This month’s Savannah Box features the incredibly tasty ‘Cracked Black Pepper Biltong’ by Irish-based company Stript Snacks. Stript take the finest cuts of Irish grass-fed beef, hand-slice and marinate them in a carefully crafted herb and spice blend before air-drying for several days. Once dried, the rich and flavourful beef is sliced into bite-sized pieces to create an incredibly delicious and protein-rich snack. As part of our new blog feature ‘Supplier Spotlight’, we caught up with chief biltong maker Ross of Stript Snacks to find out more about biltong and business.
Tell us more about Stript and your range of delicious biltong.
Stript is all about delivering handy snacks that have plenty of natural protein and taste great. Fuel to help people do the things that matter, whether it be to replenish the body with some hard earned protein after exercising, or simply a guilt free snack to keep hunger at bay while sitting at your desk.
We have two flavours at present (cracked black pepper and red chilli) and are working on some other variants to add to the range- suggestions welcome! The aim with the biltong is to keep it natural, keep it tasty, and keep it tender.
How did it get started and what was the inspiration for launching the brand?
I moved out to Cape Town after finishing college in Dublin and was working as a coastal engineer. I came across biltong pretty much straight away and thought it was a fantastic snack- something that gives your body all those nutrients while being really tasty and natural. I was doing plenty of surfing and running the trails around Table Mountain and biltong was perfect to throw into the bag for those trips.
I started a hobby of making it myself at home and trialling different recipe ideas and the idea began to dawn on me to try and do a version of this back home. I noticed that things had changed since I had moved away and health and fitness was becoming massive, and this product fits right in with that trend. So I decided to build the brand around healthy lifestyles- not with an out and out nutrition focus but just about eating healthily and general active lifestyles. It’s been fun getting it going because it’s something I’m really passionate about myself so always aim to practice what I preach!
Who are Stript products designed for? (Who do they appeal to?)
They are really designed for anybody who aims to give their body the best chance of functioning properly. Anyone from a professional athlete who needs measured and regular protein in their diets to the regular guy looking for something tasty with his beer in the evening.
What has the response been like since your launch and have their been any unexpected surprises?
The main feedback has been both hugely encouraging while also quite frustrating at times. The encouraging bit is that I would be bold enough to say that over 90% of people that try Stript think it’s really tasty, and I’ve had numerous nutritionists from various professional sporting organisations all agree that it ticks the boxes in terms of a healthy and nutritious snack. The frustrating bit can be that it’s a very different type of snack for people in Ireland anyway, so people don’t really know what to expect and are sometimes a bit sceptical sometimes to try it.
“(Stript is) fuel to help people do the things that matter, whether it be to replenish the body with some hard earned protein after exercising, or simply a guilt free snack to keep hunger at bay while sitting at your desk.”
– Ross, Stript Snacks
What sets Stript products apart from other biltongs that are available?
I suppose it’s down to two things; the first is that I’ve made a real effort to keep it really tender so I’m yet to find another biltong as tender as Stript. Then I guess its just down to keeping out the nasties such as msg, potassium sorbate, nitrates etc. So I think it’s great but I guess I’d be a bit biased there too!
How did you go about developing the flavours?
There was a lot of trial and error in our kitchen at home and air-drying in my home made drying cabinet. I got it to a certain level and then went to some spice blend guys to make something up so that it comes out the same every time!
If you could possibly pick, do you have a favourite from your range?
Well, I only have two in the range still so it doesn’t take too long to go through all the options! I keep chopping and changing though- I’d probably lean towards the chilli if I had to make a call.
What does a typical day look like at Stript HQ?
It’s getting more and more hectic now as we’re only a team of two in the office. Niall is the marketing guy and is a big rugby head so he’s out networking with his peers a good bit trying to get the product out there. He does all the social media and manages sales through our website. I’m more on the sales side so I’ve been spending a good bit of time lately buzzing around Dublin in my van dropping off cases to stores around town and trying to learn what’s working and what’s not.
What are your plans for Stript in 2015?
We’ve just been selling online and through some stores in Dublin up until recently and and now I’m hoping to push it out into convenience stores across Ireland and I’m also looking into getting into offices as a healthy snack alternative in both Ireland and UK. All going well we’ll be looking at retail in UK towards the end of this year.
If you’d like to get your hands on some Stript biltong, be sure to order your February Savannah Box soon. This month’s box features the incredibly moreish ‘Cracked Black Pepper’ flavour, and we completely agree with Ross that Stript biltong is indeed deliciously tender and not to be missed! Order your box by Thursday 26th February by 5pm at the latest to guarantee your box.