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Closing date for applications to the programme is the 3rd of September 2017.

Macra na Feirme's Young Farmer Skillnet has announced the launch of its Young Beef Farmer Sustainability Programme in association with Dawn Meats.  The programme is designed to help ambitious young farmers to develop their farming skills, their business and commercial awareness.

Dawn Meats and Macra Young Farmer Skillnet are inviting young farmers to apply for a place on the programme, which runs for 8 months and will equip participants to:

  • Analyse and evaluate their own business and to make choices for future growth and efficiency;
  • Understand the customer requirements in the retail marketplace and how as beef farmers they can meet those requirements;
  • Identify practices on their individual farms that can enhance sustainability and profitability;
  • Share and communicate the knowledge gained from the programme with their fellow young beef farmers;
  • Perfect their communication style when dealing with people - from farm staff and contractors to the bank manager.

Speaking at the launch of the programme Paul Nolan, Dawn Meats said: “With a proud tradition of producing the most succulent grass-fed quality assured beef on our Irish family farms, Dawn Meats is delighted to work with Macra's cohort of young beef farmers as they embrace the opportunities for efficient and sustainable beef production into the future.”

James Healy, National President of Macra na Feirme said: “This initiative is an exciting opportunity for young beef farmers to help them improve the efficiency, sustainability and margins of their farms. By participating in this Skillnet training, young beef farmers from across the country will gain a deeper understanding of the beef industry from farm to fork.  We would encourage all young beef farmers to apply for this programme and we wish to thank our partners Dawn Meats for their support and assistance with this initiative. The Young Beef Farmer Sustainability Programme will give our young beef farmers the confidence to undertake on-farm projects that add value to their beef farming enterprise. It is a very exciting development for our Skillnet training offering.”

Applicants can apply for the programme online at www.macra.ie/YBFSP Places are limited so applicants should apply early before the closing date the 3rd of September 2017.  

The successful participants will be introduced at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly in September.

Great Taste Awards 2017

on 01 August, 2017

The world’s most coveted blind tasted awards, The Great Taste, has released the stars of 2017 and Dawn Meats is amongst the producers celebrating having been awarded gold stars for 14 products, including a 3-star for our ‘Swaledale Lamb Rack’.

The Guild of Fine Food underpins the British speciality food sector, with the recognised Great Taste Awards for produce that surpasses excellence in quality, taste and innovation. To receive a 3-star rating, every judge at each judging session, had to unanimously agree that the product had achieved absolute perfection by delivering exceptional quality and taste. Dawn Meats are proud to carry the Great Taste logo as it is a badge of honour but more importantly a signpost to our wonderful tasting products.

Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with branding and packaging removed prior to tasting. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.

This year saw the Great Taste judging road-shows take place in Llandrillo College, North Wales, the Guild’s Headquarters in Gillingham, Dorset and the new venue and permanent home close to Borough Market, London. Judged over an intense 62 days from March through to early July, by over 400 of the nation’s most discerning palates belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restauranteurs, producers and a host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely recognised as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality fine food and drink.

Of the 12,366 products that were entered this year, only 165 products achieved the highest and most coveted rating, three stars – including our very own ‘Swaledale Lamb Rack Cap On’.
Commentary from the judges on our 3-star accredited ‘Swaledale Lamb Rack Cap On’ included: “A beautifully butchered rack of lamb”, “An excellent product, deserving of all accolades it can get”, and “stunning, I'd definitely go back and buy that again and I wouldn't worry about the price point either".

Dawn Meats are proud to have received a Gold award at the World Steak Challenge 2017 for its grass fed 28 month Shorthorn Sirloin Steak from Cardington. Now in its third year, the World Steak Challenge was held at The Magic Roundabout in Old Street, London on 4th July.

The global challenge, which recognises Gold and Silver Medal steak quality, was presented by Global Meat News. This year's competition saw 17 countries and 25 breeds represented with more than 90 entries involved across the categories. Each steak was judged against internationally agreed criteria, that covered both raw and cooked technical testing. A two-stage judging process ensured that each steak was sampled by both a panel of expert judges and a panel of consumer judges. Each entry is judged on a variety of factors including marbling, trim, aroma, succulence and taste.

