Guy Baeten, Strategic Director
It can be unanimously agreed upon that pizza is not just a quick and scrumptious fix to hunger pangs; what comes in those square boxes are little slices of heaven.
Just like every famous pizzeria around the world has its fans touting their favourite as the city’s best, every sort of pizza has its partisans. But what imparts pizza its real taste is the toppings—a crisp well-browned crunchy bread or thick cheese-loaded pizza base holding an eclectic mix of veggies and meat authentically selected. While the wide selection of pizza toppings varies all over the world, it is safe to say that the classic meaty extravaganza of sliced hams, pepperoni, bacon, and sausages still remain to be fan favourites. Each slice and dice of these meat pieces have to be consistent in size and texture and cooked to perfection to deliver the ultimate burst of flavour.
However, be it for pizza or any other dish, the way the meat is cut significantly affects the taste. Be it pieces, shreds or slices, each unit must be cut with precision and efficiency. Evidently, for companies in the food industry, cut quality, flexibility and speed have become more important than ever. Herein lies the instrumental role of industrial food cutting equipment utilised in the poultry and meat processing industry. “The poultry processing industry is rather diverse with a wide range of specifications and applications,” says Guy Baeten, Strategic Director at FAM.Specifications such as processing cooked, frozen, or raw meat, and even meat pieces like filet, thigh, or breast can make a huge difference. Not to mention, salt-to-moisture ratio, heat treatments, product shape, texture, and even marination for discrete flavour base are also important part of the mix.
Taking all these factors into account, FAM specialises in offering the best-fit cutting solution designed for specific needs of customers. Dedicated to developing high-performing industrial cutting solutions for the food industry, FAM is a key player in Europe with a global footprint. FAM is committed to increasing the production capacity and yield for customers while reducing costs and time to process. Baeten emphasises, “What we do, we do well. We effectively handle a large variety of meats and poultry products, be it beef, pork, chicken, turkey or even fish like salmon and tuna. Our market-leading cutting machines are designed to dice, strip cut, or shred frozen/tempered and hot cooked meat to a wide range of sizes.”
A Closer Look at the Meat and Poultry Industry
As the taste and diet of consumers continue to change with time, the demand for ready-to-eat foods is on the rise along with a shift toward energy-dense foods. Over the last couple of years, meat alternatives are gaining popularity by lowering the carbon footprint and reducing animal slaughter. The global food demand is only going to increase, and as such, depleting resources is no longer a smart choice for modern consumers. Meat alternatives are indeed becoming a commercially viable option for today’s consumer, which, in turn, presents a challenge for meat processors in producing the right product with the desired texture and firmness to get quality cuts.
While the food industry is keen on experimenting with new products or developing new trends, FAM is sharply focused on designing innovative cutting/slicing/dicing/shredding solutions to help customers align their products with the recent advances accordingly.
“It's a part of our DNA to develop machines according to the stringent hygiene standards in the industry and food safety is very high on our radar.”
Baeten, who is well acquainted with the nuances of the industry, highlights that in tandem with the latest trends, poultry and meat processors are incorporating a varied range of products to meet consumer demands. A dedicated line of each product is a huge drain on resources, and oftentimes the sustainability of a new product is uncertain. As such, FAM designs its machines to empower customers with the ability to make more products with one machine. To achieve this, FAM ensures that its cutting solutions can be adapted to existing machines and integrated with the processing line.
Innovation-Led Industrial Cutting Solutions
From the very beginning, innovation has been the driving force for FAM. With a definite aim to continuously improve its portfolio of industrial food cutting solutions and set new standards, the company provides customers with world-class solutions and a leading competitive edge.
In close cooperation and co-creation with some of the leading food processors in the world, FAM has designed new heavy-duty machines for cooked and frozen tempered meat products:
• The FAM CMD.2 is a large drum dicer capable of cutting frozen pork, beef, and chicken in very clean dices, producing a free-rolling product that is easy to package (no stickiness).
