Danish Crown has confirmed that its new £100 million bacon and gammon plant, which is due to begin production in the second half of 2023, will be solely supplied from Denmark.
The global food company recently announced its return to the UK pork market in the form of a £100m investment in the new processing facility in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
The new 30,500 sq.m processing facility will use highly automated production equipment and the latest processing technology to slice and pack bacon and gammon, which the company says will be ‘produced to UK welfare and food safety standards’. The facility will create around 300 specialised jobs once it is fully operational, producing more than 900 tonnes of bacon and gammon a week.
Asked where the pork will be sourced from, a spokesperson for the company said: “The plant will be solely supplied from Denmark.”
Danish Crown said it would offer UK customers ‘high quality, traceable pork products produced in a more sustainable way and provide a critical supply of bacon for the UK market’.
The new investment will be Danish Crown’s first production facility in the UK in three years, following the sale of Tulip to Pilgrim’s in 2019. The company, which has been exporting to the UK since 1887, described the UK as ‘one of the company’s most important export markets’.
October census figures showed, however, that the Danish pig herd has fallen by 10% year-on-year to below 12 million, a 22-year low. Denmark, like other EU pork sectors, has lost a big chunk of its China export market – EU exports to China have halved this year.
The company clearly sees an opportunity in the UK to sell more Danish pork. Due to carcase balance, the UK is a net importer of bacon, but the plant will only add to the import competition already faced by pig producers in the UK and will add another level of competition for the UK pork processing sector.
The new site will be 100% powered by renewable energy and built to ‘market-leading environmental standards’. Heat recovery from the plant’s utility systems will supplement conventional heating sources to heat the office space and provide hot water, while ammonia will be used as a refrigerant to minimise environmental impact.
The company said it will be able to provide customers with the carbon footprint of their products from farm to fork.
Danish Crown Jais Valeur, CEO, said: “This investment forms the next step in our commitment to the UK market, bringing our customers a reliable, transparent supply of high-quality bacon to help meet demand, produced to high sustainability and welfare standards.”
He said the company’s UK customers shared Danish Crown’s ambition for the future of meat to be ‘based on high quality products that are as sustainable as possible’.