Countdown has announced it is partnering with global meat processing experts, Hilton Food Group, to set up a brand new, state of the art, meat processing plant in Otahuhu, Auckland. The plant will open in 2020, and will replace Countdown’s existing meat processing facility next door, providing long-term job security and employment for the company’s 300 meat plant team members.

Hilton Food Group was established in England in 1994 and are international specialists in meat manufacturing, partnering with major food retailers around the world.  Hilton is planning to invest $54 million to set up a bespoke meat plant, which will supply Countdown exclusively.

Countdown Managing Director Dave Chambers said last year Countdown sourced 100% of its chicken, pork and lamb from local New Zealand farmers and 97% of its beef.  The partnership with Hilton will future-proof the company’s meat business so it can continue to match the future demands of Kiwi customers.

“We put our customers first.  This partnership with Hilton Food Group will enable us to best respond to increasing customer demand for more innovation and new product development, and continue our commitment to provide high quality, locally sourced meat at affordable prices for New Zealand families,” said Dave Chambers.

“We have a history of innovation with initiatives like our recycled meat trays, and this partnership puts Countdown at the forefront of the meat industry by harnessing the latest technology in meat processing. The new plant increases our capacity, particularly to meet seasonal demands like Christmas.  It will also mean more flexibility in packaging and options around portion sizes which is important when you have a diverse range of customers whose needs are always changing.

“Importantly this is an investment in the long-term future of meat processing in Otahuhu.  Meat processing in this area is part of Auckland’s history; we have a large local team and maintaining that employment and connection to the community are really important to us."

“We are very pleased to be partnering with Countdown and expanding our packing capability to New Zealand. Production is expected to start in 2020 and the new facility will be capable of supplying Countdown stores with a range of high-quality New Zealand beef, lamb, pork, chicken and added-value products," said Robert Watson OBE, Chief Executive of Hilton Food Group.

Countdown’s existing meat plant team will transfer across to the new plant in 2020.

Countdown has been the Supreme Brand Winner at the Steak of Origin awards for three years running in 2017, 2016, and 2015 for its Countdown Angus beef. Countdown also took out gold at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Golden Lamb Awards, as the 2017 Retail Winner.