Saving Scotland’s bacon
Multi-million pound investment in Brechin pork plant.
Scotland’s biggest pork processing plant is set to almost double in capacity following investment from the Scottish Government.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced A.P. Jess in Brechin has been awarded almost £2.7 million towards a major upgrade and expansion project. The project aims to create 20 new full time jobs and safeguard another 42 posts, and provides essential investment in the infrastructure supporting Scotland’s pig sector.
The announcement comes just over a year since the closure of Halls of Broxburn where most Scottish pork was previously processed.
Speaking from the NFUS AGM in St Andrews, Mr Lochhead said:
“Scottish farms produce around £81 million of pig meat a year for processing, and the closure of Halls of Broxburn was a severe blow to our pig industry. This award to A.P. Jess in Brechin is a major investment in the infrastructure supporting Scotland’s pig sector, and will go a long way in rebuilding capacity in the supply chain.
“As well as creating and safeguarding jobs in Brechin, the Scottish Government is actively supporting pig farming and the Specially Selected Pork brand, which is renowned for its quality, provenance, and high welfare standards.
“A new chapter beckons for our pig industry. I am confident this investment will, in time, increase the size of the Scottish pig herd and the volume of Scottish Selected Pork going into the market place.”
All the pork processed at the Brechin plant will be purchased by Tulip Ltd. Tulip Ltd is the UK’s largest pork producer and processor, with 17 fresh and cooked meat sites, employing more than 8,000 people.
Allan Jess, Managing Director of A.P. Jess Brechin Limited said:
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government have decided to support this investment, one of the largest ever in the Scottish pork industry. Our relationship with Tulip has developed over the last three years and without their continued support this project could not have taken place. This project will make the plant one of the most modern in Europe and will strengthen the availability of the Scottish Specially Selected Pork brand. We would like to thank the Cabinet Secretary and everyone at the Scottish Government for this grant and their support.”
Gordon McKen, Managing Director of Scottish Pig Producers Ltd:
“The Scottish Government grant allocated for the Brechin site is excellent news for the Scottish pig industry allowing significant expansion at the site. The Brechin site is ideally placed in our main pig producing area and the planned upgrade will give producers confidence to invest allowing us to grow the industry.
“It is also extremely important for Scottish consumers as the Scottish SPCA label, displayed on the Specially Selected Pork brand, is in increasing demand. Initially championed by ASDA it is now showing on an ever expanding range of pork products by ALDI, Tesco and some independent butchers. The brand guarantees the animals have been born, reared and processed in Scotland giving full traceability through QMS Assurance. ScottishSPCA approval is achieved by allowing officers access to all QMS Assured Pig Units a unique position in EU pig production strengthening the provenance of our pig meat products for Scottish consumers.”
A.P. Jess (Brechin) has been awarded £2.66 million from the Scottish Government’s Food Processing Marketing and Co-Operation (FPMC) Grant Scheme in 2013. The FPMC scheme ran from 2007-2013 and is currently closed to new bids.
Prior to its closure, Halls of Broxburn (Vion) accounted for 80 per cent of all pig processing in Scotland.