NEW ZEALAND – UK meat packing business Hilton Food Group has made plans to build a plant in New Zealand in its latest project, in partnership with Woolworths, Australia’s largest grocer.

Hilton will construct a new meat processing facility in Auckland to supply New Zealand retailer Progressive Enterprises, trading as Countdown Supermarkets, which is owned by Woolworths.

The development will take place as an extension of an existing Progressive Enterprises site.

Hilton’s newly-formed subsidiary, Hilton Foods New Zealand, would finance the new food packing facility, with start of production targeted for 2020.

The new facility will be capable of supplying Progressive stores in New Zealand with a range of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and ”added-value’ products.

The plant has made an expectation of the Hilton’s investment and equipment to be approximately US$38.7m (NZ$54m)

According to an interview with just-food in September, Hilton had indicated that it would be keen to team up with major retailers in new markets on the back of the success of existing partnerships.

It recently signed a deal with UK’s leading supermarket Tesco to build a US$7.3 million plant in Poland to serve its Eastern European markets.

CEO Robert Watson said growth in markets such as Portugal and Australia makes such deals an attractive option.

“We hope to go and develop these relationships where the model can work. We are very keen to deal with the leading retailers in the marketplace,” he said.