ConAgra expanding potato processing operations in The Netherlands

by Eric Schroeder
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OMAHA, NEB. — Lamb Weston / Meijer, a joint venture between U.S.-based ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston and The Netherlands-based Meijer Frozen Food, has announced plans to invest approximately $150 million to expand its frozen potato facility in Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands. The expansion will add a second production line to the plant, increasing capacity for making french fries and other premium frozen potato products. The line is expected to be fully operational in mid-2016, and the expansion will add 50 new jobs.

The investment is being financed directly by Lamb Weston / Meijer with no additional capital investments from its joint venture partners.

ConAgra said the expansion by Lamb Weston / Meijer is consistent with its strategy to grow its international business. International consumption of frozen potato products continues to climb with the worldwide frozen potato category projected to grow by 1.8 billion lbs between 2013 and 2018, according to data from Euromonitor.

“ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston is well-positioned to meet customers’ emerging market growth through our highly efficient, well-established dual sourcing model supplying our customer base with frozen potato products from both North America and Europe,” said Paul Maass, president of Private Brands and Commercial Foods, ConAgra Foods. “In addition, local potato sourcing and production will play an important role in the future for select countries, such as China, where we expect the most growth.”

ConAgra Foods began production in its newly acquired frozen potato facility in Shangdu, Inner Mongolia, on Oct. 31 after investing in updates to the facility to meet exacting standards for employee safety, food safety and quality. In June, ConAgra Foods completed the expansion of its frozen potato facility in Boardman, Ore., which supports domestic and international customer growth.
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