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First large-scale French fries production facility opened in Russia

FBR Staff Writer Published 26 April 2018

A joint venture of Lamb Weston / Meijer and Belaya Dacha Group has opened a new French fries production facility in Lipetsk, Russia with an investment of around RUB8.7bn (€115m).

The plant, which is anticipated to hit full capacity of processing nearly 200 thousand tons of potatoes per year by the end of 2019, has created 218 new jobs.

With its local production of frozen French fries, the new potato processing plant is expected to meet nearly 100% of Russian import demands for French fries.

Belaya Dacha Group supervisory board chairman Victor Semenov said: “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.”

Lamb Weston / Meijer is the Netherlands-based European joint venture of US-based potato company Lamb Weston and Meijer Frozen Foods. On the other hand, Belaya Dacha Group is a Russia-based producer of ready-to-eat salad and vegetable products.

Lamb Weston / Meijer CEO Bas Alblas said: “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 new French fry plant’s first customer will be fast-food restaurant chain McDonald’s. Lamb Weston, which is a spin-off from Conagra Brands, said that it expects other local foodservice and retail customers to come on board to buy the plant’s production.

 A farmer school has been created by Belaya Dacha to cultivate a special variety of high-quality potatoes for the French fry plant.

The farm, which is based on Belaya Dacha’s production farm in the Tambov region, will meet 30% of its total production to the new Lipetsk potato processing facility.

The plant will also source potatoes from local farmers under long-term supply contracts.

Image: The new Lipetsk French fry plant will process about 200 thousand tons of potatoes per year by the end of 2019. Photo: courtesy of Lamb Weston / Meijer.