Interview - Doug Cameron - Nive Beef Jerky
When you can trace a food product directly back to the farm, you know it has to have a mark of quality about it. This is the case with Nive Beef Jerky, made by a family whose beef farming pedigree stretches back twenty years. We spoke with Doug and Rachelle Cameron, farmers and producers of Nive Beef and Nive Beef Jerky and learned a whole lot more about this nutritious, energising snack in the process.
FFW: Who is behind NIVE BEEF JERKY?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Rachelle and I grew up on the land and are continuing our family farming traditions. We're passionate about raising cattle using low-stress, ethical practices. Initially we made jerky for family and friends. The feedback and encouragement we received led us to refine our marinades and venture into the commercial production of a traditional jerky. We can guarantee the quality because it's a genuine paddock to packet product.
FFW: So you raise all your own beef?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Yes we run 1,000 breeder cows and calves on our property, Nive Downs. Our cattle are 100% grass-fed and raised using low-stress farming practices. We are passionate about sustainable farming and have the same approach when it comes to producing our traditional style beef jerky.
FFW: What inspired you to create a beef jerky product?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Doug has always been an avid fan of eating beef jerky. Being a bit of a foodie he decided to make his own home made jerky a few years ago.
Having been in beef production for over 20 years we felt there was an opportunity to value add to our beef. We thought we could offer a premium, high quality jerky that would be a unique product in the market place both because of the way it's made and the fact that we can guarantee quality from paddock to packet.
FFW: What makes beef jerky a healthy snack?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Beef jerky is a high-energy snack that’s great for busy people and perfect for getting you through a tough workout or a long and exhausting day chasing the kids around. It’s high in protein and unlike an unhealthy sugar fix, it will keep you going without a blood sugar crash.
FFW: And what is it about NIVE BEEF JERKY that separates it from competitors’ products?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Number one is our guaranteed traceable food chain from paddock to packet using a quality fusion of Angus and Charolais beef cattle. The meat for our jerky is butchered by hand. A lot of care and attention goes into ensuring that our customers experience an authentic jerky with a home-made look and taste.
It's a preservative free product and uses only salt as the curing agent whereas most other jerky producers will use ‘quick cure’. It is also free of vegetable gums that other brands use as softener, and contains no fillers - so you're buying 100% beef and getting great value.
FFW: If you don’t use quick cure, or vegetable gums as a softener, how do you achieve a product of such wonderful texture?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: The product has a great texture due to the breeds of cattle that we use. Angus is well known for tenderness. Also only the most suitable cuts of meat are used for our jerky and are expertly processed by our local Augathella butcher. We use salt as our hurdle as it is more natural.
FFW: Does dried beef have the same nutrient content as fresh beef?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Yes, it does. The great thing about dried beef is that you can take it anywhere and enjoy the convenience of a nutritious snack.
FFW: What kind of customer buys NIVE BEEF JERKY?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: It's the perfect nutritious and convenient snack for busy people. Work or play, if you are looking for a quick and easy, healthy alternative that is suitable for the whole family then Nive Beef Jerky ticks the box. Our jerky is softer than many other brands and what we're finding is that even people who haven't traditionally thought that they would enjoy jerky are suddenly huge jerky fans. Our kids love it. It's a great lunchbox snack. And when Doug is out working on the property, he always keeps an emergency snack bag in the car. I even add it as a tasty ingredient to add flavour when I'm cooking.
FFW: What kinds of retailers are selling your products?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: We've had a lot of support from local pubs and butchers out west. In the city we are targeting boutique breweries, premium butchers and grocers, health shops, sporting facilities and farmers markets.
FFW: Why should retailers stock NIVE BEEF JERKY?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: We offer a premium product and our packaging reflects that. Our customers are very discerning. They want a quality product that is produced ethically and is good for them and as an added bonus they can feel good about supporting an Australian family business. Also our 50g packet is twice that of most jerky brands so it's better value for money.
FFW: What’s the beauty of a product like yours, for retailers?
NIVE BEEF JERKY:
- Paddock to packet. Small family business oversees the entire process.
- Good potential for impulse purchases.
- Professional quality packaging.
- Australian owned and made.
- Alternative healthy snack food product.
- All natural.
FFW: Have you received feedback from consumers?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Everyone who tastes our jerky has praised its quality and texture. The real jerky connoisseurs say it's delicious and a little different to other brands, and those who have never tasted jerky before are pleasantly surprised by the experience and keen to try more.
FFW: If you could land an exciting major client, who or what kind would it be?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Our dream would be to supply our premium jerky to the Australian Army and a major airline.
FFW: How do you assist retailers in promoting your products?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: We offer samples to new retailers and are happy to consider promotional support. We also have very strong branding and supply an attractive POS stand.
FFW: Can you elaborate a little on the flavour profiles of your three products?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Original is the first flavour we perfected. This is perfect with an afternoon drinks but is mild enough to enjoy all times of the day. Children particularly enjoy this flavour.
Hot & Spicy is a medium heat jerky; the chilli warms the palate more with each piece.
Heated Garlic is an earthier flavoured jerky with just a hint of chilli for warm and subtle taste of garlic.
FFW: Do you have any other products or flavours in development at the moment?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Watch this space. Doug is experimenting with some new flavours.
FFW: If you could have anyone in the world as ‘the face of NIVE BEEF JERKY’, who would it be and why?
NIVE BEEF JERKY: Our little family of five would be the face of Nive Beef Jerky. We are just one farming family in Queensland trying to share their love of good quality jerky with the rest of Australia as well as our journey through this process.