A new £20m hi-tech production line at the Mr Kipling bakery in Barnsley is set to add 80 jobs to the town.
Secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs, Elizabeth Truss, officially opened the bakery expansion at the Premier Foods’ site in Carlton.
It will produce 300m Mr Kipling ‘snack pack’ cake slices a year, more than doubling the firm’s current production, chief executive Gavin Darby said.
The investment was a “huge vote of confidence” in the company, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and the region, he added.
“£20m is a large amount of money. We chose to spend our it here because we’ve got a good, loyal, committed workforce.”
The line uses advanced technology and robotics, requiring highly-skilled workers, he said.
“Because it’s such a hi-tech line, they are disproportionately skilled jobs,” Mr Darby said.
“We want to be employing more people, but it’s even more exciting we’re employing people with a good and high level of technical skill.”
Some of Mr Kipling’s best-known products have been made in Carlton since 1975, including its Battenberg cake and Fondant Fancies.
It employs 750 full-time staff - rising to 1,500 seasonally.
A further 80 full-time jobs will be added over the next two years.
Earlier this year, Premier Foods committed to doubling the number of apprentices in the company and invested in a refurbished training centre in Carlton, the largest of its three bakeries.
The cake sector is worth around £1bn in the UK, of which Mr Kipling has around 17 per cent. Mr Kipling is Premier Foods’ largest brand, accounting for just under a fifth of its £683.7m branded sales.
Elizabeth Truss said: “Our food manufacturing sector is bigger than cars and aerospace combined.
“The new line is not only a boost to Yorkshire‟s economy but will also ensure our UK farmers and producers‟ benefit from the company‟‘s commitment to source the majority of its ingredients from British suppliers.”