Prosciutto ham cured meat salad

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The Moy Park and Pilgrim’s Pride owner’s latest acquisitions give it a foothold in high-end pork

Brazilian meat giant JBS has added Italian prestige pork to its burgeoning array of products after subsidiary Rigamonti last week said it would spend over $92m on acquiring King’s Group and Principe.

The deal has added four meat plants in Italy, including two in ham hub Parma, to JBS’ protein production portfolio.The Principe purchase included a meat slicing plant near New Jersey in the US and followed a separate $200m investment in a US-based “Italian specialties plant”.

The acquisitions give JBS a foothold in Italian regions known for their “authentic Italian specialties like prosciutto, bresaola, bologna sausage, speck and salami with certification of origin, using craft manufacturing and curing techniques”.

The pork comes with Protected Denomination of Origin and Protected Geographical Indication labels – classifications used by the EU to “recognise the quality and unique characteristics of food produced in specific locations”, according to JBS. The century-old King’s Group had also been deemed a “Historical Brand of National Interest” by the Italian government, it added.

JBS, best known in Britain as the owner of Moy Park and Pilgrim’s Pride, last month said it would build a plant to develop lab-grown meat after it bought Spanish cultivated protein specialist Biotech in a £74.1m deal. The protein giant has also acquired plant-based brand Vivera in April in a £296m deal, while Pilgrim’s Pride acquired Kerry’s Consumer Foods meat and meals business in June, in a £704m deal.

“We are certain that JBS will work to preserve the intangible value of our brands and products with certification of origin, protecting the history of these veritable items of Italian heritage as it has already done with Rigamonti,” said Claudio Palladi, Rigamonti CEO.