From the 1st August 2015, our name changed from The Jerky Group to the Meatsnacks Group. This change followed the merger with Cruga, the UK and Europe’s market leader in premium beef biltong, and therefore a new name was required which reflected the true nature of the larger company.
Cruga has been based in the UK since it was founded in 1998 by South African, David Low. It’s been a very successful independent family business, with its products being available from the UK’s leading grocery retailers and wholesalers. Its brands include Cruga biltong and Bundu biltong, both of which will continue under the new Meatsnacks Group banner.
The Jerky Group was also a UK company, founded in 2000, and has long been the UK’s and Europe’s market leader in premium beef jerky – a position that will only be strengthened by the larger size of the Meatsnacks Group. Its brands include Wild West, which is the UK’s most popular beef jerky and Europe’s longest established.
The business relationship between The Jerky Group and Cruga began in 2006 when Cruga began producing biltong for The Jerky Group, and this relationship developed into a natural and strong partnership.
Cruga’s biltong production facility has always been in Milton Keynes, and this will remain the case under the Meatsnacks Group. The Jerky Group’s production facility has been in Forres, in the Highlands of Scotland, and this will also remain unchanged under the Meatsnacks Group.
A merger of the two businesses fits perfectly with our desire to offer products that meet the healthy eating requirements of today’s more discerning and health-conscious consumer.
The Jerky Group opened the beef jerky market in the UK in 2000 with product sourced from South America, and which was initially packed in the USA and South America. In 2007, we began to ship containers of jerky from South America to the UK, where it was packed by our biltong partner Cruga Ltd. The range of healthier meat snacks was then extended to include more jerky flavours and biltong flavours. The company also assisted in the marketing of the Cruga biltong brand to certain key accounts.
The Jerky Group began to supply beef jerky to our first UK supermarket customer, Sainsbury’s, in 2001. The UK’s other major multiple retailers followed, and then ten years later, in 2011, we produced the first own-label beef jerky range for Marks & Spencer. In 2013, we began to produce beef jerky for Texas Joe’s, and in 2014, we began producing for Men’s Health. As well as supplying convenience stores, distributors, independent stores, motorway service stations, petrol forecourts, pubs and bars, major multiple retailers, supermarkets, and leading wholesalers, we also exports to 27 countries, with many new markets and territories requesting our brands. We also sell our products online.
Now all our jerky is made in the UK
Since the business began in 2000, we always had the desire to manufacture our own beef jerky in the UK, using domestic beef with a British and Irish provenance, and to remove unnecessary preservatives and additives, including added MSG. So in 2012, we invested in our own beef jerky facility in the Highlands of Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and we began manufacturing the Wild West and other brands in March of 2013.
In 2012 we introduced a premium pork snack brand into the marketplace, called Hogbites. Complementing our range of beef snacks, Hogbites has successfully gained listings in the majority of the UK’s supermarkets and many convenience store chains. Hogbites comes in two crackling flavours and a more traditional scratchings variant. This range is made with Cornish sea salt, is additive free and with no MSG.
The Meatsnacks Group continues to innovate, be creative and develop tasty, healthier meat snacks. We’ll continue to bring new products with new flavours to the market, and introduce our customers to some exciting, healthy, and delicious high protein snacks.