When Todd Heller first opened the doors of his New Brighton, Christchurch butchery back in 1993, few could’ve predicted just how far his new venture would take him.

Today, with over 400 employees based out of Hellers’ national headquarters in Kaiapoi, some 20 minutes north of Christchurch, the Hellers name is a byword for quality and variety.

Todd is the latest member of a family line of butchers stretching back to the 1880s, when Gorg Heller began plying his trade in Arrowtown, Central Otago.

Hellers is now New Zealand’s largest producer of sausages, bacon, ham and smallgoods, headed up by CEO John McWhirter.

The company’s progress, from generation to generation, has been built on an almost insatiable appetite for innovation. My Main Course is but the latest example of the customer-focused, progress-driven approach of Hellers.

My Main Course is a new category development for supermarkets which, after several years of rigorous research, including sourcing long-life packaging from Germany, brand design and consumer testing, launched in-market in November 2016.

My Main Course is a clever meal solution for time-poor shoppers that combines meat or vegetable bases with a selection of tasty, on-trend sauces. All customers need to do is heat the My Main Course ingredients and add rice, pasta, salad or whatever they prefer, to make their meal.

As John McWhirter sees it, it’s just like homemade, without the hard labour.

The My Main Course range includes Savoury Mince, Thai Chicken Curry, BBQ Pulled Pork, Mexican Chicken, Green Lentil Dahl and Slow Cooked Baked Beans.

The My Main Course brand launched with strong above and below-the-line marketing communications support, including television and magazine advertising, supplemented by web, social media, in-store sampling and point-of-sale activity.

Several new additions to the range are planned for Winter 2017 on the back of consumer testing that has indicated My Main Course is a meal solution that the market wants. As more and more people become aware of the concept (Hellers has planned increased Food Show presence over the course of this year), the company confidently anticipates sustainable growth.

It seems that growth won’t only be confined to New Zealand either. Hellers has received significant international interest in My Main Course. In markets where there are already many ready-to-make meals on offer, it’s exceptionally heartening for John McWhirter and his team to see the way My Main Course has been so enthusiastically welcomed.

As it stands, though, the future looks bright at home with Hellers planning to further support the brand and the company’s supermarket partners with sustained marketing activity throughout this year and beyond.