On average, people are spending less and less time on preparing their meals. The popularity of convenience food is also experiencing strong growth. More and more products are being offered in small portion sizes, pre-cut, seasoned, marinated and quite often pre-cooked, sometimes as a component of a whole meal. Increasingly often, products are “ready to cook” or “ready to eat”.
The consumer also needs a lot of variety and is more often looking for regional and healthy products or products with a more extreme “ethnic” taste. Retailers compete ever more aggressively for their customers’ favour with new product ideas. Besides their own brands, “exclusive” lines are popular as an alternative to eating out.
“Marel supply a large number of machines for cutting and portioning of red meat to poultry to fish. These are flexible solutions which quickly and accurately cut portions to fixed weight, fixed length or thicknesses allowing for perfect portioning designed to meet the demands of the consumer”, says Rodney Macer-Wright, General Manager, Marel SA.
Some examples of end products portioned by Marel equipment include; strips, diced chunks, trimmed fillet shapes, steaks to thickness and weight, mini fillets as well as a variety of other options.
“The market for portioned products in South Africa is growing, this is primarily as a result of a change in consumer buying behaviour. Due to the recent financial crisis, more and more consumers are shopping for meals that are prepared for their specific size of family in order to avoid wastage. To be able to meet the increasing demand for pre-packaged and convenience food, suppliers need to be able to portion protein very accurately in order to reduce giveaway and maximize profitability”, concludes Macer-Wright.