The company already produces a fifth of Russia’s poultry meat, but wants to supply roughly half of the turkey stocked on supermarket shelves. And with plans afoot to boost production at its Tambov turkey factory, between 150 and 200 jobs could be created this year to realise the ambition, a Cherkizovo spokesperson told this site.
Cherkizovo’s vertically integrated turkey factory in Tambov, south-west Russia, hit full production capacity last month. While current throughput is 50,000 tonnes (t) of turkey per year, the business has the capacity to reach 100,000t within the next 12 months. But it will need extra manpower, which is why between 150 and 200 new jobs will be created.
Run through a joint venture with Spain’s Grupo Fuertes, the Tambov turkey project has created up to 850 jobs in the region since the partnership was established in 2012. Cherkizovo was also keen to point out that the group has created many jobs for people with disabilities living in the region too, although it did not say how many.
While not putting all of its eggs in one basket, Cherkizovo is developing a strong product portfolio with turkey meat central to this.
Russia currently produces around 230,000t of turkey meat per year and white meat is becoming one of the most important agricultural food products in Russia; it’s a cheap protein and offers meat processors opportunities to experiment with value-added products that can attract higher retail prices, according to Cherkizovo.
The turkey push comes against the background of growing market pressure. The largest market for meat processors in Russia, sausages, continues to suffer. In December 2016, over a third of the country’s sausage manufacturers urged supermarkets to drop discounts as producers looked to halt a three-year sales slide.
Huge robotised sausage plant
At the time of the protest, a study by The Gorbatov’s All-Russian Meat Research Institute described the impact of sausage price cuts as “extremely negative”.
And while Cherkizovo is developing what it claims to be a “healthy portfolio mainly based in turkey” it is not stepping away from its core operation of sausage production.
In December last year the business confirmed plans to build Europe’s largest automated meat processing plant, which will cost around RUB6.7bn ($117m). It will be the largest factory processing raw smoked sausages in Europe and is the largest food sector investment in Moscow Oblast to date, according to a company representative.
The business also confirmed it plans to start building two new pig farms this summer, although it admitted it needs around seven new farms.