Progressive Meats Limited (PML) is the brain-child of agricultural entrepreneur Craig Hickson and his wife Penny. Officially formed in 1981, after two years of planning, operation commenced with a staff of six processing frozen lamb for export. In February 1982 we commissioned a venison slaughter and processing facility, and five years later the plant extended to have a full lamb slaughter and yarding facility.
Underpinning Craig’s business acumen is a background in science, including a Food Technology Degree majoring in Engineering, but he describes his forte as process design. An example of his vision to lead the way in processing innovation was building the state-of-the-art boning room in 2004, specifically to try to maximise carcass yields. Under the Marel boning system one boner bones out an entire lamb carcass, each cut is then weighed and the saleable meat yield is calculated against a saleable meat yield value index. This information can then be passed on to the farmer. Our suppliers can opt to be paid for their actual saleable meat yield, which is calculated as a percentage of the weekly schedule.
Today we have processing facilities for lamb, beef, venison and rams and employ over 300 staff. We mainly process under toll contracts with key industry partners, including Ovation New Zealand, Lean Meats, Davmet, Firstlight Foods, Seaview Traders and McCharty. We have been dealing with some of this group of exporters for the past 20 years.
We are very Hawke’s Bay proud, supporting a number of community events and initiatives each year, and are proudly the Principal Sponsors of the Hawke’s Bay Magpies through our rural communities initiative The Magpies Club.