Pilgrim’s U.K. is diversifying into the British lamb business with the acquisition of Randall Parker Foods (RPF).

RPF’s two manufacturing facilities – an abattoir in Powys processing up to 20,000 lambs a week and a retail packing plant in Andover – will form part of Pilgrim’s U.K.’s Dalehead Foods division.

All 350 RPF employees, including its management teams, will remain in place under existing terms and conditions, with the business planning to invest further in the two sites.

Dalehead Foods, which became part of Pilgrim’s operations with  the Tulip acquisition, has supplied customers with lamb for more than 40 years and has worked with RPF for almost 30 years. This acquisition connects its lamb supply chain, bringing its farmers and customers closer together.

The U.K. is world’s fifth largest producer and third largest exporter of lamb and mutton and the acquisition will help Pilgrim’s U.K. capitalize on the popularity of British lamb with export customers.

Pilgrim’s U.K. recently announced revenue growth in 2020 in its latest annual report and accounts, helping the business move into profit after several consecutive years of losses.

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Andrew Cracknell, CEO at Pilgrim’s U.K., said: “Randall Parker Foods has a strong reputation as a processor of quality lamb and having worked with Dalehead Foods for almost 30 of the 40 years we have been producing lamb products this acquisition is a natural fit for both organizations.

“It will bring our lamb operations closer together into a single integrated supply chain which will benefit team members and customers alike, securing jobs, investment and growth for a sustainable future.”

“We look forward to working even more closely with the RPF teams whose energy, experience and enthusiasm, combined with the highest quality livestock, will offer customers and consumers a first-class supply chain for British lamb.”

Ron Randall, chairman of Randall Parker Foods Limited, commented: “The shareholders of RPF are delighted to be able to confirm the acquisition and are so happy that the future of RPF will be secured and brighter, with the business in the safe hands of a company with the scope and resources of Pilgrim’s U.K..’’

Jim Gaffney, managing director of RPF, will continue to oversee operations at the two sites. He said: “I am delighted for the employees, customers and suppliers of RPF who have worked so hard to establish the company’s reputation as the preeminent specialist lamb processor in the U.K. The future as part of Dalehead Foods looks both secure and exciting. I look forward to working with new colleagues and our customers to achieve our common goals.”