Types of sausages at your Deli


Viennas, frankfurters, Russians and Smokies are South African favourites due to their versatility and delicious taste. The right ingredients and equipment will ensure your customers can enjoy a wide variety of these sausages, extending your range and ultimately adding to your bottom line.





Moms across the country rely on viennas for lunch boxes and quick snacks. Hot dogs are popular among young and old, with either viennas or frankfurters. Russians make extra special Russian dogs or, along with frankfurters, is the obvious choice with slap chips. All the sausages are used sliced or diced to turn a bowl of pasta into a meal.


Sausages have been made for centuries to preserve meat and to add variety to fresh meat selections. Today, these advantages remain valid – sausages offer a longer shelf life and a tasty way to prolong the life of your meat.


In addition, using different flavourings and meat blocks, butchers can significantly extend their product offering by creating viennas, Russians, frankfurters and Smokies with different quality and taste profiles, to cater to a wide section of South African consumers.



The options are almost endless. Vienna are cooked, cured and often smoked resulting in an even texture and flavour that is softer. It has a higher moisture content than most sausages.Viennas can be offered as red viennas or smoked viennas and cocktail viennas, in the traditional Vienna flavour or strongly flavoured. Chicken viennas are increasingly popular, as are cheese viennas.


Russians can be made with a typical Russian flavour or strongly flavoured for extended meat blocks. Smokies include, for example, Kasegriller – a Russian-like sausage with cubes of cheese. Frankfurters are cooked sausages made of seasoned, finely ground beef, pork, chicken, and/or turkey. All of these can be premium quality products or more economical options. And what about footlong versions for the bigger appetite?


Of course, offering a wide selection of viennas, Russians, frankfurters and Smokies does not necessarily entail making them yourself. There are a number of reputable suppliers who can supply the best quality sausages, for example, Hartlief Deli, Feinschmecker, Seemanns, Eskort and Enterprise Foods, to name just a few. The benefits include absolute consistency, and the ability to order precise quantities in a wider variety of unique flavours to cater to the exact demands of your customers. It may even be the more cost-effective option, considering the equipment, energy, labour and ingredient costs, all of which are optimised by large suppliers who can harness economies of scale.


For butchers who relish the creativity and challenge of producing their own range, there are a variety of solutions from ingredients and flavourings to tailor-made equipment to ensure making production of sausages are both easy and cost-effective. By manufacturing your own products, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and create customer loyalty through consistent quality and unique flavours.


As emulsified meat products, the sausages can be made with the mincer method or the bowl cutter method. Either way, you will need the right equipment to ensure consistency and high quality. From the mincers and bowl cutters to the sausage fillers, cooking cabinets and smoking cabinets, it is highly recommended that you partner with a reliable equipment supplier who can provide quality advice regarding the right equipment for your requirements, which should preferably be SABS approved, and can provide excellent after sales service with a reliable maintenance and repairs service.


Importantly, the equipment need to be efficient and easy to clean, and should offer low maintenance and low power consumption. Safety is also a concern, as is the ease of use. Flexibility in application, as well as the latest technology, can result in significant long term cost savings.


Once you have the right equipment, the right ingredients must be used. The higher the quality of the meat block, the better the quality of the end product. The cheaper the meat block, the stronger the flavouring must be.


In terms of flavouring, butchers can experiment with their own flavouring combinations, but the more cost effective solution is the ready-to-use flavouring mixes available from leading suppliers such as Crown National, Freddy Hirsch, Deli Spices and Exim International. These innovative flavouring solutions contain all the ingredients required in the exact quantities and are simply added to the meat block with ice water, following the easy instructions.


These solutions ensure every batch of sausages is perfect, without storing a large number of ingredients and without the time and waste usually involved in ordering, storing and measuring the ingredients to get the formula just right. In addition, the range of flavouring options is so extensive, that butchers can produce an astounding variety of viennas, Russians, frankfurters and Smokies in a fraction of the time. But perhaps most importantly, it allows butchers to achieve consistency and better hygiene. Many suppliers also work with their butchery and deli customers to develop custom solutions and to help them create signature lines.



Of paramount importance is the casings used. Even the finest fillings can be ruined by the wrong casing. Natural casings offer many benefits including permitting deep smoke penetration, while protecting the fine flavour of the sausage, as well as excellent elasticity and strength to allow for high efficiency production and expansion during filling. They are tender and juicy, yet offers a “snap” that cannot be imitated by artificial casings. Hog casings are generally used for large frankfurters and Russians. Sheep casings are used for viennas, frankfurters and Kasegriller.


Cellulose casings are made from different raw materials, including cotton. These casings are usually removed during the manufacturing process. Benefits include that they are uniform, printable, permeable to the desirable smoke compounds but not the aromatic compounds, and easy to peel.


These casing are used for frankfurters, viennas and other cooked sausages, whether smoked or not. Printed casings offer a novel and eye-catching alternative.

The cheapest casings are not necessarily the most cost effective choice and the price per bundle should not be the determining factor in the buying decision. Instead, speak to your supplier to find the right casing for your specific requirement.


Once you have created a variety of tasty products, ensure you display them to the maximum advantage. Consumers love variety, in line with the growing consumer trend towards more choice. Start with ensuring your display counter is effective, providing excellent lighting and neat display trays, so you can show off your selection in the best possible way. Add some colour with parsley, fancy cut tomatoes and bright cocktail onions, while arranging your sausages in an attractive way to create eye appeal.



Encourage your customers to try new varieties by slicing an assortment and marking each one clearly before offering your customers a taste. Packaging an assortment together in convenient family or ‘singles’ quantities will also encourage them to try different types and flavours.


Extend your value add to your customers and add another income stream to your business by creating picnic or party platters with your delicious range. Slice the sausage into circles or diagonally-cut chunks, add some parsley, cheese and cherry tomotoes for colour, and a generous supply of toothpicks, and serve with three or more dipping sauces such as mustard, tomato sauce and chilli sauce in small plastic containers, all wrapped in cling wrap and ready to go.


These products are best packed by vacuum seal, especially if they were peeled. Of course, packaging options abound and the main considerations are hygiene, shelf life and visual appeal. Shrink bags are commonly used for sausages, but butchers can also consider vacuum bags or base and lidding solutions for vacuum packaging. The advantage of the modern base and lidding packaging is improved product visibility on the one side, with a flat surface on the other for full colour printing.


Catering to the market demand for ever popular sausages requires a good selection of high quality, tasty viennas, Russians, frankfurters and Smokies to suit different tastes and budgets. It opens a world of possibilities to extend your product offering and to add to the bottom line.




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