Pork boom sparks expansion plans for Preston meat processing factory

A boom in demand for pork products has sparked expansion plans for a Preston meat processing plant.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 12:30 pm
Demand for pork products is booming.
Demand for pork products is booming.

Bowland Foods wants to build a separate unit for handling almost double the number of pig carcasses it already cuts up.

The family-run wholesale business has lodged a planning application with the city council for an 890 sqm extension to its 2,100 sqm plant on the Roman Way Industrial Estate in Ribbleton.

In the application Bowland Foods says it is "now operating at maximum capacity and requires more space in which to allow the business to continue to grow."

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Bowland Foods wants to expand its factory in Ribbleton.

The alternative would be to relocate to bigger premises or open a second "satellite" plant some distance away.

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Bowland Foods was established in 1979 by the Wood family. It has grown ever since and now supplies red meat products for the wholesale market across the North and Midlands.

The current factory was opened in 2004 and the company says it has seen rapid growth since then. But pressure on the meat industry now means some animal carcasses are being sent abroad to be processed before being returned for sale on the UK food market.

"The business has focussed on the growth in demand from customers over the last three to five years for its pork products," says a report to planning officers.

"Demand is now such that the company needs to extend the existing factory rather than being forced to relocate to alternative premises or fragment the business through operating in other premises in a satellite location.

"Officers may be aware of the underlying pressure upon the meat processing industry due to worker and facility shortages across the country, with meat being exported for processing to serve the UK market.

"The proposals seek to address this issue with enhanced facilities at the site benefitting the sector economically and in terms of reducing food miles."

At present Bowland Foods cuts up and processes 450 pork carcasses a week. The new unit would allow it to handle around 750, with a capacity for up to 1,000 at peak times such as pre-Christmas.

The creation of a unit would allow a slight increase in beef production.

The report adds: "The size of the extension is justified by a clear need for growth as a result of the success of the business."