New charcuterie business launched in the Outer Hebrides
A new charcuterie business has successfully launched in the Outer Hebrides, helped by business access grants of over £3,000.
Stornoway-based Hebridean Charcuterie from Croft No.9, launched by Brian and Melinda Whitington, started selling their first product ‘Wild & Free Salami’ in March 2022. Made with local free-range pork produced on crofts, as well as venison and goose meat, – their products help to keep control of deer and geese numbers on the Islands, which can cause damage to the land if left unchecked.
It is believed that the charcuterie business is the first of its kind on the Islands and the new business hopes to become a top choice on menus and in shops locally.
Business Gateway helped the couple develop their business plan through a dedicated adviser, who offered guidance on funding options and aided them in their application to access grant funding. This resulted in an award of £1,250 through the Outer Hebrides Young Entrepreneurs Fund (OHYESS), fully funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and delivered by Business Gateway. This supported investment in a mincer, slicer, sausage stuffer and fridges enabling the business to meet professional requirements.
Brian Whitington, co-founder, Hebridean Charcuterie said: “I always wanted to start my own business, and I felt that I had the skills and expertise to launch the first charcuterie in the Outer Hebrides, using meats from crofters and wild animals. Business Gateway has been vital throughout this process and its help meant that we were able to invest in equipment and cover a lot of the initial costs associated with launching the business.”
Additionally, through the continued direction from Business Gateway, Brian and Melinda were also awarded a further grant of £2,331 through the Comhairle’s Covid-19 Economic Recovery Grant Scheme (CERGS). This gave them the ability to buy an additional fridge and cool boxes to transport meat for production.
Melinda Whitington, co-founder, added: “We had to overcome several hurdles including converting what was once an unused garage at the back of our house into a salami kitchen at the height of the Covid crisis. We’ve also met lots of lovely people active in the local food supply chain along the way.”
With sales taking off, the couple are now looking to the next steps and expansion, helped by Business Gateway’s advice on HR and hiring staff. The couple have also trialled an aromatically spiced sheep meat salami which they hope to formally launch later in the year.
Brian Whittington said: “As the first charcuterie business of our kind in the Outer Hebrides, we aim to stock up to 50 local businesses with our locally produced wild and free salami. We are also proud of our no-plastic packaging, electric vehicle transport and ultra-energy-efficient equipment, ensuring our impact on the environment is minimal.”
Derek Maclean of Business Gateway commented: “Brian and Melinda identified an opportunity to launch not only the first charcuterie in the Outer Hebrides but a company that is mindful about its impact on the environment. For customers and businesses, they present an exciting offering that everyone will enjoy.”