Groundwork for the first phase of the expansion at TNP’s Breckland plant is already underway. That would increase processing and packaging productivity – up to 500,000 turkeys for the Christmas market – and increase the site’s chilling capacity. The improvements are set be ready by the autumn of this year.
With COVID-19 restrictions forcing families to spend more time cooking at home, TNP has seen an increase in demand for higher quality meat products, explained managing director Mark Gorton.
“During the pandemic there have been periods when we could have sold double our production capacity,” he added.
“The demand for free range has actually been steadily growing for a number of years, and we are confident this trend will continue even when consumers are able to eat out again and a more normal market returns.”
The second stage of the investment, part-funded by a grant from the Rural Development Programme for England, will focus on expanding the production, packing and distribution areas to double the firm’s output up to 300,000 chickens a week.
Along with the factory expansion is the drive to recruit more farmers to produce free range chickens and turkeys.
“We’re also receiving a lot of interest from free range egg producers looking to diversify into table poultry production due to diminishing returns in the egg sector,” Gorton continued.
“With the full implications of Brexit now becoming all too apparent to farmers, many will be looking for new ways to supplement their income and free range poultry offers a secure, long-term future that we believe will be increasingly attractive in the years ahead.”
Meanwhile, Morrisons has invested in its vertically integrated food factories and detailed ambitious environmental targets for its whole supply chain.
In its annual results statement, the retailer announced investment in automation and robotics for production lines and grading technology to improve product flow and raw material yield.