September 11, 2019

Hera increases product quality at leading UK poultry supplier

Avara is a major supplier of chicken, turkey and duck in the UK. It provides some of the country’s biggest supermarkets and restaurants with high quality and safe poultry products, processed and controlled by Avara from farm to consumer. 

The problem

An essential stage of Avara’s production process is preparing its poultry items for restaurants and supermarkets with the addition of extra herbs, spices and other toppings. Avara found that its system of distributing seasoning by hand led to giveaway, where some seasoning was wasted on the conveyor belt of the machine. Overall ingredient distribution was not consistent enough, and it required a great investment of manpower to manually sieve the toppings directly onto the trays of product. A shortage of available labour across the UK compounded the problem.

Avara sought an automated solution to improving its method. However, the given solution had to be flexible and meet a number of requirements. It was imperative that a new machine would be more accurate and reliable than manual labour. As major UK-based supplier, processing over two million birds a week, it was fundamental that changes to Avara processes didn’t negatively impact on quality and consumer experience. 


The solution

In 2018, Sparc presented Avara with the answer it needed. Sparc’s product Hera is a loss-in-weight depositor, designed to dispense a variety of free-flowing materials by weight, onto conveyorised products. Hera was the right product for Avara because of its reliability, accuracy and flexibility.

The outcomes

  1. Greater efficiency, reduced waste

In comparison to sieving the seasoning onto the product by hand, Hera was able to consistently deliver the right amount of topping, resulting in a 50% reduction in wasted toppings. There was also a reduction in products spoiled on the production line. In addition, a greater number of products were able to pass through each hour than they had done with the previous system, with up to 50 birds processed a minute.

  1. Improved product quality

Avara’s customers have been able to enjoy greater consistency in the products they receive. When each item is produced with the correct amount of topping, customers can comfortably rely on what they are buying. They are not disappointed by products that fall below standard. 

  1. Flexibility

Flexibility was a key requirement for Avara in finding a solution to its distribution challenge. Like many food suppliers, the company works with a variety of products and preparation processes. Avara found Hera able to distribute a wide range of free-flowing ingredients, from herbs and spices to toppings, and since beginning with one machine just over a year ago, Avara has already added another three machines to its Brackley site. It is also planning further investment in the near future. 

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