Leading food company Alliance Group is demonstrating its commitment to New Zealand’s venison industry by expanding its plans for a new modern venison processing plant in Southland.
The cooperative unveiled plans for the new facility in a refurbished beef building at its Lorneville plant near Invercargill last year, but has now revised the project as it seeks to deliver improved efficiencies and value for farmer shareholders
The new $15.2 million plan includes design innovations, improved handling facilities, enhanced configuration, increased slaughterboard size, a wider boning room and an increased offal area. The plant will also be capable of accommodating technological developments when they become available.
“This greater investment reinforces the co-operative’s commitment to the New Zealand deer industry and will ensure we have world-class modern facilities, reflecting our position as a leading and innovative processor,” says Alliance chief executive David Surveyor.
“It also demonstrates the company is continuing to deliver on our strategy of investing in the future, lowering our cost base and delivering higher returns to our farmer shareholders.”
The decision underlines Alliance’s confidence in the deer industry with several marketing initiatives in progress, says Surveyor.
“While the New Zealand venison market has traditionally depended on Germany and the European game season and the euro, Alliance Group is now moving into the US and UK markets with value-added propositions.
“A major driver of this is our Pure South programme to increase out of season chilled consumption, coupled with a general growth in seasonal chilled venison – resulting in a more diverse market and currency mix.”
The new processing facility is expected to be operational next year. In the meantime, deer will continue to be processed at Alliance’s Makarewa plant near Invercargill and Smithfield plant in Timaru.
The Smithfield plant will remain a vital part of Alliance Group’s venison processing operations, says Surveyor.