British bangers head for China

UPMARKET pig producer Cranswick has ambitious plans to start selling British bangers in China and hand cured bacon in Japan following a leap in export sales to Asia.

Both China and Japan are developing a taste for Western delicacies from Burberry trench coats to Scotch whisky and now there is increasing demand for quality British food products.

Hull-based Cranswick said export sales to the Far East rose 17 per cent in the six months to September 30, helping group revenue to rise 10 per cent to £529.1m. Adjusted pre-tax profits rose 22 per cent to £31.5m.

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Cranswick’s chief executive Adam Couch said: “The Chinese market is still the leading player, but we have strong aspirations to grow in Japan.

“We are working very closely to develop a value added proposition.”

At the moment Cranswick’s sales to China are made up of ribs and products that the British consumer isn’t interested in such as offal, but Mr Couch said that there is strong demand for British style, non-processed sausages.

“Sausages are the one product line the Chinese want. I think we’d produce out there although initial products could be shipped out there. The chances are that we’d be using British meat.

“In Japan we’ll start with fifth quarter (products such as offal) and potentially bacon. Bacon would also suit some regions of China,” said Mr Couch.

Back home, Cranswick is gearing up for the Christmas rush and is anticipating a record year for bacon, pork and pastry products as consumers branch out beyond the traditional turkey. New customer wins for gammon will also boost festive sales as people increasingly opt for other meats to accompany expensive turkeys.

Mr Couch said the group had benefited from strong sales of pork shoulder, an expensive cut that has enjoyed a renaissance thanks to the increasing popularity of cooking pulled pork at home.

Mr Couch said the group has seen no impact from new guidelines advising people to reduce their intake of processed meats.

“Sausages are counted as a processed meat, but our products have very little processing,” said Mr Couch.

Analysts hailed the results.

Clive Black at Shore Capital said: “Cranswick is in excellent overall shape. There are areas where management will be seeking to make improvements and reverse setbacks, such as sandwiches, but in the main it is a story of an innovative business efficiently delivering high value added to its customers and the consumers from well invested facilities.

“Cranswick is a very well controlled business, the group has excellent management in our view and an enviable track record.”