SOUTH AFRICA – Country Bird Holdings, a dynamic agricultural business in Southern Africa, has inaugurated its expanded Supreme Chicken Tigane chicken production facility in Hartebeesfontein, South Africa
According to reports by Engineering News, this marks the culmination of over five years of planning and the realisation of R180 million (US$11.3m) worth of investment.
The upgraded facility will enable CBH process a million chickens a week, 300 000 more birds than it could previously do.
It features a new abattoir enabling it to ramp up productivity by 35%, with new high-tech air-chilling technology, which has replaced spin chillers that were previously used.
This has allowed the company to considerably reduce its water consumption footprint, with about 1.6-million litres having been used daily by the spin chillers alone.
This move aligns to the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) aims and reduces its reliance on the municipality.
CHB also plans to build a solar plant on available land at the plant in the coming year, to bolster its ESG credentials, as well as reduce its reliance on Eskom and mitigate the impacts of load-shedding.
The expansion also saw the installation of new automated bird-handling and evisceration technologies, to comply with animal welfare standards. Blue lights have also been installed in the receiving area, to ensure the chickens remain calm.
In the killing department, CBH has installed additional scalding tanks and pluckers, to increase the volume of birds being slaughtered.
It has also installed an additional cooling tower and refrigeration compressors, as well as a new large automatic cutting machine.
Speaking at the launch, CBH CEO Brendon de Boer explained that the company has invested in technology that would allow it to enhance its competitiveness and reduce costs, while still maintaining employment. The expansion has created about 100 direct new jobs.
The expansion is the next step in a company strategy to pivot Supreme’s product mix in line with new market opportunities and demands, aimed to ensure that Supreme remains competitive.
“We are shifting down from about 50% of the output being individually quick-frozen portions (IQF) to 15%, using the freed capacity to deliver fresh product, which is in great demand from clients, including the quick-service restaurant (QSR) sector.
“Quality control is easier with fresh chicken, as it removes any doubts about whether correct defrosting protocols were employed to ensure food safety.
“The time-saving when no defrosting is required and chicken arrives fresh and ready to use, is increasingly important in the competitive QSR sector,” said Brendon.
In addition to directly servicing clients with fresh chicken, the Tigane plant will also deliver the raw material for its new further-processing plant in Germiston, where added-value product lines are produced for the convenience-food sector.