Paul Roach has spent an eventful 18 months at the helm of Belmont Meat Products Ltd., a meat processing company with a 50-year history in the Canadian food industry. His timing couldn’t have been better – he joins the celebration of the company’s golden anniversary and, as CEO, he gets to lead the company into a future in which growth is a certainty.
Belmont Meat Products was founded in 1966 in Toronto, Ontario, by Murray Walderman as a supplier of custom-cut meat products developed for foodservice customers. More than 30 years later, private equity firm Summer Street Capital of Buffalo, New York, acquired Belmont from Murray Walderman’s three sons.
Since the acquisition, Belmont has bene- fitted from two plant expansions that increased the company’s production capacity and increased market share while maintaining the processor’s food-safety record. Today, Belmont employs 180 workers at its single plant in Canada. The company produces more than 40 million lbs. of meat products per year and generates about $100 million in revenues.
Customers include major food retailers, quick-service restaurant chains, casual and fast-casual dining operations, club stores and specialty frozen food stores. Belmont also is a certified Halal meat processor. The company markets products under the Belmont brand in addition to private-label brands that are sold in Canada and the United States.
Roach says the current production ratio is 73 percent retail while the remainder is foodservice.
“We’re working hard to expand in both channels,” he says, so the goal is moving toward a 60-40 mix depending on what Belmont can do in foodservice. “It will take some time to get our feet on the ground,” Roach says, “but the opportunity is definitely there.”
Customization is key
Belmont Meats has 50 years of experience making value-added, fresh, frozen and private label meat products to customers’ specifications. Take Belmont’s three-part burger and ground beef capabilities as an example.
First, the customer can choose the grind size, which ranges from fine to coarse, and the fat content, from extra-lean, lean to medium. Source products include Angus sirloin, chuck, brisket and prime rib. Protein options beyond beef include pork and poultry. Product attributes on offer include antibiotic-free, hormone-free and grass-fed proteins and visible inclusion options.
The next category for consideration is forming – will the customer prefer standard fill, tender form or home-style puck? No matter the form, Belmont Meats employs Formax burger Standard Fill, Tenderform and Homestyle processing technologies to deliver customized shapes and sizes. Also, the advanced systems create burgers with a fluffy texture with a “fresh from the kitchen” quality with less shrink and superior texture that cooks through evenly.
Finally, products are spiral-air frozen to maintain optimal moisture retention. Product can be packaged in retail boxes and bags, bulk burgers for foodservice and wholesale customers or simply bulk ground beef.
Belmont uses a combination of technology and the human touch to make products to customer specs. Butchers hand cut individual portions for steaks and roasts. Value-added options include marinating, seasoning, bacon-wrapped steaks and a combination mechanical/enzymatic tenderization.