The new facility is one of the most advanced and energy sustainable operations in Europe.

ABP Food Group has today announced the completion of a £30 million investment into its facility in Ellesmere, Shropshire. ABP Ellesmere is now one of Europe’s most advanced, efficient and sustainable beef processing operations. The plant employs 727 people and receives cattle from over 2,000 farmers mainly from Shropshire and Cheshire in England and from Powys in Wales.

The new site was opened by Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury’s, a major customer of ABP for fifty years.

The development includes the very highest in international animal welfare standards including a Temple Grandin designed lairage in addition to innovative ABP features. The design includes curved solid walls, baffled gate locks to cut down on noise and uniform colour and lighting throughout. All features have been proved to reduce animal stress. Video Imaging Analysis (VIA) has also been introduced for improved carcase grading. VIA is an automated grading system where all carcasses are scanned and automatically graded.

The new technology sees a 3 D image of every carcass being taken and stored – providing valuable feedback to farmers, which will ultimately help them to improve the yield of future cattle.

Commenting at the opening Steve Thompson, Category Director for ABP, said: “Today marks a very significant and exciting milestone for ABP Ellesmere and shows genuine investment into the beef supply chain. The completed development now positions Ellesmere at the very forefront of European beef production. The new facilities will ensure the continued production of quality beef for years to come under the very highest standards in animal welfare. I would also like to thank our farmers for their continued patience and support during the redevelopment process.”

ABP Ellesmere is also the first beef processing facility in Europe to be certified a Carbon Neutral building by The Carbon Neutral Company. Helping achieve this certification has been the installation of a new combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit. This system runs on a combination of bio-fuel derived from used cooking oils by ABP’s sister company, Olleco and oil derived from the refinement of revcovered animal fats during processing at the site.

This allows the facility to generate all of its own heating needs and up to 100% of its electricity. Other sustainable initiatives include a zero waste to landfill policy, a drive towards zero water depletion and the use of recycled materials in the new build.

ABP Ellesmere covers an area of 60,000 square metres – the equivalent of 15 football pitches. The site includes an abattoir, a deboning hall and retail packing facilities. Fresh beef products are supplied mainly to the retail trade in the UK. Product is also exported to the food service industries in France, Holland, Germany and Italy. ABP Ellesmere is part of the ABP Food Group – the UK’s largest processor of beef.