11 Dec 2008

Meat company investigates China expansion

9:41 am on 11 December 2008

A Southland meat company is investigating expanding the meat products it sends to China by exporting high-value cuts.

Invercargill-based Blue Sky meats accounts for about 3.5% of the country's total sheep meat exports.

Chairman Graham Cooney said the company sends about 4% of its product to China, all low-value cuts such as mutton flaps, and that side of the market is still doing well.

He said the company representatives will travel to China to look at whether there is any interest in higher value products.

Graham Cooney said the company is likely to focus on supplying the restaurant and hotel trade, but acknowledges its likely to take a long time to grow the high-value market.

He said the company wants to take a cautious approach when expanding its business in China, in view of the Fonterra dairy company's experiences with the melamine milk contamination scandal.