MLBA3: June / July 2008
Sadia: An empire built on food safety
By Katrina Zuno


From its humble beginnings as a flourmill in the Brazilian town of Concordia, Sadia has grown to be one of the world's biggest producers of chilled and frozen foods, generating gross operating revenue of 2.6 billion reals (US$1.6 billion) in the fi rst quarter of 2008.


Sadia was able to achieve this through the equilibrium it established between its domestic and international operations. During the first quarter of this year, exports made up 46.7 percent of the company's revenue, making it Brazil's main exporter of meat-based products. Poultry cuts dominated shipments during the period, accounting for 42 percent of total exports. Whole poultry followed at 32 percent while processed products made up 11 percent. Export sales were almost equally distributed among the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Eurasia and the Americas.


In line with its internationalization programme, the company opened its first plant abroad (Russia) and invested in the construction of its second facility overseas (United Arab Emirates). Even as it is doing well on other parts of the globe, Sadia continued to dominate the Brazil meat market through its focus on high value added products and penetration across all income classes. Revenue generated from the local market was 1.4 billion reals (US$835.3 million). Processed products represented 81 percent of this.


Sadia's 64-year history gave it what it needed to achieve a balance in both the domestic and international market. Its Agricultural Livestock and Furtherance System, in place since 1961, has enabled the company to control the production chain. At present, the programme includes more than 10,000 integrated poultry and swine farms in Brazil.


These farms are monitored by Sadia to ensure compliance. "On a daily basis, one technician goes to each farm to see whether they (farmers) are complying with our standards...Everything is under our control," said Wilson Arikita, Sadia's general manager for Asia. Full integration of the production chain allows for traceability, and in an era when food safety is a hot issue, this is crucial.


To further ensure food safety, Sadia follows the standards in the Codex Alimentarius and international certifying bodies such as the British Retail Consortium, International Food Standards, Euro-retailer Produce and Good Agricultural Practices, International Organization for Standardization and World Health Organization.


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