Champion butchers scoops award

A South West butchers' shop has taken top prize at the BPEX Excellence in British Meat Products Roadshow Championships.

Duncan Baker and Christina Meecham, of CH Baker and Sons, beat six other finalists to take the prestigious title of overall champion with their pork loin steak with caramelised apple in a cider cream sauce.

Competition for the title was fierce and after impressing expert judges to win the award of overall roadshow champion, the finalists had been judged by the toughest critics of all - the consumers.

"It was felt that as the products were ultimately to be sold to and eaten by everyday consumers, they should have the final say," said Keith Fisher, the BPEX butchery and product development manager.

"And even they had a very difficult job in choosing an overall champion, but it had to be done."

Ducan was "surprised but delighted" to win and admitted that the product was one of his personal favourites.

"It is something we have been tweaking for a while," he said. "Ready meals are a growth area for us because they are a convenience food. We try to create ready meals that have no artificial colouring or preservatives, all 100% natural food."

The Devonshire-based butcher has entered several other competitions but has never been crowned champion before. He hopes that the prestige of the award will consolidate customer confidence in his products.

"It means our customers can be assured that we are selling a quality product," he said.

Duncan believes that quality comes first and tries to get the very best local produce for his customers. "Our pork is sourced from local farms," he said, "we can identify where all our meat comes from."

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