In 2013, Zamil Food in Saudi Arabia was a small, low-producing company with no significant position in a very competitive market. By investing in the right people and the right partner of equipment solutions, the business went from almost no production into one of the big players within the food processing industry in the Middle East. And according to Mr. Yanal Halasa, General Manager at Zamil Food Industries, JBT has played a significant role in their journey to success.
The Zamil Story
Zamil Food is a business-to-business wholesaler processing poultry, red meat, dairy, and plant-based products. Since the company started in 1978, the production has been small-scale, focusing on the local market. Mr. Halasa launched an ambitious expansion with machinery from JBT that could realize higher capacity, hygiene criteria, and quality to meet the high-end market demand. They chose to trust JBT’s expertise and have never looked back since. The investment quickly resulted in large contracts with high-profile retail companies in the local and regional markets. Zamil Food succeeded in making a turnaround, and in 2021, the factory reached its total capacity of 1350 tonnes per month.
The first significant investment with JBT was a full multi-purpose further processing line, including sophisticated solutions for coating, frying, cooking, and freezing. Satisfied with the performance of the machinery, Zamil Food looked to further improve its products and production line. The solution was found in JBT’s DSI Waterjet portioning system, which achieved a better product, met hygiene criteria while reducing staffing and product waste, saving time, and optimizing sales. Zamil Food was one of the first food processing companies in the Middle East to invest in JBT’s high-technology automated portioning system. They believe that the decision has contributed to their increased market shares. The DSI portioning system provides the existing line with increased yield, accuracy, and capability to meet the high profile quick service restaurant (QSR) group’s demand with a short investment payback time. Mr. Yanal Halasa is satisfied with the partnership with JBT:
“For us, it is of utmost importance to maintain the quality at all times to build trust with the client. While having discussions with colleagues, I have compared JBT to a Rolls Royce. JBT has the highest product quality and service level. Whenever we need a machine, we just call our sales representative. And when we need to stand to a higher level in our production line, JBT knows how to succeed.”
Test kitchen and concept development
Zamil Food provides clients with a complete solution from concept development to a final product ready to market. The added capacity from JBT’s machinery has made it possible to target large food producers. For several clients, Zamil Food works as the backup kitchen.
“The flexibility of JBT’s machines has made it possible for us to cope with the large variety of applications that we need to run. We must be able to handle quick turnarounds to keep our promise to the clients”, Mr. Halasa says.
Service and support
JBT supports Zamil Food with project management, installation, implementation, and training. The high-tech, connected machinery enables instant remote support and a continuous overview of the machines’ performance. JBT’s service technicians make regular inspections and keep spare parts in store, managing the risk for lengthy and costly breakdowns.
“We need quick service to keep downtime to a minimum. In 2017 we signed a PRoCARE service agreement with JBT, which has minimized our corrective maintenance cost and maximized our running time. PRoCARE has kept the machines running to our requirements and the manufacturing standard, enabling us to utilize the machines fully and keep optimal performance at all times. An example of JBT’s dedication and support was shown when we experienced a last minute power supply change related to purchasing a new deep fryer. This issue led to a delay in delivery, but JBT supported us to have the fryer delivered by air to meet our production deadlines. Our partnership with JBT builds on trust; they always stick to their offers and commitments. They even exceed our expectations”, Mr. Halasa explains.
Managing the challenges of COVID-19
During the pandemic, the need for new, creative food concepts rose quickly. National television visited one of Zamil Food’s production sites to film the production and find out how the company worked to serve the market and meet strict regulations.
“Stay home, stay safe” is a food concept developed because of the pandemic and later developed into the online platform for B2C Clients called “from line to dine”. Zamil Food Industries created family-sized food boxes with a contactless transaction from order to delivery. The products were tested at the Food Technology Centers in Sandusky US, Seattle US, and Livingston UK before the launch and are now manufactured in JBT’s machines.
Food safety is another critical issue for Zamil Foods. With regular inspections and strict, upgraded WRC regulations, it is crucial to have machinery that is hygienic by design. A rule of thumb is that the food should remain completely clean even if you drop it on the floor. The workers at Zamil Food Industries find that JBT’s machines are easy to clean and maintain, making the daily work a lot more comfortable and reducing the number of breakdowns.
Exciting future projects
Zamil Food plans to expand the business further and tie stronger bonds with local producers in the coming years. The partnership with JBT will continue, and currently, there are several new machines on their way to Zamil Food’s production sites that will increase their capacity by 40%.
“JBT is a strategic partner that provides the best machines, solutions, and support,” Zamil Food concludes.
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