Irish Country Meats

Membership approved until 1st May 2018

Business Background


Product Range
Carcase Lamb, Primal Lamb, Retail Lamb

Specialists In
The processing of Irish lamb.

Irish Country Meats is Europe’s leading lamb processor, with a reputation for product quality, innovation and customer service across the continent.

The company operates two fully integrated processing activities on the East Coast, Ireland’s prime sheep-producing region.

Irish Country Meats produces and markets a full range of sheep meat products, from traditional carcase to innovative new ready-to-cook formats.

Its philosophy of specialisation provides a competitive advantage to customers through revolutionary ongoing NPD and creative product presentation supported by consumer brands.

Key Sustainability Commitments

Raw Material Sourcing

It is company policy to procure a maximum of our livestock directly from farm producers thereby nurturing a positive farmer/processor relationship. The company currently procure livestock from approximately 6,600 farms in Ireland.

Manufacturing Processes

Reduce the amount of energy used, waste created and emissions produced.

Social Sustainability

Irish Country Meats recognises the value of their employees to their organisation. With almost 500 employees, retaining and developing their enthusiasm and determination to succeed is central to the company’s strategy for growth and development. Irish Country Meats aim to provide an environment where each employee can flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and our organisation. To do this the company focus their efforts on maintaining a safe, clean environment which is key to their well-being. Therefore, the company have decided to introduce a number of initiatives that focuses on Health & Nutrition, Fitness & Physical Activity and Mental Health & Personal Growth.

Unique Selling Points

From farm to plate, the company invests in the standards, processes, training, product development and delivery methods necessary to meet its objective – to be the best at what it does.

Irish Country Meats’ marketing philosophy is based on working in close partnership with key customers in individual markets. This partnership approach promotes the sharing of information in an open and constructive manner, resulting in a more customer focused, cost-effective delivery of product in a dynamic and competitive marketplace.

Close liaison with its customer base has allowed Irish Country Meats to streamline its business, removing unnecessary costs and increasing efficiencies while developing an extensive understanding of evolving consumer needs and market trends.

Awards & Accreditations

  • Great Taste Awards
  • Blas na hÉireann Awards
  • Wexford Business Awards
  • BRC
  • Bord Bia Quality Assurance Programme
  • Integra

Case Study

Irish Country Meats (I.C.M.) is one of Europe’s leading lamb processors with a reputation for product quality and innovation both in Ireland and in the broader European marketplace. Currently servicing 26 markets worldwide, the company works in close partnership with its customer base to deliver unrivalled expertise in direct livestock procurement, quality lamb production, cold chain management, processing efficiency and after-sales service.

Headquartered at Camolin, Co. Wexford, I.C.M. is the largest sheep meat processor on the island of Ireland, with state of the art production facilities in Camolin, Co Wexford and Navan, Co Meath, employing 380 staff in Ireland and a further 50 in Belgium. In March 2011, Irish Country Meats acquired Belgian specialist lamb processor A Lonhienne sprl based in Liège, providing I.C.M. with service possibilities and direct access to key customers in Belgium in addition to establishing a sales and distribution platform for northern Europe.

Irish Country Meats produces and markets a full range of sheepmeat products from traditional carcass to innovative new ready to cook and formulated lamb products. Our philosophy of specialisation facilitates the delivery of a competitive advantage to our customers through innovation, ongoing new product development and creative product presentation supported by our consumer brands. In recent years substantial capital investment in our production facilities has underpinned the company commitment to the highest standards of production and the evolution of our business model.

The committed professional management team is dedicated to best industry practice, ensuring a total quality management approach to the running of the business. As a result of this, the company operates under a number of license and accreditation schemes, including the Repak Certificate of Compliance, the Bord Bia Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme, the Integra Animal Welfare Certificate and holds a license from the EPA for its water treatment facility and IOFGA Approved Organic Standard. Together with highly skilled staff I.C.M. delivers the highest standards in food safety, customer service and innovation – elements that are fundamental to its business success.

Irish Country Meats and Sustainability

“Sustainability is a strategic business priority at Irish Country Meats. We need to play our part in building a resilient supply chain to ensure long term security of sustainable food supply and our sustainability objectives focus on areas that matter the most to our business and where the biggest impact can be made” Joe Hyland, Managing Director of Irish Country Meats.

It is the company’s fundamental belief that the more it can see and understand the potential impact its actions may have, the more effective its efforts. To improve upon what the company has already achieved, it seeks third-party insight, which facilitates the evaluation of progress and helps determine where to improve or adjust. As a result, environmental management systems have been introduced in its processing facilities. It is anticipated that the systems will meet the requirements of ISO 14001, the leading international standard for environmental management, and that the company will receive accreditation in the second half of 2013.

