Vion Food

At the beginning of 2014, it was decided to abandon the previous countries-based structure, and to report using the various cross-border activities of Vion Food: Pork, Beef and Foodservice.

Business unit Pork

Production locations
The Pork business unit consists of production locations in the Netherlands and Germany, with its head office in Boxtel, the Netherlands. At the end of 2014 approximately 7,050 people were employed within the business unit (including flex workers) which contributes a significant proportion (65%) of the total turnover of Vion Food, making this one of the core activities.

Pig farmers
Vion Food works closely with its suppliers. Almost 50% of all pig farmers in the Netherlands are suppliers to Vion Pork, and the good and often long-term relationships which Vion Food has with its suppliers form the basis of the Vion Food supply chain.
By cooperating very closely with the pig farmers, and by managing this cooperation with the aid of the relationship management programme ‘Samen Ondernemen’ (Joint Enterprise), Vion Food is able to guarantee the relationship with its suppliers in the long-term.

Pork production chain
Vion Farming’s employees in the field are constantly in touch with pig farmers. They are an important link between breeders (producers of piglets) on the one hand, and pig farmers on the other, and they know exactly which piglets meet the requirements of the domestic and foreign pig farmers. Vion Farming also supports the general farm management and offers pig farmers support for the optimisation of animal health within their businesses. In addition, Vion Farming controls the livestock flows, and plans the animal transport. On a weekly basis Vion Food processes approximately 320,000 pigs, the meat from which is delivered to national and international retail, foodservice and industry clients.

Pork products
In the business unit’s production sites, pork is processed into products for domestic and export customers. Basic raw materials are delivered to industrial customers who process the pork into a wide range of meat products, such as cold cuts, meat snacks, smoked sausages, pizza toppings and dried hams. A proportion of the fresh pork is processed by Vion Food into semi-finished and finished products for the domestic and export retail markets. Vion Food is an important supplier to retailers in the Netherlands and Germany. For example, Vion Food produces and packs ready-to-cook products such as cutlets, medallions and paupiettes, as well as seasonal products such as gourmet selections and stuffed roasts. In addition, meat is also supplied to butchers in supermarkets, who then portion and package the products themselves.

Market concepts
Vion Food activities are demand-driven. This means that the business is led by the wishes and requirements of a dynamic market. For instance, during the last few years clients have made more and more demands concerning the sourcing of the pigs, transparency of the supply chain and quality of the meat. During 2014 Vion Food worked with a number of specific market concepts, such as Good Farming Welfare, Good Farming Star and Good Farming Organic. These concepts allow Vion Food to respond to changing trends and developments, optimising its contribution to a qualitatively better living environment for people and animals.

Good Farming Star
Good Farming Star, launched in 2010, is a good example of a successful concept which is under continuous development in order to satisfy the evolving requirements of the market. The concept is characterised by the extra attention paid to animal welfare: according to the ‘Beter Leven’ (Living Better) certification of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals (‘Dierenbescherming’), Good Farming Star has one star. In addition, the amount of soy for instance, which is used as animal feed within this market concept, complies with the criteria of the ‘Round Table on Responsible Soy’ (RTRS) programme. This concept is primarily aimed at the Dutch market, and more specifically the fresh and pre-packed meat category for Dutch supermarkets, as well as the processed meat industry, which processes these raw materials for its consumer products. More than one hundred and fifty pig farmers actively participate in the Good Farming Star concept, and since 11 March 2015 they have been formally united in the suppliers’ association StarFarmers.

Good Farming Organic
The Vion brand ‘De Groene Weg’ (the Green Way) comes under the Good Farming Organic market concept. De Groene Weg has held a strong position in both the Dutch and the European marketing of organic beef and pork for some years. In the field of organic beef and pork, Vion Food aims to achieve the position of market leader within Europe. The organic meat market grows each year, and De Groene Weg is well-positioned to benefit from this growth.
Aside from the domestic market, a substantial part of the organic pork is exported to a large number of European countries. The volumes required increase year-on-year, and because of the growth in the slaughter numbers which De Groene Weg has developed in recent years this additional demand can be satisfied. Further market growth is expected for the coming years, and Vion Food will continue to invest in order to remain an attractive partner for clients. De Groene Weg works closely with its suppliers, and together they are working on a further expansion of the supply chain in both qualitative and quantitative terms. This is unique in Europe. Besides its wholesale activities, De Groene Weg also supplies a chain of butchers (part-owned), and last year a new De Groene Weg butcher’s shop was opened in the new Markthal in Rotterdam, a wonderful location to present De Groene Weg to a large audience.

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