T. H. Carson & Son’s 6-Step Product Development Cycle

There are 6-Steps between Product Inception and Launch…

Theodore Jr. introduces the process that each and every T. H. Carson & Sons Product goes through before it hits our stores, as well as the people involved in transforming an idea into a delicious product that you can take home with you.

Market Research

Ideas have to start somewhere!

It used to be that all our concepts, flavours and spice blends, originated from my Father’s travel experiences in the States. He spent decades travelling throughout the Deep South, so long in fact that he forgot why he was there in the first place. Our current development process takes inspiration from our company’s heritage of pioneering and exploring the world of food.

jetsetting

Each year we select a group of Carson employees from across our infrastructure and send them to the a foreign land to source new flavours and ideas. Food technicians, packing managers and retail assistants leave their everyday job for a fortnight to discover and collect new ways of smoking and flavouring our signature cuts. They return with a bunch of new ideas and those are passed onto the men and women of our butchery team.

Meat Cut Selection

My Father formed solid trade deals with local farmers in our region of Scotland over fifty years ago – those business relationships are still intact today.

The beef, pork and poultry that we source from Scottish farms have been fed well and given good lives before being sent to the abattoir. It’s up to our butchers, working in tandem with our food scientists, to figure out what cuts of meat will work with our newly sourced flavours.

cow

This process is never rushed. Each cut of meat within each animal has its own taste notes and these need to carefully matched with a balance of spices and seasoning, in order to not obliterate the natural taste of the meat. Once the spice mix and meat cut combination has been settled, the next step in the process is really what imbues the product with it’s Carson identity.

Smoke & Grill Formulation

Each country and culture has it’s own method of smoking meats.

In India, banana leaves and Tandoori ovens are used to embed their foods with a rich, sweet smoke. In the States, a variety of home-made contraptions are designed to imbue their steaks with rich wood smokes. Here in Scotland, we use a blend of aged Apple-Wood shavings to sweeten our cuts, before passing on the (almost finished) product to our team of food scientists.

smoking-rise

We would never dream of selling our steaks and sausages without concise directions on how to cook them. We want our customers to be able to enjoy our products at their best – that means they need concise, clear instructions to follow, so they can give the meat the respect it deserves.

Sample Quality Control Testing

Just before putting our products into full-scale manufacture, a series of quality control checks must be made – to ensure that we adhere to the highest of health and safety regulations.

We have a small dedicated team of Food Technicians who put every morsel of our meat through highly scientific checks so that, when we push the go button on our new range of products, we can have absolute confidence in the safety of the meat we provide.

food-testing

At this point, we always take the opportunity to involve the entire company in tasting and evaluating the new range. We have great faith in our employees here at T. H. Carson, they know meat and they’re not afraid to give us their opinion. If the product’s good enough for the men and women who work for us, then it’s more than good enough for the general public.

Packaging & Design Manufacture

Just before we send out our exciting new lines of sausages, steaks and patties – we now need to make sure that the food looks great on the shelves of our local village stores and in the fridges of the 5 bespoke butchers that are spotted around our great county.

This is where our wonderful team of designers begin their work, in tandem with our Packing Manager Ann-Marie Fenn (who’s freshly returned from her research trip to Goa, India) to ensure that the products we’ve worked so hard on can jump off the shelves and into our customers’ shopping baskets.

meat-history

Of course, there’s not much point in releasing a new set of products without letting the public know – that’s where our SEO Liverpool Agency comes in. We work closely with this Northern company to ensure ease of proliferation in the market place, so that both our loyal customers, as well as potential new meat lovers, are fully aware of the new cuts of spiced goods that are about to enter their lives.

Retail Roll Out To Stores

When the day finally arrives for our new products to hit the shelves of select supermarkets (and our bespoke butchers), the teams are all exhausted after nearly a year of research, taste formulation, product testing and designing.

celerbation

The finished products are cooked in-store and samples are prepared for our customers.

The T. H. Carson team all breathe a collective sigh of relief before turning their eyes to the rest of the world and wondering where we’ll be flying off to next to inspire our next line…

 

 

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A Cockney Gal in Goa

Before coming out here to Goa, I’d never left Europe.

All my holidays as a child were to France and Spain. I remember those fortnight-long vacations used to feel like I was travelling to another planet. The futuristic airport, the deafening sound of the jet engines and the strange warm breath of a new country as you stepped off the plane.

