Qibbla Halal is riding the wave of the fast-expanding market for halal products. In a new factory in central Sweden, halal slaughtered meat products are rapidly deep-frozen, and food-handling regulations are strictly adhered to.
The Arabic word halal means “permissible,” and for Muslims this means, among other things, that the meat that they eat must be slaughtered in a special way. In Sweden, the market for halal products has enjoyed a long period of growth. One of the companies with wind in its sails is Qibbla Halal, which, since 1995, has produced a wide variety of deep-frozen halal products, including hamburgers, chicken burgers, chicken nuggets and kebab slices. Originally, the products were only sold in ethnic food stores in Sweden, but they can now be found in all the major food stores in the country. The company also exports to Finland and Denmark.
Qibbla Halal has had an enviable growth record. During the first 12 years of operation, all production and administration was based at the factory in Stockholm. However, by 2007, the company had reached full capacity.
“We became cramped for space and needed more room to be able to expand as we wanted,” says founder and partner Namir Zetali. “After a lot of searching, we found suitable premises in Stockaryd in central Sweden.”
Building work for the factory in Stockaryd started in early 2009 and was completed by the beginning of the summer. The 6,300-square-metre factory offers considerably greater space, and the production part of the business is now being moved from Stockholm.
“We only cut up meat there now,” explains Zetali.
The Stockaryd factory, in contrast, has three new lines: one raw-meat line, one frying line and one grilling line. The raw-meat line is 24 metres long, while the frying line is 48 metres long, and this is where meatballs, burgers and chicken nuggets are fried. The grill line is 27 metres long and is used for schwarma, kebab slices, hamburgers and shish kebabs.
Intensive growth like this puts special demands on all levels – not least on the production technology side of the business. And, as Qibbla Halal only supplies deep frozen products, the company is dependent on highly efficient freezing processes. At the Stockholm factory, a freezing tunnel for quick-freezing products had been in operation for some time. In Stockaryd, however, a spiral freezer has been installed instead. This equipment was supplied by AGA, which will also supply all the nitrogen required for the freezing process.
“A spiral freezer has a considerably greater capacity than a freezing tunnel and freezes everything to at least – 18 °C (0 °F ), sometimes colder, before it is sent on to the stores.
The spiral freezer has a capacity of between 600 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms of food products per hour, and this requires four to five tons of liquid nitrogen daily. “This performance rate is absolutely essential, if the factory is to reach its potential,” says Zetali.
“We are highly dependent on a freezer that can ensure that our products will meet the necessary
food-handling requirements and that can handle the volumes we produce,” he says. “Only then can we expand as planned. And this is why we use technology from AGA; they supply really good solutions. ”
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