Most of the 10 million rashers of crispy bacon that the company produces every week at its three factories in Coventry and Northampton are destined for the anonymity of ready-made sandwiches, supermarket salad bags, pizza toppings and fast food meals.
Rising demand for convenience food, and the British love of bacon, enabled the former Trent Meat Import company to transform itself in 1992 from an offal processing business into a specialist ingredients cooker with a turnover of £12m.
Now, TMI Foods handles half a billion rashers of bacon per year for national and international markets.
The company found that many consumers wanted to buy crispy, streaky cooked bacon to snack on or reheat, rather than face the bother of cooking it. And TMI has found that what works in one market can be adapted with success in others. ‘Pigs in blankets’ - streaky bacon wrapped around cocktail sausages - proved so popular when exported to the ex-pat community in Spain at Christmas that TMI now produces 100,000 of them for that market alone.
TMI recently invested £1m in setting up its own traditional dry curing and smoking facility, a move designed to help the company keep pace with demand for its bacon products.
David Abbott, MD, says: “It has been very satisfying to see the business through all of its stages. It’s been nice to see that level of growth, and our development team and kitchen here are always responding to customer demands and coming up with new initiatives, such as smoked, flavoured and dry cured bacon, and low-fat and reduced salt products.” Greg Meenehan