Morrisons unveils abattoir investment

Morrisons has unveiled a £21m investment to increase capacity at its Colne abattoir in Lancashire, as part of a £200m investment in the expansion of its manufacturing food arm by 2013.

Morrison is the second largest manufacturer of fresh food in the UK, and is the only retailer to buy livestock direct from the farm to process them at its own abattoirs in Colne, Spalding, Lincolnshire, and Turriff in Aberdeenshire.

The Colne investment will allow the retailer to process an extra 6,000 pigs per week, raisings its capacity from 24,000 pigs a week to 31,000. Meat from the abattoir will be shipped into the newly acquired Morrisons fresh meat packing facility in Winsford, Cheshire, cooked meat production in Deeside, North Wales, and some pies and pastries produced at Morrisons’ Farmers Boy site in Bradford.

The announcement was made at the company’s second Farming Conference conference in Harrogate. The conference, which was attended by more than 350 farmers and agri-food suppliers, was organised to discuss how Morrisons and farmers can work better together.

Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips said: “If market conditions continue, we will become the UK’s largest manufacturer of fresh food by 2015. This investment sets us apart from other retailers and means that we will be the biggest customer for UK farms.

“This will continue to build on our record of serving the freshest and best food that our farmers have to offer with minimal waste in the supply chain.”

Last month Morrisons agreed a deal to buy the Winsford fresh pork and lamb packing plant from Vion for its wholly-owned subsidiary, Farmers Boy Limited. The acquisition, which is expected to be completed on 27 March, is the latest move by the supermarket to strengthen its manufacturing facilities. The plant also has the capability to expand into beef products as well.

>Vion sells plant to Morrisons

>Morrisons to expand abattoir operation

>Morrisons reports slowdown over Christmas


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