RPF’s two manufacturing facilities – an abattoir in Powys processing up to 20,000 lambs a week and a retail packing plant in Andover – would form part of its Dalehead Foods division, Pilgrim's UK said.
All 350 RPF employees, including its management teams, would remain in place under existing terms and conditions, with the business planning to invest further in the two sites.
Pilgrim's UK's US-based parent company Pilgrim's Pride announced its purchase of Kerry Group's consumer meats and meals business in the UK and Ireland in June. Pilgrim's Pride acquired pork processor Tulip in 2019 and poultry giant Moy Park in 2017.
Dalehead Foods has supplied customers with lamb for more than 40 years and has worked with RPF for almost 30 years. This acquisition connected its lamb supply chain, bringing its farmers and customers closer together, according to Pilgrim's UK.
UK fifth largest lamb producer
The UK is the world’s fifth largest producer and third largest exporter of lamb and mutton and the acquisition would help Pilgrim’s UK capitalise on the popularity of British lamb with export customers, it claimed.
Pilgrim’s UK recently announced revenue growth in 2020 in its latest annual report and accounts, helping the business move into profit after several consecutive years of losses.
“Randall Parker Foods has a strong reputation as a processor of quality lamb and having worked with Dalehead Foods for almost 30 of the 40 years we have been producing lamb products this acquisition is a natural fit for both organisations," said Andrew Cracknell, chief executive officer at Pilgrim’s UK.
'Single integrated supply chain'
“It will bring our lamb operations closer together into a single integrated supply chain which will benefit team members and customers alike, securing jobs, investment and growth for a sustainable future.”
“We look forward to working even more closely with the RPF teams whose energy, experience and enthusiasm, combined with the highest quality livestock, will offer customers and consumers a first-class supply chain for British lamb.”
Ron Randall, chairman of Randall Parker Foods Limited, commented: “The shareholders of RPF are delighted to be able to confirm the acquisition and are so happy that the future of RPF will be secured and brighter, with the business in the safe hands of a company with the scope and resources of Pilgrim’s UK.’’
Jim Gaffney, managing director of RPF, will continue to oversee operations at the two sites. He said: “I am delighted for the employees, customers and suppliers of RPF who have worked so hard to establish the company’s reputation as the preeminent specialist lamb processor in the UK.
"The future as part of Dalehead Foods looks both secure and exciting. I look forward to working with new colleagues and our customers to achieve our common goals.’”