Record attendance at Scottish Meat Fair

Retail butchers were to be seen in record numbers with their families at the Scottish Meat Fair, which took place at the Dewars Centre in Perth on Sunday.

Retail butchers were to be seen in record numbers with their families at the Scottish Meat Fair, which took place at the Dewars Centre in Perth, on Sunday.

Fathers with sons ranging from toddlers to adults sampled the delights of the Fair. Father and son double-act Sandy and Jonathan Crombie, of Crombie's of Edinburgh, spent several hours chatting to exhibitors and fellow butchers.

"I think there must have been 300-400 visitors," said Bruce McCall, members services officer at the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association. "There were around three to four people from each business."

Jamie Chapman, president of the SFMTA, said: "It went very well. Everybody was pleased - both the traders and butchers."

Anybody who was anybody in the Scottish meat industry was there, reinforcing the support retail butchers have from the rest of the supply chain. Uel Morton, chief executive of Quality Meat Industry was seen chatting to butchers, as were Allan Jess, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, former Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association president Duncan MacKenzie and current SFTMA president Jamie Chapman.

The 30 exhibitors all reported positive feedback. Noel Dawson from Lucas Ingredients was pleased with the numbers that sampled the company's products. "It's been great. We have very little product to take back."

The Unitech stand was equally busy with visitors and its sales director, John Armstrong, barely had a second to draw breath. "It's good exhibition for us," he said.

The meat skills competition, where eight finalists compete to produce the most innovative and accurate cuts from a carcase, was hotly contested, with judges exclaiming the standard was the highest they had seen. Defending champion Richard Megahy, from the UK's Butcher Shop of the Year Simon Howie, did not disappoint and won the Over 22 Category, while Gary Raeburn from Forbes, Raeburn & Sons from Huntly was the winner of the Under 22 Category.

Keith Fisher, product development manager at the Meat & Livestock Commission who was one of the judges, said: "It is a credit to all butchers who performed here, the skills they have shown and long it may continue."

The 2007 Scottish Haggis Masters champion was Dalbeattie Fine Foods from Dalbeattie.

Steve Brown of R Brown & Son from Stenhousemuir was crowned the 2007 Pork Sausage champion while Scotland's Best Burger Award went to John McIntosh in Roshearty, Aberdeenshire. The Haggis with a Difference Evaluation 2007 Champion was Findlays of Portobello with its 'Asian Haggis'.