Thai food-processing giant Charoen Pokphand Foods has chosen Melbourne as its base to expand exports of primary produce from Australia to its factories in Thailand.
Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), which imports $200 million of Australian wheat each year, is in the process of setting up local operations as it hopes to expand and source meat, seafood, dairy and other products.
CP Australia's general manager Richard Lewis said the aim was to diversify operations and source produce directly from Australia rather than through intermediaries.
The company's target is to export at least $50 million in additional food produce by the end of next year.
CP, which has annual global turnover of $30 billion with 19 offices worldwide, will open an office at Docklands next month.
As it grows, it will employ primary industry specialists in meat, dairy and seafood.
Lewis said CP saw huge potential in Australia's beef and lamb industries, but also hoped to export poultry, despite already being Asia's largest producer of chickens.
Another ‘new’ venture of CP will be its re-entrance into the supermarket business after having been withdrawn from it for more than a decade.
The CP Food Market will be launched in the Thai capital of Bangkok this month.
“The retail venture will not only draw on the strong market for necessary daily goods, but will also be a distribution channel for the group's food products,” says Supat Srithanathorn, senior vice-president of CPF.
According to Supat, CP Food Market will be supplied by the group's subsidiaries producing a wide range of foods, including meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables. Products from other suppliers will also be available, as well as a small dining space for customers.
CP now operates two formats — 7-Eleven and CP Fresh Mart — but Supat says the fresh-mart concept provides only food products.