Six months after Andrew and Debbie Keeble failed in their attempt to buy back Debbie & Andrew’s, new owner ABP has unveiled its strategy for the sausage brand - including a move into meatballs and plans to double sales over the next year.
After ABP’s WA Turner sausage division bought the brand from Vion in January, it’s kept a low profile. But introducing three branded meatballs over the next few weeks - beef & ale, spiced green chilli and Sicilian - ABP hopes to change that.
Like Debbie & Andrew’s sausages, the meatballs will be made with British beef and pork. Listings and pricings are expected to be confirmed shortly.
Meatballs were a fast-growing market, and Debbie & Andrew’s was ideally suited to bringing new shoppers to the category, said WA Turner MD Ian Bagnall, and he hoped the meatballs would help boost sales for the brand from £5.5m to “double that in the next 12 months”.
In addition, two new sausage variants would be added to the portfolio in the autumn, and a £250,000 campaign under the strap ‘A real taste of the country’ - including press ads and “micro-sponsorships” - had just kicked off, he added. The sponsorships will allow community groups such as sports clubs to apply for up to £1,000 in funding for local projects through the Debbie & Andrew’s website.
Although the brandwas no longer run by the Keebles, “the original recipes are unchanged”, Bagnall said.
The Keebles sold their brand to JJ Tranfield in 2005, which was acquired by Vion in 2007. They remained involved under Vion’s ownership but resigned in spring 2012. In early 2013, they tried to buy back it when Vion decided to exit the UK, but lost out to ABP. They have since launched a new sausage brand called Heck.