When Creative Foods moved into the former Kerry Foods manufacturing facility in Burton during the summer of 2020, it embarked on an extensive programme of investment in new equipment and manufacturing technology. This included more than £3m on a state-of-the-art sous vide system from Armor Inox. Using the traditional immersive water bath method of production, rather than steam injection, Armor Inox represents the world’s most advanced industrial sous vide cooking and chilling system, thanks to precise timing-aligned temperatures that rise gradually and cook evenly.
The new equipment, combined with significant investment in the infrastructure for developing and manufacturing sauces, means that Creative Foods now boasts one of the most advanced and comprehensive sous vide production facilities in the UK. Creative Foods can therefore produce high quality, succulent sous vide, ‘under vacuum’, proteins including chicken, beef, lamb, pork and duck, along with a sauce of choice.
‘The synergy between these core capabilities, along with high technical standards and end-to-end control of tried and trusted manufacturing processes, enables us to offer our customers technically robust sous vide meal solutions with the added benefit of exceptional portion control and consistency,’ says Lee Tynan, Food Development Director at Creative Foods. ‘And, because we manufacture sauces, we can provide these too, either as an integral part of a finished dish, or separately for the chef to add as a finishing touch.’
Creative Foods has invested in operational efficiencies and created systems, processes, and staff training programmes, drawing on its own best practices as well as those of its parent company, OSI. Creative Foods is also on hand to assist customers with product development with its experienced team of development chefs – from a variety of manufacturing, foodservice, and retail backgrounds – who are experts on food and flavour trends and well able to advise on the diverse and ever-changing demands of kitchens, menus, and customers.
‘We are seeing the growth in sous vide cooking as more and more chefs are now engaging with it. As well as retaining juices and flavours from being slow cooked in a water bath, and producing fantastically tender meat, it provides perfect consistency, greater yield and, in many cases, far superior flavour. Although primarily associated with fine dining its benefits are, in fact, just as valuable in the pub, restaurant and quick serve environment because of a quick cook time and good shelf life on defrost. It is also a great technique for getting the most from less expensive cuts of meat and this can have a dramatic impact on gross profit margins, consistency, and shelf life,’ concludes Tynan.
To coincide with the investment in sous vide equipment and manufacturing processes, Creative Foods is also refreshing the look and feel of its Oliver James brand – the brand for sous vide innovation.