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Ongoing Global Consolidation in the Meat Industry

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Touch the Soil News #814 (Feature photo – hog buildings owned by Smithfield / WH Group – CCA 4.0 International)

This past August, Smithfield Foods acquired three Polish meat companies that made Smithfield the largest food industry employer in Poland – 9,240 employees. Smithfield is the world’s largest pork processor and is located in the United States. Smithfield, however, is only a subsidiary owned by a larger Chinese company called the WH Group.

The goal of the WH Group is to become the world’s largest meat company. The WH Group, wanting to expand its operations in Europe is doing so through its subsidiary Smithfield Foods. In the news recently is Smithfield’s purchase (still subject to regulatory approval) of two large meat processors in Romania. The two Romanian companies – Elit and Vericom – sell about 55 million pounds of meat a year to some 12,000 customers.

Today, the world’s largest meat company is JBS SA from Brazil. However, through widespread corruption activities, JBS SA is in the process of retracting and selling companies to help pay billion dollar fines. The WH Group from China, however, is wasting no time getting a material grip on meat processing in Europe, the U.S. and China. At this point in time, the WH Group is the world’s largest pork company with No.1 positions in China, the U.S. and key markets in Europe.

The WH Group’s 63,000 employees produce over 6 billion pounds of meat a year. The world’s meats are, to a large extent, controlled by three large meat packers – Tyson Foods, JBS SA and the WH Group.

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