Morrisons’ aim to be UK farming’s biggest direct buyer
FARMERS supplying Morrisons may have been heartened to hear they will be supplying the UK’s largest fresh food manufacturer by 2015.
That is if current market conditions persist, and enable the group to capitalise on a £200m investment in its manufacturing divisions. The supermarket’s chief executive Dalton Philips explained on Wednesday, during Morrisons’ second Farming Conference on Harrogate, the plans include a £21m investment to increase the capacity at its Woodhead Bros abattoir in Colne, Lancashire.
Meat will transported to one of several of Morrisons further processing facilities - cooked meat production in Deeside, North Wales; pie and pastries production at the group’s Farmers Boy site in Bradford – and the recently acquired fresh meat packing facility in Winsford, Cheshire. Winsford was in fact acquired from Vion, the current largest fresh food manufacturer.
But Mr Philips also referred to investments in fruit, vegetables and salad packing in addition to recent spending in seafood and meat processing.
The net result is that by 2013 Morrisons aims to be buying more fresh food directly from farmers than its rivals and by 2015 will become the biggest fresh food manufacturer.