Nestle Launches Eco-Friendly Plant-Based Meal Factory in Serbia

Feb 27, 2024

The new factory in Surčin will position Serbia as a European center for Garden Gourmet, plant-based meal production


The grand opening of the second Nestle's factory was marked in Surčin in the presence of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, the General Manager of Nestle Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Marjana Davidović, the Director of Nestle for the Southeast European market, Alessandro Zanelli, the Director of the Surčin factory, Jamadagni Kandige, and H.E. Ambassador of Switzerland, Urs Schmid. The opening ceremony of the new factory was also attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management, Jelena Tanasković, the Minister of Environmental Protection, Irena Vujović, the Minister of Economy, Slobodan Cvetković, the Director of the Public Enterprise "Roads of Serbia", Zoran Drobnjak, the Mayor of Belgrade, Aleksandar Šapić, as well as representatives of the Development Agency of Serbia.

The new factory covers an area of ​​18,000 square meters and will provide 220 new jobs. The initial investment amounts to 80 million Swiss francs (83 million euros), while investment of around 300 million Swiss francs is planned over the next five years.

The General Manager of Nestle, Marjana Davidović, emphasized that with the construction of the facility for the production of plant-based assortment under the Garden Gourmet brand, the company expanded its range of high-quality products while remaining consistent with global goals.

"The new factory is equipped with the latest technology, installed only in Serbia. Production is automated, and the final products are intended for the European Union market. Also, in this factory, production is carried out according to the Zero Waste to Landfill strategy, meaning that not a single gram of waste from the factory ends up in municipal landfills, while water is purified, and green energy solutions are used," Davidović stated.

The director emphasized that with this project and investment, Nestle contributes to the sustainability of innovations, both in preserving natural resources and in preserving the community and the economy as a whole. In the new facility, the main raw material is locally grown soy, intended for the production of the Garden Gourmet portfolio.

"Our company aims to complete the entire cycle, from local food cultivation, processing, and then exporting to the EU market, all within our factory, which has successfully achieved the Zero Waste To Landfill goal"

The Director of Nestle for the Southeast European market, Alessandro Zanelli, stated that this is an important investment for Surčin, as well as for Nestle.

"The millions we invested in this factory are just a part of the investment plan," he said, emphasizing the importance of regenerative practices in agriculture and the significance of an extensive network of suppliers. The Director of Nestle for the Southeast European market marked Serbia as the logistic center of Europe.

In his address to the attendees, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia, Urs Schmid, stated that Switzerland is one of the major investors in Serbia. Since 2012, the FDI inflow amounts to 2.2 billion euros, while Swiss companies employ around 14 thousand people. The ambassador emphasized the traditionally good relations between the two countries, reflected through the constant growth of trade exchange, as well as joint projects.

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, highlighted that the factory's establishment comes without direct financial incentives from the Serbian state, but added that the state is always ready to provide subsidies for food production. The President emphasized that Serbia has tradition, knowledge, and raw materials for the production of goods that can be placed on various markets.

The planned production capacity of the new factory in Surčin is 12,000 tons of products per year, with exports planned to France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Globally, Nestle employs around 270 thousand people, owns 340 factories worldwide, with sales revenue in 2023 amounting to 93 billion Swiss francs. In Serbia, Nestle has been operating for 18 years and employs more than 700 people. In 2011, Nestle acquired Centroproizvod, a local food leader. By bringing well-known global brands to Serbia, Surčin has expanded its portfolio with brands such as MAGGI, THOMY, and Nestlé Professional products, exporting them to more than 40 countries worldwide.

The most well-known brands of Nestle are: Nespresso, Nescafe, KitKat, Smarties, Nesquik.

The decision of Nestle Zone Europe to strategically invest in Serbia is based on excellent experiences with local management, employees, and suppliers.