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Thursday 8 December 2016

Kepak aiming to outstrip rivals

Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30

Joe Gill from Goodbody Stockbrokers, Kevin Cahill, chief executive, Kepak Meat Division, Kevin Lane, chief exective, Ornua, Prof Dolores O’Riordan from UCD Institute of Food and Health and Prof Damien McLoughlin from Smurfit Graduate Business School UCD who addressed the ASA Conference.
Joe Gill from Goodbody Stockbrokers, Kevin Cahill, chief executive, Kepak Meat Division, Kevin Lane, chief exective, Ornua, Prof Dolores O’Riordan from UCD Institute of Food and Health and Prof Damien McLoughlin from Smurfit Graduate Business School UCD who addressed the ASA Conference.

Food processing group Kepak has moved to target a slice of the lucrative health-conscious protein market with their new air-dried beef snack from Irish cattle.

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Kevin Cahill, chief executive of the Kepak Meat Division, said it has recorded strong growth with sales of its burgers and it's slow-cooked convenience meat products now worth over €270m a year.

Mr Cahill, who was addressing the Agricultural Science Association conference in Kilkenny, said their new brand - the 'Stript' air-dried beef protein snack - was "bang on trend".

"We're currently outsourcing the drying part of it but we will be bringing that in-house," he said, adding they launched the product domestically in 400 Centra stores in recent weeks.

"We definitely see opportunities initially in the UK and eventually in the wider European market.

'We believe this brand will carry us into the US and China because of the quality of the offering. There are a lot of air-dried beef products but we believe that the quality of this brand is going to differenciate us," he said. Mr Cahill said products such as these would add value to the forecasted medium-term rise in the throughput of cattle at factories.

Challenge

However, he said they had a more "fundamental challenge" in getting traditional chilled meat products and by-products into China and the US. "That is where the real prize lies over the next couple of years," he said.

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Mr Cahill said a small slice of the Chinese market represents a massive opportunity.

Protocols over e-coli testing for the US market remain a concern until the technical discussions are finished.

"Once that technical agreement is reached I think it is going to be a great opportunity for us," he said for their manufacturing beef products.

He added that Kepak was very concerned over the rise of 'nationalism' in the marketplace that began with the protests in France over imported produce.

"We're an export dominated business so everything we're doing we're trying to be the product of choice in markets where beef has been a nationalised product," he said.

"So it is a challenge but to be fair the work that Bord Bia are doing with Origin Green makes Ireland 'the best of the rest' is the phrase I'd use," he said they were going to continue to position themselves as close to the local market at a premium level.

 

Joe Gill from Goodbody Stockbrokers, Kevin Cahill, chief executive, Kepak Meat Division, Kevin Lane, chief exective, Ornua, Prof Dolores O'Riordan from UCD Institute of Food and Health and Prof Damien McLoughlin from Smurfit Graduate Business School UCD who addressed the ASA Conference.

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