Companies link up to ease sales of meat

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A PAIR of Yorkshire firms are working together to help local farmers to simplify the journey in getting their home-reared meat products from field to fork.

Skipton packaging firm Northern Paper Board is strengthening its supply partnership with CCM Quality Foods, whose Stanforths Butchers-run meat processing unit is based at Skipton Auction Mart.

The business’s butchery service is experiencing increasing demand from regional farmers to have meat from their own livestock – primarily beef and lamb – cut, boxed and packed for onward sale. It uses two industry standard size boxes manufactured at Northern Paper Board’s 40,000sq ft factory in Engine Shed Lane.

Simon Barker, who runs the meat processing unit, said some 50 farmers from across the region were now using the private cutting and packing service, established eight years ago.

The unit now processes around 150 beef cattle and some 800 lambs annually on behalf of its farmer customers, and has the capacity to handle more.

One breeder who is making good use of the service is Robert Phillip, who runs Hellifield Highland Beef with his wife Wendy at Green Farm, Hellifield. They established their pedigree herd of Highland cattle a decade ago and it now stands at 320 strong, among them 100 breeding cows.

Members of the Highland Cattle Society, the Phillips process around 30 Highlanders annually through CCM Quality Foods, selling it in mixed boxes or individually as beef roasts, steaks, burgers and sausages through their own farm shop and online by mail order.

Since being established in 1979, Northern Paper Board has grown and diversified to become the UK’s second largest manufacturer of solid board boxes primarily for the meat, poultry, fish and horticultural packaging sectors.

The company is currently undertaking a £2.4m investment and expansion programme at its six-acre site in Skipton to meet increasing demand for its packaging.

Sales director Paul Curran said: “While meat processors form an integral part of our growing UK-wide customer portfolio, we take great pride in working with our local auction mart to assist local farmers get their meat products to market. It all helps boost the regional economy.”