Increase profitability in the meat industry

Environementally-friendly, energy-conscious production

Energy savings and resource management are playing increasingly important roles in food production. The production of meats in particular is very energy-intensive because of the various cooking processes needed to fulfill the strict hygienic safety requirements of the products.

To identify those energy savings which also have a positive effect on the environment and to come up with possible improvements it is necessary to examine the steps in the production flow critically.

Expert know-how for this task is highly sought after. Often it is not possible to find sufficient know-how within the company itself. First of all those responsible do not have the time because of their daily production challenges – they have to ensure that operations run smoothly – and then sometimes the necessary know-how is just not available or potential is often not recognized because of the existing routine.

The remedy in such situations comes from experts who, thanks to their external perspective, can critically examine processes which have supposedly worked well so far. On top of that, these experts often travel abroad, gaining insight into alternative methods of production, and also know about the current state of technology as well as the latest innovations to come onto the market.

In this way T.E.A. – Temporary Food Experts Aid, a German company which provides experts in the food industry on a temporary basis – is able to observe the processes professionally and to make the appropriate recommendations, but above all to provide the employees with insight into the processes, to inspire them and to train them.

To give a concrete example, a meat processing company in the KSA produces meats such as mortadella, roast turkey and roast beef. The aim was to reduce the cooking time of the thick calibre mortadella and to optimize the roast turkey and roast beef production processes.

The T.E.A. experts analyzed the mortadella production process and reorganized some of the work-flow process parameters. As a result of these changes it was possible to reduce the cooking time of the thick calibre mortadella (140) by over 50%. By using a 5 layer polyamide casing which had just come onto the market, the yield losses were reduced by 80%(!) whilst still fulfilling all of the hygienic requirements. Furthermore, the product shelf-life was lengthened considerably – yet another advantage. Despite the changes which were implemented, the customer’s consumer panel could not detect any change in the taste of the mortadella when compared to that which had previously been produced. Paul Konstantinidis, Managing Director of T.E.A. added: „ It is very important to be sensitive in the recommended changes particularly when the customer’s products are established on the market. It would be useless for the customer to optimize processes and generate potential savings if the product changed its appearance and taste to such an extent that consumers stopped buying it. “When it comes to the consultant, this is quite clearly what separates the wheat from the chaff.” The accompanying reduction of the cooking times also resulted in a drastic reduction of the energy costs in the production. Even more important in this respect was that the production capacity was raised considerably – and all that with the existing production technology and workforce.

A similar situation was seen in the roast turkey production. By means of optimizing the raw materials used and the production process, it was possible to reduce the tumbling time by up to 16%. Dramatically more evident was the reduction in the loss of yield after cooking. By using different raw materials and a different production process the loss of yield was reduced by up to 60%. The T.E.A. experts were also able to reduce the tumble times of the roast beef from 12 to 3 hours by improving the production process and recommending the latest in tumbler technology.

“Using the services of the T.E.A. expert certainly paid off for us. Because of his outstanding professional competence, his ability to identify with our processes, and above all with our staff, he managed to release potential in the company which had previously lain dormant”.

“I could not have imagined increased efficiency in the production on that scale beforehand. Since everything has also had a positive effect on our energy balance and waste-water management, it means that my company is well-prepared for the future”, said the pleased CEO of the company.

An assignment with results: because of the changes which were undertaken, the company consumes less energy per ton of finished product and therefore emits less CO2.  Less waste-water is produced because of the reduction in yield loss too. Apart from the positive economic results as a consequence of the external support, the positive impact on the environment can also be judged most positively.