For the year to 25 December 2022, Pilgrim’s UK recorded a £2.6m loss, compared to the previous year’s £16m.
The business has been working in tandem with key customers to ease costs as inflationary challenges ensue. The UK pork sector has experienced particularly tricky times, with the UK’s breeding herd contracting by 20% and loss-making seeing farmers waving goodbye to the sector.
Meanwhile, post-pandemic recovery challenges alongside a rising demand for ‘cheaper, lower welfare’ imports from the EU has been tough on UK production.
Despite this, Pilgrim’s UK’s 2022 total revenue rose by 11%, reaching £1.2bn.
Under the leadership of Ivan Siqueira, the business has been continuing to focus on creating sustainable growth through a strategic investment programme.
Among these investments has been a £1.8m and £5m injection into its Bodmin and Kings Lynn sites, respectively, in an effort to maximise operational capacity and enhance each plant’s sustainability credentials.
Overall, the food business 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.
At the same time, the company has been reviewing its operational footprint – an undertaking which saw the closure of its Coalville and Bury St Edmunds sites earlier this year and more recently, the closure of its Ashton facility, with operations moving to its Spalding and Westerleigh plants.
“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,” said Siqueira.
He explained that while the business is making good progress in “right-sizing”, optimising its operational footprint and supporting farmers, there is more to do. He added that these efforts will also not impact its ability to meet growing demand or further diversify its 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,” he concluded.
Watch our exclusive interview with Mike Wijnberg, group technical director for Pilgrim's Pride Ltd earlier this year, as he talks about the challenges of exporting and importing from the perspective of the pork sector and its impact on food security.