Industry welcomes 2 Sistersí Vion purchase

The 2 Sisters acquisition of Vion UK has been welcomed by retail bosses and farming leaders who claim the move would help safeguard UK production.

The deal, which was announced this week after months of speculation over the future buyers of Vionís remaining UK businesses, red meat and poultry, was greeted positively by many in the industry.

Philip Clarke, chief executive of Tesco, said: "Only last week I talked about bringing our food closer to home. 2 Sisters acquiring Vionís UK sites helps keep meat production in the UK at a critical time and safeguards thousands of jobs, which is great for retailers and the UK economy."

Steve Murrells, chief executive of food retail at The Co-operative, said: "This is excellent news from 2 Sisters which will help safeguard British meat production, as well as the thousands of jobs associated with it. At a time when consumers are demanding provenance and quality from their food more than ever, for retailers like The Co-op, itís very important to have manufacturers who can work with us and deliver what consumers expect."

National Farmersí Union president Peter Kendall said the move would help to safeguard a key supply chain for UK producers and maintain the UKís processing capacity to meet the growing demand for British-sourced food.

The move sees poultry giant 2 Sisters take a step into the red meat sector for the first time. It will give the company a further 11 processing sites across the UK with around 6,000 extra employees.

Kendall added: "Since the sale announcement by Vion in November, there has obviously been a degree of uncertainty for farmer suppliers, so this acquisition will come as good news and will help offer some reassurance to farmers across England and Wales.

"The purchase will safeguard a key supply chain for high-quality British beef, lamb and poultry and the NFU will be arranging a meeting with 2 Sisters to help build a profitable future for British livestock farmers.

"This development will help to maintain and improve the UKís processing capacity and it is critical, following Tescoís announcement to source 100% UK fresh chicken by July 2013, that the industry is able to respond to the growing demand for British sourced food. This move will help deliver shorter supply chains and increased traceability, and we hope it will be another step to developing a more sustainable, fairer and transparent supply chain for farmers across England and Wales."