From farm to fork

Pickstock Telford is moving to the next level of its development as a beef processor with the company expanding its facility to further grow its business in the UK and export markets

The UK has long been considered a world-class producer of beef, and companies like Pickstock Telford have continuously taken care to maintain this reputation. The family-owned business was PT 137 bestablished in 2004, but its seeds had been sown further back in time. The Pickstock family boasts a farming heritage of over 70 years.

“The business has grown quite significantly year on year since it was established in 2004,” Dean Andrews, the company’s Sales Director, begins. “Back then we were predominantly selling to export processors and manufacturers and took a major step forward in 2007 as export markets opened once again to British beef. At approximately the same time, our owner Greg Pickstock began looking at opportunities to further grow the business and planned and developed from green field our industry leading beef processing site. Since then, the company has grown substantially and we have now established ourselves as a high-quality beef supplier into the UK market. We have also experienced continued growth outside of the UK and currently export our beef to over 35 different countries around the world.”

Growing rapidly, Pickstock Telford has clearly defined its goal to become a fully-integrated business, and over the last two years, the company has been busy putting the pieces together to achieve that. The final part of the jigsaw is expected to be added in July 2018, when Pickstock Telford’s expanded production facility will be fully operational. The multi million-pound investment to the existing site is now edging closer to completion in July this year. “From July this year, we will have the capability to cut individually-portioned cuts of beef and expand our supply into the B2B and foodservice sectors. Our primary focus will be to slice, mince and dice a wide variety of products, and produce our own range of steaks, roasting joints, along with fresh burgers,” Dean explains.

Centre of excellence
Biosecurity and full transparency in production have been recognised by Pickstock Telford as valuable aspects of the proposition the company wants to create, hence the development of the business’ sustainability programme. “Our sustainability strategy focuses on four key pillars – animal welfare, environment, social responsibility and sustainable supply. We see transparency in the supply chain as hugely important to our customers going forward and we are commencing building work shortly on our new agricultural centre of excellence at our very own Brongain Farm. The facility will be a centre of excellence outlining all the key aspects surrounding rearing and finishing, animal welfare and sustainability. More and more people are interested in the welfare of the animals and we are keen to collaborate on these issues with all of our customers and share with them the entire farming process from gate to plate,” Dean enthuses. “In addition to this we hope to use the centre as a development hub for live projects ‘with local farmers, our customers and national colleges and universities.”

Brand building
At the time of the interview, Dean was present at Foodex in Birmingham – the UK’s leading trade event for the food and drink processing, packaging, and logistics industries, where he was representing Pickstock Telford with two objectives in mind. “First, we want to introduce our business to the trade, and secondly we are here to present our new prime foodservice brand and range -Brongain Farm’s. Brongain Farm’s beef is from cattle that we own and rear in our own farms, and at the moment, we are building a programme that will see the rearing and production of 5000 PT 137 ccattle in the next three years, predominantly from the Aberdeen Angus and Hereford breeds,” Dean specifies.

Full transparency
Exploring new markets represents the third part of the future-proof model Pickstock Telford is building, complementing the increase of facility capacity and the continual embrace of sustainable practices. The beef processor has traditionally been strong in Western Europe, in countries like France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Dean comments on the company’s plans: “We are aware of the growing opportunity for beef and fifth quarter products in Asia and more specifically China and have been watching recent trade developments with interest. We are confident the market will open for UK trade as it has done recently for Irish processors and are establishing a strategy to launch successfully into this market when it’s viable.

“All the activities we are currently engaged with, contribute to the establishment of a solid fully-integrated business model that will allow us to operate on multiple levels across sectors to offer a true unique selling point to the market,” Dean envisages. “We want to have full transparency throughout the entire supply chain and reach a point when we will have the capability to successfully serve a number of key channels in the UK and export markets.

“Our strategic vision is based on developing true partnerships with foodservice operators, wholesalers and manufacturers both in the UK and across the world as we move forward and this will be our primary focus for the next three years. With a fully integrated business capable of supplying a wide range of products from primal cuts, roasting joints, portioned steaks, minced and diced beef through to premium fresh burgers we are well positioned to become a category leader in the foodservice and B2B sectors on all things beef,” concluded Dean. “These are exciting times for us all here at Pickstock and we look forward to developing long term partnerships in the foodservice sector starting with our launch in July 2018.”