Customers, business partners and official representatives attended the ceremony, with Danish Crown’s group CEO Jais Valeur, party secretary for the Pinghu district Qi Hailong, and Danish Crown pork CEO Søren F Eriksen all present.
Eriksen cut the first sod for the construction project, which was followed by a lion dance, thought to bring luck to the project, according to Chinese tradition.
“It has been an amazing day, with all the people who will be contributing to making the factory in Pinghu a success,” said Eriksen. “In China, the beginning of a large construction project is an even more important milestone than is the case in Denmark. The ceremony is specifically used to look each other in the eyes and ensure that you embark on the project together.”
Opening next summer, the 17,000sq m plant will be located 100km from Shanghai, China and is expected to produce 14,000 tonnes of processed products every year.
The site will deliver pre-packed pork for the retail industry and processed products such as bacon and sausages for Chinese consumers. The company’s aim is to invest in creating a larger proportion of sales to e-platforms, retailers and foodservice in China.
Valeur said the construction would be a significant and bold step for the business.
“To maintain and develop Danish Crown’s global position as a leading supplier of food products, we must constantly be at the forefront of innovation and the development of new markets,” said Valeur.
Danish Crown recently acquired pepperoni business DK-Foods as part of its 4WD programme. The move meant the business became the European market leader in pepperoni toppings for pizzas.
China is an important target for meat exporters, with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Agriculture planning to export 60,000 tonnes of beef this year to the Asian market. Meanwhile, Hungarian meat business MCS Vagohid is also making efforts to launch exports into China.