The Fray Bentos industrial complex was built to process meat for a global market including the armies of two World Wars in the 20th century. Its physical location, buildings, as well as social institutions, presents an illustration of the entire process of meat production on a global scale.
The Fray Bentos Industrial Landscape is evidence of the interchange of human values between European society and the South American population of the 19th and 20th century which effected social, cultural and economic changes in both places during that period. This was due the interchange on developments in technology which enabled the production and export of canned and frozen meat on a global scale and to the immigrant workers who arrived from more than 55 nations.
The Fray Bentos industrial complex was built following the development of a factory founded in 1859 to process meat produced on the vast prairies nearby. Located on land projecting into the Uruguay River west of Fray Bentos town, the industrial complex is marked by the enormous cold storage building and tall brick, boiler chimney which punctuate a range of saw-toothed roofs.
The site includes buildings and equipment of the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, which exported meat extract and corned beef to the European market from 1865, and the Anglo Meat Packing Plant which exported frozen meat from 1924. Here German research and technology combined with English enterprise to provide food for a global market including to the armies of two World Wars in the 20th century.
Through its physical location, industrial and residential buildings as well as social institutions, the site presents an illustration of the entire process of meat production on a global scale. Workers’ housing and social institutions which accommodated and supported the cosmopolitan workers' community continue in use today.