Get in the running for Butcher's Shop of the Year

The best butchers in the country will be competing for a top title later this year, and MTJ is urging all butchers to get in the running.

The annual Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards is calling for entries from butchers up and down the country, who want to prove their business is a cut above the rest.

Ed Bedington, editor of MTJ, which organises the awards, said: “This competition is one of the highlights of the year, and can give businesses lucky enough to get through to the finals, a much-needed boost. Previous winners have been able to market their success to great advantage, increasing turnover and bringing in new customers — and in these straitened times, businesses should be looking to gain any advantage they can.”

Last year’s overall winner, Stewart’s Family Butchers of Enniskillen, gleaned fantastic coverage following its success. At the time, owner Gabriel Stewart said it was like winning an Olympic Gold medal, and it attracted a lot of attention. “We’ve had quite a few people come into the shop who said they had seen us on the TV and wanted to see the shop. We’ve also noticed many new faces who aren’t familiar to us, which is great. The coverage we’ve had has been brilliant.”

The competition covers butchers’ shops around the country, with the winner in each region going head to head to see which one is declared the overall best butcher’s shop in the UK.

Other national awards will see farm shops from across the UK compete to see which is the best, while the Butcher’s Plus award will recognise businesses that have expanded beyond traditional butchery – typically shops that have added on other services, such as a café, and broadened the range beyond meat.

This year will also see the return of the Halal Butcher’s Shop of the Year category following its successful debut last year.

Also returning is the ever-popular Young Butcher of the Year, a hotly contested title, which was last year taken by Gary Raeburn, of Huntly in Aberdeenshire. Bedington added: “I’m looking forward to seeing some more first-rate entries into the young butcher category. Each year we’ve seen more great youngsters come forward, and it’s a real pleasure to be able to highlight some of the skills out there.”

The competition is judged in two rounds, with an initial paper entry being assessed by a panel of expert judges from a broad spectrum of retail and butchery experience. A shortlist of three finalists in each category will then be visited by our on-the-road judges to decide the overall winners.

A further category, Innovation of  the Year, will also be assessed on paper, and the winner picked during the first round.

This year’s awards are sponsored by Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales, Eblex, Bpex, Weddel Swift & Harmony Farm, Lucas Ingredients, Verstegen Sauces & Spices, Tican Chilled, Meat Training Council and Quality Meat Scotland’s Scotch Butchers’ Club.

Entry forms for the awards are being sent out now, or you can download a copy at www.meatinfo.co.uk.
For more information and details on the awards, contact Hannah Rosevear on 01293 610431, or email her at hannah.rosevear@wrbm.com.