Case Study – Belhaven Smokehouse
Client: Belhaven Smokehouse
Industry: Food – fine Scottish salmon
Belhaven Smokehouse was founded by David Pate in 1975. After learning the trout farming trade over in Australia, David returned to Scotland to open the Smokehouse and enjoyed a long and successful career, before deciding to retire in 2021. Upon retiring, David decided to sell Belhaven Smokehouse to a local businessman with a passion for quality smokehouse products. This new chapter of Belhaven Smokehouse included the appointment of General Manager Marie-Clare James, who offered a wealth of knowledge on the Scottish Seafood Industry. Alongside Marie-Clare, Mark Tear was appointed as Head of Production to implement his expert filleting skills and experimental approach towards curing and smoking seafood. With a passionate and driven team in place, the Belhaven team were excited to continue their longstanding reputation and carve out a new branch of the Belhaven Smokehouse story.
The Belhaven Smokehouse product range has been refined over many years, using traditional curing and smoking methods in combination with an old family recipe. All of Belhaven’s fish is sourced from RSPCA accredited farms in Scotland. It is then cured and marinated by hand, adding further elements during the process. The fish is then smoked slowly over oak shavings for 20-24 hours, with the longer smoking period giving the fish a deep, rich flavour with a sweet and salty taste and firm texture.
Exploring New Distribution Networks
In 2021, the Belhaven Smokehouse team were offering local delivery options using their own vehicles. The team began to research ways to expand their distribution network and realised that in order to utilise the UK courier network, there was a need for robust temperature controlled packaging solutions. Belhaven Smokehouse needed a flexible partner with a wide range of products to suit the varying requirements of the production team. It was also important to the team that their chilled packaging supplier offered eco-friendly solutions.
The Sorbafreeze website caught the attention of the Belhaven team. Marie-Clare noted that “The Sorbafreeze website is so clear and informative. It made choosing an option and ordering easy and straightforward. Sorbafreeze came across as the specialists in their field.”
After ordering Sorbatek’s non-hydrated ice packs and Ecotek kerbside recyclable insulated boxes, the Belhaven Smokehouse team began to implement the packaging into their production operation. The team found that Sorbafreeze chilled packaging allowed them to ship their artisan smoked salmon to customers’ doorsteps in pristine condition, whilst maintaining chilled temperatures for up to 48 hours.
The Bellhaven Smokehouse team display the Sorbatek instructions as a best practice guide in their packaging area. The team also utilise the data sheets and testing information supplied by the Sorbafreeze customer care team, as a useful addition to their HAZOP risk management examinations.
Looking to the Future
The implementation of Sorbafreeze chilled packaging has allowed Belhaven Smokehouse to expand their wholesale business out with their delivery van routes. It has also allowed the team to up-scale their direct-to-consumer offering via their website, enjoying success through e-commerce. As they look ahead to the future, Belhaven Smokehouse have plans to further utilise Sorbafreeze chilled packaging and expand their customer base.
“We have really enjoyed developing our relationship with Sorbafreeze and using their fabulous products to help grow and sustain our business. We are excited about working on a new bespoke packaging solution with them in 2023 to enable us to grow the wholesale branch of our business further.” Marie-Clare James.
You can shop the Belhaven Smokehouse range today by visiting www.belhavensmokehouse.co.uk
To find out more about Sorbafreeze’s range of BRCGS accredited ice packs, insulated boxes and insulated bags, please visit: www.sorbafreeze.com/shop