Succulent beef from NI leader being enjoyed by M&S shoppers

A succulent and original beef joint from Northern Ireland that’s now on sale in Marks and Spencer (M&S Food) Food Halls across the UK has been named Britain’s ‘Best Meat Product.

Saturday, 24th July 2021, 5:00 pm

The award-winning beef joint that was developed by Linden Foods in Dungannon, Co Tyrone for the acclaimed M&S Food Halls was chosen by a panel of expert judges last month as the best meat product in one of the main categories at this year’s annual Food Management Today (FMT) Awards in London.

The winning product, Mayfair of Beef, was described as “a luxury and stunningly delicious Aberdeen Angus 30-day matured rib eye of beef tumbled in a bone marrow stock, then wrapped around tender beef fillet for flavour and tenderness and smothered with beef bone-marrow butter”.

Linden Foods, one of Northern Ireland’s leading and most successful producers of beef, lamb, pork and chicken, said it was “delighted” to see the product successful.

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The award-winning Mayfair beef joint from Linden Foods in Dungannon for M&S

M&S said it was “not just a beef joint, this is an expertly cut, 100% British, traceable Marks and Spencer beef joint, and it tastes just as good as it looks!”.

The joint is the latest in a series of original Linden foods created by the new product development team at the Tyrone company in collaboration with M&S retail experts to achieve prestigious FMT awards, the industry standard, over the past few years.

Linden Foods is a UK market leader in fresh meat processing, sourcing and processing top quality beef and lamb from its own supply chain of skilled local farmers operating to the highest standards of hygiene, animal welfare and traceability. The company now supplies a wide range of premium meats to supermarkets, including the highly respected M&S Food team, in the UK and Ireland.

The company is a recognised market leader within the local fresh meat processing industry, sourcing and processing top quality beef, pork, lamb and poultry from local farms. Linden’s success benefits local farmers and rural communities. The company also includes Kettyle Irish Foods in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, now a leading exporter of premium meat products.

Marks and Spencer Food, a key customer for original meat products from Linden Foods in Dunganno

The Dungannon meat processor is now part of Ireland’s ABP Group, a hugely successful producer of meats for European, Middle East and Asian retail and catering markets.

The annual FMT Food Industry Awards recognise the hard work and excellence of food processors and manufacturers across the UK food sector as well as trade organisations, ingredients suppliers, machinery and equipment companies, people and training.

The 2021 annual FMT Food Awards ceremony was presented online this year for the first time. The highly influential awards were in two parts. Regular readers of FM’s monthly magazine were invited to vote in seven categories, while manufacturers and retailers nominated products for entry into one or more of the nine product categories which were then judged by industry experts.

The product categories for 2021 were judged at the test kitchens located at the Harper Adams Regional Food Academy, near Newport in Wales. Harper Adams has long been chosen by Northern Ireland students seeking agri-food qualifications.

FMT editor, Pam Brook, said: “These annual awards are eagerly anticipated and have become a great success story. They are truly unique and represent the highest standards in product, service and innovation across the sector. The awards offer a brilliant opportunity to recognise the work that is going on and the progress being achieved in so many areas.”

The Linden new product team has long worked with M&S to develop opportunities for original foods that ensure the retailer sets market trends for deliciously different products for the dinner table or BBQ.

Around 25% of the new product ideas they come up with eventually make it onto the supermarkets. Successful products frequently take a year or more to create and refine, which is why Linden is always at least 12 months ahead of peak seasons such as Christmas and summer barbecues.

This approach has also enabled Linden and M&S to develop a string of award-winning and commercially successful retail foods. These include the Best Beef Product for M&S Food, a dry aged fillet steak, in the Meat Management Awards in Birmingham in 2019 and Best New Product Development for a mouth-watering Port Saltimbocca also for M&S, in FMT awards in 2017. Linden, in addition, has won gold in the highly influential Grocer magazine awards for an Irish Hereford fillet steak developed with Lidl, the leading German discounter.

Premium meats developed by processors such as Linden Foods from ingredients provided by local farmers have established Northern Ireland as a primary source for UK and Irish supermarkets and caterers of supreme quality and outstandingly delicious food products.

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