Max Poznanovich of Branco's Fine Meat Products.
Picture / Richard Robinson
Humble sausage gains panache
Boerewors Venture a Family Affair
Article by SANZ
Heart Tick Sausage
Pappardelle with Sausage
Julie Biuso, Foodwriter - Your Home & Garden'
Light Sausage


Humble sausage gains panache
When Branko Poznanovich started his business it produced a few kilos of sausages each week, now it churns out about three tonnes - enough to fill a small swimming pool.

Son Max Poznanovich has taken over the reigns of the operation, which aims to combine New Zealand's high quality meat with European style to produce a premium product.

That product, Branco's Sausages, is the brand name of the Auckland-based family company Bramax. Established in 1995 by the South African immigrant, the business has grown substantially as consumers have adopted a more gourmet approach to sausages.

"We wanted to provide something a little different to the market full of mass-produced snarlers, a European styled sausage, a true boerewors [which means farmer's sausage], and to take that deli quality and style of sausage and make it widely available to the supermarket shopper," Max Poznanovich said.

The business is a family affair with mum Juanita on the payroll and the only other staff members being a brother and sister team who work in the processing room. Max Poznanovich had been a butcher in Capetown before moving to New Zealand, but he had no plans to set up a meat firm here.

But when people discovered he could make the traditional sausages and biltong (dried beef) he got lots of requests. He had a job packing decoders for Sky TV, but people used to come and ask him to make boerewors because they knew he was South African.

Then Pak 'N Save Botany Downs rang and asked him to supply some as their customers had been talking about them. Branco's now supplies 60 North Island supermarkets, but marketing the product has been a big job.

"We've taken a foreign product into a new market and relentlessly promoted it.
"Because it's got a strange name, a funny colour and is priced higher than other sausages, instore demonstrations where people can actually taste them has been the way to go," Poznanovich said.

Initially the business shared premises but last September the family moved it to their own building. "We've grown organically, only as much as our capital allowed. We're quite debt averse but we've stretched ourselves a bit to get into the new premises," Poznanovich said. He's confident it's the right move. The company broke even in its second year and while there are now more bills to cover, there's also been a 40 per cent increase in turnover in the past year.

The company has also just launched what it says is the first supermarket sausage (a boerewors style) to be granted the Heart Foundation's tick of approval. Poznanovich said the lite sausage had 25 per cent less fat than normal snags. The company prides itself on using top-quality meat and fresh seasoning.

"We don't aim to compete with what's there. We're small, so we see a gap in the market and fill it," he said.
"Because we're small, we're more flexible so we can meet the market."

New Zealand is a nation of sausage lovers with 31.5 per cent of us indulging at least once per week.
Aucklanders alone eat an estimated 50.8 million sausages a year.

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Boerewors Venture a Family Affair
Article by SANZ

We’ve seen this family’s South African meat products (Branco’s) on almost every supermarket shelf on the North Island, but their success is not surprising when you hear Bramax Limited’s remarkable story of faith, life on the road, good food and sound business sense.

Branco’s boerewors, biltong and other delicacies - watch out for their Heart Foundation - approved lite boerewors - have possibly done more for the acceptance of South African food in New Zealand than any other brand - a good reason for CONNECTIONS to catch up with one of the people behind Bramax Limited, Max Poznanovich.

Max’s parents, Branko and Juanita Poznanovich, came to New Zealand in 1995 to be with family who had lived in New Zealand for more than 10 years at that stage. As with many migrants, they left much behind to start life here, with significantly diminished capital, and with age against them - Branko was 70 years old.

“After living on capital for a short while, my father Branko got a part-time job in a warehouse packing goods. While doing this and orientating himself with New Zealand he noticed an absence of boerewors in the general food marketplace. Having 35 years butchery experience, Branko purchased a small sausage filler and began making Boerewors for acquaintances and associates, from home. After a short while Branko purchased a baby drying chamber and began making Biltong, too.”

Max says this continued at a steady rate until one day a supermarket called him and mentioned that a customer had told them about ‘Branko’s’ boerewors, and asked him to supply some to them. It was time to move to proper premises, but this he could not afford, nor did the volume sold warrant it. Branko began making his boerewors and biltong at an established meat processor where he had been buying his meat. This butchery also started stocking Branko’s products.

Other supermarkets got to hear about Branko’s boerewors and soon he was supplying five supermarkets. This was keeping the 70 year old quite busy, and at this point he mentioned to his son, Max, that he would need some help to further develop the business. Max was a ‘Project Analyst’ for one of New Zealand’s banking institutions.

