The joint venture of the Russian Belaya Dacha Group and Lamb Weston / Meijer, a world leader in potato processing, announced the opening of the first large-scale French fries production facility in Russia. The total investment amounts to RUB8.7bn (approximately EUR115m).
The construction of this plant was subsidized by the Russian State Program for Agriculture Development and it was officially opened in Lipetsk by Ivan Lebedev, state secretary and deputy minister of agriculture of the Russian Federation, and by Oleg Korolev, head of the executive branch of the Lipetsk region.
With the start of the production in the Lipetsk region, local production of frozen French fries is ensured and key customers can be supported in the rapidly growing Russian market, according to Lamb Weston. During the opening, the minister highlighted the importance of this production facility, as it is another step towards meeting the Russian food demand through local production.
“Over the last few years, Russian agricultural producers have reduced twice the import of goods with the help of state subsidies. An increasing amount of both processing companies and consumers prefer local agricultural products. Our main goal is to provide our domestic market with high quality food at a fair price. This once again proves the necessity of projects such as this new potato processing plant, undertaken by the Belaya Dach Group, together with its Partner Lamb Weston / Meijer”, noted Ivan Lebedev.
The new plant created 218 new jobs. By the end of 2019, the plant is expected to reach the full capacity of processing approximately 200,000 tons of potatoes per year. The implemented production lines and technologies meet the highest auditing standards in the industry.
“Investments are crucial for the development of our region, since it involves advanced technologies and creates new jobs and thus great possibilities for young professionals. By establishing strong business contacts, we ensure positive future perspectives for the region and the well-being of our inhabitants”, believes Oleg Korolev, the head of the executive branch of the Lipetsk region.
The development of the new potato processing plant is a cooperation between the Russian Belaya Dacha Group and Lamb Weston / Meijer. Belaya Dacha Group is the leading producer of ready-to-eat salads and vegetable products in Russia, celebrating its 100 years anniversary this year. Lamb Weston / Meijer is a world leader in the production of potato products, operating in more than 100 countries.
“This potato processing plant is one of the key priority projects for the Belaya Dacha Group. I am glad we have combined our knowledge and comprehensive international experience in French fries production with a partner from abroad. With this new plant, we believe we will be able to successfully realize the new direction of food production in Russia”, said Victor Semenov, supervisory board chairman of the Belaya Dacha Group.
Bas Alblas, CEO Lamb Weston / Meijer: “We are proud that we are opening the first large scale French fries plant in Russia today. Together with our partner Belaya Dacha, we have built this beautiful plant in Lipetsk that provides us with a unique opportunity to expand our position in the Russian market, while supporting our international key accounts in optimizing their own value chain, growing their businesses in the region and meeting local needs.”
The first customer will be McDonald’s Corporation with whom the partners say they are excited to build a long term partnership for supplying French fries. The expectation is that other local foodservice and retail customers will follow. In the 28 years of its presence, McDonald’s Russia has put much effort into developing a local supply chain of food, agriculture, and other products that meet world standards and that can substitute the import of goods.
“Over the years of operating in Russia, McDonald’s has been providing strong support and encouraging development of the vertically integrated supply system. During this period, the main product categories could be produced locally. With the opening of the French fries production facility, 98% of McDonald’s products will be sourced from Russian suppliers, entailing 160 flagship companies of the Russian agricultural-industrial complex. We are proud that Belaya Dacha has been together with McDonald’s from the very first years of our operation in the Russian market. Moreover, we have already had an effective cooperation with Lamb Weston for over 15 years”, noted Khamzat Khasbulatov, chairman of McDonald’s Russia.