Hannan’s meat boxes grow to meet demand

The “outstanding success” of a range of premium meat boxes with online shoppers during the coronavirus lockdown has led Hannan Meats in Moira, the award-winning producer of Himalayan salt aged beef and lamb as well as sugar-pit bacon, to decide to continue the service beyond the pandemic.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 5:00 pm
Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats and the Meat Merchant retail operation in Moira selecting meat in the vast Himalayan salt chamber for the company’s premium meat boxes

The company, headed by meat pioneer Peter Hannan, has seen sales of the chilled meat boxes grow substantially since the launch of the service in late November. The meat boxes are now projected by the company to grow to more than 25% of sales over the next two years. And the popularity of its call and collect service for families here is also likely to continue beyond the pandemic.

The ambitious and successful food company created special hampers of premium meats for everyday and weekend meals at home. Additional hampers are planned for occasions such as holidays and for the BBQ season. All are packed with Hannan’s award-winning meats including Himalayan steaks, burgers, sausages, mince steak, and dry cure bacon. The weekend hamper, in addition, includes breakfast favourites such as soda farls and potato bread from a local bakery.

“We are benefiting from massive changes in shopping behaviour due to the pandemic,” says Peter Hannan, the founder and managing director of Hannan Meats. “We’ve adapted our own business model by expanding our longstanding retail services and products. Our meat boxes have been an outstanding success especially in Britain. We had to move swiftly when the coronavirus lockdown shut almost 500 high-end restaurants that we supplied over many years in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, France, other parts of Europe and Asia.

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Peter Hannan outside the popular Meat Merchant shop

“Our focus switched to expand our retail offering through our Meat Merchant store in Moira. While it was always a very successful part of our overall business, we’ve seen sales there double over the past year as shoppers have sought quality meats as well as a range of other artisan foods from local suppliers.

“It’s clear that shoppers are now seeking to buy local products which offer premium quality and outstanding taste as well as provenance, heritage and low food miles. They also recognise that buying local helps employment in Northern Ireland. There’s such a wide choice of excellent foods available here which are recognised as often a better choice than many of those now not readily available in supermarkets here due to the Irish Sea Protocol.”

Hannan Meats, in addition, has seen sales in the Republic continue to grow among shoppers because of a business relationship with James Whelan Butchers of Clonmel in Tipperary, now firmly established as one of the country’s most progressive and successful specialist retail operations.

This family butchery business has 10 outlets in the Republic, including some in Dunnes Stores in Dublin and other centres. The business has been extending its deli offering of artisan foods including several from here.

Another important investment for Hannan Meats during the pandemic has been the launch of a comprehensive range of quality sauces developed to accompany the company’s meats. On sale in the Meat Merchant and often included in meat boxes, the sauces are proving another useful cash generator from the developing retail side of the business.

“Meat Merchant branded sauces are strengthening our overall retail offering and position within the retail marketplace. This standing in retail will be further enhanced by other developments which we are currently working on with our business partners Craic Foods in Craigavon and En Place in Cookstown,” Peter continues.

The success of the retail switch has also enabled the company to keep its 30-strong team of employees together during the pandemic.

While Hannan Meats, a Food NI member company, has successfully expanded its retail offering during the pandemic, it looks forward to the current lockdowns being lifted to allow high-end restaurants, hotels and other eateries here, in Britain and the Republic of Ireland to reopen and resume ordering from its impressive portfolio of quality meats.

“We talk regularly with our good friends in catering and have continued to supply those which have been providing gourmet meals to customers on click and collect,” he says.

“I’ve been immensely impressed and encouraged by the creativity and gritty determination of restaurants in particular which are providing fine dining meal kits for customers to cook at home to simple instructions they also provide. We’ve ordered many from local restaurants and enjoyed superb meals at home.

“From talking to the owners and chefs, I know that many intend to retain cook at home meal kits after the pandemic. We’ve all learned a huge amount about business and the importance of adaptability and versatility during the pandemic which should be of benefit when the current lockdown is eventually lifted.”

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