One of Australia’s largest chilled ready meal manufacturers, Beak & Johnston, is investing $90 million in a new kitchen facility in Western Sydney. The 12,000 square metre greenfield site sits next to the company’s existing 10,000 square metre City Kitchen factory and is expected to open in October.
Beak & Johnston CEO Ray Hanly said the expansion would deliver the trifecta of additional capacity, new product ranges, and more jobs.
The company started in 1986 and has grown to include meals, pastries, sausages, and burgers. Its brands are Simmone Logue, Pitango, Beak & Sons, Strength Meals Co, as well as producing private labels.
Beak & Johnston has benefitted from the rise in ready meals’ popularity, spurred on by Covid lockdowns and increasing consumer demand for healthier convenient meal options.
In 2020, the company bought two ready meal brands and a production licence from General Mills; Ready Chef, Pasta Master, and the licence to produce Latina Fresh’s chilled ready meals.
Hanly said the food processing build will feature “state-of-the-art” high speed, automated lines to increase product quality and shelf life with oven baking, chilling, and freezing capabilities.
A fully automated pastry line with leading-edge baking, cooling, and handling solutions; end of line packing automation to reduce manual handling and improve productivity; and increased pallet storage space will also be part of the fitout.
Hanly said, “As Australia’s leading producer in ready-made fresh meals, we take pride in ensuring we stay across the latest innovations and technology with food production.
“We have a proud history of investing additional capital into the food manufacturing industry to ensure we can offer our customers consistent high-quality food products, produced sustainability and at the lowest cost.”
According to IBISWorld the Australian prepared meal market is worth $1.5 billion, with an annualised market growth of 2.9 per cent from 2017 to 2022.