Meatpacker Swift and Co. Inc. aims to put a quarter of its beef output into higher-margin, value-added meat products in the next few years, according to Chief Executive John Simons.

During a session with reporters, Simons described the move as part of shaping Swift as a stand-alone company. Swift became a private company in 2002 when investors bought beef and pork plants from ConAgra Foods Inc.

"Within three to five years, I'd love to have somewhere up to one-fourth of our beef, net of hamburger, qualify as value-added," said Simons.

Value-added meat products would include such things as marinaded beef, which consumers can buy at a grocery store on the way home from work to prepare a meal quickly.

Swift, a privately owned company based in Colorado, slaughters about 4 million head of cattle a year. Simons said Swift could devote more of its slaughter to value-added items rather than having to increase its slaughter numbers.

Rival meatpacker Smithfield Foods Inc. bought four feedlots in Colorado and Idaho with a total capacity of 357,000 head from ConAgra last fall.

There still were enough cattle to run Swift's plant at Greeley, Colorado, at desired levels, Simons said. Greeley would be the site for Swift's value-added production.

Source: Yahoo News