Tulip sets its sights on Chinese expansion

Tulip is pushing ahead with ambitious plans to build on trade links with the Chinese pig meat market.

An initiative to increase export volumes has seen the company invest more than £22 million upgrading its Ashton and Spalding facilities, with a further £15 illionm currently being invested at Westerleigh site. These developments will enable the business to increase exports to China and Hong Kong from 12,000 tonnes in 2013 to more than 15,000 tonnes this year.

The company started exporting pork products to China in 2012 following a successful UK trade mission in 2011, which culminated in a landmark deal signed in May 2012, worth approximately £50 million to the UK’s pork export sector.

Tulip chief executive Chris Thomas said the company was very excited by the opportunity the Chinese market offers the business.

“We already export more than 41,000t of pig meat globally, however, we see potential for enormous future growth in the Chinese market,” he added. “As the UK’s leading pork processor, we’re extremely well placed to make the most of upcoming opportunities.

“We have and are continuing to invest in our UK processing operation to meet the demands of our ambitious growth plans for our export business. We believe this will allow additional facilities to gain approval from China during 2014.”

Tulip’s agriculture director, Andrew Saunders, said last year’s trade delegation, which built on the enormous amount of work already undertaken by BPEX and Defra, had really cleared the way for UK companies to enhance access to the Chinese market.

“Having established good links of our own we can now look at increasing both the volume and the mix of product we currently supply, which is fantastic news for both Tulip and the UK’s pig farming industry,” he added.

Work at Tulip’s Ashton and Spalding sites is now complete, with Westerleigh due for completion during summer 2014. The company currently exports a range of up to 16 products including pork tongues, heads and tailbones, and is close to agreeing the supply of pig trotters to add to its expanding portfolio.

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