Greenlea turns 20

Waikato based Greenlea Premier Meats turns twenty this month and considering that they have just spent twenty years in the meat industry they seem to be in remarkably good shape.

 

They are currently the Westpac Waikato business of the Year taking out both the large business and supreme winner categories and their two plants are basically full on both shifts all year round. This year they will process more than 200,000 cattle and in the past five years they have invested more than $45 million in their plants.

 

Owned by the Egan family, Greenlea is not one of the big four meat companies, but belongs instead to a group of smaller players who do not seem to share the view that the meat industry is ‘broken and dysfunctional’. Neither do they regard collaboration with farmers as an issue; in fact they get plenty of support and Greenlea’s Managing Director Tony Egan reckons this is due to mutual respect. “They see us doing our job well and give us their support. It’s as simple as that”.

 

Greenlea celebrated its twenty year anniversary with a function in Hamilton, at which the company announced a $50,000 donation to Kidscan, one of the many charities supported by the Greenlea Foundation Trust. A coffee table book has been published to capture the memories and spirit of the organisation over the past twenty years.

 

Fred Hellaby, Managing Director of Auckland Meat Processors, confirms the smaller companies remain upbeat and he points to a successful collaboration with Greenlea over the past two seasons to utilise capacity efficiently. “We had some surplus capacity at the peak cow run and so collaborated with Greenlea to take their overflow.” This approach seems to make more sense than adding more capacity and is definitely in line with the goals of the Red Meat Sector strategy.

 

Greenlea also has an agreement with Firstlight Foods to process their Wagyu cattle. This collaboration is a win/win, as it enables Firstlight to focus on adding value in the market, while both companies have been able to learn from each other over the past few years.

 

So perhaps some of the answers for the industry can be found with the smaller players, who seem to be getting on with the job quite well.

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2 Responses to “Greenlea turns 20”

  1. Rural round-up | Homepaddock Says:

    […] Greenlea turns 20 – Allan Barber: […]

  2. Bill Malcolm Says:

    Hi Allan
    Like reading your commentary. Back when we were milking, our last year supplying Kiwi Dairies ended with $5.00/kgMS. The first year of Fonterra was $5.30/kgMS but most importantly the 2nd Fonterra year resulted in a $3.85/kgMS payout. Lesson: market forces always trump ownership structure. The real anger in the meat industry as far as farmers ae concerned is from extra 3rd party payments which will only ever be removed through farmers having to contract their supply of stock. That will allow a degree of short term planning by processors. As for the long term planning, that will probably be determined by dairy payout rather than farmer supply commitment or the lack thereof.

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