PepsiCo revealed it has spent AUD18m (US$13.8m) to install a “high-capacity” baked potato line at its Regency Park plant in south Australia to produce better-for-you snacks under local crisps brands such as Smith’s and Red Rock Deli.

The line was added at the Adelaide facility during Covid-19 lockdowns last year with the support of the South Australian government to allow in construction workers from other states, PepsiCo said, noting that demand has been such that the plant is operating 24/7 and 28 new full-time employees have been hired.

PepsiCo said the factory, which has been operational for more than 38 years, makes Doritos and Twisties branded snacks, as well as Smith’s Oven Baked potato chips and Red Rock Deli premium crackers.

Danny Celoni, the CEO for PepsiCo in Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement: “This investment allows PepsiCo to lead the sector with product innovation and introduce new snack formats while continuing to manufacture top quality products, as we have done here for more than 35 years.”

Smith’s uses 90 million kilograms of fresh potatoes each year sourced from farmers across Australia, PepsiCo said.

PepsiCo acquired Smith’s Snackfood Co. in 1997 from United Biscuits, which itself bought the business in 1993. UK-based United Biscuits was then sold in 2014 to Turkey’s Yildiz Holding, the owner of the Godiva chocolate brand.

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