This venture into fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) evolved from many years of travel in and out of the United States in Ash’s previous career as an engineer in the oil and gas sector. His first taste of traditional Texan smoked barbequed meat was a revelation – the spices, the quality of the meat and the addictive nature of the smoky taste got into his veins. Ash would land in Texas and go out of his way to get the good stuff.
Texas BBQ Foods Founder, Ash Peters
Research and development
When he got back home to New Zealand Ash started playing around with an old BBQ, trialling numerous spice mixes and wood chips for smoking, and testing on different cuts of meat to try and replicate what he was craving. His friends, family and the neighbour’s dog all got to sample his efforts.
“When I shared the meat with family and friends, they just couldn’t get enough.”
This passion for what he was creating was the driving factor that lead Ash and Jerryn Peters to take the big step, going into business to share this ‘hobby’ with the rest of New Zealand. Based out of Egmont Village in Taranaki, Texas BBQ Foods has a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, where founders Ash and Jerryn Peters and their team can be found working around the clock to cure, smoke, slice, pack and ship their products nationwide.
Already an accounting client of Staples Rodway Taranaki, Ash met with Director, Philip Macey for guidance around the financials and logistics of starting up an FMCG business in a highly commoditised market. Together they put a robust business plan in place. Part of this business plan included hands on support from the Staples Rodway Taranaki marketing and computer systems teams. “They have worked very closely with us for our launch with ongoing marketing, design support, social media set up and management as well as co-ordinating all the software and interfaces required for our business – without their help we could not have achieved the great results that we have.” Ash says.
They also worked closely with Venture Taranaki, the regional development agency who put them in touch with other local food producers, and pooled resources to help all the ‘foodies’ attend the Auckland Food Show and share the costs of a stand and marketing materials.
After a successful launch phase they began selling products direct from their website to both consumer and hospitality/trade and began making many more appearances at food events, in-store sampling and festivals across the country.
Texas BBQ Foods smoked pork belly, beef brisket, cheese and butter are now stocked in the chiller section at select New World and Countdown supermarkets across the country. The steep learning curve into the world of supermarket labelling and distribution processes didn’t faze Ash and Jerryn; they took it all on board and adapted quickly. They’re also receiving some great reviews and accolades; most notably winning the chilled food section of NZ Artisan Awards 2018 for their pork belly and beef brisket, and placing as a finalist for their smoked butter.
Ash & Jerryn Peters at The Food Show
These year one FMCG milestones are representative of the hard work they’ve put into Texas BBQ.
A significant contributing factor to the success of the business, is the fact that Ash and Jerryn backed themselves the whole way. They were determined to make it work and so invested in the necessary technology right from day one, despite the risks of this approach. They stuck by this philosophy of trusting themselves and haven’t had to do things twice. The risk was big but the benefits even bigger.
Recipe for success
All Texas BBQ products are MSG free, gluten free and there’s no preservatives, additives or colouring; “there’s also less salt than you would use cooking potatoes,” Ash proudly states. The wood chips for smoking their meat are imported from America to get the authentic Texas flavour – as the saying goes ‘You don’t mess with Texas’. New Zealand woods such as Mānuka were trialled extensively, but didn’t produce the authentic flavour profile required; however, their spice mix proudly contains some uniquely New Zealand ingredients… all of course a well-kept secret.
The final packaged meat products only require 45 seconds preparation, making them the ultimate easy meal, and ideal for a quick ploughman’s or tasting platter for a party. Ash and Jerryn are constantly trialling different recipes with their products – many of which can be found on the Texas BBQ Foods website (www.texasbbqfoods.com). Sliders, pizzas and quick salads are favourites for the meats and a smoky fish pie using the smoked cheese and butter proved a winter favourite.
Ash thinks the best way is the way the Texans eat it, “that’s simply with buttered bread and pickled cucumbers on the side, and little or no sauce.”