Russian-based meat processor EkoNord has opened a $10 million (€8.7m) meat-packing plant in Vsevolozhsk, Leningrad Oblast, Russia. The factory has been funded through a joint venture consisting of Holland-based company Carpenter Investment and US-based company Crown Investment.
According to the two firms, the new plant's production capacity will be 100 tonnes of vacuum-packed cold meat per day. This, they believe, will help EkoNord to meet the demand for packed meat in the St. Petersburg region. Demand for packed meat remains high in western Russia.
At the new production facility, cold packed meat will be manufactured under the Fileya brand. EkoNord is planning to invest over $500,000 in promoting the brand over the remainder of the year. If all goes to plan, the company expects to capture 30 per cent of the local meat market.
Distribution contracts have already been signed with several major retail chains such as Pyatyorochka, Lenta, O'Kei and Metro.
The second phase of the construction, costing $1.8 million, will raise production levels at the plant by 30 tonnes and should be completed by the end of 2003. The range of products manufactured will include hamburgers, minced meat and marinated, ready-to-cook foodstuffs.
Further plans for the project include the construction of a modern abattoir and a meat-storage facility in Leningrad Oblast. Crown Investment also intends to create a chain of EkoNord meat-packing plants throughout Russia, with the Moscow Oblast cited as the next potential location.
The development of the plant comes at a crucial time for the Russian meat industry. New meat-import quotas were introduced by the government last April, and some industry experts believe that these could have a detrimental effect on the domestic meat-importing sector.
As a consequence, many firms within the sector have sought to diversify their business.
Crown Investment, one of the two companies financing the EkoNord plant, is also co-owner of one of Russia's largest meat-importing companies, Meatland. In 2002, Meatland imported 40,000 tonnes of meat to Russia.