Alliance builds links to UK retailers

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 28/11/2012
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
Anna Ballantyne, left, with Sonja Lindsay at the Alliance Group's Lorneville meat processing plant as part of her two-year cadetship.

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A cadet from Britain's second largest retailer of lamb is being shown the ropes at a Southland meat plant as part of a six-week Taste the World programme.

Sainsbury's cadet Anna Ballantyne, 22, is in her fourth week at Alliance Group's Lorneville plant.

"It's really, really good fun. I'm learning about packaging types that will go in to the UK market," she said.

With experience mostly in nutrition and food science, Ms Ballantyne said it was interesting to learn more about meat processing and farming.

Alliance Group played a "huge" role in Britain because it catered to the off-season market and New Zealand lamb had proved to be more environmentally friendly. Producing and shipping New Zealand lamb to Britain produced fewer emissions than local produce, she said.

She had been learning about meat quality testing, packaging developments, extending product shelf life and livestock procurement and boning room operations.

This week she is spending time in the product development centre where the company researches meat taste and tenderness.

Ms Ballantyne will join Sainsbury's as a fulltime employee in September.

Alliance Group general manager marketing Murray Brown said it was a good opportunity to build a strong relationship with the retailer.

The cadets could one day have influential positions at Sainsbury's and this way they would have a good understanding of the operations at Alliance, he said.

The company is set to host another three Sainsbury cadets next year. Alliance this month secured a deal to be the sole-supplier of chilled New Zealand lamb to British retailer Marks & Spencer.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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