Officials at Zhongpin, a leading meat- and food-processing company in China, announced that they will conduct trial production at its two newest chilled- and frozen-pork products plants, in Jiangsu and Jilin provinces.

This is a significant step as the Chinese consumer still prioritizes fresh pork products in making their purchasing decisions. While there are more “grocery” stores in China today, wet-markets still thrive. However more urban and young consumers are growing more accepting of chilled and frozen pork products.

Located in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, the annual production capacity for Phase I of this Zhongpin plant will be about 80,000 metric tons of chilled and easy-to-cook pork products and 20,000 metric tons of frozen pork.

Plant construction began in September 2010, and the company will spend about $63 million to build the Jiangsu production facility, warehouse and distribution center. A second phase is planned to open in third quarter 2012, featuring production capacity of prepared pork products of about 30,000 metric tons annually.

Located in Changchun, Jilin province, another Zhongpin plant began trial production for chilled and frozen pork today. The annual production capacity is estimated at 70,000 metric tons for chilled pork and 25,000 metric tons for frozen pork. That plant construction began in September 2010 as well.

Zhongpin reports it will invest about $61.5 million for the complex, which will include a slaughtering and processing plant, low-temperature prepared-pork plant, logistics center and research and development center. Phase II, also scheduled to open in third-quarter 2012, will include capacity to produce 30,000 metric tons of prepared pork products, plus a research and development center.

Zhongpin will close a chilled- and frozen-pork plant with a 30,000-metric-ton capacity in Gongzhuling, Jilin province.

“With our two newest plants for chilled and frozen pork, we will have increased our annual capacity for chilled and frozen pork by 29.3 percent and our total annual production capacity for all products by 26.4 percent,” says Xianfu Zhu, chairman and chief executive officer of Zhongpin.

Zhu points out Zhongpin’s strategy was to have expanded production ready for the peak pork season during the Chinese Lunar New Year and Spring Festival that runs from the new moon on Jan. 23, 2012 through the full moon on Feb. 8.

With the addition of these two plants on Dec. 16, Zhongpin’s annual capacity will reach 728,760 metric tons for chilled and frozen pork, 126,000 tons for prepared pork products, 20,000 tons for pork oil and 30,000 tons for vegetables and fruits.

You can learn more about Zhongpin at its website