Processors to Watch in 2020: CP Group enters U.S. market to become kitchen of the world
Today, the Thailand-based food conglomerate produces more than 2,500 products, including duck, chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, eggs, ready meals and more.
Ninety-eight years ago, Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co. Ltd. (CP Group) began as an agricultural company. Today, the Thailand-based food conglomerate produces more than 2,500 products, including duck, chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, eggs, ready meals and more, with approximately 64% of its revenue coming from overseas operations, 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations
“[We have] become a key player in three core business functions—food and agriculture, retail and distribution and telecommunications,” says Boonchai Opas-iam-likit, chairman of the U.S. division. “We are one of the global leaders in the agri-food value chain, and we are driven by our vision to be the ‘Kitchen of the World.’”
At a Glance
Company Name: Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co. Ltd. (CP Group)
Products: Duck, chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, eggs and ready meals.
In the most recent years, CP Group has focused considerably on food safety and traceability.
That’s why, in February 2018, it acquired Bellisio Foods, a Minneapolis-based producer of single-serve frozen entrées sold under Michelina’s, Boston Market, Chili’s, Atkins, EatingWell and EAT! brands.
“We chose to invest in a company that has excellent potential for growth, has exceptional technology and processes and also creates access and distribution to one of the most robust and resilient economies in the world,” adds Opas-iam-likit.
CP Group also acquired HyLife Investments, a Canada-based pork processor, giving the company access to a cost-efficient pork production base and the opportunity to expand into Japan and North America. CP Group also purchased Westbridge Foods, a UK-based producer of meat and ready-made products to the retail, foodservice and food manufacturing sectors.
Additionally, CP Group manufactures and distributes feed, operates animal farming and processes ready-to-eat meals primarily for chicken, pork and shrimp end uses.
Michelina’s is Bellisio Foods’ flagship brand.
“Because we can produce our own high-quality feed, we can raise high-quality livestock and provide the best quality foods for our consumers,” says Opas-iam-likit.
Last month, CP Group announced plans to transition its pig housing from individual stalls to group gestation pens to provide a stress-free and high animal welfare environment.
And, in July, CP Group appointed Prasit Boondoungprasert as new chief executive officer; acquired Lotus Aquaculture, a Sri Lanka-based shrimp farmer; and partnered with Legal Sea Foods, a Boston-based restaurant chain, to co-pack premium shrimp products for distribution in North America.
But, the future for CP Group continues to focus on innovation.
Through the partnership with CP Group, Bellisio Foods has been able to enhance processes with increased automation.
For example, it plans to introduce eat-out-of-box packaging.
“We have recently introduced ultrasonic sealers to allow for more efficient packaging formats and will improve the quality and shelf life of our products,” says Opas-iam-likit.
Meanwhile, Bellisio Foods is said to be the first frozen foods processor to introduce vacuum seal packaging. And, CP Group continues to improve its microwave technology in order to sterilize ready meals and extend shelf life.
“Our focus on food safety, traceability and sustainability is an integral part of each of our business initiatives; that way we can deliver our promise to provide quality products, produced responsibly, to our consumers,” says Opas-iam-likit.