Welcome back to the blog where this week we’ll be discussing our competitions area at this year’s Meatup.

The National Federation of Meat & Food Traders will be organising, once again, two national industry competitions at Meatup 2017. So, let’s take a look at what can be expected…

National Meat Products Competition

The first competition visitors will see is the National Meat Products Competition, which will take place on 24th May.

This competition will include numerous categories such as sausages, bacon, burgers, ready meals and pies, and visitors can watch as independent butchers, farm shops and food processors compete in a battle to win prizes.

Competitors can win one or more of the categories, plus the Sausage and Supreme Champion titles will be up for grabs.

All the categories in this competition will be judged live during the show in accordance with NASCO guidelines.

Trophies will be awarded on the day to all winners, as well as silver and bronze awards.

Premier Young Butcher Competition

The second competition will take place on the 25th and will be the Premier Young Butcher Competition.

Butchery apprentices between the age of 18 and 23 from across the UK were allowed to enter. The criteria suggested that they must have the skills to produce innovative products for Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast, Seam Butchery, Barbecue, Kitchen Ready and Display categories that make up the five-hour competition.

Jack Eagles.

‘Meat’ the six finalists

The competition will name a Premier Young Butcher 2017, as well as give other trophies.

First up to compete is 19-year-old Jack Eagles, a Meat Ipswich level 2 Meat and Poultry Apprentice, who works for C Lidgate in London.

James Gracey.

Another finalist is James Gracey from Southern Regional College, in Northern Ireland. The 21-year-old has level 2 Butchery and Hygiene, level 3 Butchery, level 4 Food Hygiene and is a level 5 Management apprentice.

A year younger at 20 and working at the Walter Smith, Wyevale Huntingdon store is Crosby Management Training level 2 Meat and Poultry and Advanced level 3 Butchery Trailblazer apprentice Thomas Lea.

Also working for Walter Smith at their Wyevale, Melbicks store is assistant manager, Crosby Management Training level 3 and 2015 WorldSkills finalist 22-year-old Matthew Parkes.

From Warwickshire will be 19-year-old Stafford College catering student Harry Smith who works for Aubrey Allen in Leamington Spa.

Finally, from Hard’s of Halstead is the only female in the competition, 22-year-old Elsie Yardley who is a Meat Ipswich level 2 HACCP and level 3 Health & Hygiene and Meat and Poultry apprentice, who got a level 3 distinction in Art and Design before taking up a career in butchery.

Harry Smith.

Elsie Yardley.

The 2016 Champion James Henshaw, runner-up Dylan Gillespie of Clogher Valley Meats, Northern Ireland and James Taylor of Simpsons of Heckington, Lincolnshire are going forward to train for the International Young Butcher Competition in Imst, Austria next May.

The World Butchers’ Challenge – Team GB put to the test

Separate from the main Competition Arena at Meatup is a dedicated area for the World Butchers’ Challenge.

The World Butchers’ Challenge 2018 itself will take place in Belfast from 20th-22nd March, with Team GB putting their skills against teams from Ireland, France, New Zealand and Australia.

At Meatup, applicants in the running for a spot in Team GB will compete against each other in the hope of securing themselves a place in the team.

Using minimal tools, applicants will be tested on their innovation and creativity when butchering a piece of meat.
The event is supported by The Institute of Meat (IoM).

So, if you’re visiting this year’s Meatup, and you fancy watching some of the industry’s finest compete, be sure to visit the competitions area where some great talent will win some great prizes.