Since beginning trading in 1989, O’Kane Meats have dedicated their business to the preservation of the traditional skills and expertise of the butchery trade with the aim of providing a superior product to their customers. As founding members of the Elite Butchers Association of Northern Ireland, they pride themselves on their commitment to their customers and staff alike. The company is situated in the heart of Claudy.
The company wanted to develop ‘High Protein’ salads and ‘Food to Go’ options as part of the Department for Economy InnovateUs programme however they required upskilling support from NWRC Foodovation Centre team as this was a brand-new area for them.
They also wanted to develop a new range of ‘fresh and freeze thaw soups’ for their customers to make life a bit more convenient for them as part of the Invest Northern Ireland Innovation Voucher programme.
To assist and make their idea a reality O’Kane Meats contacted Northwest Regional College (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC) who supported them through the InnovateUs programme which is funded by Department for the Economy.
NWRC Culinary Technical Consultant, Ciaran Deery, provided upskilling recipe development, flavour combinations and trends, cooking and preparation methods to deliver the best quality product, ‘high protein’ claims, properties of ingredients other than the meat and how they interact with each other when packaged, hygiene and food safety implications for producing a ‘high risk’ ready to eat product from a butcher’s shop.
The company also utilised Innovation Voucher funding from Invest Northern Ireland for upskilling support in new recipe development, along with allergen management, nutritional value, labelling and packaging.
The company was able to successfully develop new High Protein’ salads and ‘Food to Go’ options as part of the Department for Economy InnovateUs programme which they have now launched in their stores. They were also able to develop their new frozen soup products which will be launching soon.
Rory O’Kane, Director at O’Kane Meats described the benefits of working with NWRC’s Business Support Centre via the InnovateUs & Innovation Voucher programmes:
‘’I’m delighted with the support and expertise I received from Ciaran Deery of NWRC Foodovation Centre. Through the Department for Economy’s InnovateUs programme we were able to develop a new range of Fresh salads which incorporated the correct nutritional values such as high protein, we also developed new ‘Ready to Go’ meals for our cold counter at the butchers.
We then continued with Foodovation and went through the Invest Ni programme where we were able to develop a new range of Fresh and Freeze thaw soups which will be launching this October at O Kane Meats. The college was beneficial in the development of these new products, and they were a major help with the new range of foods, we also learned new skills so we can develop further at our own shop. I would encourage all businesses to take part in the colleges innovation programmes and to get in touch with the Foodovation team.’’