The Dutch company, Aviko, is going to build a new factory in Poperinge, Belgium. This facility will be used to produce frozen french fries and potato flakes. Aviko's parent company, Royal Cosun, took this decision recently. With this move, Aviko is responding to the annual increase in demand for potato products.
The global market for frozen potato products grows by four percent a year. According to Aviko, capacity expansion is a logical step to take to play in on this. "We do not have space in our existing production locations to optimize production further," says Dick Zelhorst.
He is an Aviko Group board member. Dirk is also responsible for purchasing raw materials for Aviko's European and Chinese factories. "We want to keep profiting from this worldwide growth. We also want to retain our position in the market. This expansion is, therefore, needed."
Growth in acreage in Northern France
The options regarding cultivation, logistics, and the market were evaluated. And Poperinge was deemed to be the most suitable site for the new factory. Especially since this town is within a stone's throw of Aviko's specialty factories in Proven. Poperinge is in southern Belgium.
This proximity adds synergy benefits. These include maximizing the available raw materials. "We also see room for expansion of the potato acreage. The French farmers' current crop rotation offers the opportunity for this. The growers are very interested in Aviko too."
"The new production location is also favorably positioned with regard to export harbors," Dick adds.
A few years ago, Aviko set up a growers commission in France. It is called 'Producteurs pour Aviko'. This was done together with several French farmers. This commission is similar to the ATC in the Netherlands. Work is underway on developing a new cultivation region in Northern France. This development is being done in collaboration with this group of French growers.
Operational within two years
Production is expected to start in September 20201 at the new Poperinge plant. This new factory will have a capacity to churn out 175,000 tons of frozen french fries and 11,000 tons of potato flakes per year. If sales increase further, the capacity at this location can be doubled.
The project includes a washing and sorting facility and wastewater processing. Then there will be the french fries and potato flakes production plant. A 40m high cold store is also going to be built.
In nearby Proven, Aviko already has a factory that produces frozen french fries and other potato specialties. After completion of the Poperinge plant, this site will focus solely on making specialized potato products. The current frozen french fries production line will be moved to Poperinge.
About 155 jobs will become available when the new factory becomes operational. This includes about 45 employees who will transfer from Proven. Aviko will focus its sales efforts in Western Europe, Asian, and South America.
Sustainability has received a lot of attention during the design, construction, and commissioning of the new plant. According to Aviko, this is reflected in many areas. These include combined energy efficiency and the minimal waste of potato materials. Materials and water will be completely reused. Solar panels will be installed on the factory's roof. The cold store will also be built according to BREEAM standards. BREEAM is a reputable way to measure how sustainably a building is performing.
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