Italian pasta giant Barilla is to invest €1bn ($1.07bn) in capex over the next five years.

Half of this will be invested in Italy, the privately-owned company said.

Overall, Barilla plans to invest in areas including production capacity, upgrading IT and introducing Industry 4.0 technology.

The €1bn investment will be spread over the next five years from to 2028.

The family-owned food business said it also invested €1bn in the five years from 2017 to 2023.

Barilla’s initiatives will include investment in digitalisation and blockchain, a spokesperson said.

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Investment in production capacity will take in pesto sauces, meal solutions and bakery products.

The five-year plan will also support Barilla’s sustainability efforts, including reducing emissions and spending on renewable energy.

The most recent information Barilla has provided on its sustainability programme covers the calendar year 2021. In a report published last July, Barilla said it had reduced its CO2 equivalent emissions per tonne of finished product by 31% between 2010 and 2021. It estimated that figure to stand at 0.21 in 2021, level with 2020.

In 2021, Barilla’s Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions were 263,282 tonnes of CO2e. Scope 2 emissions stood at 127,724 tonnes.

In the report, Barilla said it would “over the next few months … be setting clear and measurable goals for sustainable development”. The targets have yet to be published. The group’s new sustainability report is due to be issued later this month.

Earlier this year, the company sold a production site in France to fellow Italian food manufacturer Gruppo Morato.

The facility, located in the northern French city of Gauchy, was part of the Harrys Restauration business and complex owned by family-run Barilla. The cost of the transaction was not disclosed by Gruppo Morato, which, through the deal, attained a manufacturing presence in France for the first time.

In December last year, Barilla snapped up the US snacks business Back to Nature from local manufacturer B&G Foods for an undisclosed sum.