Fries giant Agristo plans fourth production line in Wielsbeke, Belgium

Filip Wallays and Hannelore Raes, the CEOs and owners of Agristo.

Filip Wallays and Hannelore Raes, the CEOs and owners of Agristo.

Febrero 25, 2024

According to a recent publication in the Belgian paper 'De Tijd', potato processor Agristo factory is planning further expansion of its production of frozen fries in Belgium: a fourth production line for frozen fries will be added to their factory in Wielsbeke. This must guarantee that the frozen potato giant in Belgium continues to grow.

The Belgian frozen French fries producer Agristo plans to start operating the fourth production line at its home base in Wielsbeke in 2026. This line will produce fries - just like the three existing ones. Existing production lines have been there since 2018, when the factory opened its doors.

According to co-CEO Hannelore Raes, the expansion will create approximately fifty new jobs. About three hundred people already work for the company. The exact investment associated with the expansion is not yet known.

Hannelore Raes:
 

"We are still drawing up the plans. But it is clear that it is several millions."

In addition to Wielsbeke, Agristo has factories in Harelbeke, Nazareth and Tilburg. Agristo has also had a small factory in India for almost two years. It is located in Bijnor, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and produces dried potato flakes. The Bijnor factory employs 120 people.

Factory in France

At the same time, Agristo is building a brand-new factory in France. Agristo is investing EUR 350 million (USD 378 million) in the realisation of that facility. 

Hannelore Raes:
 

"The factory is mainly being built to gain access to more potatoes. We are starting with one line and will gradually expand it. The French factory will mainly work for France and Southern Europe, the Belgian one for Western Europe and further exports."

The many expansions must realize Agristo's ambitions. The family business wants to move into the global top five of fries and potato specialty manufacturers, Hannelore Raes said at the opening of the factory in Wielsbeke. Agristo thus pursued multinationals such as McCain Foods and Lamb Weston. 

Agristo is well on its way. In 2022 the company realized a turnover of EUR 956 million (USD 1 billion). That is up from EUR 370 million (USD 400 million) in 2017. Currently, the family business employs 979 people.  Agristo was founded in 1986 by entrepreneurs Luc Raes and Antoon Wallays. Today it is their respective children's turn: In addition to Hannelore Raes, Filip Wallays also co-manages the company.

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