FROM producing one tonne of sausages a week in 1991 to 250t a week now and how this happened was the story told by British Sausage Company managing director Mark Rintoul at the recent field day 'Beef 2029: Friend or Foe', held at the O'Meehan family's Borden feedlot.
Mr Rintoul said the British Sausage Company was started by third generation butcher and British ex-pat Mick Ferrero, who was working in a ship building yard in WA and some of the other ex-pats working with him were complaining that they couldn't buy a decent pork sausage.
"Mick started making them out the back of a butcher shop and not long after gave up his job and started making sausages as a business," Mr Rintoul said.
"To make it work he had to bring in special seasonings from the UK and so he charged a premium for the sausages he made and the sales kept on coming.
"Eventually some IGAs got interested and so he was making sausages, packing them and then delivering them to his customers in a little Mini.
"The business progressed and his first major supermarket came along in Woolworths, which along with Coles, is still a big supporter today.
"To meet these supermarket orders he had to double his output, so he looked for a new factory and now has a state of the art sausage making facility in Bibra Lake."
Mr Rintoul, who has been with the British Sausage Company for four years now, said they were always looking at new angles to grow the business.
"The British Sausage brand is well known in WA, but two years ago we launched nationally in every Coles supermarket in Australia," he said.
"We also have a new brand, the Peppercorns brand which is sold in Woolworths nationally and we have also developed another local brand, Caves Road Beef and a continental brand that is called Roccos after Mick's son.
"We have invested heavily in branding and recently advertised on the Big Bash cricket telecast, which helped with our brand awareness.
"There is a firm commitment to investing in our brand, but quality of the product is the key.
"Mick is very focused on quality and consistency and without that you might only get a first sale. If it is a good product you get sales for life."
An exciting development for the company, but one that is still in the fledgling stage is an innovative new product that will bring a new twist to mince.
"Sausages are a third of our mince category, but we don't have a mince line," Mr Rintoul said.
"So we came up with an idea called 'super mince' which we have been working on for some time.
"This will be launched under the Roccos brand and will be a mixture of beef mince, carrot, pumpkin, kale, beetroot and some other fibres.
"It is a healthy alternative to mince and it has been popular in focus groups we have done.
"It hasn't hit the shelves yet so in three months time we will know if it works or not."
Mr Rintoul said while the business was going well, it was not a license to print money, costs and assumptions were always being challenged.
"An example of this is our freight component," he said.
"We move products six days a week around Australia and freight is a major cost to our business and we must always maximise and optimise loads.
"Recently on the east coast we challenged some of our assumptions around freight and did a large degree of modelling and what we came up with in the end and the changes we made have saved us 40pc on our freight costs.
"The take away from this is to look at the business constantly and say 'Is this the right way to do it and let's not get used to what we are doing because it is surely going to change'."
ONE of the more hands-on presentations at the field day was from The Meat Specialist, Rafael Ramirez.
Mr Ramirez has been a part of the meat industry for more than 29 years and has had experience in all aspects from butchering, retailing, supermarket management, food service, business management, accredited training and marketing.
Mr Ramirez now consults to the meat industry both in Australia and overseas and is responsible for co-ordinating and presenting training packages to the food service and retail sectors in overseas markets, predominantly South East Asia and the Middle East.
As part of his presentation at Borden, Mr Ramirez spoke on how MSA grading was an important tool for retail and restaurant trade and encouraged producers to get to know their MSA index for cattle they send off for processing.
Mr Ramirez said current participation in the MSA program sat at 53,317 producers across Australia, 41 beef and 19 sheep processors and 172 brands.
He said the MSA index was a useful evaluation for producers of on-farm genetic progress and management strategies over time.
"It is a solid benchmarking tool for cattle producers," he said.
"It allows you to measure your herd's eating quality performance."
The MSA index is available at
In his presentation, Mr Ramirez showed four cuts of beef asking the crowd to see if they could pick what the cuts were.
The meat was then prepared and four people in the crowd were selected to taste the beef and give it an MSA score and were also asked to identify what the cuts of meat were.
Those selected gave a range of scores across the four cuts in terms of tenderness, juiciness and flavour.
He then revealed that three of the cuts were rump and one was oyster blade, and said it proved that the way beef is prepared can give a variety of difference in texture and taste even with the same cut of beef.