages and burgers.

Mills hopes to hire around 300 workers for the facility - welcome news for the area, after 350 jobs were lost when the factory was shut by previous owners PepsiCo in 2017. She has already hired six former workers from Walkers, including the former Walkers' factory manager who was now the new factory manager for VBites.

Vegan journey

"It's been quite a journey to get here and it’s a very exciting time for us now," Mills said in a statement sent to Plant Based News. "I've been delighted to see some of the former workers at Walkers take up new positions with us already. We have some good people in place at Peterlee and we’re looking for more.

"There will be office and factory positions for apprentices and also for older people who are experienced. I value their experience."

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council's Cabinet member for economic regeneration, added: "This is really exciting news and it’s particularly encouraging to see that there will now be more than 300 job opportunities created at the old Walkers site in the near future. We're thrilled that Heather Mills is choosing to bring jobs back here to the North East and making the most of our talented workforce."

Vegan businesses

In addition, Mills will also allow smaller plant-based producers to use VBites’ factories for manufacture and distribution across the world, under her VBites Ventures initiative.

The entrepreneur has invested in multiple businesses already - including LoveSeitan and One Planet Pizza under the scheme.

"It helps people move onto the next step when otherwise they would have to take a giant leap in order to manufacture and distribute," she said. "I hope to open a factory one day which will be full of these incubator businesses. This could also be in the North East."