Austrian food company Agrana has opened its second manufacturing facility for fruit preparations in Changzhou, China.

Built with an investment of nearly €22m ($24m), the facility will be used to produce nearly 30,000t of fruit preparations such as strawberries, blueberries and peaches that will be supplied to yoghurt, bakery, ice cream and food service segments.

Initially, the Austrian firm intends to hire around 70 members for its new facility.

Agrana CFO Stephan Büttner said: “We are delighted to be opening this new site after just one year of construction work. China is the world’s largest yoghurt market and it’s growing fast. Their locations mean that our production facilities are in close proximity to major dairy product customers.

“The construction of a second fruit preparations site in the Shanghai region was, therefore, a logical investment in order to consolidate our market leadership.”

“The construction of a second fruit preparations site in the Shanghai region was, therefore, a logical investment in order to consolidate our market leadership.”

Agrana produces fruit preparations at 28 sites globally. In addition to the new site in Changzhou, the company has a fruit preparation facility located in Dachang, Beijing, which was constructed six years ago.

The company also operates a fruit juice concentrate plant that is located in Xianyang, Shaanxi province.

Agrana said that the yoghurt market in China has nearly doubled in the past five years, partly due to the growing demand for yoghurt drinks.

The Austrian company noted that fruit preparations contain fruits that are either puréed or diced, which are used in dairy and bakery products industries.

Agrana’s fruit preparations are also delivered to fast-food companies and food service providers.

Last July, Agrana acquired a 49% stake in Algeria-based fruit preparations producer Elafruits for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is expected to enable Agrana to expand its presence in the African market.