» Specialist West Country fish producer leads the way in sustainable fishing and achieving a ‘zero carbon footprint’ manufacturing site
01 April, 2015
The Severn and Wye Smokery is a family run business situated between the Rivers Severn and Wye, on the edge of the Forest of Dean. Synonymous with wild salmon, these two great rivers are also home to one of Europe’s biggest elver fisheries. Indeed the business was founded out of a passion for the native British elver and eel. Since its inception, the Severn and Wye Smokery has continued to grow, extending its original flagship products of smoked eel and smoked wild salmon, to a full range of smoked fish products.
As a result of growth, a state of the art, purpose built fish processing plant was built at Westbury-on-Severn. Here the business is able to collect, process and distribute fish from this site. In 2007, the original smokery was totally renovated with investment in the fabric and equipment to a level that both sites are now EEC approved and compliant with the BRC Higher Level Accreditation, so offering customers confidence in the safety and hygiene levels at the sites. Today the Severn and Wye Smokery has built up a pedigree as a food service specialist that carries out all aspects of production, sourcing UK fish and using local materials to provide the highest quality of products.
Sustainable sourcing merits Marine Stewardship Council certification
Central to the success of the smokery, is sustainable sourcing. The supply chain is extremely short as the company purchases directly from local fishermen in South and West Wales, the South West of England, the North East of England and throughout Scotland. Freshly caught fish are transported overnight and arrive at the smokery the next day for processing. Currently the business sources some its salmon from the Faroes where the salmon is farmed using highly innovative and world leading techniques to ensure the harvesting process simulates the wild and protects the way in which the salmon are harvested.
In recognition of its sustainable sourcing, Severn and Wye Smokery has been successful in securing the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) approval. This certification recognises that the business meets best practice guidelines for certification. It also upholds the strict requirements for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability as laid down in the certification. As a result of meeting the certification standards, the smokery is able to offer customers a range of MSC certified fresh and smoked fish products that can be exported worldwide. Indeed the business exports weekly to Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.
With an on-site Development Chef and bespoke kitchen, the business is able to design and produce bespoke dishes for listed menus that have been incorporated into menus for prestigious events including Wimbledon, The Ryder Cup, Royal Ascot, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
It has also established a reputation for meeting the rigorous demands of Top Chefs, the finest food halls and hotels, supplying quality smoked fish into high cuisine establishments in the UK and around the world, including Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum and Mason, The Ritz, The Savoy, Wheelers of St James and Claridges, with the customer base reading like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the culinary world.
Meeting UK and International Food Standards certification
Underpinning its UK and global trading capability is Severn and Wye’s conformity to Exova certification: TO2304 and BS07076. This certification meets the requirements of the Global Standard for Food Safety production and follows exacting quality standards that provide accurate, reliable results. Exova itself, is a UKAS accredited body, operating in accordance with national and international standards for testing, calibration, certification and inspection services within the UK and abroad. Where appropriate, Exova’s laboratories comply with ISO/IEC 17025, the international standard against which the competence of testing and calibration laboratories is assessed. This certification ensures that Exova follow the exacting quality standards that enable them to deliver accurate, reliable results to their customers, who can be confident in the quality production of the food being supplied.
Complementing the business focus on sustainability and minimising its carbon footprint, is an initiative currently underway to construct a 60 metre wind turbine behind the smokery. Subject to local planning permission, it is anticipated that the turbine will supply enough wind energy to power the smokery and two local primary schools. Further initiatives are afoot to use the fish waste to assist in fuelling the delivery vehicles. Severn and Wye are definitely at the forefront of incorporating the latest technology and initiatives to produce their products in the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly manner.
On a longer term note, their activity with the Sustainable Eel Group, a group consisting of government agencies, scientists, fishermen and commercial bodies is focussed on ensuring the survival of this fish within its native waters of the UK. At a more local level, an initiative ‘Tanks in Schools’ project has been launched with the purpose of educating school children about the fishery, the environment and the significance of individual’s actions on both. This is building the platform for the on-going survival of eels and elvers. Patrons of the Severn and Wye Restaurant are directly involved in the project as three elvers are donated to the ‘Tanks in Schools’ scheme each time someone eats a Severn and Wye product.
Certification leading to global trading, streamlined manufacturing and business management cost savings
The regular audits of processes and procedures across Severn and Wye ensures the business is continually reviewing it production and manufacturing processes to meet UK and International regulations. Best practice is adhered to, with the highest quality product being sourced and processed within the manufacturing sites.
Suppliers and customers benefit as the certification gives them confidence in the constant supply of the highest quality product, customer service and delivery.
Noticeable savings have been made as a result of having certification in place, namely saving time and money. Indeed it was estimated that over 100 days were saved within the business in 2012, impacting on profitability and business efficiency. Combined with its advances in environmental policies to become as self sufficient as possible, the business continues to set a great example, creating a long term legacy within the Severn and Wye region.