Foyle Food Group

Membership approved until 1st May 2018

Business Background




Case Study

Sustainability headlines

  • Reduced hot water usage in Donegal plant by 63%, resulting in a carbon saving of 1,600t CO2 e/annum.
  • New anaerobic digestion plant reducing waste and producing up to 500 kWh of electricity.
  • Partners closely with supply base on animal health and welfare, farming best practice, housing and handling.


Established over three decades ago, the Foyle Food Group is a family–run group of companies that supplies quality beef to leading retailers, manufacturers, foodservice providers, and butchers in Europe and beyond.

Who we are

The Foyle Food Group’s core business is the slaughtering and deboning of prime beef, with primary processing centred in six facilities in Ireland and UK. The company employs 1,100 people including 240 in its Donegal facility. It has an annual throughput of 260,000 cattle/ 80,000mt beef per year and yearly turnover of €380m. Following a complete rebranding in 2011 under the ‘Making Choice Easy’ concept, the company’s range of boneless, bone in and offal products are offered through a selection of brands that reflect the ‘good, better, best’ approach favoured by retailers from premium ranges including Blackmoran Angus and Glenslieve Hereford, to value offerings such as Sperrin Fresh and Foyle Basics. All beef is produced from grass-fed cattle. “For us, sustainability is similar to food chain traceability; we aim for full sustainability from Farm to Fork

Our sustainability credentials

Through investment in new technology and resources and actions to increase awareness among stakeholders, the Foyle Food Group is focused on optimising its environmental performance. All sites operate under permits from the relevant environmental authorities.

The company takes a ‘ground up’ approach to sustainable procurement, partnering closely with the supplier base in areas such as animal health and welfare, farming best practice and housing and handling. These commitments are not only important in their own right but, in tandem with growth objectives in markets such as the US, Russia and Japan, will support greater sustainability through the supply chain. Initiatives such as the Beef Improvement Group and the Beef Technology Adoption Programme are indicative of the company’s overall approach to sustainability.

At processing level, Foyle Food Group is minimising the impact of rising utility and resource costs through a combination of innovation, controls and investment in new technologies. The significant cost savings that arise from these support the virtuous cycle of sustainability and efficiency.

Achievements to date in the Donegal plant include:

  • Installation and operation of high efficiency LPG/Natural gas fuelled water boilers.
  • Construction of anaerobic digestion plant to produce bio-gas that generates electricity for the site.
  • Installation of live meter systems and automated reporting.

Origin Green in action

Foyle Food Group’s commitment to Origin Green is reflected in the incorporation of its targets within the company’s monthly management meetings. Using 2012 as the base year, Origin Green actions centre on improvements in raw material sourcing (as noted above), the manufacturing process and social responsibility.

In the Donegal plant, significant advances have been made in reducing water and fuel usage. Hot water usage has been cut by 63% through a variety of steps, resulting in a carbon saving of 1600t CO2 e/annum. The company is also converting each of its sites to cleaner fuel sources to produce hot water more efficiently. In addition, a new anaerobic digestion plant is reducing waste and will produce up to 500 kWh of electricity, bringing significant savings in terms of electricity cost.

A 5% electricity reduction target by the end of 2015 will be met through new technology, benchmarking of performance and training and awareness among staff.

Water reduction is a second stretch target and building on previous achievements of a 50% reduction in water usage over the last few years. An annual target of a 3.3% reduction has been set for the Donegal plant. “Origin Green is a real asset to our company providing the foundations towards greater sustainability and efficiency”

Social responsibility

The Foyle Food Group meets its commitment to social sustainability in a variety of ways. The company believes in continuous investment in people and all its sites have held ‘Investors in People’ status for over 13 years. Foyle Food Group currently sponsors local Young Farmers Clubs in Northern Ireland and a Macra na Feirme club in the Republic of Ireland as part of its work to promote supply chain sustainability and is also an active member of Business in the Community, where, among other activities, it provides business mentoring to small enterprises.

The Foyle Food Group Graduate Academy is an initiative that, since 2010, has fast tracked high calibre graduates to positions within the food industry and the Donegal site hosts food science students and provides work placements for third level students. Charitable donations and support for local organisations by the company and its employees are on-going.

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