Holly Bacon certainly has a story to tell, one that is growing and evolving as the business is now run by the fourth and fifth generations of a family passionate about cured meats, and excellent business.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“My family originated from the south of Germany, moving to England in the late 1800s to carry on their profession as Pork Butchers. My Great Grandfather emigrated with his family to Hawkes Bay in 1914 to work in the Elite Butchery, which eventually became Holly Bacon Co Ltd. I am the fourth-generation of the family to run this business since we arrived in New Zealand, and our daughters Ellen and Lydia, who have just joined the company, are the fifth.”
What are the current product range and variants, and how to these products stand out in the market?
“Holly products are cured using many of the same recipes my great grandfather originally developed. We still make our own brines, dry stack the bacon and ham to cure it for 2-3 weeks, then cold smoke and dry the product to remove any excess moisture. This is why Holly Bacon is so sought after; it is the long, dry curing process which makes the flavour so amazing and allows the bacon to become so deliciously crisp when cooked.”
“Because of the traditional curing methods we continue to use, we are able to produce English Style Gammon which is very much in demand from our English residents. These consumers also enjoy our handmade English Style Pork Pies, both individual or larger, which are made to order. We recently made a selection of Pork Pies to be assembled as part of a Pork Pie and Cheese wedding cake, which was very exciting.”
“We are also one of only a few processors exclusively using New Zealand premium pork, including a range of free farmed products. Additionally, we are very close to having a ‘nitrite free’ cure which we are thrilled to be taking to market.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“A total rebuild of the processing factory has just been completed, tripling the size of our operations and retail store. We have also added the ‘Holly Kitchen’ which was modelled after the European artisan meat producers we saw while travelling. Here we serve bacon and egg rolls, pulled pork rolls, soups, Great Bay Espresso coffee and various meals for breakfast and lunch from the products we cure ourselves. This addition has become extremely popular.”
“The Holly Kitchen can also be used to host our supermarket partners, including Deli and Cold Shelf Managers and their staff. This can be a place where we can tell our story. We can show them how Holly products are produced and how dry curing produces a superior product and ultimately help upskill supermarket staff to be more informed about products on their shelves.”
“We also run morning Sausage Making Courses and Pork to Fork. This is a whole day course where we start with a whole pig, learn how to cut it into different cuts, master wet and dry curing techniques for bacon and pancetta/prosciutto type products, then have a hands-on session in the art of sausage making. Each student has the opportunity to make and take home their own batch of sausages which are blind tested in a cook-off at the end of the day to see who has made the best batch.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“Our plans moving forward include expanding into the upper North Island supermarket system, getting our Holly Nitrite Free Bacon on the supermarket shelves. Additionally, we want to begin developing new products such as our own range of traditional sausages and dry cured meats.”
“Consumers are increasingly interested in the story behind the food they eat and often search for customer responses online. The rise of social media has meant that our marketing methods are growing to include and showcase the voice of our customers, who are passionate about Holly and certainly our best promoters.”
For more information visit the Holly Bacon website: http://www.hollybacon.co.nz