The plant features improved handling facilities with a slaughterboard, boning room and offal area that are larger than its other venison processing facilities at Smithfield and the former Makarewa plant.
The company said the investment reflected its commitment to New Zealand’s deer industry. It also said it demonstrated the co-operative was delivering on its strategy of investing in the future.
The group said its sales team was working hard to capture greater market value for Pure South venison. It was also looking to increase out-of-season chilled consumption while continuing to grow sales of seasonal chilled venison.
New Zealand venison is sold into Germany and the European market for the game season. Alliance Group also sells into the US and UK markets with value-added propositions.
Alliance Group is now also supplying premium airline travellers departing India with Pure South lamb.
First-class and business class passengers flying Air Canada, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines and Air France will all be eating New Zealand lamb after QualityNZ, the co-operative’s India partner, signed an agreement with two airline catering companies in India.
Pure South lamb is also available at more than 300 five-star hotels in India.
Geoff Allott, CEO at QualityNZ, said there was growing demand for New Zealand lamb.
“QualityNZ and Alliance are targeting the higher socio-economic category, which is represented by more than 200 million people,” he said.
“It is estimated this number is expected to more than double within the next 10 years to half a billion people, and India is forecast to exceed China’s GDP for the first time by as soon as 2022.”
QualityNZ has initially focused on introducing Pure South lamb into the five-star hotel market, but it is also making inroads into the restaurant, catering, organised retail and e-commerce channels, it said.