It takes years to build up a reputation for quality and consistency and just seconds for that all to come tumbling down.
Which is why Kevin Moller, Operations Director – Services, at James T. Blakeman Services Ltd in Staffordshire, has invested heavily in his quality control team.
Kevin said: “We have a team of more than 20 highly trained and professional quality control personnel who are all dedicated to guaranteeing the quality and consistency of our products and maintaining the Blakeman reputation.
“Despite the fact we are already one of Europe’s leading producers of sausage and a meat product, the company is still a family business and the Blakemans pride themselves on delivering excellent food on a consistent basis for all of our customers – many of whom have been with us for decades.”
The fully-integrated ‘Tropos’ computer system provides real-time, full traceability that allows the quality team to track ingredients from order to warehouse, through production to finished product.
The team constantly monitor and record a multitude of checks and measures for each product, throughout the entirety of its manufacture to ensure its consistency. Temperature checks are carried out throughout the process of production, from incoming raw materials, frozen and chilled raw product and cooked product, including data logging, as well as having an automated monitoring system in place to monitor all temperature controlled production and storage areas, including our delivery fleet.
Further internal testing includes inspection of all meat upon arrival, organoleptic assessments, weight and length measurements, metal detection and x-raying products. The business also completes raw material micro, species and allergen testing as standard and nutritional and finished product micro as per customer requirements.
Whilst James T. Blakeman and Co Ltd has been a feature on the UK food scene for 65 years, the “Services” part of the business is much younger at just 19 years. But it retains the same core values as the older and more established part of the company.
James T. Blakeman (Services) Ltd produces cooked product for the food-on-the-go, catering and ready meal markets and also boasts a continually expanding contract cooking service for external manufacturers.
Being an M&S A list supplier and upholding a BRC AA grade for some years, its products are supplied into a large repertoire of businesses, including well-known bakery and coffee shop chains, various supermarkets and wholesalers.
In an expanding market that requires the convenience of a ready cooked product, Blakemans has the facility to provide fried, oven cooked and steamed products.
It also offers the customer the ability to coin/slice products as well as the production of meat/stuffing balls and burgers/patties with its in-line formers.
The business’s double helix spiral freezers allows it to supply customers with either frozen or chilled products and the packing room is able to offer versatility of pack sizes ranging from 1 to 10kg.
The manufacturing facility, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, is widely regarded as one of the most efficient in Europe and is capable of producing in excess of 100 tonnes of cooked product in a standard working week.
Kevin said: “Our pre-cooked, individually frozen products are ideal for the fast-paced food service and food-to-go sectors.
“Our products enable kitchen staff to take out only the amount of product that is required per portion and regenerate them in a matter of seconds in the microwave whilst maintaining a high quality and consistent product that their customers will love whilst eliminating waste.
“Smaller outlets and firms - such as independent caterers, food-to- go outlets, pubs, restaurants and so on - can obtain our products from most good wholesalers.
“We also supply bespoke products such as sausages, meatballs, stuffing balls, pigs in blankets and pork patties and burgers of all sizes and flavours that we develop in our on-site development suite, manufacture and deliver.
“On-top of this we offer a third party cooking facility, which is growing at a fantastic pace. This is over and above producing our own brand of products”
A £1.7 million investment in a state-of-the-art frying facility at the Blakemans’ complex in Newcastle-under-Lyme has been a key to this success.
Kevin said: “Our new facility opened in June 2017 and it has provided us with an in-line system which is capable of going from ingredients to fully cooked, frozen and packed sausages in just 55 minutes. This has enabled us to keep up with the fast turnaround required by the food-to-go industry.
“Investments like the fryer room and our real-time traceability system keeps us ahead of the game and leading the sector.”
• Check out the full product range online - www.blakemans.co.uk/products_list.htm .
• If you want more information or wish to place an order then e-mail a message to the Blakemans’ team at firstname.lastname@example.org.