Biltong – “Oh yum! Made locally by a South African ex-pat. Melt in the mouth” – Photo by Fiona Henderson
The United Kingdom (actually, the whole world) is becoming more and more health-conscious, and with good reason. The health industry is booming while consumers are starting to cut out some of the more superfluous of their everyday purchases. The snack industry, however, has continued to thrive, as there are certain items which it seems the public will just not let go of! From having people over at the weekend for a casual party, to simply relaxing at home after a hard day at work, everyone enjoys a good snack now and again.
One of the products which are managing to successfully ride this wave, treading the extremely fine line between health benefits and snacking, is biltong.
Biltong in Brief
Biltong’s low fat nature makes it preferable to all manner of other assorted bar snacks, with its packaging ensuring it perfectly fits alongside all other products on the back shelf of a bar. The marketability of such a product really should not be underestimated, allowing it to fit seamlessly into the savoury snack area of supermarkets as well as alongside the alcoholic drinks – perfect for an impulse buy which could lead to return customers. Many supermarkets have picked up on this and have begun to stock this South African meat snack across Britain, as well as inside petrol stations, corner shops and pubs.
Low-Fat Savoury Snack
The fast-pace of modern life has seen convenience become a priority for many. Biltong manages to combine the ease of access which comes with it. It is not only a packaged snack product but also boasts impressive nutritional value. The low fat nature of such a savoury snack is impressive in itself, as many of its equivalent products are commonly seen as salt-heavy artery-cloggers. Not only is biltong low in fat, it is also extremely high in protein and iron, meaning it can provide a valuable dietary boost. It is even used by athletes and mountaineers as a means of easy access to rich protein, an extremely important element to anyone’s diet.
While biltong’s preparation method has led to inevitable comparisons to jerky – they are both cured meats – biltong’s nutritional value far outweighs that of its sweeter tasting competitor. This dried meat has long been a favourite of South Africa and when the country’s ex-pats began to produce the product to supply the demand in the United Kingdom, it was obviously going to be a big hit. Biltong has infiltrated nearly every kind of recipe in its homeland – including beefy bread! It is the savoury bar-snack type which has really resonated with the British consumer however, with its bite-sized chunks of lean meat marinated in herbs and spices proving irresistible to the British public – especially when based in a bar environment!
The companionship between beer and biltong has proven to be a big hit upon British shores, as consumers search for a healthier alternative for their bar-snacking needs. It has hit the spot perfectly, combining the packaging and availability of traditional snacks with the nutrition of modern day needs.
Local Meat with Traditional Marinating Recipes
The United Kingdom and the EU run strict regulations regarding meat distribution worldwide. It means that biltong from its native South Africa is not permitted to be imported to British shores. As a result of this, a host of South African ex-pats have set up biltong companies in the United Kingdom, using British meat to cure. Combining local meat with the traditional marinating recipes of South African biltong has proven to be extremely successful, with the biltong industry now thriving across the UK.
The taste and nutritional value has seen the biltong market expand exponentially, with supermarket heavyweights such as Tesco and Morrison’s now stocking the popular snack. The meat has proven to be popular with butchers, but the snack variety is experiencing an immense rise through supermarket, service station and pub availability. As an impulse buy for home snacking, or even lunch boxes, biltong’s appeal is now far reaching as a healthier alternative in savoury snacking.
Successful mainstream marketing has seen biltong distribution flourish in the United Kingdom.