Meat packing growth

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Western Meat Packers Group chief executive Andrew Fuda with a range of WA produced beef products that are sold through WMPG's Big Butcher retail outlet in Osborne Park.
Camera IconWestern Meat Packers Group chief executive Andrew Fuda with a range of WA produced beef products that are sold through WMPG's Big Butcher retail outlet in Osborne Park. Credit: Countryman

Western Meat Packers Group chief executive Andrew Fuda brought some exciting expansion plans to the Better Beef event in Cundinup last Thursday.

The family-owned integrated beef processing business, owned by Rod and Shana Russell and established in 1983, has recently spent $24 million on upgrades.

The group consists of a beef abattoir in Cowaramup, a boning and cold storage processing plant and retail store (WA Big Butcher) in Osborne Park, a retail-ready packaging plant in Bibra Lake, skin and hide processing plants in Picton and Coogee, and an export office in South Korea.

“Our modified atmosphere packaging retail-ready facility, established in 2011, currently produces 180,000kg or 100,000 packets per week,” Mr Fuda said.

“This facility has supplied Coles supermarket with beef, lamb and pork since its opening.

“We are currently undergoing renovations to increase production into eight major lines totalling 500 tonnes per week.”

Mr Fuda said WMPG would be upgrading its processing facility at Cowaramup to add a new boning room and cold storage plant during the next 18 months.

“WMPG is capable of increasing supply from 400-head to 500-head per day if desired,” he said.

“With the addition of a seven-day working shift, the operation could then increase from 2000-head to 3500-head per week if customer requirements permit.”

Mr Fuda said new marketing opportunities included an increased capacity of 100-day grain-fed product.

“Our Angus Beef program is marketed under the Margaret River Fresh brand and cattle are sourced from a select group of growers and feeders,” he said.

Mr Fuda said WMPG was looking to increase this product supply into Japan and also extending to other markets such as Vietnam, Korea, Mauritius and Singapore, as well as developing the domestic market.

“Beef cuts are in demand for grain-fed beef due to larger primal size and marbling,” he said.

“We are value-adding with vacuum skin pack and thermoforming into export markets.”

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