02 May 2016


Interfood has long offered a wide range of meat processing equipment and ingredients, numbering many of the major names in UK and Irish meat processing amongst its customers. As the business has developed, so has the need to specialise in specific areas and Interfood now has eight divisions, all operating under the Interfood umbrella but offering specific capabilities and dedicated teams of engineers and support personnel. These divisions are part of Interfood’s ‘total processing’ philosophy and allows the company to maintain a clear focus on specific processes and products.

Improved yield, reduced waste, reliability and hygiene are currently the 4 main drivers in the food processing equipment market according to Interfood.

Mark Bishop is joint Managing Director of the Oxfordshire based business and comments – “High yield has long been a prime goal, particularly in higher value meat products where reducing the amount of waste is a crucial element in maximising profit margins in what is a very competitive market.  Reliability of machinery is also important to minimise downtime on a production line given the significant financial consequences this can bring, especially for high speed lines where even relatively short stops in production can be very costly.  And then there is hygiene which is a basic expectation from food producers, with food safety, quite rightly, being a non-negotiable element of meat processing.”

New Butchery Division

The newest Division to be added is Interfood Butchery which is offering BladeStop, an innovative system specifically designed to address the health and safety issues relating to bandsaws.  The system has been designed and manufactured by Australian based company Scott Automation & Robotics in collaboration with Meat & Livestock Australia.  BladeStop works by mechanically stopping the bandsaw blade when the unit senses that a person has come into contact with, or is dangerously near to, the blade.  The blade stops operating within 15 milliseconds, minimising the severity of an incident – potentially the difference between just a small skin cut and an amputated finger.

Already well established in Australasia, hundreds of systems have been sold worldwide since its launch in 2014.  Now, following the appointment of Interfood, BladeStop is available in the UK and Ireland.  BladeStop is available in two sensing options, with the Glovecheck system detecting operator gloves moving at high speed in a zone directly upstream from the saw blade.  In both options, the blade stops in under 15 milliseconds.

Fresh Meat Portioning

Available through Interfood’s dedicated Fresh Meat Portioning Division, TVI’s fresh meat slicing & dicing lines offer crust freezing, slicing, portion control, shingling and tray dispensing, providing the ideal solution for a wide range of fresh meats – beef, lamb, pork and turkey – for both bone-in and bone-less products as well as dicing, all on the same machine. The patented gripper-less press and slice system ensures excellent yield and reduced give-away, with figures typically less than 3% give-away for bone-in products and less than 2% on bone-less. It also provides significant advances in terms of pack presentation, a major benefit as retailers look to maximise shelf appeal.

Brine Preparation, Injection and Marinating

Producing a brine of consistent quality and temperature is crucial to the quality of the end product. Interfood offers the Schroeder BRIMAX, brine preparation, IMAX range of injectors and Max range of tumblers and massagers. These give total flexibility and accountability over what is a crucial part of the factory design.  

Schroeder’s superior build quality, hygienic design and technical advantages are second to none. Interfood can integrate into an existing line or supply the complete solution, with Schroeder’s touch screens ensuring optimum control showing all the relevant curing and process data required.

Industry trends

Mark Bishop continues – “We have seen an increased buoyancy in our sector of the meat machinery market, as our customers’ ability to source financing has improved. However, access to competitive financing can still be difficult, particularly for small to medium sized (SME) firms and this has lead to an increased interest in our dedicated finance packages. We have always taken the attitude that working closely with customers and understanding their particular circumstances is important.  For example, for production trials, once parameters are agreed, we can lend equipment so the customer can get a true indication of how it will actually perform on their own products and within their own processes.  With our finance packages, we work closely with a partner who has specific experience in the food industry and who is therefore able to tailor packages for capital investments in the food processing industry.”

“Whereas in recent years there has been a move towards refurbishing existing equipment, we are now seeing a very definite trend to invest in new equipment.  Many customers are adopting complete processing lines but there are still some that prefer the modular approach which can provide greater flexibility in certain applications.”

“Alongside the equipment itself, we have also seen customers quite rightly demanding high levels of service. Good quality service technicians who really understand the equipment and who have direct experience of working with it are central to this.  After-sales service and support has always been a focus for what we do at Interfood. Support and optimisation contracts are becoming an increasingly important part  of the equipment purchase decision-making process. It is about optimising the performance of the equipment through several methods including preventive maintenance, repeat-operator training, programme and machine set-up and remedial work. These packages are all designed to reduce the cost of manufacture, by the reduction of down-time, increasing of yields and the reduction of give-away, leading to an improvement of efficiency and output.”