Pork producer and processor Pilgrim’s UK recorded an operating loss of £2.6 million in 2022, which marked a significant improvement on the £16m loss recorded in 2021.
With Pilgrim’s UK and its former incarnation, Tulip, having struggled financially in recent years, the company said its 2022 performance indicated that its business recovery and growth plan was ‘progressing well’.
The business has continued to implement its evolved business structure under the leadership of president Ivan Siqueira and introduced a range of measures to optimise its operational footprint and drive operational excellence across the UK.
Despite challenging market conditions, the business saw total revenue increase by 11% in 2022 to £1.2 billion in the year to December 25, 2022, its Annual Report and Accounts show.
As consumers continue to face challenging inflationary headwinds, Pilgrim’s said it has worked in partnership with key customers to mitigate costs and ongoing inflation.
Its performance has come against the ongoing challenges facing the UK pork sector, with the UK breeding herd having contracted by around 20% and loss-making farmers leaving the industry due to a sustained period of high production costs and lower pig prices. At the same time, an increasing and on-going reliance in the UK on cheaper, lower welfare imports from the EU and post-pandemic recovery challenges within certain markets has negatively impacted UK production, it said.
Throughout 2022, Pilgrim’s UK has continued to focus on creating sustainable growth across its business through a strategic investment programme. This has included investing in the latest technologies while also delivering further product innovation and deepening customer relationships.
The last 12 months have seen a £1.8million investment in the company’s Bodmin site and £5m investment in its Kings Lynn site to maximise operational capacity and further strengthen the sustainability of the factories. In total, the company is investing more than £10m to support progress towards reaching net zero carbon emissions in its own operations by 2030 and across its supply chain by 2035.
Early this year, Pilgrim’s UK closed its major Ashton slaughtering facility, with operations transferring to its facilities in Spalding and Westerleigh, following the closure of its Coalville and Bury St Edmunds sites in 2022, as it began an operational footprint review.
Pilgrim’s UK President Ivan Siqueira said: “Market conditions in the UK remain extremely challenging, but we’ve taken considerable steps to ensure that our business is well-placed to not only meet these challenges but continue to be the best and most sustainable food business in the UK.
“While our performance shows that we are making good progress in right-sizing our business, optimising our operational footprint and supporting our farmers, we know that there is more work to do.
“Equally importantly, these efforts will not impact our ability to meet demand growth with Key Customers and further diversify our portfolio. We will therefore continue to identify ways to become ever more effective and efficient, while delivering the highest quality and most innovative food to our customers.”