WA beef producers will hopefully gain from IGA Fresh's new $12 million meat centre which was unveiled last week.
The centre is designed to consolidate the entire supply chain from carcase to packaging in the one place and give IGA Fresh a boost in its fight for a slice of the fresh food retail pie.
It is situated in Canning Vale and will replace the two existing IGA operations in Osborne Park and Malaga.
The new centre has the capacity to process 30,000 beef carcases a year, which is 10,000 carcases more than what IGA Fresh was processing at its Malaga and Osborne Park plants.
All beef will be sourced from WA.
IGA Fresh chief executive Harry Rumpler said the meat centre was not just a major step forward for IGA but a major step forward for the independents businesses throughout Australia.
"This is the first tailor-made meat centre built for independents in Australia," Mr Rumpler said.
"This is our first meat facility and this is an important snapshot for the independents of this country."
Mr Rumpler said the facility was an important step for the independent grocers in trying to compete with Woolworths and Coles.
"This is not just about the company's Supa IGA stores, this is about all independents," he said.
"I have a belief that every Supa IGA should have its own butcher in-house because that is how you compete against the two big gorillas (Coles and Woolworths) out there."
The meat centre is a multi-purpose facility and will include processes for beef, pork and lamb.
The facility also includes a high capacity carcase boning room, a retail ready production room, a sausage production room, injection production room, value adding room and is Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)-compliant.
"We had the opportunity to build this site anywhere in Australia but we just felt the WA retailers understood what we were trying to do," he said.
"The main aim of Supa IGA is to reduce the costs for local IGA businesses.
"So we needed to come up with a strategy to be able to deliver what the IGA businesses wanted and what their customers wanted and that is what the facility is all about."
Mr Rumpler said it was a facility IGA needed to have to compete in today's marketplace.
He said it was about reducing the cost of doing business at a store level.
IGA Fresh general manager for meat and seafood Brett Pickering said the new facility would help support WA farmers and provide high quality products at competitive prices to IGA customers and other independent stores throughout WA.
"The centre will process and prepare meat products into a wide variety of fresh meat cuts, sausage and burger products, marinated and corned meats and other meat products for packaging into retail-ready packs for retail sale," Mr Pickering said.
"The IGA Fresh Canning Vale meat centre will assist in the future development opportunities of all independent meat departments.
"The meat centre has the capacity to process high volumes of meat products each year and by updating our technology and consolidating the two existing sites, we are now able to offer independent retailers the full support they require to satisfy the needs of their customers."
Commerce Minister Simon O'Brien, who was also on hand to open the building, said it was a celebration for optimism and investment into the future.
"Ultimately we want to come away with a vibrant small business sector which does offer choice, which doesn't give it all to the one or two gorillas," Mr O'Brien said.
"The gorillas are alright, they have got their place but the thing is we need all sorts in our marketplace to ensure we have the best competition and the best options available for all of our citizens."
He said the new complex reinforces IGA's long-held pride in delivering the best and the freshest local produce to WA consumers.
He said it would be a major boost to the local economy.
"The plant will employ about 80 people directly and create further jobs for others involved in the supply and distribution of fresh food," he said.
"More than 240 IGA businesses and another 20 independent retailers will benefit from this 2500m2 state-of-the-art meat processing facility.
Mr O'Brien said the new facility would provide WA consumers with top quality produce while supporting local cattle farmers hit hard by the recent live export ban to Indonesia.