Meat packing idea ignites dispute

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Supermarket, Asia-pacific, Money

New Zealand plastics company Vertex is currently embroiled in an
NZ$2 million (€2m) dispute with Wellington-based investment company
Active Equities over its new chilled-meat packaging system,
Securefresh.

New Zealand plastics company Vertex is currently embroiled in an NZ$2 million (€2m) dispute with Wellington-based investment company Active Equities over a new chilled-meat packaging system, Securefresh.

The system allows "fresh meat" to be stored for up to two months by supermarkets, and the system is under consideration by supermarket chain Progressive. Vertex is also talking about it to Woolworths in Australia.

With present packaging, fresh chilled meat will last only four or five days on the shelf. In the United States, supermarkets have to dump 20 per cent to 30 per cent of their fresh meat, though waste is thought to be less in New Zealand.

The Securefresh system would see an end to supermarkets dumping meat, with significant savings. Meat could be stored for a couple of months, but would usually be used within a fortnight or so.

Vertex has the exclusive agency for the Securefresh low-oxygen chilled meat packing system, which the firm says has significant growth potential.

Vertex bought the patents for both Australia and New Zealand, a customer list and the use of the name for the Asia-Pacific region, from Securefresh Pacific.

The Securefresh system extracts oxygen from the meat pack and replaces it with carbon dioxide.

As long as the meat is kept at zero degrees celsius, it should remain fresh for up to two months, according to Vertex managing director Paddy Boyle.

Vertex has made almost $ 19 million of exports, mainly to Australia, but has a Securefresh division based in Australia and is talking to potential Securefresh customers there. The company claims that the US market was also exciting for its export potential.

But the Vertex prospectus, out yesterday, reveals a $ 2 million contingent liability because of an "acquisition dispute" with Active Equities over the purchase of Securefresh.

Vertex says that the purchase of the Securefresh assets was supposed to be made in two payments. The second payment of $ 2 million was due when certain conditions were met - if the system could be used with foam trays instead of rigid plastic trays.

The vendor, Securefresh Pacific, said it was on the point of commercialising the use of the foam trays with the Securefresh system in the US and Vertex agreed to pay an extra $ 2 million if the means was proven, an agreement which the company alleges has now been broken.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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