Red meat processor and exporter Alliance Group is to launch a new range of market-ready lamb, beef and venison products for the retail and food service sectors in China.
Alliance Group has reached an agreement with its in-market partner Grand Farm, China’s single largest importer of sheepmeat, to market the co-branded Pure South-Grand Farm products in the country from next year.
The companies will market lamb packed in New Zealand and ready for retail and food service in China, as well as a new range of lamb products processed and packed by Grand Farm. Although lamb will be the first product to be marketed as part of the agreement, beef and venison are expected to follow in the future.
A letter of understanding was signed during a recent visit to New Zealand by Grand Farm President Xibin Chen, who also toured the company’s Pukeuri plant near Oamaru on the eve of the co-operative’s major processing period getting underway.
David Surveyor, chief executive of Alliance Group (left), says: “This is a unique opportunity to focus on the value and brand profile of our brand Pure South. We all know China is New Zealand’s largest market for frozen lamb and mutton. That’s why we must secure our position for the long term. This letter of understanding is the culmination of a 16-year partnership between Alliance Group and Grand Farm and represents a major boost to our co-operative and our 5,000 farmer-shareholders.
“There are also several other projects we have agreed to work together on including securing an active place on Grand Farm’s online business.”
Murray Brown, general manager of marketing at Alliance Group, says the co-operative has increased the volume of exports to China by 35 percent over the past five years. Alliance has also recently begun exporting New Zealand venison to China.
“This is a proven relationship and both companies are committed to growing the value of the market, further strengthening our brand presence and targeting end users in key sectors including fast-growing on-line consumers.”
Grand Farm processes 70 percent of the lamb supplied by Alliance Group into lamb rolls, kebabs and finished retail ready products, explains Brown. “We’re focused on capturing greater market value in countries such as China by understanding consumer tastes and getting better at matching our products and markets and investing more in new product development and packaging.
“Despite the slow-down in the Chinese market over the last year, the country remained an important long-term market for Alliance Group.
“With the reduction in tariffs, and the growth in population, New Zealand has become an important supplier of protein to China. As distribution and logistics improve, we can and must be more active in this market.
“We’re much better having a strong local partner and there are many benefits also for Grand Farm from working at a new level with Alliance.”
Grand Farm president, Mr Chen, says the company is focused on building the brand.
“Grand Farm is committed to quality. We are the leading brand for lamb in China and will continue to expand. The plan we have agreed to will see a new range of lamb products for retail and food service with the Pure South and Grand Farm brands.”
Grand Farm owns 96 meat shops, operates 260 branded meat counters in selected hypermarkets and supplies over 1,000 hypermarkets in China.
Alliance Group has been working in China since the mid-1990s and is now the country’s largest exporter of New Zealand lamb to the country.
The co-operative began exporting to traders in Dalian in the mid-1990s and has been working with Grand Farm, since 2000. Grand Farm is the best known distributor and marketer of top quality red meat in Northern China.