Thursday, 30 April 2015

Celebrating the quality and excellence of homegrown steak

We all know this country is full of highly skilled butchers, chefs, processors and producers who offer consumers the very best quality steak available on the market. To celebrate that fact and highlight the different aspects of quality steak production, we launched three competitions open to multiple outlets from within the supply chain, to find the best in the business.
Overall winners

Applicants were encouraged to enter one of three competitions -‘England’s Best Sirloin Steak’, ‘England’s Best Innovative Steak’ and ‘England’s Best Steak Pie’. The three competitions recognised and rewarded quality, innovation and excellence in beef and lamb production.

Everyone from major retailers to farms shops put their products forward to be tested on eating and cooking qualities. The highly anticipated results were announced at the inaugural EBLEX Quality Standard Mark (QSM) Excellence Awards on 22 April. All finalists were invited a ceremony at the Underglobe in London.

Not only did the competitions provide an ideal platform for the trade to showcase the great beef and lamb products they have on offer, they also reflected the sector’s commitment to new product development (NPD) work.

The staggering amount of innovative NPD work that takes place in the industry ensures that our products maintain their tasty and traditional reputations as staple mealtime dishes, while offering consumers something new and exciting to tantalise their taste buds.

This message was underpinned earlier this year at the AHDB Outlook Conference, where the Future Foundation’s Richard Nicholls, illustrated that today’s consumers have an increased desire for new experiences to drive new food innovations and tastes. The vast amount of NPD work undertaken helps the industry to satisfy this growing consumer trend, whilst driving the continual improvement of standards and quality.


The QSM Excellence Awards further promote the essential NPD activity that makes red meat such a dynamic sector, recognising its scale and scope and rewarding the very best of that activity. EBLEX’s trade marketing team works in collaboration with processors, retailers, and caterers on a number of NPD programmes and initiatives throughout the year. This work is founded on some fundamental principles, including deriving maximum value from the carcase, while ensuring operational efficiency throughout the supply chain.

Adding value to the carcase and growing the overall value of the market is illustrated by a number of projects driven by the marketing team. The investment into thin-cuts seeks to develop lean, versatile and a quick-to- cook range of steaks for the retail and foodservice sectors. The ‘Slowly Does It’ initiative has also been set up to restore consumer confidence in the quality and consistency of casserole cuts and to return the category to growth. Valuable NPD work has run alongside extensive consumer research to deliver improved product consistency and better eating quality that consumers demand, and that will prompt them to come back for more.
We will continue to innovate with alternative cutting methods and introduce new cuts that will add value to the market. Furthermore, we’ll seek to provide additional opportunities for all of our supply chain partners and provide better returns for our levy payers.

If you want more information on the some of the new product development work being undertaken by EBLEX, please email mike.whittemore@ahdb.org.uk

Head to the EBLEX Trade website to see who took home the top prizes on the night and pictures from the event.