Multiple award winning food entrepreneur and innovator Peter Hannan is gearing up to launch a series of original meat products for the convenience of chefs and shoppers here and in the Republic of Ireland.
It’s Peter’s latest expansion at Hannan Meats, his pioneering and progressive food business that has won widespread acclaim for highly original and delicious products.
Hannan Meats has a host of highly respected awards for the enterprise and overall dedication of its founder and team to our most successful industry especially in terms of delicious beef and lamb products aged in the world’s biggest Himalayan salt chambers for rich flavour and texture and a unique sugar pit process for curing pork.
Spending some years running abattoirs and processing facilities in the US and UK, Peter started Hannan Meats in 1989 for foodservice customers, growing the business to include 400 restaurants throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe.
The enterprising business, for instance, has twice been named Supreme Championin the prestigious UK Great Taste Awards for innovative pork and lamb.
Peter has just launched premium sausage rolls, the first of a planned range of quality convenience foods, in the hugely successful Meat Merchant, the gourmet food store he created in 2009 to enable shoppers to enjoy the premium meat products, especially delicious beef, he had been supplying to restaurants and hotels as a catering butcher.
He continues: “The new sausage rolls are part of a planned expansion into convenience foods for shoppers seeking quality meals that can be made quickly. They are also in line with the growing market trend towards meals and snacks that are quick, easy to cook, tasty and, of course, great value for money. We’ve also noticed that chefs in restaurants and hotels are increasingly seeking such premium foods that are convenient because of pressures from rising costs and the shortage of experienced staff in kitchens here and in the Republic. All the new products feature quality and traceable ingredients especially our meats.”
He’s never been keen on standing still for too long in business, continually seeking to move the company forward confidently in the fast moving food industry. He’s created a nimble and flexible enterprise.
The new ranges are scheduled for launch initially for shoppers in the Meat Merchant in the autumn. They are then likely to be made available to other outlets especially the hugely popular Whelan’s butchery shops in the Republic run by Pat Whelan, a longstanding friend and business collaborator.
Peter has also led the way in promoting local food, especially artisan and smaller enterprises in The Meat Merchant, effectively a super local food hall, on the site of the company’s plant at Moira in Co Armagh.
Hundreds of smaller companies here have been encouraged and gained their first sales from being listed by Peter in The Meat Merchant which draws crowds of shoppers from many parts of Northern Ireland and even from Dublin and the border counties of the Republic.
“We set up the shop in 2009 as a way to make the premium beef and other meat products that we had supplied restaurants for decades readily available to the wider public,” Peter explains. “In addition to our own meats, we subsequently decided to offer local artisan food producers the opportunity to sell directly to our customers. We were conscious of the development of a wide range of quality artisan foods here and wanted to do something positive to assist the growth of what is now an immensely important industry that generates £5 billion annually to the local economy and employs upwards of 100,000 across the supply chain.”
Many have also benefited from his advice and mentoring. He’s quick to praise the enterprise of and quality produce from smaller processors here. As well as promoting them through The Meat Merchant, he has included samples from them in deliveries to his own high-profile customers in Britain, such as the iconic Fortnum and Mason food hall in London’s Piccadilly. A number now feature regularly in the upmarket store.
Expansion plans over the past decade have included the formation of other leading-edge food enterprises such as En Place Foods in Cookstown, a specialist in sauces and condiments, and Craic Foods in Craigavon, a producer of pickled and freeze-dried fruits, black garlic and seaweed for chefs and home books. Both companies, which have also gained a string of major awards, have been created with experienced chef Paul Clarke, managing director of both enterprises.
Peter, who was awarded the MBE for his expertise and dedication to the agri-food industry here in 2021, also provides his knowledge and experience to the wider industry through his role on the board of promotion and marketing body Food NI.