Working with Direct Meats, founder Mark Hayward explained to Food Manufacture that the creation of the charcuterie facility has been two and a half years in the making.
He said that creating a charcuterie offering has been a “long-term” ambition for him and he worked with Direct Meats’ chef Thomas Hempstead to develop the range. They renovated an existing building into the charcuterie production line and separated some of his pigs for the produce.
Dingley Dell has created a slicing range for restaurants as well as a whole muscle range. He also wants an offering that butchers shops would be interested in stocking as well as creating some specials to keep the range fresh. The range would be available in April.
Although Hayward said volumes can vary due to the nature of the product, he expects to roll out about 700 to 800 kilos a week to start. “We’ve got to be thinking high volumes to make this level of investment worthwhile.”
While home grown charcuterie is on the rise, Hayward said he didn’t want to put a British spin on existing products. “We feel the Italian style is tried and tested and what customers expect. There’s no sense in trying to fix something that’s not broken.”
As part of their research, Hayward and his team visited charcuterie facilities in Italy and Spain to see how they were run in other countries.
“The UK market is much smaller than on the Continent so we looked at their processes, what they’re feeding their animals and how they develop their ranges.”
He said that the pigs for charcuterie require a different diet as the level of marbling needs to be higher for the flavour which adds to the logistics of creating these products.
Although it’s a step-change in terms of production, Hayward said there’s more flexibility to charcuterie. “It’s a lot easier to manage than fresh meat so you’re not under as much pressure to ship the product out plus you’re making good use of the whole pig carcase.”