As the future of the Debbie & Andrew’s brand hangs in the balance, its founders - Debbie and Andrew Keeble - are set to return to the premium sausage category with a new banger called Heck, which will be aimed at younger shoppers.
Andrew Keeble wants the Heck brand to reinvigorate the sausage category, adding a splash of colour to the fixture. “Heck is an aspirational brand that people will like to be seen buying and which they will talk about,” he said.
The core line-up of the five-strong Heck range will comprise chicken, chorizo and pork & apple sausages as well as bratwurst and farmhouse breakfast. In addition, the Keebles have developed three non-core products to encourage consumers to use sausages as an ingredient in meals - a square sausage for sandwiches, a French black pudding and a skinless sausage.
Heck has been designed by Elmwood, the creative agency behind the original Debbie & Andrew’s brand and The Saucy Fish Co.
Keeble said each recipe used an “exciting” mix of ingredients - with bratwurst containing cream and ginger - and except for the black pudding, was made from higher-welfare British pork.
The Keebles will manufacture the sausages themselves in small batches at a leased factory in Bedale, Yorkshire. They are currently talking to supermarket buyers with a view to gaining listings from March next year. They have already invested £200,000 of their own funds in consumer research and brand design, and spent £350,000 on equipment.
The pair founded Debbie & Andrew’s in 2000 and sold the brand to Dutch-owned meat giant Vion in 2007, initially remaining as directors before resigning earlier this year.
Last month, Vion announced it was exiting the UK market, raising questions over the future of the brand.
Andrew Keeble said the couple tried to buy back Debbie & Andrew’s from Vion on a number of occasions but were unable to reach a mutual agreement.