Quality Beef and Lamb Suppliers
Located in Harden, southern New South Wales, Argyle Prestige Meats is a beef and lamb supplier with a difference. It owns or closely controls the entire supply chain from the rearing of cattle and lambs, to processing them at its own facility, to delivering the packaged and labelled product to the retailer/restaurants or end customer. This attention to detail and refusal to compromise on any aspect of quality has resulted in the Argyle Prestige Meats brand carving out a name for itself as premium suppliers of the highest quality products.
Argyle Prestige Meats has built up its business operations over the years and currently supplies beef and lamb from its processing plant to over 400 supermarkets spread across Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane. It also exports its products globally and directly to thousands of retailers and restaurants.
Lachlan Graham, CEO of Argyle Prestige Meats says, “We were large scale mixed farming producers and we took initiatives to step further up the supply chain due to the general lack of control of our product past the farm gate.
“Most producers are price takers with little control over the product after the produce is sold, but we did not want to operate in that market. We started initially with an online marketing platform to access customers directly and we also tried to deal with butchers but we saw a shrinking market in that space. So we moved away from this segment and concentrated on developing our own branded products.
“We bought new machinery, commissioned a processing plant and invested heavily in technology, particularly around retail packaging with longer shelf-life. This was done to reduce the shrinkage and wastage for the retailer. We also had a big focus on brand development and protection, and by having our own supply chain we were able to maintain the integrity of our brands.
“A strategy was adopted to develop multiple brands using different packaging technologies with varying shelf lives. We also started taking over the whole cabinet of a retail store and delivering to that store on a daily basis, the entire meat range, labelled with a bar code and a price and a set gross profit margin. This enabled the retailer to reduce his overheads and cost of business.
“We also focussed on exports, formed a joint venture with one of Australia’s largest private agribusiness companies, The Manildra Group, and in doing so built a new export approved processing plant. We took the same strategy as we had employed in Australia into export markets and opened an office in Hong Kong with my brother joining Argyle Prestige Meats.
“Our business territory expanded into Asia, the Middle East, North America and Canada. We have a focus on the commodity meat market to a degree, but have tried to minimize that and we concentrate on a value-add supply chain model where we have accredited producers within our program. We stand by our brand and our product to ensure its integrity and to make sure that we have repeat customers.”
Argyle Prestige Meats devotes a great deal of effort to ensure that its product is of the best quality. It does not give its livestock hormones to make them gain weight and also does not use genetically modified feed. The herds graze on open grass pastures and have access to trees for shade.
The processing plant uses the latest technologies and robotics, and all employees who work on cutting or packaging meat have a computer chip on their uniform. This tracks their activity throughout the working day and allows the products which they have handled to be traced back to the employee who is responsible for them.
Argyle Prestige Meats has successfully forayed into export markets and in this process has suitably altered the product and its packaging to meet the requirements of local customers. Each country needs different portion sizes and has specific packaging and labelling rules.
The company has been recognised for the quality of its products and is the recipient of the prestigious ‘The Weekly Times Coles 2013 Farmer of the Year’ award. The company’s herd is accredited by Meat Standards, Australia, and it has been named as a preferred supplier by the CAAB (Certified Australian Angus Beef).
The operations of Argyle Prestige Meats have grown rapidly over the last seven years. It has discovered that the Australian market has a strong demand for hormone –free beef and lamb and has been able to deliver products that have found ready acceptance. The company is positioned to expand rapidly in both the Australian and export markets. When asked about the plans of Argyle Prestige Meats, Lachlan Graham says, “Reinvestment into our businesses, staying in the forefront of technologies and having a global presence backed up by our quality measures.
“Growing our database of suppliers so that quality producers in Australia have a direct link to our plant. We give our suppliers detailed feedback so that they can develop and grow their production systems to survive in the future. We try and grow our efficiencies and maintain our global competitiveness. For us it is going to be all about growth and if you don’t have that focus you get squashed in this industry.”