Three years ago, we set out on a journey to bring better meat to the masses. Oh, how much has happened since that day. Startups are famously tough and intense on account of limited resources and mega learning curves. Did we think we’d be able to avoid these cliches? Maybe a little...But, of course, our experience has been no different to any other newbie business. And after a pretty intense eight months of juggling Ember with our day jobs, triathlon training and the trials and tribulations of our personal lives, we finally took the first giant leap - ordering our first set of packaging and leaving our old jobs for good. Scary? Definitely. Exciting? Very.
Amazingly, our first packaging run looked just like we wanted it to - which anyone who’s ever dabbled in the packaging pool will know is no mean feat. So off we went to sample our first batch of Ember. And then came our first startup lesson. We quickly learned that meat snacks are an art and a science, with a whole load of variables that affect consistent quality. We had to figure out exactly how to temper these elements, and that became a challenge that we grew to love. It might not be the easiest job in the world, but if it was easy everyone would be doing it. And, hopefully, there’s only one Ember out there.
Three years has flown by (just like everyone said it would), and the way we see things has changed in so many ways. To mark our third year bringing tasty meat snacks to the world, we wanted to do a little roundup of our best moments so far...
There’s nothing quite like that moment when all your hard work pays off, and you’re holding the finished result in your hands. It all suddenly felt real in that moment.
This has to be one of the happiest memories of all - jumping up and down after getting that first call. As for actually seeing our snacks in shops? Totally surreal.
We’ve never felt more focused and dedicated than when we took a step back to recalculate our plans for Ember’s future.
As our Ember grew, we (along with much of the world) started asking questions about the impact of meat, and realised we couldn’t answer some of the toughest questions about our own business.
So where does that leave us? Well, we’ve put a massive effort into creating our own supply chain for all new products, where we work strictly with the more environmentally-conscious farmers. There’s a lot of tasty new stuff coming your way, and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Ember Biltong been paying a visit to some seriously inspirational farms over the last few months, getting to know the farmers we source our meat from even better. There’s Jonny’s Farm in Devizes, where all the cows are 100% grass-fed and freely roam the beautiful pastures. The practices he’s put in place to restore soil health and wildlife diversity are incredible. Then there’s brothers Mark and Paul’s pig farm in Suffolk, where all the pigs roam free (quite rightly). They’ve poured their efforts into restoring the bee population in the area, and right now there’s enough pollen on their farm to feed a million bees. Which is really quite bee-autiful.
It’s farmers like these, with their ingenious regenerative practices that are helping to answer the questions around how we can grow food sustainably on this planet. We feel really lucky to be working with, and learning from, these guys.
We also recommend you check out the "What Is Biltong" guide
Harry, Jack and the Ember team