Customer story

Seeing what the human eye cannot

07 Feb 2018

“It is all about trust” says Michael McKay, General Manager at Foyle Food Group in Donegal, “Our customers know that the meat we supply has a consistent quality and has been produced with the highest attention to product safety and hygiene. The Trim Management System is an important instrument in this.”

Being a player in a market that sees heavy competition and constantly changing consumer demands, Foyle Food Group in Northern Ireland focuses on innovating and setting new standards in product quality and processes. The company has installed trim management systems in three of their five processing plants and sees big advantages from the systems. They can now measure and verify important key performance indicators such as fat/lean (CL) content in their meat supply.

“The main reason for installing the trim management systems was that we wanted to be able to meet the increasing different requests to CL content. The world market has opened and more different requirements are being made,” McKay explains, “with the trim management systems we can actually verify that we are complying with the requirements, because the system measures all the trim meat and registers all the information.”
 

Improving process management

When the trim meat has passed through the x-ray inspection, the system registers information about weight, the fat-lean content, bones or other contaminants. This information is then sent to the grading unit at the end of the system, where the meat is batched into crates, boxes or bags – making up a final batch at a specified weight with a fixed CL.

McKay especially highlights the ability to accurately measure the fat content. “We see this as the human eye versus the machine. And the machine undoubtedly wins. The machine can match CL much better and faster than any human. It has the ability to blend different cl’s to make final batches of the most popular cl. If you have for an example 70/30 CL and 90/10 CL – the machine can easily work with making more of those cl in the middle, like 80/20 CL.”

“One of our new overseas customers has seen and knows the way the system works, the reliability of the information and the quality of the product. Now that customer only wants to buy from suppliers that have a similar system in place.”

– Michael McKay, General Manager, Foyle Food Group, Donegal
 

The difference lies in data verification

Another benefit of the machine over the human is the ability to find bones and other hazardous contaminants (down to 5 mm). The acceptance bars for bone chips are getting higher as food safety becomes more important to consumers. More and more manufacturers therefore install bone measure systems at the receiving end of the raw material. This means that bone complaints often go back to the supplier. With the trim management system it is possible to remove almost all bone chips, and so avoid bone complaints.

Foyle Food Group

“Once our customers have seen the system and the data verification possibilities and traceability information that it provides they have full confidence in the system.” McKay says, “that is a great benefit and makes a huge difference to profit. We hardly see any complaints about CL content or bones anymore. As a matter of fact, we have gotten new customers onboard because of the system’s efficiency and the comprehensive traceability measures for CL and bone frequency.”

 

Foyle Food Group

The Foyle Food Group has a long history of supplying quality beef to leading retailers, manufacturers, foodservice providers and butchers across the world. Foyle Food Group is a family-run group of companies with a farming heritage dating back several generations. They operate out of 9 facilities across the uk and ireland and have the capacity to process over 300,000 cattle per year across five primary processing locations. The group specializes in slaughtering, deboning and rendering.