• The FAM Yuran™ Hytec is a true example of a very sanitary design, allowing customers to change from one product to another with a reduced cleaning time. This machine can cut frozen/tempered or chilled, and hot cooked meat and poultry in dices and strip cuts, or hand-pulled pork.
Above all, FAM equips customers with a definitive advantage through the simplicity of design of their products. For instance, in an industry where cut quality, flexibility and speed count more than ever without any compromise on yield or quality, FAM is setting a benchmark with its advanced mechanical cutting machine. The equipment is easy to feed and can be continuously fed for uninterrupted production, unlike competitor models that have to be manually fed by placing a meat block in the cutting chamber.
FAM’s customer centricity, layered with rich vertical knowledge, has helped it garner an extensive clientele comprising companies across 80 countries. Baeten recalls his company’s collaboration with a client that needed a cutting solution specifically for pulled meat. The making of pulled meat entails a series of steps including slow cooking the meat for long periods, tearing apart the fibres while ensuring optimum moisture content in the meat. FAM worked closely with the client to design a completely new cutting tool in three months, operating with a mix of claws and blades at different speeds. This brand new cutting machine can deliver different varieties of pulled meat, be it fine, medium, or coarse depending on client’s applications. The client was indeed satisfied with the results, and they are now using FAM’s solution to set new trends and develop newer applications.
A Melting Pot of Knowledge
For FAM, knowing the products of the customers makes all the difference. Apart from an innovative line of solutions, what sets the bar high for FAM is a highly qualified team of experts that know the needs of customers in and out.
“Our team of application specialists always want to know more about the parameters that affect the cutting (of any product), such as the protein, salt levels, age, temperature, texture, and more. Only then can we select the cutting solution which delivers the greatest value and best result to the customer,” explains Baeten. The team at FAM understands that each product has distinct characteristics and properties, and holds a wealth of knowledge and expertise on a multitude of applications. What’s more, FAM houses a dedicated team of application engineers to concentrate exclusively on customer products so that they can design the cutting technology that best fits their needs.
Besides meat and poultry, FAM also extends its solutions to the vegetable and fruit and dairy industry. Due to its wide industry experience, the FAM team understands the importance of building robust meat cutting machines with powerful motors, which are stronger and sharper than the vegetable cutting equipment and are geared toward heavy-duty applications.
Expanding further on FAM’s value proposition, Baeten explains that getting a good cut quality is no easy job but definitely more efficient with FAM’s advanced cutting solutions that are designed to deal with all problems related to texture, temperature difference between the core and the surface, or product shape. FAM performs tests and cutting trials of its products and then compiles the data in a central knowledge base which staffs can access to find the answers to the questions and challenges clients face on a daily basis.
The company’s strength is deeply rooted in flexibility and the in-depth know-how that allow for the design and development of the best custom-build solution. In addition, FAM manufactures a series of premium blades in-house—via its sister company Stumabo International. These precision blades are made from the best food-grade stainless steel. Experts at FAM specialise in selecting the proper blades for the meat and/or poultry applications; using the right blade thickness, cutting edge grind, edge profile, and strength.
As a member of the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG), FAM ensures the highest quality of food safety and hygiene. “It's a part of our DNA to develop machines according to the stringent hygiene standards in the industry. Evidently, food safety is very high on our radar,” Baeten remarks. Apart from obligatory machine directives, FAM also focuses on details like the finishing of the surface roughness of the stainless steel so as to avoid dark corners within the design. “Dark, hidden corner within a product can be breeding ground for bacteria (Listeria), and our solutions are designed keeping such concerns in mind to deliver nothing but the best to clients,” adds Baeten.
Over the last four decades, FAM has cemented its position in the poultry and meat processing industry across the European markets. As per Baeten, FAM is expanding to carve its niche in high potential markets like Asia, where the food habits of people are westernising. As the consumption of cold cuts and ready-to-eat meat continues to increase, FAM is primed to help processors meet this growing demand with its suite of innovative, safe, and high-tech sanitary cutting solutions and maintain its leadership position by driving excellence for clients.