Rugby stars score with South African sausages

Sausages SM Farm
Ulster Rugby players Louis Ludik (left) and Schalk Van Der Merwe with Dr Amy Burns, Ulster University Business School and the Hellbent boerewors.

Ulster University Business School and two Ulster Rugby players have partnered to produce Northern Ireland’s first South African ‘boerewors’ or sausage.

Full-back Louis Ludik and prop Schalk Van Der Merwe, both from South Africa, have worked for five months alongside the Business School’s experts in food innovation in Coleraine to find the perfect blend of South African spices and locally produced beef to create “Hellbent,” their version of the boerewors.

Dr Amy Burns, Director of the Food and Consumer Testing Suite (FACTS), explains: “The function of our Testing Suite in Coleraine is to support product innovation and new product development, providing facilities for research, nutritional evaluation and sensory testing.

“As professional sportsmen, Louis and Schalk appreciate the nutritional value of foods but were desperate to incorporate much-loved flavours from home in their diet.

“South of the equator boerewors are firm favourites but little known here so the guys approached us to see how they could produce their own version with a view to turning their passion for healthy food into a commercial venture.”

South African boerewors are very different from their UK counterparts. Containing at least 90 per cent meat, and never more than 30 per cent fat, the spiral shaped sausage is completely additive and gluten free. The name is derived from the Afrikaans/Dutch words ‘boer’ meaning farmer and ‘wors’ meaning sausage.

With the help of the FACTS team, Louis and Schalk have tested Hellbent on numerous consumers with excellent feedback. “FACTS at Ulster University have enabled us to see how our product will appeal to the UK and Irish market,” they said.

“Everyone who tested the Boerewors agreed that they had never come across anything like this before, succulent meat with a spicy edge. And it’s healthy, with a clean label and a minimum amount of fat.

“We’re now working closely with a branding company to raise awareness of ‘Hellbent’ and have engaged with a local food producer, Carnbrooke Meats in Dromara, to bring the product to the catering trade initially.

“The beef and spice mix is incredibly versatile so we would hope to see it used not only to make boerewors but also in patties, meatballs, cocktail sausages and hotdogs.”


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