Quality puts meat on Harvey Beef bones

Rueben HaleThe West Australian
Harvey Beef's Daniel Briggs, with head of investment at Minderoo, John Hartman at the Harvey processing plant.
Camera IconHarvey Beef's Daniel Briggs, with head of investment at Minderoo, John Hartman at the Harvey processing plant. Credit: Sharon Smith/The West Australian, Sharon Smith

Harvey Beef says its decision to focus on quality rather than price has overcome last year’s stumble, when record high cattle prices stripped millions of dollars from its bottom line.

The Andrew Forrest-owned company said value-adding strategies based on making the most of high-quality WA produce had improved its financial position over the past year.

The claims appeared to have been validated when the company was handed the Best of the Best award at the prestigious Food & Beverage Industry Awards in Sydney for the launch of its premium range of steak cuts at Coles supermarkets across WA.

This year, Harvey Beef has reported double-digit sales growth fuelled by a successful marketing of retail-ready beef products sold exclusively through Coles.

VideoHe confirmed today he will give $400m to a number of causes

Since buying Harvey Beef in 2014, Mr Forrest’s Minderoo Group has invested tens of millions of dollars developing retail packaging capability, supported by a modern abattoir and a growing network of northern cattle stations, as well as developing deeper supply relationships with its contracted producers.

Minderoo Group head of investment John Hartman suggested growth might be on the cards as the stars began to align for the business.

“We’ve experienced strong growth in our domestic business, increasing our production output by 30 per cent over the last three years of new ownership, in large part due to the success of Harvey Beef-branded range available exclusively through Coles,” he said.

Mr Hartman said the company had achieve its aims in a challenging environment.

He said the national beef processing industry was under pressure from global competition.

“The case-ready capability has helped us to create a profitable and sustainable business and equally fulfil a promise to our loyal producers by creating extra value from the farm gate to the retail end,” he said.

Mr Hartman said as a market leader, the company kept a close eye on competition from cheaper protein.

“Beef is no doubt in a battle for continued market share as the prices have risen and made the cost for consumers a more challenging proposition,” he said.

“Chicken and pork provide a good alternative for consumers and it’s important for us beef producers to stay focused on that. However, the WA beef herd was the only one nationally that grew in the last financial year.

“It remains a challenge to compete with other meats at the retail level as a value proposition.

“But, working with our core groups of producers, we are poised for growth fuelled by significant local and export-market growth of our beef products.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails