Improvement of Maple Leaf Foods' Competitiveness

by 5m Editor
14 March 2012, at 8:00am

CANADA - The Chief Strategy Officer with Maple Leaf Foods says planned upgrades announced last week to the company's Brandon and Winnipeg pork processing plants will improve Maple Leaf's competitiveness in all of the markets it serves, both domestic and export, Bruce Cochrane writes.

On Friday, the federal government announced it will provide just over 4.5 million dollars through the $60-million Slaughter Improvement Program to help Maple Leaf Foods upgrade its pork processing plants in Brandon and Winnipeg, including the installation of new line processing, heat recovery, and packaging equipment, as well as new value-added production lines.

Maple Leaf Chief Strategy Officer Doug Dodds says we're in an environment where cost competitiveness is extremely important and these investments will improve the company's cost structures, improve food safety processes and help maintain the competitiveness of Maple Leaf and the Canadian pork industry.

Doug Dodds-Maple Leaf Foods

Our strategy is to support our domestic industry first and foremost and then to build our exports beyond that.

The current hog supply and the moratorium that's in Manitoba will make it difficult for us to expand our exports without getting more hogs.

Having said that we have a strong business in Japan.

We have a strong business in Korea which, quite frankly, we're concerned about because we now have free trade agreements in place between Korea and some of our competitors in terms of countries and we don't have one in Canada yet that we need to be working on.

Mr Dodds says in Manitoba, Maple Leaf has spent over 100 million dollars in investments in the last few years creating 11 hundred new jobs and, if it can get more hogs, total employment in Manitoba will soon grow to approximately four thousand.

He says Maple Leaf is very confident in the future and, if the company continues to be cost competitive, it sees opportunity in all of the markets it serves, whether domestic or international.