Rod Addy, editor of GlobalMeatNews, said: "The sheer range and quality of entries this year is a testament to the hard work put in by producers across the globe. This year's Challenge has attracted a record number of entries, reflecting the pride producers take in steak production and the importance of winning this accolade to propel their business and their brand".

Commenting on the Gold Award, Mike Roach, Dawn Meats, said: “We are proud to have been awarded Gold by the panel at this year’s World Steak Challenge. Not only is it testament to the hard work and dedication of our top class producers, it is a great endorsement of our exclusive process which combines tradition and technology to consistently produce an outstanding steak. We are delighted that the Judges enjoyed them as much as we enjoyed selecting, producing and presenting them.”

Dawn Meats was delighted to accept the awards for ‘Best Beef Product’, ‘Best Red Meat Product’ and ‘Young Manager of the Year’ at this year’s Meat Management Industry Awards which took place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on Wednesday 28th June 2017. 

As one of the highlights of the meat industry calendar, the annual Meat Management Industry Awards sets a benchmark for recognising excellence throughout the meat industry. Dawn Meats was awarded ‘Best Beef Product’ for their Extra Special Slow Cooked West Country Teriyaki Beef Rib as supplied to Asda. The product was also selected as overall winner of the ‘Best Red Meat Product’ which recognises the top product from the three category winners – Beef, Lamb and Pork/Pigmeat.

Commenting, Kristian Gabrielson, Asda Account Manager, Dawn Meats said: “We are proud to have been awarded ‘Best Beef Product’ and chosen as ‘Best Red Meat Product’. We attribute this success to the innovative approach our dedicated and passionate team take and our commitment to quality combined with our expertise and exceptional customer service”.

Other products from Dawn Meats to receive recognition on the night included:

Chuck ‘n’ Rib Beef Burger – Finalist – Best Burger
ASDA Extra Special Slow Cooked Lamb Tagine - Highly Commended – Best Lamb Product
ASDA Extra Special Slow Cooked Coq au Vin – Finalist – Best Poultry Product

Young Manager of the Year Award

Gerard Kennedy, Site Operations Manager at Highland Meats, a division of Dawn Meats (UK) has been named ‘Young Manager of the Year’ at this year’s Meat Management Industry Awards.

To be considered for the award Meat Management were looking for candidates under the age of 34 with initiative, someone to watch for in the future and someone who is looking at the industry as a whole, not just within their specific job role and the day to day running of the business or department.

Having first joined as a graduate in 2009 Ger progressed quickly through the Graduate Training Programme, and worked across numerous sites in both the UK and Ireland. In 2014, Ger took over as Site Operations Manager in Highland Meats. Under Ger’s management, the site of 280 people is a strong inclusive team who strive for continuous improvement. The site has improved all of its’ key customer quality & service scores, including complaints and audit results. In addition, throughputs in the factory have increased while budget and cost control measures have been tightened and improved.

As part of the award process, Ger was interviewed by a panel of 5 industry professionals. The interview process involved taking a dive into his history within the industry, his ambitions and where he sees himself in 5-10 years. Ger also had to provide his views on the meat industry, what he sees for the future of the industry, the challenges it faces and how these challenges may be tackled.

The panel included: Keith Fisher, Chief executive, Institute of Meat, Bill Jermey, Chief executive, Food & Drink Training & Education Council Ltd, Rob Smith, Director of Blue Fish Marketing Consultancy and Meat Management magazine contributor, Christine Walsh, Managing director, Meat & Livestock Commercial Services, Emily Ansell-Elfer, Editor, Meat Management magazine and Graham Yandell, publisher of Meat Management magazine as Chair.

Commenting on Ger’s award, Ken Hallahan, UK Operations Director, Dawn Meats said: “Ger’s inclusive and supportive management style has allowed him to be successful in the development of both the Highland Meats site itself and the management team. His leadership skills and approach have helped him to drive through a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration across functions and responsibilities”.

