RANDERS, Denmark – Sokolow, a Danish Crown subsidiary, plans to consolidate its meat slicing activities to a single plant by building a 13,700-sq.-m. (147,466-sq.-ft.) expansion at the Sokolow Podlaski facility in Poland.

“Traditionally, Polish consumers have bought their cold cuts at the delicatessen counter, but the market for ready-packed sliced products is seeing strong growth, while the retail structure is rapidly becoming more and more modern,” said Tom Vedby Jørgensen, Danish Crown’s consultant in Poland. “Large retail chains are gaining ground, and there is an increasing demand for deliveries to be made to central warehouse facilities. Sokolow is at the leading edge of this development, thanks to investments in the central slicing plant.”

Sokolow is a partially owned subsidiary in the Danish Crown group. During the planning phase, a delegation from Sokolow visited Tulip’s factories in Oldenburg in Germany, as well as the UK, to ensure the factory was geared for the future and to share knowledge with others in the Danish Crown group.

“In light of their experience, a factory has been designed which will have no problems meeting the very highest EU standards [in regards to] product safety,” Jørgensen said.

Storage capacity has also been increased for the products scheduled to be sliced, and the production facility has been extended so it is now longer than originally planned.

“Each new generation of modern slicing lines tends to be that bit longer than the last,” Jørgensen said. “Therefore, extra floor space has been built to accommodate future developments.”

Much of the products will be produced on-site at the large facility in Sokolow Podlaski, where the Sokolow headquarters are also located. Additional products will be transferred to the slicing facility from Sokolow’s six other facilities in Poland. Initially, the slicing lines currently being used at other factories will be transferred. Then the lines will gradually be replaced with new, high-performance upgrades, the company said.

Production at the new extension, which will employ 200 people, is planned to begin in 2Q 2012.The warehouse capacity for semi-finished and finished products will total 900 tonnes. There is space for 12 production lines at the facility. Eventually, production capacity is expected to increase to more than 2,500 tonnes a month.