Meat entrepreneur honoured

A meat industry entrepreneur has been honoured for her work to put more British meat in school meals.

Karen McQuade, boss of The UK Foodhall, won the everywoman Demeter Award after judges said her hard work and determination had meant more than 60% of all meat products on school menus was now British and Red Tractor-assured, compared with less than 10% two years ago.

The award comes less than a month after the company - which has a £7m turnover - won the 2009 HSBC Start-Up Star Award. It mainly supplies chicken fillets and sausages, but also deals in pork, beef, gammon, turkey and lamb.

While working as a sales manager at a fresh meat trading company, McQuade, from Shrewsbury, decided to improve school dinners by developing a healthier chicken product that local government could afford.


She launched The UK Foodhall in 2007, raising the start up funds by selling her house.

The company now delivers to 10,000 schools, adding another 3,000 next month and aims to supply every UK school by the end of next year.


McQuade is passionate about the impact she has had on the lives of British farmers, while all the company’s products are free from artificial colours or flavourings.


She said: “We work on a low margin so we can compete with importers, while the exchange rate has also worked in our favour – our pork is on a par with Danish meat.” She added: “If it wasn’t for our customers making the decision to support British, we wouldn’t be so successful.”


McQuade is now moving into other cost-sector catering, such as the MoD and universities.