The deadline for the competition, organised by Meat Trades Journal, has been extended to 13 August, to give butchers as much time as possible to get their entries in.
Ed Bedington, editor of MTJ, said: "We're really keen to get as many butchers into this year's competition as possible, and I'd urge all of you to take advantage of the extra time to get those entries in. Getting through to the final can be a big boost for any business, and winning an award is even better.
"These are the ultimate awards for businesses in this sector you are being judged against a wide range of your peers from across the region and the country, so to take home a title really does mean you're at the top of your game."
This year's competition also sees the introduction of a new category for Halal Butcher's Shop of the Year, with support from Eblex. This additional category is aiming to recognise the growing numbers of ethnic butchers, and their role within the industry. Bedington added: "The halal sector is a real growth area, and it's great to see some first-rate businesses within it. We want to give them the opportunity to shine."
MTJ's Young Butcher award will also be back for a fourth year, looking to recognise some of the young talent within the industry. Previous years have seen some great entries into this category and this year should be no exception.
The Butcher's Shop of the Year Award covers butchers' shops around the country, with the winner in each region going head-to-head to see which one is declared the best butcher's shop in the UK. As well as Young Butcher and the new Halal category, the competition also includes other stand-alone national awards, including Butcher's Plus, Farm Shop and Innovation of the Year.
The competition is judged in two rounds, with an initial paper entry assessed by a panel of expert judges from a broad spectrum of retail and butchery experience, including last year's winner Brian Fields, who took the overall title with his business Fields of Anlaby. A shortlist of three finalists in each category will then be visited by our on-the-road judges to decide the overall winners. The Innovation of the Year will also be assessed on paper, and the winner picked during the first round of judging.
Bedington added: "These awards are always a great event, and it's a wonderful chance to really showcase what superb businesses there are out there. There are no other dedicated retail awards for the butchery sector, so it's a real chance to benchmark your business against some of the best in the country."
This year's awards, which take place on 16 November at The Sheraton Park Lane Hotel, London, are sponsored by Eblex, Bpex, Weddel Swift and Harmony Farm, Lucas Ingredients, Tican Chilled, Bizerba, QMS' Scotch Butcher's Club, the Meat Training Council and Verstegen Spices & Sauces.
Entry forms are available at www.meatinfo.co.uk or you can contact Helen Law on 01293 846587, or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org.