Westbridge Fires Up Value-added BBQ Chicken Burger Range
Malvern, Worcestershire, England-headquartered Westbridge Foods aims to cash in on the summer burger boom in the United Kingdom with its new line of frozen BBQ-ready Chicken Burgers. The fully cooked, bar-marked quarter pounders feature thigh and breast meat seasoned and marinated with on-trend flavors such as Sweet and Spicy Gochujang, Smokey Spanish Basque and Caribbean Jamaican Jerk.
Burgers, Sliders and Quarter pounders currently account for 24% of all BBQ stock keeping units in British retail stores, and Westbridge’s wide assortment of innovative value-added chicken, turkey, duck and other protein products are among those in the forefront of catering to this convenience trend.
Group sales for Westbridge Foods, which include fish and seafood, ready meals and frozen desserts, are in the area of £175 million per annum. The company, which has fully-owned operations in Thailand and China as well as in the UK, became a unit of Charoen Popkhand Foods (CP Foods) on April 2 as the Bangkok-headquartered conglomerate bought all shares (valued at £60 million, or $74.9 million) and assumed £7 million in debt.
Westbridge has numerous subsidies that hold import licenses for poultry in European countries including the Netherlands. CP Foods reportedly aims to use these quotas to directly expand poultry exports from Thailand to EU markets. By doing so, according to a recent Nikkei report published by Reuters, “it is believed that the company will bypass any effect of Brexit.”
CP is already quite active in the European market, manufacturing and selling processed foods such as microwavable snacks and appetizers, and operating the Chozen Noodles Asian fast food restaurant chain.
In a recent statement, Chairman Adirek Sripratak noted that most of Westbridge’s customers are new for CP and added that the company intends to "expand its distribution network for retail, foodservices and food manufacturers in the UK and the EU countries."
CP has been especially active on the acquisition trail outside of Asia in the past year. Among its other recent purchases are frozen ready meals and entrée manufacturer Bellisio in the USA and the SuperDrob chicken processor in Poland.