Meat & Poultry Processing Award 2017 winners unveiled

Cotswolds-based Jesse Smith Butchers & W.J. Castle was crowned Processor of the Year at the Meat & Poultry Processing Awards 2017.

As well as picking up the Small Processor of the Year award, it picked up the top accolade of the night, beating off competition from some of the top names in the industry. The event took place at Hilton Manchester Deansgate and featured entertainment from comedian Alfie Moore.

The judges were hugely impressed by Jesse Smith Butchers & W.J. Castle's entry, with one calling it an "excellent business, showing good evidence of growth and profitability", while another praised its food hall, focus on local produce and apprentice schemes.

David Hawes of Jesse Smith Butchers & W.J. Castle, was understandably proud to have won the top award. "We're very grateful to our local farmers, the local hotels and restaurants that we supply as well as our retail customers, and most importantly our staff. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the support our staff give us.

"Obviously I'm going to go back and celebrate with the staff as it's their award more than anyone else's."

When asked what set them apart from the competition, he said: "Our ethics, provenance, our new products, the service we give to hotels and restaurants, the sustainable quality we can provide.

"It's not just pretending you do quality but sustaining it for your customers, it's why we're still here after so many years. We're still a small company but we're growing in a sustainable fashion."

The business recently opened a new site and David said it's already finding its feet. "We're just working out the final kinks for that business and winning this award has given us the kick we need to take the business to the next level."

Rod Addy, editor of Meat Trades Journal and one of the judges of the competition, praised the overall winner.

"What set them apart was the incredible dedication of the staff to build a great offer that meets customer needs. They had a focus on high quality production as well as proof of really hard work from everyone in the business."

He added that the standard of entries was extremely high this year.

"This competition is about bringing businesses of all sizes and scale together and judging them to a common standard to encourage quality and progress and there are so many businesses that this applies to with so many great initiatives and innovations. It's so encouraging to see so many sectors of the industry coming together like this."

The Meat & Poultry Processing Awards 2017 is kindly sponsored by AHDB Exports, Appetite Learning, Foodex, Interfood Technology, Multivac, Reiser and casino partner Systems Integration.

Winners:

Environmental Initiative of the Year
T Soanes & Son Poultry

Exporter of the Year
Karro Food Group

Foodservice Processor of the Year
Bwydlyn Butchers

Plant Manager of the Year
Aaron Lynn - Finnebrogue

Product Developer of the Year
Brakes

Retail Processor of the Year
ABP UK

Small Processor of the Year
Jesse Smith Butchers & W.J. Castle

Supply Chain Initiative of the Year
Buitelaar Group UK

Young Processor of the Year
Simon Langley - Tulip

Judges' Choice
Kezie Foods

Processing Business of the Year
Jesse Smith Butchers & W.J. Castle

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