Ballinteer Farm has developed a comprehensive range of game meat products, including quail, pigeon, pheasant, partridge and poussin and when in season game pheasant, partridge and wood pigeon. Their customer base has grown considerably over the last few months to include butchers, hotels, restaurants and pubs as well as the public.
Ballinteer’s issue was that in order to raise the quail for meat there is an excess production of quail eggs. To allow Balinteer Farm to maximise the return of their product they wanted to add value to their eggs through the development of a premium smoked egg product with a usable shelf life.
Ballinteer Farm were struggling to develop such a product and Linda Christie, owner of Ballinteer Farm, contacted the North West Regional College (NWRC) to explore possible solutions.
The NWRC were able to support Ballinteer Farm through the Innovate US programme, funded by Department for the Economy (DfE), which equated to 30 hours of skills support from Karen Marran, NWRC Food Technology Consultant.
Following discussions between Karen and Linda, a strategy was agreed and followed, which included one to one specific training to show the company how to refine an idea, source suitable ingredients, standardise a recipe for a new product, identify unique processes, training in how to upscale a recipe, and skills in shelf life analysis and product packaging.
On completion of the project, Linda was successfully upskilled on the development of the added value elements to their quail eggs. Ballinteer Farm hope to continue to avail of technical support from the NWRC and plan to invest in a kitchen for business use on the farm as a result of the product development.
Ballinteer Farm are aiming to increase revenue by 25% with these developments and have applied for and secured an Invest NI innovation voucher to further engage in product testing of shelf life and further development of added value products.