Being Different. And Above All, Better.
The Hackner family has been actively involved in the natural casings business for over 100 years. The modern era began with the foundation of Crailsheimer Darmsortierbetrieb Hackner GmbH (CDS) in 1972. However, a sudden crisis almost forced the business to close.
Today Hanspeter Hackner and his son Michael lead a family enterprise with the three business areas Natural Casings, Animal By-Products and Frozen Food Services. The company employs 250 people at its Crailsheim plant, which has an operational area of 40,000 square metres. More than 700 employees worldwide generate a turnover of over €100 million.
From success to crisis and back again.
In the year 2000, the company was the market leader for beef casings in Europe. At the end of 2000, however, the brain disease BSE was detected among cows in Germany and other European countries. Suddenly, every part of the cow was considered a health risk to humans. In the following public hysteria, the very basis of the Hackners’ business collapsed. However, the Hackners undertook a bold change of direction that steered them out of the crisis stronger than before and has kept them on a successful course ever since. An important impetus here came from the remaining natural casings business, which from then on concentrated on hog and sheep products. It was at precisely this time that the innovative Silberpfeil tool made a breakthrough. By making the filling of sausages much easier and more efficient, this product brought about an enduring change in the market for natural casings in Europe. The Hackners then went on to set new and enduring standards for quality, innovation and economy with their innovative SilberPfeil®-Tube and SilberPfeil®-Pipe extensions. Another sensational advance followed with the development of CDS SilberPfeil®NonStop, the world’s first welded hog casing. This revolutionary process makes it possible to produce calibre-consistent hog casings with a standardized length of 18 meters.
Never before had the use of hog casings been so efficient.
Ideas that make a difference.
The second step out of the crisis involved the committed development of the previously smaller business area of animal by-products. Within the industry most of the food products for which there was no demand on the German market had previously been processed into animal feed or meat-and-bone meal. The Hackners took the bold step of marketing these meat cuts and offal as food. Just because these products no longer appear on menus in Germany or Europe does not automatically mean these foods are not appreciated as delicacies in other countries. Thanks to the Hackners’ ideas on sustainability, roughly 30% of the slaughtered animal can be meaningfully used as food for countries outside Europe. Today, above all in Africa, refined animal by-products form an inexpensive, popular and valuable element of basic nutrition. These once unpopular animal parts are now contributing to value creation in slaughterhouses and the almost complete utilization of slaughtered animals – and they have also helped the Hackners recover from the crisis. They want to be different with new ideas, say the Hackners. And, above all, better.
The cold third pillar.
The new third business area is frozen food services, which ideally complements the Hackners’ business model. If you already have large freezer capacities available, why not lease them to others when your storage needs are low?
The Hackners have taken this basic idea and developed it into a unique service model for the food industry. Freezing, storing, packing, labelling and thawing to a specific temperature are just some of the services CDS Hackner offers. The customer’s individual requirements are reliably realized under computer control – from frosting to collection or dispatch.
Mission Meat in Crailsheim.
The Hackners recently decided to adopt a new slogan: Mission Meat. They consider it their mission to become market leader not only for quality and innovation, but also for trust-based cooperation with partners and customers. And Crailsheim is the mission control center. In recent years the Hackners have invested almost €60 million in this location. Although they are global players with production facilities in Poland, Lebanon, Turkey, China and Egypt serving over 1,600 customers in more than 60 countries, naturally the heart of the company continues to beat in Crailsheim.