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If you've recently enjoyed a beef "schnitty" at a pub, grabbed some tempura battered Teriyaki flavoured or crumbed sweet chilli beef pieces from a takeaway or convenience store, then the chances are you've come across the new Cattlemen's Beef range.
Yeppoon-based company directors Mark Davie and Kelly Newton are the dynamic team behind the development of the Cattlemen's Beef range, which launched in late 2022.
Through their work with their family-owned parent company Keppel Brand, the duo are already experts in the convenience and hot box food manufacturing space.
Keppel Brand makes "good time food" such as the popular battered frankfurts, Keppel Dogs, which have become synonymous with the Ekka and other agricultural events, stadium menus, takeaway shops, roadhouses and canteens.
Other popular products manufactured by the Australian company include the pork-based Keppel Crumbed Sausage and Battered Sav range - Aussie fare and hot box favourites.
In 2013 the couple left their corporate jobs in Brisbane to relocate back to Central Queensland with the intention to temporarily join Keppel Brand.
But 10 years on, and equipped with a lot of beef farming and food processing experience, they're yet to leave. In recent years Mark noticed that the convenience market had a lot of chicken products but few beef options were available in the convenience and hot box sector.
The combined expertise in selling and supplying beef is creating opportunities for others to enjoy more 'vitamin beef' in the form of tasty schnitzels and nugget sized portions of whole muscle beef pieces that currently form the Cattlemen's Beef range of products.
"Keppel Brand's products are available in 14,000 outlets across Australia, but we saw a real gap for beef in the petrol and convenience space," says Mark.
"Obviously we live in the beef capital but food manufacturing in regional Queensland is quite rare," adds Kelly.
"Cattlemen's Beef was created to bring premium Australian beef to the tables, mouths and hands of beef lovers but with a convenience."
According to Kelly, consumers should be able to enjoy Australian beef as it is the original nutritious superfood, packed with protein, iron and zinc.
"Through the new Cattlemen's Beef range, we set out to offer flavoursome, quality beef products for busy families and those on the run," she says.
During years of research and development, the company sourced a lesser known cut of beef, bought specialised equipment to cut it into perfectly sized portions, and developed a batter and crumb with a delicious combination of flavour and texture to coat.
To help fund their growth Mark and Kelly turned to Westpac bank to help them with advice and financial support throughout their business journey expanding the Keppel Brand business and developing Cattlemen's Beef.
"Whenever we have considered an investment, we will always ask our agribusiness banker for his opinion on how best to structure the purchase," says Mark.
"They've been able to turn around our finance applications quickly, are incredibly responsive to our needs and engaged in our business.
"Our Westpac Agribusiness manager even provides some of the most thoughtful and considered product feedback we get when tasting some of our new products!"
One such move was the million-dollar plus investment in variable speed drives, compressors and equipment that is more energy efficient, to manage rising energy costs whilst also reducing emissions by about 58 per cent per kg. The payback has resulted in lower electricity bills, which continues to be a major cost and concern for food manufacturers.
In addition to filling gaps in the petrol and convenience food market, Mark and Kelly have an appetite to showcase Australian agricultural and beef products to the nation while supporting their community by employing local people, of which the company currently has more than 40 staff.
Mark and Kelly have big ambitions for business expansion and, with the support of Westpac, are currently working on a project involving a new major food manufacturing facility in Yeppoon which will create about an additional 100 jobs, increasing Keppel Brand's workforce to about 140 staff.
This move will also help the business to access and leverage nearby export markets, such as the growing convenience food sector in Asia.
Grow your business with the help of Westpac's award-winning Agribusiness Relationship Managers, who have farming roots and agri industry expertise.