Left to Right, above – Rhiann, David, Jeannie, Rachel, Dave, Diane.
Alternative Meats started from the passion of a dynamic duo, Rachel & Jeannie, who own and manage the company today. Their original experience of the British Meat Industry began in the world of Ostriches and this interest in an unusual meat extended originally to a comprehensive range of exotic Alternative Meats which included Wild Boar and Game, South African Game and Antelope, Kangaroo and Crocodile.
The girls first met in the Nineties, working with Rachel’s father in the British Ostrich Industry, and then in 2001 they formed their own Company, Alternative Meats Ltd. The business plan was to extend the product range to include Wild Boar from Cornwall, and British Wild Game and Venison, sourcing from local shoots in Shropshire and Cheshire. When Foot and Mouth was announced on their very first launch day, all of these products immediately became almost impossible to source in the UK and the girls were forced to react rapidly and look further afield – hence bringing in Antelope and Ostrich from South Africa. This proved successful for a number of years and resulted in a high profile for the Company, with the girls appearing on Ready Steady Cook with Ainsley Harriott, Good Food Live on Channel 4, and many guest appearances on BBC Radio 4, plus of course the publication of their Cookbook, The A – Z Exotic Meats published by Harper Collins.
However, everything began to change when Rachel and Jeannie became interested in British Rose Veal, in the first half of the Noughties. The predicament of British Dairy Farmers, who were in the dreadful situation of having to cull bull dairy calves when they were born, inspired them to put in a lot of work raising public awareness about eating British Rose Veal, and they are still selling this product 15 years later. Other Artisan producers, also searching for a route ot market, approached the girls to get their products off the ground, and this was particularly true of Ifor Humphreys in Montgomeryshire who first met with the girls in about 2010, and described his vision for Welsh Wagyu Beef. This is now the flagship product of Alternative Meats and has been the key that has opened the door to supplying some of the most well known Michelin-Starred Chefs of Great Britain, including celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal, and upcoming Michelin-starred Chef Gareth Ward from Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms, who is their Ambassador for this amazing product. They were delighted to find themselves supplying Matt Worswick on the popular TV Programme Great British Chefs, and watched him rise to Michelin-Star status as one of their customers.
Welsh Wagyu Beef has been followed rapidly by Mangalitza Pork, and Lisa and Tim of Otterburn Mangalitzas approached Rachel and Jeannie to follow in the footsteps of the Welsh Wagyu, believing passionately in their very rare Pedigree Hungarian Mangalitzas and again, looking for a market place. It sat naturally within the products that Alternative Meats promotes – fantastic quality, with a stand alone taste experience, like nothing you have ever had before – a real recipe for success in today’s very competitive and challenging meat industry.
Alternative Meats have been awarded numerous Gold Stars in the Great Taste Awards for their products year on year, including a Golden Fork in 2011 for Best Newcomers. In the 2018 Awards they again picked up a total of 6 Gold Stars for Welsh Wagyu Beef, Mangalitza Pork Gammon (newly developed by Rachel) and their newest product, Welsh Wagyu Beef Biltong. All four flavours of this fantastic snack now carry a Gold Star, most recently in 2019 the Snap Sticks joined the Gold Star Club ! Last year they also went on to develop and introduce the amazing Mangalitza Bacon and won a total of eight Gold Stars for a variety of products, but notably 3 for the new Bacon!! They are nominated suppliers for Harrods of Knightsbridge, and have made numerous appearances on BBC Radio and TV programmes including Market Kitchen’s Big Adventure, BBC Radio Four’s Farming Today and Woman’s Hour, and have regularly appeared in local and national press.