US-BASED food giant Mondelez International has laid the cornerstone for the construction of its new $90-million biscuit plant in Bahrain.
The factory is the centrepiece of a food manufacturing complex being built in Hidd by the world’s leading maker of chocolate, biscuits, gum and candy as it seeks to tap rising demand in the Middle East and Africa for company brands such as Oreo, Ritz and TUC biscuits.
The government has invested $80 million to reclaim the land for the compound, where Mondelez International is constructing its factory.
The first batch of ‘Made in Bahrain’ Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers, and belVita, Prince and TUC biscuits as well as Barni cakes is expected to roll off the production line by the middle of next year.
Mondelez International integrated supply chain executive vice-president Daniel Myers said the state-of-the-art facility will produce 90,000 tonnes of biscuits per year at the plant, which will be spread over 250,000 sq m – roughly the size of 30 football pitches.
It will be the company’s largest manufacturing facility in the Middle East. The land reclamation was completed within 140 days.
“The Bahrain government has spent $80 million to reclaim the land and we are investing $90 million for the construction of the plant,” Myers said.
Industry and Commerce Minister Zayed Al Zayani said: “We expect the new plant to create specialised trained Bahraini labour opportunities with the highest international standards. We look forward to the completion of construction and full commercial operations early next year.”
Myers explained that biscuits produced by the factory will be exported to 100 countries and when all four lines become fully operational by 2017, the number of trucks carrying the products into Saudi Arabia every year will nearly double from 4,000 to 7,500.
Mondelez International, formerly known as Kraft Foods, has already invested more than $75 million in a Kraft Cheese and Tang powdered-beverage plant, which has been operating at the Bahrain International Investment Park since 2008.