Butchery Excellence Scheme launched to aid business skills

Montgomery Food Consulting has launched the Butchery Excellence Scheme to help butchers improve their business skills.

Based at Aughnacloy in Co Tyrone, the course is designed to help butchers grasp the business opportunities in developing a market trend back towards local butchers for meat purchases. The scheme has also been designed to assist butchers keen to expand their business by adding other artisan non-meat foods to their shelves.

More than 100 local butchers across Northern Ireland and in the border regions of the Republic of Ireland have joined the scheme, developed by Rhonda Montgomery, founder and chief executive of Montgomery Food Consulting.

Montgomery has worked with industry leaders such as Dunbia and Linden Foods, and is assisted by chef and food specialist Sean Owens, the firms managing director.

Butchery Excellence is based on my knowledge and experience working with butchers over 16 years, she said. I saw a need for such a programme because theres an acute shortage of skilled butchers in what is one of our most important sectors. What I set out to develop was a structured and practical programme that would create a sustainable pipeline of skilled butchers for the retail and processing sectors, Montgomery said.

In addition to training in essential butchery expertise such as boning, slicing, knife skills and product development, the company offers a comprehensive portfolio of services covering food safety procedures and accreditations such as BRC and SALSA, advice on nutrition, allergens, hygiene, labelling and manufacturing procedures. The company is registered to deliver SALSA, HACCP and quality and food safety management training.

The company is also looking to sustain a supply of interested and talented people for the industry in the recent launch of a bridge-building scheme with local primary schools.

This focus saw pupils work with family butchers on the creation of innovative sausages including a Colcannon Banger, a pizza variety and Sizzling Sweetness with garlic and sweet chillies.

Other schemes to help create a buzz within the industry include a BBQ Butchery Championship, which will see the winning team representing Northern Ireland at the World BBQ Championships in Memphis, Tennessee next year.

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