Hellbent wins first major retail listing with Henderson Group
From left, Steven Kennedy, fresh trading manager at the Henderson Group, and Louis Ludik, one half of Hellbent.
Hellbent, a business formed by rugby stars Louis Ludik and Schalk Van der Merwe, has won its first major retail listing, which will see their locally made beef products on the shelves of 27 SPAR stores and EUROSPAR supermarkets at the end of the month.
The three products – Boerewors coiled beef sausages, burgers and meatballs – are made at Carnbrooke Meats in Lisburn, with beef sourced from local farmers, combining the best NI beef with distinctively rich seasonings and cooking techniques from their South African homeland.
The deal comes just months after Henderson Group announced their commitment to local artisanal food producers, which saw 13 smaller producers from across NI supply their products to EUROSPAR community supermarkets here.
“Whilst we strive to offer everyday essentials when it comes to fresh food, we are always looking for ways to set ourselves apart from other symbol groups in the industry,” said Neal Kelly, fresh foods director at the Henderson Group. “Working with unique producers like Hellbent not only opens our shoppers up to new, fresh flavours, but elevates our status as a foodie destination.”
Louis Ludik, who can also be found on the pitch at Kingspan, said: “We are thrilled to have won this business with such a successful retail network as Henderson Group. It’s our first deal with a major retailer here and takes our business to a new and very exciting level.
“In addition to listing our three products, the team at Henderson’s has been very supportive and helped us, for instance, to adapt our packaging to attract shoppers. We are looking forward to a series of tasting showcases with customers to help ensure the success of our products which are packed with flavour and are high in protein. We believe they bring totally different flavours to the local market.”
Hellbent is the outcome of months of product development with the Ulster University Food and Consumer Tasting Suite, which regularly engages with Henderson’s fresh team to ensure the highest quality in taste and freshness for SPAR and EUROSPAR shoppers.
The flavour for Hellbent is one that is determinedly South African, with the recipe used for the sausages coming from parents of former Ulster star Schalk, who farm in Upington in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
“We want to encourage more people to question what they are eating, which is a value we share with the Henderson Group,” said Ludik. “The South African culture revolves around incredible home-grown food and there is so much of that in Northern Ireland. We created Hellbent to be an integral part of the local food offering here.”