Helen Rees, Group HR, Dawn Meats said: “Ger is an excellent example of the progression that may be achieved by graduates through the Dawn Meats Brighter Futures programme. His rapid rise through the company is testament to his hardworking and meticulous nature. Ger demonstrates all the key skills and characteristics required to succeed in this industry and is a real asset to the business”.

https://meatmanagement.com/best-of-the-uk-meat-industry-honoured-at-meat-management-industry-awards/ 

 

Dawn Meats has agreed a strategic partnership with Dunbia to establish a majority owned joint venture [‘JV’] in the United Kingdom comprising the UK operations of both organisations. Dawn will separately acquire Dunbia’s operations in the Republic of Ireland. The deal is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities.

In Ireland, Dawn Meats will have 9 facilities (including 5 abattoirs), following the addition of two complementary Dunbia facilities - one abattoir in Slane, and one boning hall in Kilbeggan.

The combined UK businesses will trade as Dunbia and will deliver enhanced scale and market presence to better serve existing farmer suppliers and customers of both organisations across the retail, manufacturing, wholesale and food service sectors. The businesses are highly complementary, and will offer customers regionally sourced solutions for both beef and lamb from 15 facilities across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Dunbia’s CEO Jim Dobson, OBE will be CEO of the new Dunbia JV, and Dawn Meats’ CEO Niall Browne, will be Executive Chairman. The JV will be run from Dunbia’s existing headquarters in Dungannon, Northern Ireland.

Commenting, Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats said: “We are both family businesses with a deep connection to farming and a culture and business ethos that is centered on quality and sustainability. Given the uncertainty posed by Brexit, this partnership should further underpin the competiveness of both operations to the benefit of all stakeholders in the UK, Ireland and across Europe.”

“We are very excited about the future of both companies and the opportunities that this transaction will bring for our staff, customers and suppliers. In our key operating markets we will be involved in 3 leading national businesses with Dawn Meats in Ireland, Dunbia in the UK and Elivia in France, with our cooperative partners Terrena.”

Jim Dobson, CEO of Dunbia said: “This is the right strategic partnership for Dunbia’s staff and customers and sees us joining with a company with a shared heritage of excellence in the production of premium beef and lamb products. The new UK joint venture confirms our future as a leading supplier in the UK market. In a consolidating industry this deal makes strategic sense for both companies, our customers and our farmer suppliers.”

Dawn Meats has become the first Irish food manufacturing company to achieve the coveted Business Working Responsibly Mark at its Carroll’s Cross site in Waterford. A significant milestone on our journey to becoming Europe’s most sustainable meat company, Dawn Meats last night joined a group of only 25 companies in Ireland to have attained this standard. 

The Mark represents a challenging standard and is modelled on internationally recognized ISO 26000.  A comprehensive review of the business from corporate responsibility governance, to workplace, marketplace, environment and community practices took place at audit stage, which was completed over two days in May.

Dawn Meats has been widely recognized for its achievements in environmental sustainability and the Mark is further validation of this work and the work undertaken in broader areas of sustainability. 

Dawn Meats CEO Niall Browne commented: “We have set ourselves the goal of becoming Europe’s most sustainable meat company and the endorsement by BITC, with the achievement of the Business Working Responsibly Mark at Carroll’s Cross is further evidence of our progress.  Over the last two years we have updated our sustainability strategy, published our first CSR report and broadened our engagement with stakeholders. As a business we are committed to continuous improvement and are excited by what is achievable over the coming years.”

Head of CSR David O’ Flynn added: “Being awarded the Mark is tremendous recognition of the commitment shown by Dawn Meats to responsible business practices.  Over the last 18 months the team has worked with BITC’s Mark framework to develop a formalised and documented approach to responsibility and sustainability. Dawn Meats knows that being responsible and sustainable works in harmony and synergy with business growth and it is this knowledge that ensures our continuation on this path.”

Pictured: Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats, receiving the Mark from Tina Roche, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland.

