Gunnar Dafgård founded his eponymous company in 1937, growing from a modest mom-and-pop shop with a small butchery to Sweden’s largest private food producer with Swedish meatballs, pizza, lasagna, and ready meals as its most popular products. Dafgårds’ customers run the gamut, from hotels and restaurants to retail stores and airlines. There are also several private-label lines. The family-owned-and-operated Dafgårds is now in its third generation and aiming to do its part in keeping the environment clean and green.
“Part of that initiative is producing more plant-based products – and that includes Dafgårds’ famous Swedish meatballs,” says Fredrik Dafgård, a descendent of Gunnar Dafgård who also serves as Head of Operational Excellence & Industrial IoT for the company. He believes that it’s important for Dafgårds to use the profits they make from meat products to invest in the future of plant-based and bread products.
“Our biggest goal is to be able to provide our customers and consumers with high-quality, delicious food that won’t have a negative impact on the climate,” explains Fredrik Dafgård.
“We used to be an all-meat company, but most of what we do right now is actually moving away from meat. I think for me to be able to look at my kids in the eye and say that I did my part in trying to change how we do things is extremely important.”
In addition to the new plant-based Swedish meatballs, Dafgårds is also producing plant- free hot dogs, hamburger patties, minced meat, and bratwurst. “There are quite literally hundreds of plant-based products at Dafgårds,” says Fredrik Dafgård. This comes at a time when the United Kingdom’s alternative meat market is expected to hit more than $726 million by 2025, which accounts for 30% of the total European alternative meat market.
PROVISUR TECHNOLOGIES/DAFGÅRDS RELATIONSHIP
With these company goals in mind, Dafgårds reached out to Provisur Technologies to learn more about their alternative proteins solutions. As a family-owned-and-operated company, Dafgårds’ relationship with Provisur feels like an extension of the family. That goes back more than 30 years when Dafgårds first purchased Provisur’s Formax F12 forming machine.
Since then, they’ve purchased a range of Provisur’s processing equipment, including the Formax® M700, MC700, and the Weiler® 360B Mixer. Fredrik Dafgård says the relationship between his company and Provisur has lasted so long due to the massive capacity and consistent quality of Provisur’s machines. The machines are so efficient, he says, that his employees are not overworked.
They’ve also established a strong level of trust in Heath Jepson, the Provisur Account Manager for the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and South Africa, who acts as a strategic partner as Dafgårds continues its quest to produce an excellent plant-based burger.
“Dafgårds has been a long-standing and valued Provisur customer, so we feel honored that we’re in a position to help them achieve their goals,” says Jepson, who has been with Provisur for seven years.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got a good working relationship and there’s trust on both sides, which means there is more potential down the line and opportunities for both companies,” says Jepson. “They’re doing so much work behind the scenes to get this plant-based burger correct so they can move to other products and bring them to the actual end user.”
DAFGÅRDS’ PROCESS AND PROVISUR’S EQUIPMENT
Part of Dafgårds’ behind-the-scenes work includes using Provisur’s Formax® burger forming systems to perfect their plant-based burger patty. Their goal is to offer the end user the look, bite, texture, and taste of a beef burger, and Fredrik Dafgård is quite proud of the company’s mission.
“It feels very good to be able to say that we have bought a reliable, high-throughput patty forming machine that is not producing meat, but it’s producing plant-based burgers,” Fredrik Dafgård says.
For now, the company uses the Formax® M700 and Weiler® 360B Mixer with plans to soon utilize the Formax® MC700 for forthcoming products. The M700 machine is used to form patties, while the Weiler® 360B mixer cools down while equally mixing the product. The actual mix of the product is key to manufacturing in this process and making sure it is homogenously mixed.
“Meat has the natural ability to bind and mix, but with plant-based products you really need to be in control of the process to ensure that it’s a homogenous process,” explains Fredrik Dafgård. “You need to make sure that you have control of all the parameters, which is what Provisur equipment is giving us.”
“The M700 machine also offers consistency,” says Christoffer Sundberg, who’s worked for Dafgårds for more than 30 years and is now a technical and project manager responsible for product development.
“We are sure that we absolutely get the right form and weight on the product every time we use the M700,” says Sundberg. Also, only the M700 allows us to run faster for a larger capacity. The quality is always consistent.”
They also appreciate the flexibility of the machines, which feature standard fill or tender form fill, offering end products different textures and bites. Dafgårds utilizes them both, depending on what their customers want in a plant-based burger.
“Over the years, Dafgårds has worked with Provisur’s competitors, however, their equipment simply doesn’t compare,” says Fredrik Dafgård. The consistent quality of the M700 keeps Provisur in the winner’s seat with more business to come.
STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE WITH PROVISUR
Proving Dafgårds’ commitment to responsible consumption, the company is currently building a $30 million factory solely dedicated to plant-based products. As the project progresses, Provisur’s equipment is expected to find a home there as well, continuing the decades-long relationship between the companies.
Learn how Provisur’s industry-leading equipment can help give your business a competitive advantage. From mixing and grinding to forming, separation, slicing and more, Provisur’s equipment is consistently selected by processors dedicated to superior quality and texture on a variety of products.