June 16, 2023
Ukrainian poultry giant MHP targets UK poultry sector expansion
Ukrainian poultry company MHP is set to make significant strides in the UK's poultry sector within the next 18 months, aiming to establish itself as a major player, The Grocer reported.
With an annual turnover exceeding GBP 1.6 billion (~US$2 billion; GBP 1 = US$1.28), MHP is Europe's largest fully integrated poultry supplier. Since opening a UK office in May 2021, the company's primary focus has been on penetrating the UK retail market, according to Aaron Gartshore, Sales Director at MHP Food UK.
Employing 30,000 people and processing nine million birds weekly, MHP exports its products to 80 countries worldwide. It sources poultry from farms across southern and western Ukraine, operating three processing sites. MHP is positioning itself as a competitor to Thai and Brazilian frozen chicken, offering a wide range of products from raw chicken and meat for ingredient use to value-added cooked and coated products.
The company adheres to the Global Gap animal welfare standard for its meat production, and it has committed to becoming a carbon-neutral business by 2030.
MHP has recently appointed Gavin Jessett, a former factory manager and innovations leader at Bernard Matthews, as its new R&D manager. Jessett will develop products for the UK market at MHP's upcoming development kitchen in Welwyn Garden City, with plans to mass-produce the ranges in the company's Ukrainian facilities.
MHP already sells frozen chicken under the Qualiko brand in Farmfoods and is engaged in discussions with other UK retailers to expand the distribution of its Ukrainian-produced lines in the coming months. Gartshore expressed his ambition to increase MHP's current market share of less than 1% in the UK to at least 10% by the end of 2024.
While emphasising MHP's responsibility to ensure food security in Ukraine, especially amidst the ongoing conflict with Russia, Gartshore pointed out that the company's supply chains are located far from the conflict's current focal points in the eastern and southeastern regions of Ukraine. While 50% of MHP's output caters to the domestic market, the remaining 50% is dedicated to export markets in the UK, EU, Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Gartshore said the UK market is important for MHP, as it is regarded as the best market globally for producers.
- The Grocer