SYDNEY-based specialist portioning and value-adding business Andrews Meat Industries has unveiled a new $20 million state-of-the-arty commercial kitchen specialising in sous-vide at its facility at Lidcombe.
The new $20 million sous-vide kitchen is one of the most advanced cooked food service operations in Australia in terms of technology and scale. The 5000sq m operation can produce 600,000 ready-made meals per week, or up to 200 tonnes of cooked product servicing more than 1600 hospitality sector customers.
The new facility, a part of Andrews Meats’ Creative Food Solutions division, was officially opened this week by assistant minister for industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy.
The sous vide cooking process, explained in detail in this earlier Beef Central article, uses slow cooking for up to 12 hours using a vacuum-sealed pouch in a water bath to tenderise meat and break down connective tissue. The process turns secondary cuts of lesser value into high quality restaurant-standard prepared items for food service or retail use. Meats are often browned after completing the sous vide process for taste and appearance.
The range of products produced through the facility using the sous vide process includes standard and premium roast meats, ribs in marinades, and other centre-of-plate meat protein items for microwave or other re-heating.
Andrews Meats is a division of JBS Australia, and the new facility follows a world-wide push by the processing giant into greater emphasis on value-added meat products (click here to see earlier comments from JBS’s Wesley Batista).
Andrews Meats chief executive Peter Andrews Jr said the new Lidcombe facility was the first of its kind in Australia.
“The investment highlights the company’s strategic transition from a commodity based business to a value-added food manufacturing company targeting new opportunities in the domestic and export markets,” he said.
Since it was founded by Peter Andrews Sr in 1951, Andrews Meats has expanded from a fresh meat cutting business into to a diversified food service, value-added cooked and export business serving wholesale, retail and hospitality customers in more than 20 markets globally. JBS took a majority shareholding in the business in July 2014 (see earlier report here).
“In less than two years since the partnership with JBS was established, we’ve been able to grow exports by 116 percent and increase staff numbers by 15pc, while continuing to invest in our foundation butchery business which remains our core focus and strength,” Mr Andrews said in a statement.
“This sort of growth would not have been achievable without the access to JBS’s investment capital and opportunities through its network of international customers and brands,” he said.
In opening the facility, local member Craig Laundy said the Andrews/JBS partnership and the launch of the new kitchen was an excellent case study on the positive impact direct foreign investment could have, and the benefits it could provide in terms of investment in innovation, growth and jobs.
“This is one of the most advanced cooking facilities across Australia and is a testament to the Andrew’s family vision and commitment to innovation which has created local jobs and enabled an Australian family food manufacturing business to compete in the global market,” he said.
“Through Creative Food Solutions, innovative and resourceful food service solutions are revolutionising the way sous-vide is perceived within the industry,” Andrews Meats’ website says.
Andrews Meat Industries comprises three divisions: food service; value added – cooked; and export. Across these divisions, the company supplies to all areas of the hospitality industry including restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, hotels and resort groups, as well as servicing a number of other industries including health and aged care, education, aviation and sporting venues.
JBS supplies much of the beef, lamb and pork raw material requirements used through the facility.