Meatsnacks Group, which has a turnover of about £12M, was created after the merger of the beef jerky supplier the Jerky Group and the biltong maker Cruga.
The newly formed entity, which supplies major supermarkets, planned to expand in Europe and Asia, while developing other varieties of meat snacks including chilled products.
James Newitt, md at the Meatsnacks Group, said they hoped to invest several thousand pounds in equipment to improve the company’s jerky production in Scotland and biltong drying capabilities in Milton Keynes.
Newitt said the firm wanted to increase its presence in Europe by introducing the public to dried meat products and capitalising on the increasing popularity of healthy snacks.
In five years’ time, he said: “We would certainly want to be the leader in beef snacks in the UK and Europe.”
The company identified a “huge opportunity” here because the beef jerky market was relatively small compared with the US's billion dollar industry.
‘House of brands strategy’
Of expansion plans to Asia, he said: “There's a much stronger awareness of jerky-style meat snack products and we intend to take our brands into that.”
The merger of the Jerky Group and Cruga, which had collaborated for a decade in areas such as packing and sales, would allow the company to adopt a “house of brands” strategy.
Cruga was behind the Cruga and Bundu biltong brands, while the Jerky Group was known for Wild West jerky and Hogbites crackling as well as producing jerky for Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Texas Joe.
Even though the Wild West brand had an American theme, the company’s beef jerky was mainly produced using British meat.
Newitt, who has a meat trade background, said: “I'm very keen that we are processing and utilising beef that is sourced as much as possible from the UK and Ireland.”
Meatsnacks Group at a glance
- Customers include Asda, Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose
- 10M packs of meat snacks to be supplied across 27 countries this year
- 5,574 m2of manufacturing facilities and more than 100 employees
- The firm described jerky and biltong as “high in protein and lower in fat alternatives” compared to carb-based snacks