LOOKING be at the forefront of meeting emerging consumer demand for ready-to-eat beef products, Northern NSW processor Bindaree Beef is expanding it’s retail-ready operations significantly.
Bindaree will lease a large scale meat processing facility in south east Queensland to house the manufacturing of steak, mince and stir-fry retail-ready products, as well as cold storage, blast freezing and warehousing of finished goods.
Additional investment will also take place at the Inverell processing facility, with the introduction of new equipment capable of producing darfresh and thermo formed packed retail products.
Chief executive officer Andrew McDonald says the investment ensures Bindaree is well-positioned to service its expanding export production requirements, more specifically the growth in sales to China for value-added beef.
Leading the program is Ricky Taylor, manager of Bindaree Retail Group, who said in the United Kingdom, and more recently in Australia, there had been a major change with supermarkets looking to remove instore butcheries as well and the consumer looking for more pre-prepared items.
This was the service Bindaree was looking to fill, he said.
“Also more supermarkets in Asia are stocking retail-ready products from Australia. Asians see the benefits in food safety as a major factor when making purchases at the checkout,” Mr Taylor said.
Alongside being at the cutting edge of that new demand, Australia’s high cost of production in beef made Bindaree feel it was imperative to expand into non-commodity markets, Mr Taylor said.
“As an industry we cannot compete with the US, Brazil or Argentina in world markets if we base ourselves on price alone,” he said.
“As our traditional markets open up to South American beef we need to ensure we have a plan B.
“So we need to find a niche and give our customers a reason to buy Australian beef at a premium.”
It has long been a part of Bindaree’s long term plan to invest in downstream value adding operations. Currently 20 per cent of production goes as value-add and the target is to increase that to 50pc within five years.
That flows back positively to the producer by way of capturing premiums for beef in the market, Bindaree believes.
“Our customers provide other outlets for Australian beef and that allows more competition in the market place,” Mr Taylor said.
“Very little has been done with value adding in the beef category of the supermarket compared to pork products.”