Access to a larger and international pool of talent was the decisive factor
The international maker of frozen potato products Lamb Weston/Meijer, a joint venture between US company Lamb Weston ConAgra Foods and the Dutch Meijer Frozen Foods BV, has housed its commercial department in Breda. On Friday, February 6, Breda city councilor for Economic Affairs Bob Bergkamp opened the company’s new branch on Claudius Prinsenlaan. The new office will permanently employ around 35 people.
The company has three production facilities in the Netherlands – in Kruiningen, Oosterbierum and Bergen op Zoom – as well as other plants in the UK and Austria and a sales office in Dubai. Lamb Weston/Meijer offers a wide range of potato products, from french fries to potato specialties and potato flakes. The company has a workforce of some 1,200 with an annual production capacity of 700,000 tons in potato products.
Favorable labor market
Lamb Weston/Meijer occupies a dominant position in the market, and it intends to gradually expand on that in the years to come. The new commercial division in Breda (focusing on operations in Europe and the Middle East) is a part of that strategy, says company CEO Bas Alblas. “Unfortunately it has proved difficult to attract skilled commercial staff to Kruiningen in recent years,” he said. “Breda seemed to be the logical site, with the very favorable access to a wider pool of talent in the region and the excellent location. It is close to major roads and has a direct rail link to Schiphol airport, making it easy for colleagues and visitors from abroad to call on us.” Alblas highlighted the fact that the head office is to remain in Kruiningen. “The various locations bolster each other, and our plants are deliberately located close to the farmers so that we are able to rapidly process – within two hours – potatoes into a final product.”
The Brabant Development Agency (BOM) worked hand-in-hand with the municipality of Breda and the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) in assisting the company to set up its new Breda office. An important facet of this was the fact that BOM called on its contacts in local and regional knowledge and educational institutes for the purpose of recruiting skilled professionals.
Breda councilor Bob Bergkamp also expressed his pleasure with the new Lamb Weston/Meijer office.
“Once again a leading international company has opted to set up shop in Breda. This underscores the great potential of the city, with its many knowledge institutes and its central location with regard to the Netherlands and Western Europe.” This was echoed by head of BOM Jan Pelle, who was likewise pleased that the company had settled on Breda. “Brabant is a true agro-food region, and the company’s expansion to Breda can further strengthen this cluster and boost employment” he said.
In 1994, the US Lamb Weston ConAgra Foods and the Kruiningen-based family company Meijer Frozen Foods BV joined forces through a joint venture, and the Lamb Weston/Meijer commercial partnership was born. Lamb Weston/Meijer is active in some 30 markets and supplies potato products to customers in the food service industry, the retail trade, and the food processing industry. Together with Lamb Weston ConAgra Foods, its products are sold under the Lamb Weston brand in over a hundred countries. Many of its advanced technologies have become modern industry standards and Lamb Weston/Meijer is a frontrunner when it comes to offering new products that generate greater profits for its buyers.