Browns Food Group acquires Quality Pork Processors in Brechin

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Brechin abattoir was opened in 2016 with a processing capacity of 7,500 pigs and 300 sows a week
The Brechin abattoir was opened in 2016 with a processing capacity of 7,500 pigs and 300 sows a week

Related tags: Meat & Seafood, Finance

Browns Food Group has announced the acquisition of Quality Pork Processors Limited (QPP) in Brechin, ending months of uncertainty about the future of abattoir workers there.

Brechin is Scotland’s major pork processing site. It was opened in 2016, employing 58 people​ and has been owned by Quality Pork Ltd (QPL), in a close collaboration between Scottish Pig Producers (SPP), and Scotlean, both pig farmer cooperatives, and Pilgrim’s Pride UK Limited.

In a statement, Scottish Pig Producers described the deal as 'an exciting new development for both companies', which would ensure a promising future for Scottish pork while supporting existing established markets.

"The completion of this sale will be followed by a short period of time where we work to ensure the seamless transition of QPP into the Browns Food Group,"​ it added.

Long-term market security

Andy McGowan, managing director of Scottish Pig Producers, said: “This fantastic news gives long-term market security for our hard-pressed pig farmers and we are excited to work with Browns Food Group and the skilled team at Quality Pork Processors to develop new and innovative market opportunities for Specially Selected Pork​. It allows us to get back to doing what we do best – family farms cooperating to provide the Scottish public with affordable, nutritious, high quality food.” 

Martin Morgan, executive manager of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, commented: "Browns Food Group has a fantastic track record of supporting the Scottish red meat industry and we are delighted that they will be applying their business acumen, strength and experience to the development of this important sector."

Documents recognising the transfer of the ownership of Scottish Pig Producers to Browns Food Group were lodged at Companies House on 4 February.

Dogged by problems

Capable of processing at least 7,500 pigs and 300 sows a week, Brechin abattoir has been dogged by problems since it opened. It was hit by fire in the summer of 2017 and forced to freeze production in 2018 because of poor CO2​ supplies. It then had to suspend operations again in January last year after COVID-19 caused sickness among the majority of its workers, leading to the suspension of its licence to export to China.

It has struggled financially as a result of these factors, with its future in doubt.

QPP suppliers were thrown a lifeline by the Scottish Government when it announced in December 2021 that its Pig Producers’ Hardship Support Scheme would be extended to support the industry through the pandemic. The scheme, which is backed by more than £680,000, offered pig producers £7.50 per pig supplied to QPP's Brechin plant between 1 April and 30 September 2021.

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood, Operations

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