Twenty years ago US ice-cream maker Häagen-Dazs, a General Mills subsidiary, set up a global production plant near Arras in Northern France. Today that site employs 280, exporting 80% of its output and supplying premium ice cream to consumers in 77 countries.
Intent on winning new market share in Asia—particularly in the fast-growing Chinese market—Häagen-Dazs recently began looking into two options: expanding the Arras facility or building an entirely new plant in China. After several months of review, the company chose Arras, which will soon house a new production line in a 3,500 sq m addition.
The total investment is estimated at €19 million, with assistance from the French State, the Regional Council, the European Union and the Arras urban community. The expansion will double the plant’s existing capacity for mix preparation, including blending, pasteurization, and homogenization. Equipment will begin arriving in September, with start-up scheduled in December—in time to prepare for the 2014 season. The expansion will lead to around 30 new hires, and is also expected to benefit milk suppliers in the region.