Pilgrim’s UK reports positive growth plan amid “extremely challenging” market conditions

Pilgrim’s UK reports positive growth plan amid “extremely challenging” market conditions

Pork producer Pilgrim’s UK has indicated that its business recovery and growth plan is progressing well after recording a fall in operating losses to £2.6 million for the year to 25th December 2022 – down from £16 million in the previous year.

Ivan Sequeira, president of Pilgrim’s UK.

The processor has continued to implement its business structure under the leadership of President Ivan Siqueira and introduced a range of measures to optimise its operational footprint, according to its annual trading report.

As consumers continue to face challenging inflationary headwinds, the business has worked in partnership with key customers to mitigate costs and ongoing inflation.

Its performance has also come up against the ongoing challenges facing the UK pork sector, with the UK breeding herd having contracted by 20% and loss-making farmers leaving the industry due to a sustained period of high production costs and lower pig prices.

At the same time, an increasing and on-going reliance in the UK on cheaper, lower welfare imports from the EU and post-pandemic recovery challenges within certain markets has negatively impacted UK production.

Despite these challenging market conditions, the business saw total revenue increase by 11% in 2022 to £1.2 billion.

Throughout 2022, Pilgrim’s UK has continued to focus on creating sustainable growth across its business through a strategic investment programme. The business has invested in the latest technologies while also delivering further product innovation and deepening customer relationships.

Investing in net zero

The last 12 months has seen a £1.8 million investment in the company’s Bodmin site and £5 million investment in its Kings Lynn site to maximise operational capacity and further strengthen the sustainability of the factories. In total, the company is investing more than £10 million to support progress towards reaching net zero carbon emissions in its own operations by 2030 and across its supply chain by 2035.

During the period, Pilgrim’s UK also began an operational footprint review, which resulted in the closure of its Coalville and Bury St Edmunds sites in early 2023, and more recently the closure of its Ashton facility, with operations transferring to its facilities in Spalding and Westerleigh.

Pilgrim’s UK president Ivan Siqueira said: “Market conditions in the UK remain extremely challenging, but we’ve taken considerable steps to ensure that our business is well-placed to not only meet these challenges but continue to be the best and most sustainable food business in the UK.

“While our performance shows that we are making good progress in right-sizing our business, optimising our operational footprint and supporting our farmers, we know that there is more work to do.

“Equally importantly, these efforts will not impact our ability to meet demand growth with key customers and further diversify our portfolio.

“We will therefore continue to identify ways to become ever more effective and efficient, while delivering the highest quality and most innovative food to our customers.”

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