Petite Hams Pack a Punch
He was confident this product would be a hit. Why?
“A lot of processors don’t want to process smaller hams,” he said with a grin.
“But [small hams provide] a great opportunity to get ham muscles moved through retail outlets since there usually is surplus,” she adds. “And processors are always looking to respond to consumer trends for smaller portions [instead of buying one big ham].”
Omaha Steaks has offered small 2-pound hams for the past several years, and this product has served equally as well as a premium.
When asked who buys her company’s smaller hams, she answers that ham seems to be popular with all ages of customers.
“We’ve seen a major increase in ham volumes of all sizes in the last three-to-four quarters,” Ludwig says. “Our customers are looking to meet the needs of consumers who are always on the go. Today this means adding a high-quality product in a convenient size to their product line.”
“It is essential that the manufacturing process create a very pliable muscle for packaging,” he adds. “Many processors are forced to ‘hold’ products for several hours or even days to make a better, more uniform product.”
Wolf-tec’s POLAR Massager with Temperature Guidance allows processors to massage the product and go directly into stuffing, forming, and on to thermal treatment.
The small-ham niche demands top product quality.
“Our studies have shown higher product yields in both cooking and slicing,” he adds. “The POLAR Massager will also reduce time to market. Massaging a ham at optimum temperatures, the cutting process that took forty-eight hours can be reduced to four or five.”
“I cannot say which customers are up and running with this product type, but we have a new process that has helped them to automate the process and increase production by five-hundred percent,” he adds.
“We have introduced a new system [the Poly-clip ICA8700] that automates the entire process,” Williams says. “We introduced this new system at the last American Meat Institute show, and it is now a proven success with several systems installed and running.” Williams says the company collaborated with ViscoFan and Naturine and introduced the Poly-clip ICA 8700 in combination with the ViscoFan VN202 for high-speed production of boneless hams made in coffi and netting.
“The design of the new Iris separating system has given us the ability to gently separate and clip the delicate coffi film without damage to the film,” he says. “The system produces approximately thirty-five of the two-and-a-half pound hams per minute.”
“It is more convenient for a family to prepare a one meal-sized portion,” Williams says. “Typically, the larger hams are for bigger groups during the holidays or special celebrations. These [larger hams] are simply too big for one meal.”
Technology suppliers participating in this article include:
-Poly-Clip System Corp., phone (847) 949-2800 or (800) USA-CLIP, fax (847) 949-2815, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.polyclip.com
-Wolf-tec Inc., phone (845) 340-9727 or (800) 257-4627, fax (845) 340-9732, e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.wolf-tec.com