Our produce experts visit suppliers on a regular basis. Part of the reason for this is to ensure that they are living up to idc’s high standards, but mainly we like to work in close partnership with our suppliers and there’s no substitute for meeting them face to face in the heart of their operation.
About H. Greaves & Son
H. Greaves & Son are a true family business. Spanning three generations of Greaves’s, ‘family’ is key to the identity of West Lancashire butchers. Chris Greaves, grandson of founder Harry – the ‘H’ of H. Greaves – tells us, “It’s always been in the family and that’s one thing that we take pride in. With all of us in the family, we’re always here and we can always take that extra pride in what we’re trying to do; in what we achieve and the service we’re trying to give to the customers. It’s something that was instilled in us from my dad, from my granddad. It’s something we’ve always taken pride in, the service that we give to people.”
Sean Wainwright has just joined the team and he went along with Stephen Hellewell who has been doing this sort of thing so long his first site visit included view brontosaurus steaks.
You can read Sean’s report below, and if you’d like to order anything you see, get in touch.
Hats, Hair Nets and Overalls
This visit was my first time seeing how a butcher operates behind the scenes, I had previously only seen the ‘shop floor’ as a customer. Upon arrival, we had to sign a form to adhere to some basic rules and to verify that we were not a health risk during our visit. We were each given protective clothing, which included hair/beard nets, a hat, a coat, and shoe coverings.
Prime Cuts in Cold Store
We began with some of the cool storage containers, which hold all types of different uncooked meats from different places. Some of these meats were sourced locally or elsewhere in the UK, and some were from as far away as South America. Everything was organised and correctly labelled, so it was easy to see what it all was and where it was from. All the meat was packaged as it should be and was clearly labelled with dates.
We then moved onto the area where sausages are made, where thousands of sausages could be produced in a single day if required. The machines are cleaned each day, as well as all the other equipment. The sausages are placed into a sealed airtight tray and are then ready for sale or delivery.
We moved to the area where bacon is sliced and then packaged. The machine used for this is very quick and efficient. The bacon is then weighed and packaged using another machine, which vacuums the packaging ready for sale or delivery.
Larger Cuts of Meat
Next, we visited an area where larger cuts of meat were prepared and then stored, using either vacuum bags for storage or meat hooks for hanging. Once again, all individual items were clearly labelled, making them perfectly easy to identify. The beef, pork, lamb, and chicken were all kept in their own areas.
The final part of our visit was to view the shop at the front of the premises. This was an area that was I initially most familiar with, but after my visit, I now feel like I’ve learned a lot about what goes on out of the public eye in just a couple of hours.
An Efficient and Well Maintained Operation
We spent some time looking over paperwork and reports in the office before leaving. This gave us an insight into some of the policies and procedures that must be adhered to run a successful business. Some of these included:
Process Flow Diagram
Cooked Meat Room Checklist
Traceability Flow Diagram
Pre-Requisite Procedure Records
Overall, this is a very efficient and well-maintained butchers, with very knowledgeable staff and a great work ethic.
Sean Wainwright has just recently joined our Procurement Team. He has spent the last decade working in the retail industry, with various roles covering senior management and procurement.
He is here to offer help & advice within all categories including meat, dairy, bakery, fish, fruit & veg, with guidance from the other experts within the team. Sean’s focus is to help bring new suppliers of all categories onboard.