Agrana, the Austrian starch, sugar and fruit company, is planning to grow its production capacity in Russia by 63% within the next five years. It currently produces 38 000 tonnes of fruit preparation a year and is expecting to reach 62 000 tonnes a year by 2016.
The €27.6m will be invested to extend existing infrastructures, such as new offices, laboratories as well as product development, said Alfred Marchler, fruit regional director of Eastern Europe at Agrana.
Today the plant in Serpuchov employs 260 personnel and the company is planning to recruit another 60 by 2016.
Fruit preparations are primarily used in the dairy industry for the production of fruit yoghurts, but fruits are also used for cakes, pastries and ice cream.
The dairy industry is the most important segment of Agrana, which is worth 90% of its portfolio, Marchler told FoodNavigator.com. Per- capita consumption of fruit yoghurts in Russia is currently quite low at only 3.5kg per year, compared to 8.5kg in Poland and 16.5kg in Western Europe.
However, Agrana is optimistic that this figure will increase over the next few years as “the income per person is growing. The medium segment for people in Russia gets more and more money. It makes them able to afford products like fruit yoghurts,’ said Marchler.
Bringing annual revenue of €55m, the plant in Serpuchov has a 48% share of the fruit preparations market in the Russian and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).
Wimm-Bill-Dann, recently acquired by PepsiCo, is another big player in the Russian market for fruit preparation, according to Agrana. The Russian company focuses on dairy products, children’s food and also non- alcoholic drinks in Russia and the CIS.
“They are a client of us and they produce the major part of food preparations by themselves,” said Marchler.