AFTER four years, the Chichester Biltong Company has transformed from a shoebox and a light bulb into a national trendsetter.
The Oving-based firm has revealed plans of an upcoming move to a larger building, driven by demand for its strips of dried beef.
“For us it’s a real milestone,” said company founder Simon Smith, 50.
He said when he first moved into their current home, he was worried it would be too big for them.
“Now, there’s not room to swing a mouse,” he said.
The rapid expansion has come about after a foray into a new market.
The biltong is now supplied to 350 gyms around the UK as an alternative to a protein shake for people recovering after a workout, with it about to take on the brand name Beefit.
“Eighteen months ago I thought there had to be a better way to reach a larger market,” said Simon.
“It seemed an obvious choice. The fact that our biltong has three times more protein than a chicken breast, it’s a massive reason to offer it to people.”
The company said it produced the South African snack from locally-sourced beef and the new building had solar panels to minimise its carbon footprint.
Simon said the company was not resting on its laurels and hoped its new home would let it produce seven tonnes of biltong per week.
He described the potential to produce £7m turnover per year as ‘the most incredible thing’.
He went on: “It’s about being in the right place at the right time. We’ve been very fortunate and we’ve had loads of good people who have believed in it. We’re humbled by the opportunities that are now showing up and we’re terrifically grateful and we don’t take anything for granted.”
He went on: “It’s been built on the fact our staff have stayed with us, that’s been really important. It’s a real team thing. I think that’s what’s helped us get to this level. It’s a fantastic bunch of hardworking people that have a belief the company is going somewhere.”
The company currently employs 12 people and is hoping this will rise to 20 by the end of 2015.