Posted by Marie Ristic on 27 July 2020

Meat Industry

Brian Carey Reflects On The Australian Meat Industry, Where It All Began

With the launch of FPE’s rebrand still ringing in our ears, we thought it high time we had a chat with the man who started the business about the industry at the heart of it all.

Overview:

A life-long commitment to the Australian meat industry

Brian Carey founded FPE in 1983, but the meat industry was always in his blood.

“I first got into the meat industry because my father was in the industry. My first job was with SAMCOR abattoir and the job was on the brains table (which wasn’t a very nice job!)

“I did various other jobs around the abattoir, and then was offered a position with JS Cordon, an equipment and merchandise company for butchers. I did this for a few years until an opportunity at Globus Casing came along, where I worked until I was drafted for my National Service in 1963.”

Brian completed his 2-year National Service and returned to Globus before being headhunted for a 5-year contract Sales Manager position at Master Butchers.

“Once that was over, I decided to set up FPE, as I felt there was a place in the market for a company that could supply a full range of meat processing equipment.”

The early days of FPE

FPE’s very first line of products was the CASH captive bolt stunners made by Accles and Shelvoke

“I met Roger Hancock of Accles & Shelvoke by chance at a hotel in Frankfurt, Germany, on my first trip to IFFA. Roger expressed he was not happy with his current agent and so, on my return to Australia, I met with the Plant and Production Manager of the Government-owned abattoir in SA, where I wastold that the CASH guns were the best in the business.”

“I then contacted Roger to negotiate the take over of the agency. This agent was happy to sell it to me for $10,000, which I didn’t actually have – but we came to an agreement and I started to sell the stock the previous agent had on hand in Adelaide.

Brian Carey is pictured sitting on the desk. FPE’s first employee, who is still with us today, is pictured second from the left. And Jodie Carey is seated in the front.

“I worked from home to start with, and my wife, Kay, was a great support. My plan was to get every abattoir in Australia using CASH stun guns and powerloads.

“As we didn’t have the money to fly around Australia, I drove everywhere. I visited every single meatworks, so I was away from home for about two weeks every month. After approximately 2 years, I had all the meatworks in Australia using the CASH range.”

Evolution of the meat industry

The Australian meat industry has come a long way since the 80s, and has been impacted by technology in a similar way to the automotive and manufacturing industries.

“When I first started in the meat industry, it was all hand-done. It was a busy, people-driven industry. Things were not automated as they are now. People were paid on Tally [an amount per head], so Stunners and Boners etc were quite proficient in their craft.”

Nowadays, the meat and food processing worlds are dominated by machines, AI and Internet of Things. Brian believes technology has transformed the meat industry for the better.

“From one year to another, the technology has changed. What I thought was good three years ago has often been replaced by something else. The biggest, most impressive change has been computers and how they’ve helped to develop the meat industry.”

FPE: still delivering great outcomes for meat processors

With this year’s relaunch, FPE has come full circle. As Brian hands over the reins of the business to his capable daughters, Tania and Jodie, he reflects on his vision for FPE.

“I always wanted the company to become a first-class supplier of equipment to the abattoir industry and in further processing like industrial meat slicers and dicers. The areas we have moved into, now within the wider food industry, weren’t even on my radar back then!

“With that being said, I’m really proud to see FPE offering the broad range of food processing equipment it does now. The core of FPE will always be about meat. That’s evident in our relationships with world-leading manufacturers like Grasselli, Bettcher and Magurit. But it’s wonderful to have the likes of Eagle, SYSPAL, DC Norris and BCH on board to meet those broader needs of our customers.”  

That’s why, for Brian, FPE’s rebrand has come just at the right time.

“I feel like the new brand is great. We are moving into the second generation within our organisation, so it’s time for a fresh look. As an innovative company, we have to keep looking at technology and new things but also look at ourselves. I feel the new branding does this.”

As a business, we thank Brian for his lifetime’s work within the meat industry and for setting FPE on a path to success. It’s an honour to continue in the footsteps of an industry legend and we’re excited to see what the future holds.

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