CRANSWICK has said its poultry operation accounted for 13% of revenue in its preliminary full-year results.
The division reported 8.6% growth year-on-year as its new slaughterhouse at Eye came online.
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Overall sales for Cranswick grew by 13% (like-for-like) to £1.6bn in the 52 weeks to 28 March when compared with the year before, with adjusted pre-tax profits tax put at £102.3m.
The food giant best known for pork production has completed the commissioning of its new poultry processing plant in Eye, Suffolk, resulting in the closure of the former Crown facility in Weybread.
In total, the firm says it now processes 1.1 million birds a week at its new £78m plant, which it says is the most technologically advanced and efficient processing site in the UK.
Cranswick also said it was investing in primary production, with the commissioning of a second feed mill in Hoxne, Suffolk.
Over its financial year, the company said returns on poultry could have been higher.
“In establishing a supply chain of 1.1 million birds per week prior to the new Eye facility fully coming on stream, we needed to sell some of these birds out into the open market and so were exposed to subdued bird pricing.
“Also, above-average summer temperatures adversely affected bird growing performance, albeit the impact of this was not as severe as in the previous financial year.
“The supply chain has now rebalanced to reflect the ongoing uplift in demand from the Eye facility.”
Since Cranswick’s year-end, coronavirus has caused the UK to ‘lockdown’, changing consumer behaviour and requiring changes to working patterns.
The company’s chief executive, Adam Couch, said: “We continue to experience and operate in the most challenging of periods.
“Our business is founded on our people, and I would like to thank all our colleagues for their professionalism, commitment, dedication and passion.
“We will continue to support all Cranswick colleagues and their families who have been affected by COVID-19.
“To recognise the outstanding contribution of our people we announced in April that we will pay a £500 bonus to each of our site-based colleagues at the end of June.
“We have also supported local communities through a number of initiatives including making and delivering sandwiches and sausage rolls to front line NHS staff, giving food hampers to the elderly and the vulnerable in our communities and care homes, as well as supporting local charities.
“The last 12 months has seen us deliver key steps in our diversification strategy with the successful commissioning of our Eye poultry facility and the acquisition of Katsouris Brothers, which expands our non-meat activities.
“We also completed two further acquisitions to increase our vertical integration in pork.”