Following 12-months research into the market, the UK unit of US meat giant Smithfield Foods has said that it intends to dramatically increase its presence in the UK food service sector through the launch of a new range of meats and value-added meat products.

The company said the new line, developed specifically for caterers, includes frozen and chilled products that range from ethnic meats, to popular prepared foods, to commodity products.

"We've been talking to caterers and distributors to find out exactly what the UK caterer needs, and what is currently missing or in short supply," said Johnny Scott Barber, head of foodservice at Smithfield.  "The research confirmed that, in the commodity sector, price, consistency and quality are key issues. Our international buying power allows us to deliver an outstanding combination of all three.  

"The research also highlighted the demand for new ideas. Whilst price is still important here, quality is paramount. So our value-added lines, such as the tapas, are totally authentic and are produced in the appropriate country. Our Parma ham really does come from Parma, our pork shank is a true German schweine haxe and our tapas are genuinely made in Spain."