Seafood expertise honed in Grimsby is to help Hilton Food Group set up operations in Canada.
The FTSE-listed company has signed a long-term supply agreement with Wal-Mart to supply its North America supermarkets with key proteins. And the company will open a new manufacturing facility in Eastern Canada to serve the huge contract, announced to the stock market today.
Hilton, founded in red meat in Cambridgeshire and having diversified significantly with the 2017 acquisition of Seachill from Icelandic Group, will initially supply beef, lamb, pork and seafood, with plans to move into added-value products. It is a first venture across the Atlantic, having expanded into Europe and Australia since it launched as a Tesco supplier, like Seachill, in the Nineties. It would represent a first new seafood operation, having so far only acquired and expanded in the sector, both in Grimsby and Holland.
Steve Murrells, Hilton Foods chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Walmart. This agreement further extends our global footprint and will be our first manufacturing facility in North America. It is another sign of the strength of our customer offer, as well as growing consumer demand for high quality, affordable, protein products, which we can deliver through our scale, international experience, and supply chain expertise.
“Hilton Foods and Walmart share the same high standards of sustainability and we are looking forward to providing Walmart with the service and range of quality products for which Hilton Foods is known.”
The new Hilton Foods facility will provide robotised store order picking into Walmart’s distribution centres. The company’s strong environmental, social and governance credentials were said to be key, so too its Sustainable Protein Plan. A newly formed subsidiary, Hilton Foods Canada Inc, will finance the new food packing facilities, with production set to start in 2026. It intends to lease the pemises, with planty and equipment the major start-up cost, with investment starting next year and continuing throughout 2025.
Sam Wankowski, chief merchandising officer, at Walmart Canada, said: “With our customers top of mind, we’re sparking change in the way Walmart Canada sources proteins in Canada. Our new agreement with Hilton Foods – their very first in Canada – is a win for our customers. We’re strengthening our delivery of quality products at low prices and with more sustainable packaging to Canadians, while still continuing to support Canadian farms and ranches.”
In Grimsby, where the bulk of the seafood operations currently sit, Chris Hayes has just been welcomed as a new managing director. The transatlantic addition may well see secondments or further opportunities for team members as it gears up, with two huge plants in the town at the forefront of production for the world’s most dynamic retail market.
Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber