Our heritage

We've been in business since 1985. Our unique heritage shapes the way we do business today.

In the beginning…

Two people and a telephone

In 1985 British Sugar had a loss making waste product – pulp - clogging up its sugar factories. The team tasked with managing this leftover waste could see huge potential for the product as a nutritious, cost effective animal feed. The small team set about creating a name for the product and using science to evidence the nutritional benefits in a way that farmers would recognise with trials at National Agricultural Colleges.

waste pulp products
trident feeds

Building a proper feed business

By 1990 Trident Sugar Beet Feed is selling over 700,000 tonnes to farmers and changing suppliers attitudes to ‘waste’, securing contracts with national distillers.

ABF’s acquisition of British Sugar in ’91 created further opportunities for the ambitious team, including the 1992 purchase of merchanting business ‘KW Alternative Feeds’. The acquisition of KW provided the business with a retail route to market, additional co-product relationships and a deeper connection with the farming community.

ABF Acquisition
ABF Acquisition
ABF Acquisition

At home & abroad

Expansion continued throughout the ‘90’’s - both at home and in China. Firstly with the acquisition of Bibby in 1994. Bibby was the third largest UK feed compounder and delivered a bigger UK footprint and transformed the co-products business. With Bibby came the BQP pig business – and we found ourselves the 3rd largest integrated pig business in the UK, with 2,000 outdoor sows and abattoirs in Norfolk and Suffolk.

bibby truck
bibby truck

Leading the industry

With the announcement of a possible link between 
BSE and mad cow disease – on the 20th March 1996, domestic sales of beef products decline by 40% overnight and export markets are completely lost.

A deep understanding of our cost base and our ability to innovate enabled us to navigate this extraordinary time in our history. We led the industry in designing the Feed Assurance Scheme that made feed traceability standard in our industry and re-established trust with customers, Government and consumers.

In 1998, with many feed compounders going out of business we negotiated to purchase some of Dalgety’s feed mills. Dalgety was the UK’s no.1 feed compounder and acquiring the business further increased our UK reach.

cows feeding

New horizons

2004 saw the business once again looking to identify new business opportunities at home and abroad. One such prospect was the development of a new feed ingredients business, overseen by industry experts Richard Cooper and Hadden Graham.

This new business would become AB Vista. AB Vista has grown into the third largest player in the global feed enzyme sector.

AB Vista

Joining the dots

With the emerging global commodities market impacting the price of raw materials in the UK, the group continued to look forward, investing in systems and staff to better serve arable farmers in the future.

This drive to create a business fit for the changing commercial landscape, led to the creation of Frontier Agriculture in 2005 – a ground-breaking joint venture with Cargill.

frontier truck loading

A powerhouse of nutrition expertise

Recognising the need to expand AB Agri’s offering to incorporate practical and nutritional expertise, the group approached two specialist nutrition businesses in 2007 and 2008; ‘Premier Nutrition’ and 'Primary Diets'. The Premier Nutrition business, with its internationally renowned animal nutrition specialists, added real depth to our offering and, combined with Primary Diets understanding of neonatal nutrition, created a powerhouse of nutritional expertise.

premier nutrition

Driving responsible production

As the agricultural industry continued to consolidate, 
AB Agri strengthened associations with new and existing customers, brand owners and processors. These partners trusted in AB Agri’s products, services and proficiency in better connecting supply chains, building brand integrity and firming their relationships with farmers.

In 2009 our supply chain consultancy business, AB Sustain designed a programme that took our knowledge of farming and, together with leading academics, created an on farm carbon capture model that used data to drive new insights and efficiencies around carbon emissions on farm.

The model was adopted by Sainsburys in 2010 and now operates across 15 of their product groups. It was the first of its kind to be accredited by the Carbon Trust and led the way extracting value from farm level data.

supermarket checkout
abagri employees

Coming of age

At the beginning of 2012, at the International Poultry expo in Atlanta the AB Vista business launched Quantum Blue. This enhanced E.Coli-derived phytase, developed for use in animal feeds would go on to revolutionise feed performance – delivering benefits worth around £4/ tonne of feed to customers.

quantum blue launch poster
quantum blue launch

Reshaping for the future

Our businesses in the UK and China continue to advance and are reshaping once again to ensure their systems, people and structures are fit for the future. In 2014 we launched AB Neo – a start-up business within our group that focuses on baby and maternal animal nutrition. Once again, we see our people stretching the thinking, deploying science and technology to create tangible improvements in livestock production.

During our 18 years’ operating in China we had developed a portfolio of businesses to meet the needs of our customers. In 2014 we brought together the ABCA, ABNA and the B2B businesses to form one AB Agri China business and built yet another new feed mill in Zhenlai, Northern China.

abagri china
building work in china

Celebrating success

In 2015, Frontier celebrated its 10th year of trading. Today they are the number one business supplying arable farmers in the UK, the leading supplier of fertiliser and the largest buyer of grain. With 10,000 regular customers and over 1,000 employees, the business has doubled in size since its creation and their growth is truly something to celebrate.

frontier truck unloading

Investing in Alternative Proteins

In 2016 we joined forces with AgroKorn. This acquisition demonstrated our intent to bring new generation proteins to the animal feed market, and is in direct response to customers’ increasing need for high quality protein ingredients that have a strong technological component.

AB Agri AgroKorn acquisition