What happens when you can't find beef jerky that suits your palate? You create your own brand.
This is what mother and daughter duo Sandra and Emma Williams did when they became their own boss by creating dried meat company Impact Meat last November.
After trying beef jerky from across the world, Emma found it wasn't to her taste so she decided to do something about it.
Emma, whose family owns a beef operation at Tamworth, said they always had a strong appreciation for a well-bred product and that Australian beef was widely celebrated across the world.
She found it disappointing that Aussie beef couldn't be enjoyed as a snack so she began to look in to the processes around jerky.
They started with speaking to David and Nick Dwyer, who are South African custodians of the meat drying tradition, on how to dry the meats correctly.
After performing trials and taste tests with close family and friends, they were finally happy with their product and began production.
They currently purchase premium round cuts directly from Teys and OB Organics but the long-term vision would be using the cattle they raise on farm.
However, Emma said they were currently looking for a market for the rest of the carcase before this happened.
Emma said the round cut was ideal for jerky because it has a lower fat content than other cuts which helps increase the shelf life as the fat spoils faster.
"We want it to be celebrated and enjoyed and through the meat drying process the texture is optimised," Emma said.
Hoping to prioritise regenerative agricultural methods, Emma said they were looking at sustainable options as well as keeping in mind their carbon footprint.
"As the name of the company suggests, we really want to make an impact," Emma said.
Rather than chasing specific organic certification, Emma said they understood the impact an animals life had on meat quality and were searching for animals treated ethically for the most optimum texture and quality.
All of the products are preservative free but in the drying process, natural preservatives like salt as well as other herbs and spices are used, which helps to ensure the stable shelf life.
After completing shelf life testing for the past 12 months, Emma says it maintains the life of normal jerky although within six months is the best time for the jerky and biltong to be consumed.
She said the product does last longer and they weren't happy with the texture after the six months as it continued to cure.
Traditionally jerky is dehydrated but Impact Meat chose to do an air dried method, which maintains moisture and texture quality.
When making the jerky, the meat is sliced and laid to dry, which gives it the familiar chewy texture.
The biltong is processed the same way but rather than being sliced before the drying process, it is put in as large steaks and then sliced post drying, which gives it more of a salami texture.
Emma said everything was performed by hand without the use of machines.
"We want to maintain the integrity of the beef so the more you commercialise it and use machines, the more you run the risk of the meat being compromised in some capacity," Emma said.
This hands-on approach had proven to be very successful for quality control at each stage and ensured each piece was dried correctly and seasoned consistently.
They started selling the product online as Emma said they wanted to get a feel for the market and see how their product would stack up against other jerky companies.
"We have been amazingly surprised with the support and interest we have had so we've now moved to wholesale models," Emma said.
The Impact Meat products are now stocked in the Plains Pantry, Willow Tree, the Longtrack Pantry, The Larder, Goondiwindi, and in deli style stores and independent liquor stores in Sydney.
Impact Meat has also been well received by local pubs as a bar snack. with products now stocked in the Collie Hotel, Tamworth Hotel, the Welders Dog.
Emma said their online sales from the Impact Meat website also remained strong.
"We would love Australian beef to be celebrated as a snack, not just here but globally," Emma said.
"It has a long shelf life and premium, it is easy to eat on the go. We know the snack market in Australia is growing at 14 percent each year so we want a piece of that market."
In the final stages of implementing I=change (a system where retailers commit a donation with every sale), Emma said a portion of the sale proceeds will go back in to the local communities.
She also said all employees were hired locally and suppliers were regionally based as it was important to look after the local community.
They are currently selling a traditional jerky, Peri Peri jerky, and traditional biltong.
But Emma said the plan was to look into other meats like lamb and venison to increase the range available.
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