Production and process efficiencies

Continuous improvement is at the heart of our business model, and we are always looking to add value and minimise waste streams from the livestock we process. We are leaders in resource optimisation, LEAN manufacturing and in creating circular business models which enhance carcase utilisation and yield. Partnering in a range of cutting-edge innovation projects, we are increasing the value derived from our raw materials, improving the yield of edible protein and enhancing the circularity of meat production.

Achieve a circular model for meat production

Adopting a LEAN continuous improvement approach means creating an efficient enterprise that sustains growth by achieving customer and employee satisfaction. By optimising cost, delivering profitability, aligning livestock supply with production requirements, minimising environmental impact and eliminating waste, we are creating an environment where a consistent quality meat product can be provided through a production process that seeks to eliminate waste. 

Using LEAN principles, every person is trained to identify waste, including time and effort and team members work together to make improvements, resulting in the business unit delivering more value at less expense, while developing team confidence and competence. 

Accredited to ISO 14001 and ISO50001 for Environmental and Energy Management, water and energy use is optimised, and leading technologies are employed to deliver process efficiencies. Water use is optimised by operating a closed loop chilled water system with full recovery and water used in cooling equipment is recycled and re-used. Investment in plant, machinery and technology to optimise the use of energy and raw materials throughout the production process has led to significant reductions in both waste and operational emissions.

Maximising product shelf life and providing consistent high-quality meat at value are key features in consumer product optimisation. Modern processing techniques drive visual consistency, and manufacturing sites are able to adapt quickly to produce differentiated ranges of meat products as consumer demand fluctuates throughout the seasons. Mince, burgers, meatballs, kebabs and grills constitute more than 50% of customer demand and are central to our product portfolio. A culture of customer first is embedded in all decisions that are made across retail operations. Essential to any successful meat packing operation is matching capacity and capability to customer needs. 

The goal of improved carcase utilisation is a constant focus and in partnership with Elemental, a UK-based Agri-food tech company, a stock process pilot plant is being deployed, which will recover up to 15% more human edible food products for every animal we process. Using Elemental’s new technology will allow extraction of high-quality proteins and fats which would otherwise be lost from the human food chain. These additional food extracts will help to produce fully traceable, sustainable, authentic food ingredients which can be used in a variety of products including ready meals, gravy and soup. Creating new products will unlock new revenue streams, and the installation of this new technology is expected to deliver 20% of our annual Scope 1 emissions reduction target between 2022-2030.

In optimising carcase utilisation, certain elements of the livestock we process, known as Animal By-products (ABPs) are unfit for human consumption, as designated by statutory regulation. There are 3 categories of ABPs: 

  • Category 1 is known as Specified Risk Material and is the most highly regulated. It is processed using high temperatures and used for energy production including biodiesel. 
  • Category 2 includes partially digested grass in the stomach and is sent for anaerobic digestion, with resultant outputs such as energy and compost fertiliser. 
  • Category 3 includes parts of the animal deemed to be very low risk. After processing in a controlled environment, it is used variously as ingredients in manufacturing or processing of pet-foods, oleochemicals, biodiesel and fertilizer.

The maintenance and improvement of OIE herd status for both Ireland and the UK over the coming years will create significant opportunities for value-add and improved carcase utilisation by enabling the harvesting of additional human edible protein not currently captured. 

We are members of CIRCULÉIRE, a public-private partnership dedicated to accelerating the net-zero carbon circular economy in Ireland. Circular principles seek to recover and preserve the embedded value in materials, components, and products. Implementing innovative circular strategies and business models, keep materials, components, and products in-use in the economy and creates significant macro-economic, environmental, social, and business benefits. The Sustainable Use of Carbon Contributes to Environmentally Sustainable Systems (SUCCESS) project aims to explore system innovation opportunities, bringing together a food manufacturer, a technology company and academic experts, to deliver a green, circular and sustainable solution for Animal By-Products.