Eskort Limited is a leading South African manufacturer and marketer of processed pork products under the Eskort Brand. The range includes Bacon, Viennas, Russians, Polony, Sausages, Marinated Ribs, Ham and Fresh products. In addition to national distribution of the branded products, Eskort Butcheries are located at the Estcourt and Heidelberg factories as well as at the Food Hub Silverton in Pretoria, Mbombela (Nelspruit), East Rand Value Mall, Princess Crossing Shopping Centre in Roodepoort and Xavier Boulevard. These outlets have been recently upgraded to meet the growing demand for quality fresh meat products in our communities.

Our History

During mid 1917, a group of nine gathered at the Plough Hotel in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, to discuss the establishment of a Bacon curing factory in the area. By August 1917 the Farmer's Co-operative Bacon Factory Limited was founded and building commenced on the banks of the Bushman's River in Estcourt. The factory was officially opened on 6 June 1918 by General Louis Botha.

Messrs. Thrupps & Co. of Johannesburg became one of the first large clients to whom the Co-operative sold their Bacon.

In June 1919 the liner S.S. Saxon carried the first Bacon exports to the United Kingdom. These were excellently received by that market. At the 1920 Rand Easter Show the company secured the following awards: The only Gold Medal in the Agricultural Section, Silver Cup for Export Bacon, and Silver Cup for Export Hams. In the same year the company was awarded a Gold and Silver Medal from the British Dairy Farmers Association at the London Dairy Show (the acknowledged Bacon Show of the World).

In 1920 the manufacture of the now famous Eskort Gold Medal Pork Sausages commenced and the Co-operatives' continued marketing of excellent products were rewarded with the third successive wins in the Export Hams and Bacon categories at the 1922 Rand Easter Show. Tragedy struck in 1925 when a fire caused extensive damage to the factory and production was temporarily relocated to Nel's Rust Dairy Limited in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Despite the setback the Company gained the high honour of winning the top three prizes at the 1926 London Dairy Show.

During the Second World War over 1 million tins of Sausages were supplied to the Allied forces all over the world and over 12 tonnes of Bacon per week was supplied to convoys calling at Durban Harbour. Early in 1948 plans for a factory in Heidelberg, Gauteng were drawn up. This factory commenced production in September 1954. The retail Eskort Butchery, a favourite shopping stop for travellers between the Reef and Durban was opened in 1951. "World War II Advert: Mr and Mrs WILLIAMS, S.A. World Walkers. After having traveled 17,460 miles we still have to find BACON and SAUSAGES as good and as popular as ESTCOURT."

The first Leyland Diesel transport (left) was acquired in March 1953 at a cost of 2362 Pounds! During the 1950's the company embarked on a concerted effort to improve the class of pig being received into the factory and this work, and the purchase of breeding stock played a major role in the development of reliable, quality raw material. The first vacuum packed, sliced Bacon in South Africa was made available in 1959.

The Eskort Butchery in Estcourt (left) became a popular stop off on the Johannesburg - Durban national road around this time. The Golden Jubilee Year of 1967 was celebrated with plans for additional expansion at both Estcourt and Heidelberg which was continued vigorously to see Eskort become the single largest brand in the South African Processed Meat Industry.

During 1992, the Eskort Co-operative celebrated 75 years of marketing quality products to the South African and International Markets, as well as being recognised as a leader in the development of a stable South African Pig Industry. In 1997 an automatic Bacon slicer and packer was installed. Further significant acquisitions of technology and machinery continue to be made each year to provide modern production procedures that focus on quality products and leading food safety standards.

In 1998 Eskort Bacon Co-operative converted to a Limited company, controlled by supplier shareholders.

Since 2000, the Eskort product portfolio has been extended into the Fresh Pork market with products such as Spare Ribs, Bacon Cherry Sticks, Marinated Rashers and Smoked Eisbein being marketed at the Eskort Butcheries situated in Heidelberg and Estcourt. Many of these products including Gammons are packed under the labels of South Africa’s leading retailers and Eskort produces a range of products endorsed by Weigh-Less.

2008 to Current: Recent product launches have included the popular Eskort Marinated Rib Burgers, Marinated Ribs and Frikkadels plus the recently released Eskort Premium Select Range of products - Click here for more information about Eskort products.

The brand website also features a collection of recipes using Eskort branded and fresh meat products.

The staff complement at the factories in Estcourt and Heidelberg now exceeds 1000 people.

Eskort is actively involved in social projects in local communities. Click here for more details.

Eskort is the proud sponsor of the Eskort Cavanagh Marathon, Kwai Challenge and, since 2009, Eskort has partnered with the School Easter Rugby and Hockey Festivals held at King Edward VII in Houghton. The company sponsors the annual Heidelberg Varkfees.

During November 2013, Eskort opened a third Butchery outlet at the FOODHUB Retail development in Silverton, Pretoria. The Butchery stocks a wide range of fresh and processed pork products. Other outlets situated at FOODHUB Silverton include Sea Harvest Factory Shop, Lamberti's Fruit Juices and Farm to Kitchen which offers an extensive meat counter featuring Morgan Beef red meat, Daybreak Chicken, fresh fruit & veg, a bakery, deli and coffee shop. For more information and a map to FOODHUB Silverton, click here.