My name is Anne-Marie and I’ve worked for Theodore Henry Car & Son for the entirety of my working life – that’s over 30 years.

They’ve treated me well over the years, my pay has increased year-on-year and I’ve steadily rose through the ranks to become Manager of Packing. However, regardless of how well both Theodores have treated me over the decades – nothing had prepared me for my invitation to a Research trip to Goa.

The answer was always going to be ‘Yes’ – but I still faltered a little when Theo Sr. announced the team that would be going out to India.


th carson historyFor the last few years, the Old Man (I know he won’t mind me calling that) has come into the factory to make the big announcements.

Many of the more recent members of staff are always perplexed as to why a well dressed elderly gentleman visits the factory on a monthly basis, to talk to us all.

Those few of us who were hired by the man, all those years ago, always look forward to his rousing speeches – projected as if he were talking to a mass of a thousand.

cockney womanWhen he mentioned my name as one of those flying out at the end of the month, I almost died. Everyone in the Department was there, they all knew who I was. So when my name was read out, they all turned to face me, with the same astounded look on their face. It wasn’t that they were jealous – they were incredulous.

My employees know me, they know I’m an old fashioned Cockney girl. I like walking my two dogs, Eastenders twice a week and a good old fashioned Fish’n’Chips on a Friday. I’m a creature of habit.

food researchThe idea of this (slightly plump) thoroughly British woman, being dumped in the heat of bustling Goa, would probably seem outlandish to anyone – let alone the ones that actually know me.

My husband almost had a heart-attack when I told him. He’s never been much of a traveller either. Forever my partner in crime, I think he was just uncomfortable with the idea of my being in a foreign country without him.

But here I am. At the age of 58, sweating, breathless but exhilarated and far, far away from home.


If you’re reading this Frankie – I’m having a ball.

goa hotel

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New Adventures In Flavour

A serious part of any product development has to be market research.

Food Technician and Amateur Chef, Claire Ramsgate, has been with the company for nearly ten years now. On the eve of her ten year anniversary, she’s been given the opportunity to fly out East on her first foodie adventure. 

packing meatBefore we start any new Adventures In Flavour, we always try to make sure that the entire team is on board with the concept and the rough design that we are aiming to achieve. Unlike other large scale companies, we have a firm belief in informing our staff (regardless of their position) about our upcoming plans and ideas. That way, if Sandra in Packing sees the memo at lunch and has a great idea of a flavour combo or a marketing angle, she can send us an email at the end of day and we can discuss the possibility of using it.

You can never have enough ideas.

happy factoryAt least, that’s something the Cars try and impart on each new member of the company. Their ethos is not so much about keeping people in line, as it is about asking people to step over it. For most multi-nationals, the idea of line workers piping up with comments or thoughts on their unfinished plans would seem absurd. But for Theodore Henry Car & Sons, things are a little different.

The big man himself, Theodore Jr., insists on meeting every new employee on their first day – to impress on them the value that they each have as an individual within the company.

That way he can be certain – that every new starter understands the policy that the company holds.

sandra in opackingOf course, sometimes you need to travel a little further afield to get the inspiration that you need. That’s why I’m off to India for 2 weeks, along with a Smoke Master and a Senior Packer, who’s been with the company for nearly as long as Theodore Sr!

This might seem a little unusual, but when you consider the Cars’ approach to staff interaction – then its hardly surprising. Our mission in India is to seek out Indian Smoking Techniques, that’s why Jemima from Smoking is coming along. Ann-Marie from Packing has earned her stripes at the company – no heads turned when she was announced as part of the Research Team. Forget her decades of loyalty and commitment, once you witness her passion for Meat Smoking you’ll struggle to resist the temptation to jump in the factory with her.

As the Manager of the Food Tech Team here at Theodore Henry Car & Sons, I’m going to be looking into spice combinations and the reactions that they’ll have with our meat.

india curry

Most people know India as a largely vegetarian country. It’s true that India is considered to have one of the highest rates of vegetarianism in the World, however the figure still stands at around a third of the population. That means that there’s a good 400 million or so meat eaters in India, all with their own unique spice mixes and preparation techniques that are yet to be discovered.

We leave for Goa in two weeks time and I simply can’t wait to discover what’s in store for us – or the company!
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