“Being quite sceptical of the future of the boerewors business, I spoke to some friends in the business sector and bounced the idea off them. Convinced, I traded my suit for butchers’ whites and joined dad in the business in September 1999.”

Max brought his analyst skills into the business, which helped streamline production and formalise the organisation.

Both Branko and Max realised that if the turnover was to grow quickly over a short time they would have to tap the Kiwi market as well as the South African market. In order to do this, they would have to get the general Kiwi public to taste the sausage, and understand the quality difference between boerewors type sausages and regular Kiwi type sausages.

“I went on the road with a demonstration table, electric frying pan and other odds and ends to make this thing work. First I had to figure out how to get all the demo stuff into a two door car!” laughs Max. Then it was two day demos, Fridays and Saturdays in a different store every week or two, somewhere around the North Island.

“Besides building a business, I can also now tell people which ‘backpackers’ to avoid.

“My first demo was most challenging. Kiwi culture is generally less confrontational than South African, so to stand in a store and offer a foreign product that takes some effort to pronounce correctly and at a price one-third higher than a ‘normal’ sausage was interesting.

“But it all came together and it was very encouraging to hear such favourable feedback. Of course, it isn’t to everyone’s taste, and some people even spat it out, but there you go, every person is unique, tastes included.

“At first I took it personally, but for every one that didn’t like it, at least 10 others found it irresistible and bought some.”

One year later Bramax Limited, as the company became known was supplying “Branco’s” boerewors, garlic boerewors and chorizo (mild Mexican) fresh sausages to 25 supermarkets in the top half of the North Island. This figure has since doubled, now reaching down to Wellington. The range now includes an authentic Italian pork sausage, which is very popular.

”It is really a great compliment to us that our boerewors’ is so highly valued that customers in supermarkets will pay up to $12-99 per kg for it. Market trends toward a healthier, low-fat diet has seen Bramax develop New Zealand’s first supermarket sausage with the National Heart Foundation’s Heart Tick approval.

“Being Christians we have no doubt that God has blessed us and our business tremendously and we give all credit to Him,” says Max.
The new “Boerewors Lite” has less fat than Branco’s regular boerewors and is available in stores in the first week of February.

”Our recipe for success has been quite simple. Make a consistent product, market it to a target audience relentlessly and provide uninterrupted service. The fact that I have staff away sick, or am short of meat or had delivery issues is not the client’s concern. Always make sure that you set client expectations and meet them consistently.”

’Branco’s’ gourmet sausages are available in the butchery department of most supermarkets in the North Island or you can visit them directly at Unit E, 134 Marua Road Ellerslie, Auckland, for wholesale prices.

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    Heart Tick Sausage
As New Zealand 's first supermarket sausage with the National Heart Foundation's Tick of Approval, Branco's Boerewors LITE has preformed a minor miracle in combining the qualities of a fantastic sausage with health. The LITE sausage isn't quite as tasty as others in the range, but the texture and quality is superb.

(Cuisine Magazine July 2004)

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    Pappardelle with Sausage
Julie Biuso, Foodwriter - Your Home & Garden'
This meaty pasta dish has loads of flavour it's a bit of a cheat's way of making a ragù (Bolognese sauce).
But you must use good sausages I used Branco's Continental Pork Sausages from the supermarket.


450g Italian-style sausages
1Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 400g cans Italian tomatoes, mashed
1 Tbsp tomato concentrate
½ tsp sugar
3 fresh bay leaves
6 fresh sage leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g Pappardelle
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

•  Slit sausage skins, peel off and discard, then chop sausage meat roughly. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat and add sausage meat. Fry until lightly browned and break up meat with wooden spoon.

•  Add garlic, fry a minute, then add tomatoes, tomato concentrate, sugar, bay leaves and sage. Cook gently for about 30 minutes, or until reduced and pulpy, and season with quarter of a teaspoon of salt and a little pepper.

•  Cook pasta in plenty of gently boiling, well-salted water until al dente. Drain and turn into a warmed serving bowl. Pour on the sauce, using a rubber scraper to get al the bits, and toss well. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.

(Your Home & Garden June 2004)

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    Light Sausage
Health conscious barbeque and grill cooks will be able to serve up the weekend treat without snags health snags that is following the launch of the first supermarket sausage (a boerewors style) to be granted the Heart Foundation's Tick of approval.

Produced by specialist Auckland sausage maker, Brancos, the new Boerewors LITE is full flavoured with 25 per cent less fat.

(Foodtown magazine June/ July 2004)

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