Ranking of the meat industry 2021: The top 10...
Ranking of the meat industry 2021

The top 100 in the industry

Dieter Heimig
Sausage producers also suffered in 2020 from sluggish out-of-home consumption and cancelled major events.
Sausage producers also suffered in 2020 from sluggish out-of-home consumption and cancelled major events.

GERMANY, Frankfurt. The trade journal FLEISCHWIRTSCHAFT and the afz - allgemeine fleischer zeitung have taken a close look at the meat industry. Read here who the most important companies are.

In pork production, the trees are no longer growing to the sky: both the supply of slaughter animals is gradually declining, but so is demand in the domestic market. In 2020, the Corona crisis and the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in wild boar in Germany were added to the mix. Since then, German goods have been banned from important third-country markets, and supply has been squeezing the domestic market. The result: plummeting pig prices throughout the EU. More and more farmers are withdrawing from production, not only in Germany.

The industry ranking of the "Top 100 Companies in the Meat Industry", which the editorial teams of afz and "Fleischwirtschaft" are presenting for the 17th time this year, shows what impact the turbulent year 2020 had on the industry and its company balance sheets. The slaughter companies delivered rather mixed balance sheets, real leaps in growth were rare. When they do occur, it's through corporate acquisitions. More often, you see decreased sales in the "Top 100" rankings.

The suppliers of beef or poultry meat and products suffered particularly from the lockdowns in the food service industry. The increased sales in the food retail trade (LEH) could not make up for the loss. Manufacturers of meat products met the same fate. And common to all parts of the meat industry is the additional (cost) effort for the additional hygiene measures in production to contain the pandemic. These are likely to have put additional pressure on the margins, which are usually narrow anyway. The only bright spot is the low raw material price for pork.

Setback in Rheda

Our current industry ranking of the "Top 100 companies in the meat industry" shows what impact this turbulence had on sales in 2020. The consequences had a particularly severe impact on the industry leader Tönnies (number 1 in the Top 100 ranking), which otherwise only knows growth. After worldwide sales of € 7.3 bn. in 2019, the value fell in the first Corona year to € 7.05 bn..

The slaughter group had suffered particularly from the Corona outbreak in Rheda. For four weeks, Germany's largest slaughterhouse was at a standstill and was initially also only allowed to restart with curbed power. The resulting discussion about the widespread principle of work contracts in the meat industry and the subsequent ban then presented the entire industry with major challenges.

The second major reason for the "stagnation" of growth, as the Tönnies Group itself puts it: the pig price. At the beginning of 2020, pork prices were still on the rise due to strong demand from China, but this upward trend soon came to an end. This was followed by import stops in important third-country markets after the first ASP discovery in wild boar. As a result, the price fell successively from € 2.02 in March to € 1.19 at the end of the year.

Westfleisch regained second place in the ranking of the "Top 100" from afz and "Fleischwirtschaft". The Münster-based company increased its turnover to € 2.83 bn. despite the adverse market situation and relegated its competitor Vion to third place. The Dutch-German slaughterhouse group only reported stagnating sales of € 2.8 bn. for the past year.

For 2020, the slaughterhouses for pigs and cattle delivered rather mixed balances - in the top 10 pig slaughterhouses, only three companies show real leaps in growth: Böseler (20), Steinemann (24) and Willms (11). Steinemann from Steinfeld in Lower Saxony benefited from the takeover of the slaughterhouse of the Osnabrück producer group in Georgsmarienhütte on 1 January 2020, making the biggest jump. As a result, the holding company's pig slaughterings rose cumulatively to € 1.35 mill., pushing the Steinfeld-based company up to eighth place in the top 10 pig slaughterers. Turnover increased by almost 50% to almost € 400 mill.

Subsidiary in Traunstein

Beef production in the Federal Republic of Germany continues to decline noticeably. Nevertheless, two companies in the current top 10 of German beef slaughterers managed to increase their slaughter figures: Westfleisch (2) successfully bucked the industry trend with a slight increase of 0.6% or 2,750 slaughters. And Attenberger (41) benefited from the takeover of the slaughterhouse in Traunstein. Max Attenberger took over the business with the newly founded Almrind GmbH. He comes from the family business Attenberger Fleisch, which operates the cattle slaughtering at the Munich abattoir. At present, the Traunstein slaughterhouse slaughters around 1,000 cattle per week. As a result, the Munich-based company has increased its turnover by a whopping 40%: to € 210 mill. They now rank 7th in the top 10 German cattle slaughterers.

The suppliers of poultry meat and corresponding products were severely shaken by the lockdown of the out-of-home market. Here, too, some slaughterhouses were temporarily closed due to employee infections. These losses could not be fully compensated for by increased sales via the food retail trade. At least sales prices rose moderately. As a result, the balance sheets of poultry slaughterers often show just stagnating sales. Heidemark (17) and Sprehe (13), in particular, even recorded a sharp drop in sales compared to the previous year.

Tailwind for regional products

Meat processors also suffered last year from sluggish out-of-home consumption and cancelled major events. The additional hygiene measures against the backdrop of the pandemic drove the cost block even higher. On the other hand, sales of meat products via food retailers increased thanks to hoarding purchases. As a result, the balance sheets oscillated between a slight minus and rich growth rates. Those suppliers who focus on regional specialities or have a veggie line in their portfolio are often successful.

The undisputed pioneer in the meat-free segment is Rügenwalder Mühle (37). Last year the Bad Zwischenahner generated the same amount of turnover with the classics as with the vegetarian and vegan alternatives. In total, revenues rose by an impressive 22% to a good € 233 mill. Regional products did particularly well during the crisis: with Bavarian and Thuringian products, for example, Ponnath (31) and Wolf (28) once again increased their sales. The same applies to organic products, which experienced a real boost in the first year of the pandemic. This played into the hands of Ludwigsluster (75), for example. Sutter (26) obviously benefited from its new production facility in Gau-Bickelheim, where around 180 t of meat are processed every day.

Meanwhile, the top 10 companies in the meat industry include two meat plants owned by retailers: Edeka Südwest Fleisch (9) in 9th place with annual sales of € 850.7 mill., and Kaufland Fleischwaren (10) with an estimated € 849 mill. Retailers are also playing the regional card with their own meat programmes, such as Edeka with Bauerngut or Rewe with Bauernglück.

Source: afz - allgemeine fleischer zeitung 44/2021


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