The fresh ready meals category has grown steadily in recent years in response to growing consumer demand for freshness, convenience and quality. Beak & Johnston has pioneered new products and formats in the market and continues to invest in innovation and its facilities.
Beak & Johnston was founded in 1986 by David Beak, a fourth-generation butcher who brought global knowledge in the meat industry to Australia and is still active in the business today as Executive Chairman.
For more than 30 years, the business has specialised in processing raw meat and supplying case-ready meat products to major retailers.
“Over the years, our business pioneered other new formats and products to drive more value into what we offered,” Beak & Johnston Chief Commercial Officer Shannon O’Connell said. “We were the first to launch sous-vide meats and fresh, chilled soups in Australia.”
In 2011, the future strategic plan began to take shape with the development of its convenient, fresh ready-meals business. The meals kitchen was integrated into the existing site at Greenacre, NSW, and from this point on, Beak & Johnston harnessed manufacturing competency in the fresh ready-meals market.
From 2015, demand from retailers to create a fresh ready-meals category in Australia began to emerge. Retailers across the globe already had well-established, mature ready-meals categories, yet in Australia, these had been non-existent, according to Ms O’Connell.
“We invested in a new dedicated 6500sqm ready-meals facility in Arndell Park [western Sydney] to cater for this increased demand,” she said. “The factory was initially designed to deliver fresh meals (10-12 days’ shelf life).
“Today, the category is valued at over $300 million within the supermarket channel and experiencing exceptionally high growth of 25 per cent.
“Household penetration is at record levels, yet consumers still only buy into the category once in six weeks, demonstrating the ongoing opportunity that exists to continue growth.”
Read the article in full in the March issue of Retail World.