Construction of the facility took 10 months and production will now be increased to a capacity of 2,500 head of cattle per week. The plant employs around 45 people.
Vion has invested almost €20 million in the site, which is equipped in accordance with the most up-to-date animal welfare and environmental criteria, according to the company.
This new EU-certificated abattoir is set to play an important part in Vion’s corporate strategy for sustainable and regional meat production.
It is situated close to farmers involved with its Waddenrund, or Wadden Cattle, programme. Through this programme, animals must be kept at pasture during at least six hours per day and for at least 120 days per year. The farms must be situated within 15 miles inland from the coast. Thanks to the proximity of the Vion abattoir, fast transport times can be ensured, as well as compliance with the highest animal welfare standards.
Apart from Wadden cattle, the operation in Leeuwarden is also equipped to meet the increasing demand for organically bred beef.
Bernd Stange, COO of its beef division, said Leeuwarden would help Vion advance the production of sustainable meat concepts, such as free-range beef, Wadden beef and organic beef.
“We are striving for a further improvement in shorter food production chains for the market and, in doing so, focus on the themes of transparency and food safety, as well as the best quality. With Leeuwarden, we are not only reinforcing our market position in the Dutch beef sector but also further expanding our position as one of the leading beef producers in Europe.”