The business has invested in a cooked chicken facility to capitalise on the growth of frozen breaded & coated poultry in the UK, which, according to Kantar data, grew 13.5% year-on-year, adding £66.5m to category value, becoming the fastest growth area in the frozen category.
The new facility, based in Poland is a dedicated cooked chicken plant, producing steamed and roasted chicken as well as coated products such as nuggets & steaks. Alongside the investment, the company is also further expanding its pre-marinated chicken business, working with end user outlets to simplify the process for restaurant kitchens.
The pre-marinated chicken service aims to speed up outlet covers, increase profitability for restaurant chains, helping manage stock, reducing the challenge of waste and Improves consumer experience as marinating the meat under vacuum conditions, improves taste. Smithfield Foods is also starting to offer assistance in menu innovation for restaurants as an added service when marinated chicken is purchased.
Although Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, the decision to increase its focus on processed white meat was agreed as chicken is the lead protein consumed in the UK, with the population now consuming 36.3kg per capita on average, making 41% of all meat consumed in the UK (Eurostat).
Ian Lindsay of Smithfield Food said: “We see our increased investment & focus in added value poultry as an opportunity for growth and move our business forward; currently the UK imports close to 980,000MT of chicken each year to keep up with demand, and we believe demand for these types of products will continue to strengthen as consumers look for convenience in home, and higher expectations out of home.”