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Soviets, warming up to ice cream variety, welcome Baskin-Robbins production plant.

Soviets, Warming Up to Ice Cream Variety, Welcome Baskin-Robbins Production Plant

Baskin-Robbins ice cream, a favorite in the West, will now be produced in a plant near Moscow and distributed through food stores and kiosks in the Russian part of the Soviet Union.

It's a new departure for the company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Allied-Lyons PLC, London: not only making ice cream in the Soviet Union, but selling it outside Baskin-Robbins outlets.

Baskin-Robbins already has a store at the Rossiya Hotel, supplied direct from the company's London plant, but when the new plant at the Moscow suburb of Ostankino is completed, the brand will be available all over the area.

The factory was authorized under an agreement with the Ministry of Trade of the Russian Federated Soviet Socialist Republic, which seems to be moving faster towards a market economy than the Soviet government (maverick Boris Yeltsin was recently elected Russian president).

At 6,000 square meters, the Ostankino plant will be the largest Baskin-Robbins production facility in the world, and it will have to be: Russians are crazy about ice cream, even if they have heretofore been able to get only two flavors (vanilla and chocolate). Muscovites alone consume 200 tons (80,000 gallons) a day.

When it opens in the spring of 1992, the $30 million plant will produce eight million gallons a year - but that will meet only about half the projected demand in the Moscow area. Still, the way things are going in Russia, perhaps there will soon be agreements on further plant expansion, or even other ice cream companies moving in.

"Our market research reveals a healthy consumer appetite for ice cream throughout the Republic of Russia," said Michael H. Cohn, president of Baskin-Robbins International. "Our facility will bring these consumers a previously unavailable quantity of ice cream in a range of flavors that would have been inconceivable ten years ago. In fact, further demand in other parts of the Republic of Russia may require additional plants."

The initial plant is a 50-50 joint venture with the Ministry of Trade, and Baskin-Robbins hopes to earn back its investment through sales in hard-currency stores and exports to third countries. Ten of the firm's 31 flavors will be produced at first, and distributed to Moscow outlets in refrigerated trucks - both takehome and eat-in items will be available. Western equipment and technical supervision will be used in the plant, which will employ 100 Russians in production - some of the locals may be trained in the United States.
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Title Annotation:Baskin-Robbins International opening plant in Soviet Union
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jul 1, 1990
Words:418
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