First large-scale French Fries production plant in Russia inaugurated

Local production in the special economic zone Lipetsk is expected to cover almost 100% of the Russian import demands for frozen french fries.

Today, a new potato processing plant 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.

This first Russian large-scale French fries production facility was built by a Joint Venture of the Russian Belaya Dacha Group and Lamb Weston / Meijer, a world leader in potato processing.

The construction of this plant was subsidized by the Russian State Program for Agriculture Development.

With the start of the production of French fries in the Lipetsk region, local production of frozen French fries is ensured and key customers can be supported in the rapidly growing Russian market.

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.

Ivan Lebedev, State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation:

“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 Dacha Group, together with its Partner Lamb Weston / Meijer.”

Artist rendering of the Lipetsk potato processing plant

The total investment amounted to 8.7 billion Rubles (approximately 115 million Euros or USD 140 million). Furthermore, 218 new jobs were created.

By the end of 2019, the plant is expected to reach the full capacity of processing approximately 200 thousand tons of potatoes per year. The implemented production lines and technologies meet the highest auditing standards in the industry.

Oleg Korolev, the head of the executive branch of the Lipetsk region:

“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.”

International cooperation

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.

Victor Semenov, Supervisory Board Chairman of the Belaya Dacha Group:

“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.”
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.”

Rapidly growing Russian market

The first customer will be McDonald’s Corporation with whom 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.

Khamzat Khasbulatov, Chairman of McDonald’s Russia:

“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.”
Securing potato supply

To cover the plant’s need for the special variety of high-quality potatoes, Belaya Dacha has created a farmer school which is based on their own production farm in the Tambov region.

This farm supplies the new plant with 30% of the total volume of potatoes and has its own advanced and innovative potato storage. The rest of the potatoes are purchased from local farmers through long-term supply contracts.

During the last five years, the company’s agronomists have helped its growers to implement best practices regarding potato variety cultivation. As a result, the company achieved yields up to 50 tons per ha.