Origin Green Membership

Based on its commitment to sustainability, I.C.M. was selected to become one of ten pilot companies participating in Origin Green, the sustainability development programme initiated by Bord Bia. The programme is targeted at demonstrating the sustainability credentials of individual Irish food and drink producers, as well as enhancing the reputation of Ireland as a source of sustainably produced food and drink products. Participants are asked to develop and implement a sustainability action plan covering a period of up to five years, which can be updated as appropriate at the end of the period. This action plan will contain targets in key action areas identified by the company.

In its sustainability plan – Delivering our Sustainability Values – Irish Country Meats sets out its own unique ambitious targets over a five-year period (2013 – 2017), using 2011 as a base year. It clearly defines the areas chosen to deliver change in business practice to minimise its impact on the environment. A strong, continuous improvement ethos underpins its plan, and indeed the overall Origin Green programme.

Key Strategic Objectives

The company aspires both commercially and ethically to be best in class and to operate to world-class standards. It recognises its role in building a resilient supply chain to ensure long term security of sustainable food supply. Irish Country Meats’ goals, whether financial, environmental or social, are designed to be ambitious, but achievable.

The sustainability plan submitted as part of Origin Green membership is sanctioned by the Board and lead by the senior leadership group, and the responsibility of driving the plan rests with a team representing the various functions of the business. This team is chaired by the group Managing Director, ensuring the Origin Green project has credence in the organisation, as well as senior support at board level. By establishing a set of principles and metrics these objectives will be integrated into daily operations. Progress updates are communicated to the workforce via notice board, emails and briefings to ensure continued support.

Sustainability Targets

After a lengthy selection and deliberation process, the company set out a number of criteria under which four individual targets were developed with materiality in mind. Not only does the business want to make a positive change, reduce impact on the environment and create a sustainable future, but it also aims to reduce costs and improve its products. Targets must meet SMART criteria, which are subsequently ‘stretched’. The four target areas selected are reduced water consumption, energy consumption, waste & packaging, as well as improved social sustainability.


The company plans to reduce water consumption per unit produced by 25% by 2017, compared with base year 2011. It hopes to achieve this ambitious target through a series of initiatives and investments over the five-year period, introducing latest vacuuming technology processes, introduction of new cleaning methodologies using less water whilst improving the quality of cleaning, advanced measures to control the refrigeration process, as well as analysis of water metering to identify heavy users and potential leakages and wastage in the network.


Heating of water and refrigeration have been identified as the main drivers of energy consumption at our operating facilities. To further identify the highest users, sub-metering is currently being implemented across both sites. In order to bring about the 10% reduction target in energy consumption, the company is reviewing the compressed air provision, heat recovery and operational practices, as well as investment in new machinery.


Irish Country Meats already has an active programme in place to minimise waste. Accomplishments to-date include a recycling plan, investment in reusable plastic trays, an EPA licensed wastewater plant, as well as the procurement of innovative packaging machines to reduce packaging. These initiatives have not only helped the company to cut waste and costs, but have resulted in secondary benefits such as extended shelf life due to packaging innovation. It hopes to build on these significant achievements and to reduce the amount of packaging consumed by 23% over the next five years by further focusing on recycling, as well as investment in blood collection tanks as part of continued factory improvement.

Social Sustainability

The company is proud of the committed workforce it has and values its employees, which is reflected in the low staff turnover rate. Emphasis is placed on continuous employee training and development, as well as a distinct focus on health and safety, aimed at reducing the rate of incidents. Over the coming five years the company will continue to work on health and safety standard operating procedures and training for staff to ensure the target of a 60% reduction in Health and Safety Authority reportable incidents.

Benefits of Origin Green Membership

Strong sustainability credentials offer the food and drink sector considerable opportunities – provided it can be demonstrated that improved performance is being achieved. The Origin Green sustainability charter can act as the vehicle to prove these claims. The Origin Green sustainability development programme sets high standards, defines clear metrics and strives for continuous improvement by measuring progress. What individual food and drink producers can do alone is significant, but what they can do together is even better, strengthening the overall sector in Ireland and abroad.

Irish Country Meats is increasingly conscious of the value of its own brands, as well as the value of Ireland in its brand identity. The Origin Green campaign provides a framework to leverage this and to drive its own sustainability plan. By promoting Ireland as a brand, Irish Country Meats and other Origin Green members benefit by getting international recognition for the quality and sustainable nature of food and drink production. Origin Green membership can be used as an additional and powerful marketing tool for participants to promote their products and businesses to international markets.

The Future

Irish Country Meats is not only stepping up to the responsibility to become more sustainable itself, but it also helps its customer base, including retailers, wholesalers and foodservice businesses, achieve their sustainability objectives. The company recognises that it is not yet finished and it acknowledges that becoming a more sustainable and more responsible business is a journey that continues. By focusing on what matters most and where it can make the biggest difference, it is clearly on the right path. The company will continue to work for outcomes that are sustainable and scale-able. Every step, no matter the size, is a step in the right direction.

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