The Swiss Nestlé food company marked the completion of the first phase of constructing a new factory in the Belgrade Surcin suburb, where it would produce plant-based food.
It invested 67 million Swiss francs in constructing the second Nestle factory in Serbia.
The factory should start working in October, and it will employ 330 people.
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, who witnessed the ceremony, said that he was pleased that new factories were built in Serbia when there was not much stability in Europe and the world.
Nestlé has been present in Serbia for 17 years, and the first factory in Surcin employs more than 500 workers.
The company has 350 facilities globally, and the new factory in Serbia will produce food from domestic raw materials - steaks, medallions, breasts and fillets, based on soy, gluten, oil and rapeseed.
Nestlé CEO for the Adriatic Southern Region (Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia) Marjana Davidovic said that all raw materials, primarily soy, would be from Serbia. The finished goods would be exported to the EU.
According to her, the company will educate raw material suppliers, primarily soybeans producers, in a new way of growing, the so-called regenerative agriculture, which better protects the environment and does not use standard pesticides.
"We are building a factory that is environmentally friendly by today's standards," Davidovic said, adding that Nestle was among the first companies in Serbia to be certified to produce without affecting the environment.
She underlined that in the future, the water that came out of the production process would be completely purified before returning to nature, and all waste would be recycled.
The Swiss ambassador to Serbia, Urs Schmid, added that Nestlé's new investment would contribute to the economic development of Serbia.
He said Switzerland's aid to Serbia was 400 million euros in the last 30 years to help Belgrade on its EU path. Schmid added his country was among the four largest bilateral donors in Serbia.
He also said the assistance aimed primarily at increasing the efficiency of public administration, encouraging economic development and employment, and solving the challenges related to climate change.
Schmid added the Swiss companies had invested 1.7 billion euros in Serbia and employed 12,000 workers.