Süddeutsche Truthahn AG (Sütag) in Ampfing focuses on high-quality and regionally produced turkey. Sütag is the market leader in organic turkey in Germany and produces turkey in compliance with the Swiss PAS standard for the Swiss retail giant Coop.
The name of Süddeutsche Truthahn AG (Sütag) already expresses its most important distinction. As the only larger turkey abattoir between northern Germany and Italy, the company earns points with its regional bias. "We're the only company that can sell its products under the designations of origin 'Proven Quality from Bavaria' and 'Window to the Baden-Württemberg Region'," explains Georg Kirchmaier, Head of Quality Management at Sütag. This is a relevant sales argument in Germany, and Sütag is the only company that can claim this.
Sütag was founded by regional turkey fatteners in Ampfing in 2001. With around 450 employees, Sütag ranks third among German turkey abattoirs after Heidemark and Wiesenhof and is one of the biggest employers in the region. Regional authenticity is therefore not just a marketing gimmick but is fixed in the company's DNA.
The organic trend
In addition to regionality, the Bavarian company is counting more and more on organic. Almost 3,000 tonnes of organic turkey are slaughtered in Ampfing every year. Like its parent company Hubers Landhendl for chicken in Austria, Sütag is the market leader in the production of organic turkey in Germany. This development is far from being finished and the company aims to continue growing in the organic segment.
The trend towards more animal welfare and sustainability in meat production has also reached Germany. If Georg Kirchmaier has anything to do with it, this trend will stay or even grow stronger in the coming years. As Germany doesn't yet have any binding guidelines for turkey husbandry, the industry relies on the QS certification mark in the production of conventional turkey meat. There are also a number of other labels. Sütag is number one in the German market in the production of organic turkey.
The German retail market, however, is very sensitive to prices and therefore rather challenging as higher quality and more sustainably manufactured products aren't cheap. But Georg Kirchmaier believes that consumers have an obligation here: "Only if consumers are willing to pay a higher price for added value will the percentage of animal-friendly and organically manufactured poultry products increase."
Sütag also relies on certified quality for its conventional meat. All suppliers have QS certification. QS stands for certified quality assurance of fresh food. The label applies strict requirements regarding animal husbandry, feeding, transport and slaughtering. The most important requirements for fatteners include the humane treatment of animals, regular visits by a veterinarian, hygiene checks and the responsible use of veterinary drugs. The animals may only be given QS-certified feed and may only be transported by QS-certified livestock transport companies.
The inspectors of the QS certification scheme also monitor the slaughtering and processing of the turkeys. The QS certification mark thus stands for independent quality assurance along the entire production chain – from the farmer to the abattoir to the shop.
Fit for the future
If you don't move forward, you go backwards. In keeping with this motto, Sütag has invested in the expansion of its production facilities in Ampfing. In summer 2017, the new packaging centre offering considerably more space for packaging activities was commissioned. The modern infrastructure with its separate areas for different activities ensures better hygiene standards and a more effective packaging process.
The new minced meat production line will be inaugurated in autumn this year. With this new system, Sütag is meeting customer demand for fresh minced poultry. The new system can also be used to produce burger patties. "This will allow us to also profit from the burger trend in Germany," says a pleased Georg Kirchmaier. The new minced meat production line also offers a solution to another problem in the production of poultry meat: it makes it easier to process joint products such as thigh meat.
QS (industry standard), organic and PAS
As Germany doesn't yet have any binding guidelines for turkey husbandry, the industry relies on the QS certification mark in the production of conventional turkey meat. There are also a number of other labels. Sütag is number one in the German market in the production of organic turkey.
Stocking density: 52 kg/m2 for hens and 58 kg/m2 for toms
Feeding: QS-certified feed
Coops: barn system with litter
Transport time: max. 12 hours
Stocking density: 36.5 kg/m2
Feeding: QS-certified feed
Coops: coop with natural daylight, higher perches and access to fresh air in a winter garden (protected outdoor area)
Transport time: max. 6 hours' journey time
Stocking density: 21 kg/m2
Feeding: organic-certified feed
Coops: max. 2,500 animals per flock, access to an outdoor area with at least 10 m2 per animal
Transport time: no uniform standard, depending on the association between 4 and 8 hours' journey time