UK – Food giant Danish Crown has plans of investing £ 100 million (US$103m) in the construction of a gammon and bacon plant in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, to ensure UK customers have a supply of high quality, traceable pork products produced in a more sustainable way.

The new 30,500 square-meters processing facility will use highly automated production equipment and the latest processing technology to slice, cure, smoke, and pack bacon and gammon produced to UK welfare and food safety standards, the company noted.

The site will also be 100% powered by renewable energy and built to market-leading environmental standards, supporting Danish Crown’s wider ambition to deliver climate neutral meat production by 2050.

The company has also invested in heat recovery for the plant’s utility systems that will supplement conventional heating sources to heat the office space and provide hot water, while ammonia will be used as a refrigerant to minimize environmental impact.

Food waste will be reduced through the incorporation of bacon offcuts into other products such as sausages, while a circular packaging system for deliveries of pork to the site will minimize packaging waste. 

The facility is due to begin production in the second half of 2023 and will create around 300 specialized jobs once it is fully operational, producing more than 900 tonnes of bacon and gammon a week. 

Danish Crown has been exporting to the UK since 1887 and up to date, the country remains one of the company’s most important export markets.

The new investment will create Danish Crown’s first production facility in the UK in three years, following the sale of its Tulip subsidiary to Pilgrim’s in 2019. 

Jais Valeur, CEO, Danish Crown said: “This investment forms the next step in our commitment to the UK market, bringing our customers a reliable, transparent supply of high-quality bacon to help meet demand, produced to high sustainability and welfare standards.”

“The future of meat will be based on high quality products that are as sustainable as possible. We know this is an ambition shared by many of our customers in the UK and with this new factory, we look forward to working more closely with them towards a more sustainable future for food production.”

The announcement comes despite the company coming to terms with Brexit-induced red tape following the UK’s decision to cut ties with the European Union’s single market and customs union.

Mr. Valeur also claimed Danish Crown was forced to produce a “heavy set of documents for each and every consignment or load into the UK”.

The European meat producer is taking on an additional 33,000 pages per year, according to the Telegraph. While the large Randers-based company is coping with an increase in red tape, Mr. Valeur warned smaller businesses faced an “impossible” level of paperwork.

Data experts at Kantar have revealed that the UK has the highest consumption per capita of bacon in Europe at three kilograms a year. However, Kantar also found that bacon sales in the UK have fallen by 3.7 percent over the 12 weeks to October 30.

Sausage sales also took a hit as they dropped by 3.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

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