HEREFORDSHIRE is well known for many things but sometimes we forget that it’s a major producer of fresh Red Tractor British Chicken destined for some of the country’s largest Retailers and Foodservice companies via Cargill. Mary Thompson, Managing Director, said “The reason is simple, Cargill is one of the largest brands you have never heard of because we are a business to business brand; we make products for well-known consumer brands right here in Hereford.”

Sun Valley was founded by a co-operative of farmers to pack chicken for Marks and Spencer in 1960. Cargill purchased the company in 1980 to enter the poultry market in Europe to service their major partners who were expanding operations in Europe.

Chris Hall, the General Manager at the Hereford site emphasized the importance of Herefordshire farming to the business. He said “Cargill is ambitious to grow, so has invested £80m to complete a major project this autumn to rebuild our facilities from the inside-out. We need to be close to our farming base to respond to strong demand for fresh British chicken.

Cargill took the decision in 2009 to be the first British Poultry Company to add welfare requirements above basic Red Tractor Standards. Installing windows in every chicken house to provide natural daylight, provided bales and perches to encourage perching, and further pecking objects to encourage the birds to exhibit natural behaviour. Our farmers backed this approach 100%.”

Chris added “Herefordshire farmers are one of our most valued assets, we have progressive farmers who understand the importance of investing in new housing and in sustainable technologies which also brings advantage in improved welfare outcomes”

The Company employs 2,250 people in the Herefordshire area at its two facilities in Grandstand and Yazor Road, as well as at its Allensmore Feed Mill and Hatcheries. It’s a company that invests in its people, developing its talented workforce because food manufacturing needs highly skilled people in its production, food safety, accounting, engineering, sales and marketing teams. Fiona Morris, HR Lead said “We are proud to be a founding partner for NMITE and look forward to the opportunity to access employee development and training at the new Hereford University”

Cargill are an award winning company having won the “Poultry Company of the Year” (Food Manufacturing Magazine) and Tesco “Supplier Innovation Award” recently.