Thomas Foods International

PUBLISHED September 24, 2021

Steelworks begin as new processing plant takes shape

Construction of Thomas Foods International’s new meat processing plant in South Australia has reached a new milestone.

The first above-ground building works have begun with a centrepiece of the new flagship facility now starting to take shape.

Measuring 10-storeys high, the automated packaging building is being erected as part of more than 1700 tonnes of steelworks earmarked for the development.

As the highest structure to be located on site, the packaging building will have capacity to store 40,000 cartons of frozen and chilled meat products within the storage and retrieval system, and will feature the latest in automation and robotics technology.

It is a key component of the world-class facility being built on the once empty paddock located approximately 10km outside of the Murray Bridge town centre.

Stage One of the development will include:

Subsequent stages of the development will include the addition of smallstock (sheep and lamb) processing facilities and further expansion of the beef facilities.

The new facility has been designed to service the global operations of Thomas Foods International for decades to come and replaces the company’s original plant which was destroyed by fire in January 2018.

Thomas Foods International Group Engineering Manager Nekta Nicolaou said the level of visible construction activity on site will rise markedly over coming months.

“Up until now, much of the activity on site has been focussed on initial earthworks and the pouring of concrete footings and foundation,” Mr Nicolaou said.

“Two large lagoons have also been excavated for our wastewater treatment plant.

“In total 180,000 cubic metres of soil is being moved around within the site as part of levelling earthworks, avoiding the need to import or export additional amounts.

“Approximately 13,500 cubic metres of concrete is being laid and from this solid base the plant is beginning to emerge from the ground up. It’s now when you can start to picture the full magnitude of this build and it’s exciting to see.

“This site will become a hive of activity over the months ahead as the build continues to progress as planned.”

Thomas Foods International, Australia’s largest 100% family owned meat processing company, is working closely with other family companies as part of the project.

This includes BADGE, South Australia’s largest private commercial contractor and one of Australia’s largest privately-owned builders, which has been engaged for the design and construction of Stage One. South Australian family owned business Ahrens is also supplying steel for the project.

Construction and commissioning of Stage One is expected to be a 24-month process with the build expected to be finished late 2022.

Initial recruitment kicks off

Thomas Foods International has already begun recruitment of the first management positions for the Murray Bridge operations.

The company is currently seeking a Quality Assurance Manager and a Group Environmental & Sustainability Manager for the new facility.

For information on these two roles go to:

More key management positions are expected to be announced over the coming months before the recruitment for processing positions is expected to begin in 2022.

Stage One construction – key numbers

Thomas Foods International is headquartered in South Australia with operations across Australia and in key international locations.  The business specialises in meat processing and distribution globally across the retail, wholesale and food service sectors.