US food giant General Mills plans to invest EUR17m (US$21m) in a new production line at a plant making Häagen-Dazs ice cream in northern France. 

News of the investment at the Tilloy-lès-Mofflaines site near the city of Arras came during the ‘Choose France’ business summit held at Château de Versailles earlier this week and attended by President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron is seeking to attract foreign investment through a strategy of business-friendly policies focused on more flexible labour laws and tax changes.

A spokesperson for General Mills confirmed the extension of the plant when contacted by just-food but added no further details were available at this stage. The capital expenditure is almost double what the company would normally invest at the factory over a 12-18 month period, the spokesperson noted.

General Mills employs 345 staff at the site, which opened in 1992, as well as 200 seasonal workers.

The facility turns out 62m litres of ice cream annually, 80% of which is exported.

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According to Macron’s office, three other food-related investment projects were announced at the summit.

US foodservice-focused baker East Balt is investing EUR37m in a new plant in Plessis-Pâté, in the southern Paris suburbs, creating 65 jobs. 

Meanwhile, Fresh Del Monte Produce is spending EUR9m on the construction of a 10,000 square-metre plant in the Somme region in northern France, specialising in the processing of fresh fruit.

South Korean group SPC is investing EUR20m in Saint-James, in Normandy, in setting up an industrial base for the production of frozen Viennese pastries with the creation of 45 jobs in the first phase of development.

None of those companies were immediately available to comment.