Henderson Group deal for Ulster rugby players' food start-up

Steven Kennedy, fresh trading manager at Henderson Group, with Louis Ludik, one half of Hellbent

A NEW food business started by Ulster rugby players Louis Ludik and Schalk Van der Merwe has announced a deal with the Henderson Group.

Hellbent's ‘Boerewors' coiled beef sausages, burgers and meatballs, which are made at Carnbrooke Meats in Lisburn, will be stocked by 27 Spar and Eurospar stores in the north.

The deal follows a commitment by the Henderson Group to stocking products from artisanal food producers. The retail giant has recently sourced produce from 13 smaller food firms for its Eurospar stores.

Hellbent was launched following months of product development with the Ulster University food and consumer tasting suite, which regularly engages with the Henderson group.

Henderson's fresh foods director, Neal Kelly, said: “Working with unique producers like Hellbent not only opens our shoppers up to new, fresh flavours, but elevates our status as a foodie destination.”

Hellbent's products feature flavours from South Africa, with the recipe used for its sausages sourced from parents of former Ulster star Schalk Van der Merwe, who farm in Upington in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

Louis Ludik said the Henderson deal marks the start-up's first with a major retailer.

“In addition to listing our three products, the team at Hendersons 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.”

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