Farmer Copleys aims at youth market with new roast

There are hundreds of flavour combinations that can be tried in product development. One of the most successful ideas sold by award-winning Yorkshire farm shop Farmer Copleys is a Lamb and Black Pudding Roast.

Lamb is beginning to come into peak condition with the onset of spring and this particular recipe is a good way of encouraging customers, especially younger ones, to try something different.

A quick look at the Farmer Copleys meat counter is all that is needed to see that butchery manager Michael Kerr has great experience of preparing meat well and adding value to it. This is a favourite recipe, devised using local Yorkshire lamb and Farmer Copleys' own black pudding recipe. Marketed as a special and secret recipe, the black pudding has won competitions and deservedly so. It is baked in a loaf tin in small batches, giving it an eye-catching rectangluar shape. The white fat is cut by hand, resulting in a non-uniform pattern, and celery and onions are included. The rest is top secret.

Although roast meat is not always so popular with younger customers, because of the work involved in cooking it, this cut looks so attractive and easy to handle that it will tempt most people.

Farmer Copleys is based in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, and was founded by Heather and Robert Copley. It has been one of the most successful farm shops in the UK in recent years, a fact recognised by Meat Trades Journal early on, when it was awarded the 2007 UK Best Farm Shop title in the prestigious Butcher's Shop of the Year awards. Since then, it has gone on to win a whole string of awards, including Best Speciality Sausage in Yorkshire, a Harvey Nichols Taste Award, innovation awards and, last year, a second Butcher's Shop of the Year Farm Shop title.

The second MTJ award was made following a major refurbishment and expansion of the business. A refreshed look saw the sales and activity area of the shop treble in size to include new meat and delicatessen counters, a café and a children's play area. An Australian expert on psychological shopping was even consulted and the result was a new, consumer-friendly entrance, promotion areas, power selling points, blasts of colour, high vaulted ceilings and a flow system around the store.

Various themes and initiatives go on throughout the year at the farm shop: customers get to meet a different supplier in the shop every week; last year, it introduced regular themed gourmet evenings, with more than 50 people turning up to watch product and cookery demonstrations and to taste the food prepared; and 'children's days' where they get a meal and a story told by a professional reader.

The business has also laid on several events for the local community, including a fun day with archery, pie eating, bale tossing, wellie wanging and craft competitions, as well as a barbecue.n

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