The Burger Manufacturing Company
A prime example
The Burger Manufacturing Company sets new standards in food manufacturing through the creation of products that redefine the perception of burgers
Transforming the humble burger from a generic fast food commodity to delicious, gourmet cuisine is no easy feat and yet, over the past seven years, the Burger Manufacturing Company has consistently produced burgers that score highly in both the taste and quality stakes. Following recent controversies highlighted by the television programme ‘Undercover Mums’ and subsequently reported in the press, surrounding restaurants serving substandard meat of unclear origin, BMC stands out as a company in which customers can have complete faith.
Founded in 2000 after Welsh Development Agency support encouraged it to base its EEC-approved factory in Builth Wells, Wales, the company prioritises excellence in appearance and taste. It has consistently refused to compromise the integrity of its objectives and quality of its products by entering into the food industry’s price wars, and its range of beef and lamb burgers is produced from prime meat from animals reared exclusively in the UK and Ireland.
“Our products are split into three distinct categories,” explains sales and marketing manager Mark Cornall. “At the top end we have our Gourmet range that includes our Kobe, Aberdeen Angus and Celtic Pride range. Demonstrating how we’re proud to be different, Celtic Pride is a consortium of Welsh farmers, supported by Castell Howell Foods Ltd and Wynnstay Group Plc, who sign up to certain breeding and feeding regimes and receive a premium for their animals, leaving us with a fully traceable product. Our second burger group is Select which offers a range of steak burgers, lamb and mint burgers, and vegetable variants, and the third group is Fast Food including beef plus more vegetarian options.”
By locally sourcing all raw materials and providing employment in local economies, BMC has raised the bar in burger manufacturing. Following recent negative press attention regarding the quality of meat, BMC issued a statement defending its products and drawing attention to the misleading claims made by some meat suppliers who can’t offer full traceability. Mark believes it was important to make such a decisive declaration: “We’re proud to be different and if we’re challenged by somebody who asks ‘Have you got a product that’s fit for school meals?’ then yes, we have. Our Healthy Options burgers are low salt, low fat and non-MRM (mechanically recovered meat). Many food manufacturers are deceiving their customers so there was a need to release a statement that challenged our competitors to stand up and be counted.”
The company attributes its strong growth rate to the quality of its burgers and honest reputation within the industry. “Our turnover is up significantly on last year and the majority of growth has been in the gourmet range whilst also securing increased business in the fast food market,” says Mark. “Very few companies in the food industry can say this and we outperform competitors by buying the best. Our Aberdeen Angus steak burgers are from Aberdeen Angus cattle sourced through UK suppliers and are fully traceable, which is why we’re growing when others are struggling.”
Mark refuses to compromise the company’s ideals by lowering the price of its burgers as this would affect quality and is frustrated by some companies’ lack of integrity: “It’s extremely annoying that other companies mislead the public about the origins of their products but we’ve just got to keep ramming home our message. The cost basis for manufacturing companies is similar so the only saving is on the quality of the meat, which means we’ll always be more expensive because of what we put into the product.”
Managing costs is challenging, as BMC will always remain committed to quality. “Price is the biggest obstacle as we’re selling a superior product, yet some customers want a lower price,” says Mark. “However, despite refusing to cut costs we’re growing. Our Welsh Kobe is available through kff and is typically sold in London restaurants at over £15 per meal – that’s how good it is!”
BMC works with customers all over the UK to supply the food service and fast food markets. “We work with Sparks Catering Butchers, a principal player in London in supplying burgers to the fast food market, producing a range of burgers that are typically more expensive than its competitors but has a loyal and growing customer base. They’re made from high quality meat rather than head meat and MRM, which is why customers love them,” explains Mark. “The crux of the issue is people want to know where their food originates from and the market is definitely moving towards more food awareness.”
Customers are the driving force behind BMC’s expanding product range and there are two new burgers in the pipeline. “Generating new products comes down to whether customers request certain items but I have to see a market for it as well,” explains Mark. “Whilst achieving increased sales in the fast food market other growth is mainly coming from our gourmet range and our two new burgers will fit nicely into that category. Our gluten and wheat free burger is being launched in October and we have a fantastic new chilli burger concept well into development, which came about at the request of a restaurant chain.”
Mark thinks BMC’s success will continue as its customers’ desire for superior, traceable meat increases: “We’ve got more people contacting us every day due to the recent investigations into restaurants serving poor quality meat masquerading as British beef and we have exciting new plans.
“BMC’s future is secure as the products quality speaks for itself,” states Mark: “I see opportunities within hotel chains and restaurant groups because restaurants want British beef on their menus and we’re the company that can deliver. In short, business is looking good because we’re family owned, financially sound and we have massive plans for the future to expand.”