Kepak aiming to outstrip rivals
Food processing group Kepak has moved to target a slice of the lucrative health-conscious protein market with their new air-dried beef snack from Irish cattle.
Kevin Cahill, chief executive of the Kepak Meat Division, said it has recorded strong growth with sales of its burgers and it's slow-cooked convenience meat products now worth over €270m a year.
Mr Cahill, who was addressing the Agricultural Science Association conference in Kilkenny, said their new brand - the 'Stript' air-dried beef protein snack - was "bang on trend".
"We're currently outsourcing the drying part of it but we will be bringing that in-house," he said, adding they launched the product domestically in 400 Centra stores in recent weeks.
"We definitely see opportunities initially in the UK and eventually in the wider European market.
'We believe this brand will carry us into the US and China because of the quality of the offering. There are a lot of air-dried beef products but we believe that the quality of this brand is going to differenciate us," he said. Mr Cahill said products such as these would add value to the forecasted medium-term rise in the throughput of cattle at factories.
However, he said they had a more "fundamental challenge" in getting traditional chilled meat products and by-products into China and the US. "That is where the real prize lies over the next couple of years," he said.