Nestle UK is spending £20.2 million on upgrading its York factory.
The investment comes at a human cost though – 98 jobs are set to go as manual tasks are automated.
So what will the money pay for? Ensuring the brand is able to compete in an increasingly cut-throat global confectionery industry, says Nestle.
“Confectionery is a very competitive category with many of Nestlé’s competitors focused on core brands that are marketed internationally and manufactured, at scale, in dedicated factories that operate on a regional basis,” the company says.
“Nestlé Confectionery in the UK & Ireland has returned to growth and increased its market share in recent years but, to compete successfully in the long term, it will need to focus greater investment in its strategic brands and a more efficient manufacturing base.”
The KitKat was invented in York in 1935. And today the factory makes around 4.5 million KitKats every day.
Investment in new technology will allow increased volumes by up to 500,000 two-fingered KitKats a day.
Nestle – which has a turnover approaching £3 billion in the UK & Ireland – says it has invested more than half a billion pounds in York since it bought the site in 1988.
Nestle House, an office building that houses Nestlé Confectionery’s commercial teams, is currently undergoing a £9 million refurbishment announced earlier this year.
Meanwhile its global R&D confectionery hub, the Product Technology Centre based in York, develops innovative new confectionery products and techniques for markets all around the world “and has seen £4m of investment in the last 12 months”.
A spokeswoman said this demonstrated the manufacturer’s ongoing commitment to maintain a presence in York.