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Nestlé Opens €80M Eco-Friendly Plant in Serbia

Nestlé has officially opened a new, eco-friendly plant-based meal factory in Surčin, Serbia, representing a significant €80 million investment in the region's sustainable food production sector

In a significant boost to Serbia’s manufacturing and agri-food sector, Nestlé, the global food and drink conglomerate, has inaugurated a new state-of-the-art plant-based meal factory in Surčin, Serbia. The opening ceremony saw the presence of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić alongside Nestlé representatives, marking a significant milestone in the country’s economic development. The investment, exceeding €80 million, underscores Nestlé’s confidence in Serbia’s burgeoning market and its strategic positioning within the European agri-food industry.

President Vučić lauded the initiative, drawing inspiration from Nestlé’s founder, Henri Nestle, and suggesting the company’s pioneering spirit could serve as a model for a forward-looking and innovative Serbia. Notably, Vučić highlighted that the investment was made without any government incentives, a testament to the project’s commercial viability and Serbia’s attractive investment climate. The new facility, which has generated 220 jobs, is part of a broader narrative of Swiss direct investments in Serbia, which have reached €2.4 billion over the past 12 years.

This venture is not just about expanding Nestlé’s manufacturing footprint; it’s a strategic move to tap into the growing demand for plant-based products in the European Union (EU). The factory, spanning 18,000 square meters, is equipped with cutting-edge technology to produce meals primarily for the EU market. Marjana Davidović, Nestlé’s General Manager for Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, emphasized the company’s commitment to sourcing local ingredients, such as soy, and processing them into finished products for export, aligning with global trends towards sustainable and eco-friendly food production.

The emphasis on green energy and ecological operations at the Surčin plant sets a precedent, according to Davidović, for manufacturing practices both within Serbia and across the EU. The move aligns with Nestlé’s global strategy to reduce its environmental footprint and cater to the increasing consumer demand for sustainable, plant-based food options.

Swiss Ambassador to Serbia Urs Schmid commended Nestlé’s near two-decade-long successful operation in Serbia, highlighting the growing popularity of plant-based products as a driving force behind this pioneering venture. Schmid’s remarks underscored Switzerland’s role as a key investor in Serbia, with Swiss companies employing approximately 14,000 people in the country, reflecting strong bilateral ties and mutual interest in fostering economic growth and sustainability.

The opening ceremony, which also saw participation from Jelena Tanasković, Serbia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, and Aleksandar Šapić, President of the Temporary Authority of the City of Belgrade, marks a significant step in Serbia’s integration into the global value chain of sustainable food production. With this investment, Nestlé not only cements its presence in Serbia but also contributes to the country’s economic diversification and its aspirations towards a greener, more sustainable future.

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