A West-Sussex based foodservice supplier was celebrating last week after taking home the top title of Pork Product of the Year.
The Southover Food Company’s free-range cured roast loin of pork was judged best in the Bpex Foodservice competition.
This year, more than 130 products were submitted by chefs, butchers and manufacturers to the foodservice industry across the competition’s six categories.
The winning product was heralded as Champion after being awarded first place in the Best Cured Product category. It wowed judges at the initial round of judging, who applauded the cut, its taste, presentation and suitability for the foodservice sector.
Steve Pearce, of the Southover Food Company, said he was delighted with the win. “We’ve been doing some work on loins for quite a while now but my production manager came up with the idea for this one and we worked on it together.
“I’m really chuffed to win as there were a lot of fantastic products in this competition. It’s so rewarding to get independent recognition and for industry experts to say we have the best pork product in the foodservice sector. This is a welcome boost for all of our staff and is positive news for the sector too.”
The product uses Hampshire bred pork and a Wiltshire cure before the loin is roasted, chilled and sliced. Pearce said it was ideal for chefs looking for quality, convenience and those with limited space.
The award also comes at a time of growth for the company. Under the Southover Cooked Meats brand, it is expanding supplies into the wholesale sector, to sandwich manufacturers and direct to high street shops and delicatessens.
Winner of the MTJ-sponsored ‘Best Innovative Pork Product’ category was the UK Foodhall with a ‘Healthy Option Chinese-Style Pork and Baked Bean Grill’, developed for the school meals market.
“All children love baked beans, so these grills are a real hit,” said Christine Gethin, Director of the UK Foodhall. “They’re also low-fat, low-salt and full of natural products, making them ideal for school meals and children’s menus.”
Bpex foodservice trade manager Tony Goodger said: “This year’s competition has been hugely successful in terms of displaying innovation and product excellence. Pork really is one of the nation’s favourite meats; its sheer versatility, taste and value for money makes it ideally suited to all catering menus, from top-class restaurants, pubs and cafés to schools and hospitals.
“The originality and quality shown in the competition this year was compelling, it is no surprise that many entrants picked up an award of gold, silver or bronze status. The 18 finalists – first, second and third place in each of the categories, are to be congratulated in particular. The recognition gained from the competition can now be used on menus and marketing literature to display pork product excellence to all their customers.”
Other category winners included Owen Taylor & Sons, in the Fresh Pork category for its Pork Cutlet, Rind on French Trimmed stuffed with Black Pudding and Apple; Aubrey Allen, in the Pork Ready Meal category for its Goan Portuguese Pork and Chick Pea Curry; Bearfields, in the Best Cold Eating Pork category for its Hot and Spicy Rustic Pulled Pork; and Muff’s of Bromborough, in the Pork and Pastry category for its Pork and Red Onion Sausage Roll.