Dawn Meats has achieved ISO 50001 certification for its development and implementation of an efficient energy use policy in accordance with the highest international standards at its retail packing plant, Dawn Cross Hands in South Wales. 

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare. ISO 50001 is one of their most sought after standards. Dawn Cross Hands had previously been certified to the ISO 14001 Standard. 

Dawn Cross Hands is a large energy user with an annual bill of close to £1 million and refrigeration makes up a significant percentage of the total energy used at the site. With the development, implementation and integration of an energy management system aimed specifically at refrigeration consumption, the site has reduced its refrigeration consumption by 6% delivering significant financial returns, and resulting in its ISO 50001 certification. 

Commenting Ken Hallahan, UK Operations Director, Dawn Meats said, "ISO certification is recognized and respected by farmer suppliers, retailer and food service customers, and the general public as it provides reassurance and certainty that an organisation is operating to an international standard. Dawn Meats views effective energy management as an essential strategic requirement of the business, so it is fitting that Dawn Cross Hands has achieved this certification".  

Michael Brophy of Certification Europe said, "Dawn Meats deserve to be congratulated for what they have achieved. Not only have they pushed the boundaries in energy management, they have put themselves amongst a very select group of organisations worldwide that have achieved the Energy Management standard (ISO 50001). Being certified makes it clear that the organisation is committed to improving the operational and environmental efficiency of its Utilities and Energy. With Certification to ISO 50001 through Certification Europe, Dawn Meats have given clear evidence of this commitment". 

The achievements in refrigeration energy consumption will now be replicated on other significant energy users at Dawn Cross Hands, and upon review of the benefits, the wider Dawn Group plans to roll out the standard elsewhere in its network of plants. 

ISO 50001 provides a framework of requirements for organisations to develop a policy for more efficient use of energy; set targets and objectives; use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use; and measure the results, continually reviewing and improving how the policy works. 

First CSR Report

on 27 March, 2017

Dawn Meats has announced ambitious 2025 targets to reduce water and energy intensity by 40% and CO2 emission intensity by 50%. The commitments are contained in our first CSR report which also sets out the ambitious goal of becoming Europe’s most sustainable meat company.

Sustainability across the wider business has been prioritised since Dawn Meats published its first sustainability plan in 2009.  As one of the first verified members of Origin Green, Dawn Meats has had its sustainability credentials endorsed by many external agencies, and since 2012 annual progress under Origin Green has been independently assessed to the highest international standards.

Commenting on the 2016 CSR report, CEO Niall Browne said, “None of this would be possible without the commitment of our staff. We have a really strong CSR committee at management level, but the buy-in throughout the organisation has been a credit to every member of the team. 2025 is fast approaching, and we will continue to keep a close eye on our targets to ensure that we meet and exceed them where possible.”

Group Head of CSR David O’Flynn commented, “At Dawn Meats we recognise that doing the right thing will build a more robust business for the future which will benefit employees, customers and farmers. Our CSR strategy is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and I am very excited about what we have committed to achieve and we will engage widely to deliver on these objectives.”  

Dawn Meats works with 15,000 Irish farmers and 5,000 British farmers, contributing over €550m to local rural economies across Ireland, and €450m across the UK. The CSR report details many of our 2016 achievements.

An example of how Dawn Meats is approaching the sustainability challenge can be found in the progress achieved with our Eco Drive initiative in 2016, which has seen hauliers achieve a reduction of 1m litres of fuel and saving 2,500 tons of CO2. These savings have been achieved collaboratively through an investment by hauliers in training and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Dawn Meats reputation of innovation in premium meat products continued in 2016 and in this year we launched more than 100 new and innovative value added meat products with major European supermarket chains.

We also focused in 2016 on expanding internal communication - leveraging social media, intranet and bulletin boards, around themes such as the environment, health and well-being and food safety. Employees came together to participate in events such as our dedicated Health Week 2016, with over 900 staff attending health clinics for check-ups. 2016 also saw Dawn Meats donate almost €200,000 to local charities, and its staff volunteered over 2,000 hours to causes which are valued by employees and the communities where they operate.

