Meat processing is a large industry here in Ireland, but a new Longford-based business is looking to make its own stamp in the sector.
Valhalla Meats Ltd was established last November by Galway farmer, Paul Davis, and since then, the company have continued to grow.
The story of Valhalla Meats and their approach differs to most meat processors, while the level of innovation and enterprise certainly makes them stand out amongst the crowd.
The concept was born from Paul, who runs Goat Ireland, a well-known farm-enterprise based in Dunmore, Co. Galway with his partner, Ami.
His entrepreneurial tack was well displayed here when he transformed his 32-acre farm into one of Ireland’s leading farm-enterprises.
“I saw an opportunity in the market and like going against the grain, doing things differently, and Valhalla Meats is all about that”, Paul explained.
The first major step taken by Paul was to secure the right investor, before moving to secure a long-term lease on a disused meat processing factory in Longford Town. A substantial investment was required to bring the plant up to a modern working standard.
According to Paul, Valhalla Meats want to be a “farmer-friendly” processor, and always provide the farmer with the best opportunities to be profitable.
He explained: “We want to be as open and transparent as possible with the farmers, so we don’t like to hide anything. We purchase cattle from the farmer at €5/kg and we sell it at €15/kg, we have to take our costs out of that and that’s it.”
“We always forward-buy our livestock, and that way we always can give the farmer the best price possible.”
Valhalla is looking to establish a network of producers who will supply predominantly cattle of breeds such as Aubrac and Droimeann, and they are working with a bank to secure a scheme to help farms become a producer for them.
The process of acquiring of stock began last year when Paul inserted AI straws into 30 local dairy cows.
“We started by approaching a local dairy farmer, and we did 30 cows with AI straws and this year that will be stepped up to 100, and next year it’ll be 250.”
When asked about the future expansion, Paul said: “Well, we are ambitious and yes, I have a figure in my head that in 5 years’ time, we hope to process five thousand cattle.”
Products and services on offer
Valhalla Meats offer a wide range of products for customers starting with their meat boxes.
The boxes are offered in beef, rosé veal, lamb, goat, and wild game, while they come in a 5kg, 10kg, and a 20kg box, as well as a 100kg deep freeze box.
The cuts of meat are of the highest quality and vary in breeds. Beef boxes come with standard beef cuts along with boxes of Aubrac and Droimeann beef, while lamb is offered in both a standard and premium choice of The Wild Atlantic Farm’s Erris Lamb.
“Each box will contain a selection of both premium and household cuts. “A 10kg box can contain two/three smaller roasts, a few kilos of diced meat & a mixture of some chops, ribs or mince.”
“The mystery adds to the surprise and can be your inspiration to be more inventive over the stove or to have a great BBQ.”
Valhalla wants to encourage smaller producers into offering such enterprises and by allowing them to do business with Valhalla, Paul believes only good can come of it.
He explained: “We have the Erris Lamb on there from Wild Atlantic Way Farm, and goats meat from Rathganny Rare Meats, so we want to try work together and if we all be successful by doing that then that’s the main thing.”
There is also the opportunity for people looking to grow or establish their own farm enterprises to work with Valhalla Meats.
They offer training and advice for a small fee, a concept which Paul took with him from Goat Ireland, while they can also offer extensive assistance in terms of the development of a product whether it be processing, packaging, storage or marketing, as well as outsourcing slaughtering.
The innovation does not just stop there, Valhalla Meats are also keen to broaden their vision by investing in people who have new ventures in a wide range of sectors, starting with agriculture and farm enterprises, ranging to biotechnology, green energy and sustainable manufacturing.
Valhalla is also developing different avenues for purchasing their products with their own website continuing to grow, as well as a subscription service being developed for people so that they can have hassle-free meat delivered to their door.
With the rapid growth of Valhalla Meats continuing, the future certainly looks bright and with the shopping habits of people continuing to change and becoming more outline-orientated, Valhalla Meats could be onto a real winner.
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Images: Valhalla Meats