Belfast Telegraph

Hong Kong restaurants coup beefs up business for award winner

As the Year of Food and Drink 2016 continues, this week we focus on a meat mogul’s Hong Kong restaurant deal, producers in TV special and sugar firm’s £700k investment

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland meat mogul Peter Hannan has landed a first major order to sell his award-winning beef to some of Hong Kong's top restaurants.

Hannan Meats, based in Moira, Co Down, will sell a range of its Himalayan salt-aged beef to a catering firm.

The deal will see Hannan's meats served up in Hong Kong restaurants, including those attached to casinos in Macau.

The contracts are on the back of the now global success of Peter Hannan's salt-aged beef, which is aged in chambers.

The chamber in Co Down is now the largest of its kind in the world.

"The new customers had heard very positive reports about our meat and approached us to see if we would be interested in supplying products to what are very competitive and quality conscious markets in Asia," Peter Hannan said.

He said the business was competing with other longer established meat suppliers, which focus on products such as Wagyu and Kobe beef from Japan.

Mr Hannan said: "We were keen to explore opportunities there and sent samples by air.

"The response was extremely enthusiastic from food service operators, who told us our meat is of exceptional quality and outstanding taste.

"We are quietly confident that it can hold its place against the world's best, being grass fed, and with the flavour of Ireland's clover in lush meadow pastures.

"Our first consignment of Himalayan salt-aged beef was air freighted to Hong Kong this week. It will be featured on the menus of some of the most respected restaurants in both Hong Kong and Macau."

The new Asian markets are the latest big business for Hannan Meats. The firm already exports to France, Portugal and the Republic.

Hannan's Meat Merchant business in Moira now turns over around £10m each year.

The owner said the shop now sells about 20 tonnes of meat a week, with a further 50 tonnes elsewhere.

The business has now grown to around 40 staff.

Mr Hannan was one of the pioneers in using giant Himalayan salt blocks to age his top quality Glenarm beef for anywhere from 35 days all the way to 220 days.

Over the last few years the business has picked up a series of accolades.

They include numerous Great Taste Awards, while the business also walked away with the Excellence in Innovation gong at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards.

Peter Hannan is now making deals with top chefs around the globe, and as far afield as Hong Kong and Australia.

And he sells to a host of big name stores, including London's Fortnum and Mason grocery store. Meat sales at the luxury store shot up more than 10-fold after it began stocking his range of top-end, salt-aged beef.

One of his highest profile deals has been with top UK Michelin-starred chef Mark Hix.

That relationship began after Hannan told the cook that his steaks weren't up to scratch.

Since then, he has enjoyed a long bond with Hix, a chef after his own heart, who runs eight top eateries throughout England.

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