In keeping with our mission to provide consistent, quality meat products from sustainable sources, we continued to work in 2016 with our partners Teagasc, the Irish Farmers Journal and McDonald’s to progress research into sustainable beef production at the Newford Demonstration Farm in Athenry. The farm showcases beef production utilising natural grass advantage and alternative breeds to deliver appropriate muscle size and shape for modern European consumers.

Dawn Meats was delighted to support the NFU Scotland’s Annual Dinner, which took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow as part of the Union’s Conference and AGM on Monday 6th February 2017.

Over 500 diners were served up a showcase menu of some of the very best food and drink that Scotland has to offer including our very own Caledonia Crown PGI Scotch Beef which featured as the main course on the menu.

Isla Roebuck, Operations Director of Dawn Meats commented: “It was a privilege to supply this year’s NFU annual dinner with our Caledonia Crown PGI Scotch Beef and a fantastic opportunity to showcase to guests the exceptional quality and reputation that our Caledonia Crown PGI Scotch Beef delivers time after time.”   

NFU Scotland, Chief Executive, Scott Walker commented: “Every day of the year our farmers are working hard to produce the high-quality food and drink that is available right on our doorsteps. This year’s annual dinner is once again a celebration of that passion and enthusiasm. I am particularly grateful to the companies throughout Scotland who have sponsored or supplied the produce for this year’s dinner. I know that our Scottish farmers take immense pride in what they grow and produce, testament to the thriving food and drink industry we have in this country. I am very much aware that consumers, here and abroad, recognise and value the provenance and quality of the food we produce here in Scotland, something that the Union will continue to champion.”

NFU Scotland, President, Andrew McCornick commented: “We wanted to use this opportunity to showcase the highest quality produce from Scottish farms and this was achieved thanks to Dawn Meats generous contribution of top quality Caledonia Crown beef for our dinner which drew the highest level of compliments from all who attended”.

Pictured (l-r): Gary Mitchell, Vice President NFU Scotland, Isla Roebuck, Dawn Meats, Andrew McCornick, President NFU Scotland and Martin Kennedy, Vice President NFU Scotland

The 2nd annual Great Agri-Food Debate will take place at 2.30pm on Wednesday 22nd of February in the Garret Fitzgerald Debating Chamber in University College Dublin (UCD).  Food and agriculture students from Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) will join students from UCD to debate the motion: “Brexit will be good for the Irish Agri-Food Industry”.  

This is the second year that UCD will play host to the Great Agri-Food Debate, a joint initiative of Dawn Meats & McDonald’s Ireland and it follows a successful inaugural event last year. 

While the Irish food and drinks industry waits to see what will unfold as Britain exits the European Union, companies are developing plans to reconfigure their businesses and minimize the downside risks.  The ideas shared by the students will add new perspectives to an already dynamic discussion.   

Justin McCarthy, Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, will Chair the debate and the judging panel will comprise Niall Browne, CEO, Dawn Meats; Adrian Crean, Managing Director, McDonald’s Ireland and Tara McCarthy, CEO Bord Bia.  Dawn Meats and McDonald’s Ireland are co-sponsoring the event.

Commenting Niall Browne, CEO said; “We held this debate for the first time last year, and I think we were all struck by the vigour of the debate and the knowledge of the participants. We have long known that our 3rd level institutions are a rich source of talent and innovative thinking and with Britain’s exit from the EU on the horizon, it’s a key issue on which students should have an informed opinion.”

Commenting Adrian Crean, MD McDonald’s Ireland said; “It’s great to be heading back to UCD again this year to encourage debate of one of the really key issues of the day. McDonald’s in Ireland is going from strength to strength as a business and like many other companies Brexit is a challenge on the horizon. It’s important that we listen to the views of the next generation of business leaders and all stakeholders as we consider the possible impact on the business environment.”  

Following on from the success of last year’s debate, there is expected to be great interest.  All are welcome to attend.

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