Sausage specialist Westaways is gearing up to make the leap from regional supplier to national listings. Marketing director Charles Baughan explains the appeal of the lines
Achieving the difficult transition from a famous regional brand into a nationally recognised name is the aim of West Country sausage specialist Westaways.
It is eight years since traditional local butcher Turton&'s of Exeter bought sausage maker Westaways and turned the £90,000 turnover business into a £3.5m one handling 3,000 pigs a week.
From an initial listing with Somerfield in five local stores, coverage has grown until all of the major retailers except Waitrose are stocking Westaways sausages in the West Country.
The 236 Somerfield stores that stock Westaways branded sausages nationally do so on their deli counters, and Tesco and Sainsbury are discussing the possibility of extending local deli counter distribution nationally.
The next target for the Newton Abbot company is to achieve a national listing for its pre-packed sausages, currently only available regionally.
It already has a new 100-tonne capacity factory, a staff of 50 and a thriving export market to the Far East, the Mediterranean, the Falkland Islands and the Caribbean.
Direct marketing to the public at 120 events a year, from horse trials to agricultural shows, along with in-store demonstrations, have helped fuel brand demand and loyalty. The company now lays claim to one in ten of all sausages sold in the West Country.
The company uses only British Quality Assured Pork from Freedom Food accredited farms for its award-winning, hand-made sausages.
They contain no back fat and trim, no flavour enhancers, only ground and rubbed herbs and spices, pinhead rusk or coarse breadcrumb and up to 80% meat content in a natural casing.
&"There is a healthy demand for food made with integrity and authenticity,&" said marketing director Charles Baughan.
&"People are really looking for products to which a lot of time, care and attention have been given.&"
However, Baughan does view the major supermarkets as allies when trying to find an acceptable price level.
&"We are a producer and we must take costs out of the system wherever we can,&" he said.
&"It is up to us to put a product on the shelves that sells at a particular price point, and so we must work with retailers because they are a very valuable ally of ours in developing our business.&"