Making room for added-value at Greenlea

Greenlea Premier Meats new vacuum-packaging for its retail range.

Overseas customers visiting Greenlea Premier Meats’ Hamilton beef processing plant have sparked a new export retail product line for the company and a $1 million brand new dedicated value-add processing room.

During visits in mid-2015, customers from the EU, China and a couple of other markets showed enthusiastic interest in a relatively small project for Greenlea, after catching sight of a run on the main production line. This was a retail product line with re-designed packaging developed specifically for upmarket domestic retail stores, Farro Fresh in Auckland and Moore Wilson in Wellington.

“They simply liked what they saw,” Greenlea business development manager Julie McDade relates. “We didn’t have to do any marketing, the market came to us,” she says.

Their interest, and subsequent orders, were enough to convince the meat processor to invest in a new value-add processing room at its Hamilton meat plant.

Greenlea’s new thermoformer is ready for action.

McDade explains the 115 square metre room has been decked out with the latest technology, a German thermoformer machine, which does high specification trays, film and vacuum-packaging. The room will be processing retail-ready steak cuts and diced and minced beef.

The option will enable Greenlea to capture more value from the products before they are sent offshore, which translates into higher prices for its farmer suppliers, says McDade.

Export products will carry the distinctive FernMark™ trademark, developed by NZ Trade & Enterprise as part of the New Zealand Story programme and registered in 12 markets.

The new value-add room is also enabling development of a range of products for online sale here in New Zealand, which should be launched by Fieldays in June.

“Watch this space,” says McDade.

The family-owned company recently welcomed its third generation to the workforce with two of managing director Tony’s Egan’s children joining the Greenlea team. Son Liam is the new operations assistant for the value-add room, while daughter Samantha has joined the marketing department.

This article appeared in Food NZ magazine (April/May 2017) and is reproduced here with permission.

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