South African Flavours From Hellbent For New Pork Products

Hellbent, the successful Northern Ireland producer of South African beef sausages, burgers and meat balls, has launched new pork products which have already won business with Tesco Northern Ireland.

The two novel products – Cherry Balsamic Pork Belly and Apricot and Mustard Pork Belly – have been listed for seven Tesco stores. They are based on traditional South African snacks which have been developed by the Hellbent teamintostand-alone meals.

The company has previously been successful with Aldi Ireland for its South African Boerewors beef sausages, a recent Great Taste Award winner, and with the sausages, burgers and meat balls with the Henderson Group’s EUROSPAR supermarkets in Northern Ireland as well as a string of delis.

The new products, according to Hellbent director Louis Ludik, are based on Oepsie which are popular in South Africa as snacks before a main grilled meat dish. “We developed thesnacks into meals with autumn and winter in mind,” says Louis. “The products can be cooked in the oven and well as the grill and can be enjoyed with sticky rice, in a bun or in a sandwich. They are very versatile dishes,” he adds.

Louis and his business partner Schalk van der Merwe – both from South Africa who came to Northern Ireland as professional rugby players – developed the cherry balsamic and apricot and mustard glazes for the new pork belly products.

“We teamed up with Connolly’s Meats in county Monaghan to produce and package these products for us,” Louis continues.“The product development started before COVID-19 and presented a lot of challenges.

“This meant we could not really be in the factory and had to pause development during the hard lockdown. We had to be really conscious in developing the product safely while trying to stick to our original timeline,” he adds.

We started our journey of delicious culture collisions by making Irish beef into boerewors. Now we’re taking Irish pork belly and giving it some serious South African flavours with our balsamic and cherry ‘Oopsie’ inspired sauce and our honey and apricot glaze,” he says.

The Tesco order is the outcome of discussions between the retailer’s buying team and Hellbent and is the small food producer’s first business with the UK supermarket.