Fomer Walkers factory to help Peterlee become 'vegan burger capital' as Heather Mills' VBites begins production

Peterlee's ex-Walkers factory looks set to become the “vegan burger capital” with a food firm led by Heather Mills already turning out meals.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 16:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th September 2019, 15:31 pm

VBites, headed up by Washington woman Ms Mills, is already working on an order of 500 million burgers destined to travel from East Durham to America, with a yet-to-be-revealed “biggest fast food chain in the world” calling for the production line to supply it with 400 million burgers, which will require £15million investment in the site.

It has a staff of 47 so far, while hundreds more will be taken on as investment grows and its products is added to the burger and fishsteak lines and further deals are agreed.

Heather Mills with products made by her VBites company. Her Peterlee site has started production of burgers, as well as fishless fillets.

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Ms Mills gave an update as she spoke at the launch of Plant Based Valley in Seaton Delaval, based at the former Coty cosmetics factory site.

It will help expand her company’s production and be a hub for vegan start-up businesses to become the “equivalent of California’s Silicon Valley,” bringing hundreds more jobs to the region.

Ms Mills said: “There’s a lot of community spirit and we are planning to work with SK Foods a lot and we’ve all reached out.

Heather Mills bought the former Walkers crisp factory in Peterlee to turn it into a production plant for her VBites range. Picture: PA.

“We’ve had a brilliant meeting with Eden Farms with 23 of their sales team, we’ve fed them and they all loved the food, so they’re going to be putting food out and we’re just trying to encourage everybody to buy locally.

“Next for the site is to raise more funds so we can put in more and more lines, because one of the biggest fast food chains in the world wants us to do 400 million burgers, but that’s about a £15million investment.

“It will be a vegan burger capital and vegan fishsteaks, we make for all the Greene King Pubs, so if you’re down the pub, get a Greene King VBites fishsteak, with sweet potato fries and mushy peas.”

The Walkers factory in Peterlee closed in December 2017.
Inside the former Coty factory in Seaton Delaval, which will become home to the Plant Based Valley where vegan businesses will set up their ventures.
Heather Mills gives a speech at the new Plant Base Valley vegan food production factory event at Seaton Delaval.
Heather Mills with vegan cakes at the new Plant Base Valley vegan business hub.
Vegan products made by the firm were showcased at the launch event of the Plant Based Valley plans.
Heather Mills gives a speech at the new Plant Base Valley vegan food production factory event at Seaton Delaval.