By investing more than 100 million euros, Orkla Biscuit Production, a sister company of the food company Orkla Latvija, has built the largest biscuit and waffle factory this side of Willy Wonka's place, in Ādaži, just outside Rīga.
Its modern lines and production capacity will allow the supply of sweet treats not only to Latvia and Estonia, but also to Finland, Sweden and Norway, providing around 400 jobs. The official opening of the factory takes place on Thursday, September 14.
According to LTV, the new factory smells like Christmas with a tonne of gingerbread passing through the oven every hour along one of 13 lines. From Monday to Friday, the work is done in three shifts around the clock, which puts even Santa's elves to shame. The factory itself occupies 3.2 hectares.
Orkla Biscuit Production product and development manager Emils Kozlinskis said that this was the company's biggest investment in the food industry in the last 20 years: "We can't even fathom how important a step it is," he said. Orkla decided to move all production of biscuits and waffles to Latvia, closing a factory in Gothenburg to do so. The Swedes transferred all their knowledge to Latvian technologists so that the recipe and taste of the cookies would not change.
"Latvia was a good place for investments for several reasons. For example, the availability of raw materials and flour was one of the determining factors. And of course - the people," said Johan Uddin, supply chain director of Orkla.
Production technologist Aleksandra Pliska said: "We took the knowledge and tried to bring it all here as it was." Now Pliska is monitoring the cookie and waffle lines at Ādaži from the balcony. Some lines are 400 meters long and computerization plays a big role.
"I like everything moving! That's our job too! If it stops, I run to figure out what happened and help!" said Pliska.
Meanwhile, Kozlinskis expressed hopes that the exhange of knowledge and tastes would not be in one direction only, saying he hoped "to introduce Norwegians to traditional recipes of Latvia. And Latvia to Swedish and Norwegian cookies."