Foster praises UK Taste Supreme Champion food from Moira

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has congratulated McCartney’s butchery business in Moira on being named the UK Supreme Food Champion at a gala banquet in London last night.

The family butchers was named as Supreme Champion for its handmade Corned Beef in the final stage of the Great Taste Awards for 2011. It is the first time the Supreme Champion food award has been won by a Northern Ireland company.

In addition, McCartney’s corned beef was named Best Speciality Food in the Northern Ireland regional section.

The unique double for McCartney’s was announced at the banquet, held by the UK Guild of Fine Food, to showcase the successful companies from this year’s Great Taste Awards and reveal the overall Supreme Champion and UK regional Best Speciality Food winners.

McCartney’s reached the final stage following its achievement of three gold stars in a list of first stage winners announced in July. McCartney’s corned beef came top of 42 food products from the UK and Ireland which subsequently reached the final judging stage in the annual competition.

The Minister said: “McCartney’s has a longstanding commitment to innovation, quality and provenance stretching back over 140 years. The Supreme Champion and Northern Ireland Best Speciality Food awards are outstanding achievements and richly deserved endorsements of the company’s excellent and popular range of meat products, which are prepared using only the very best locally sourced ingredients.

“It is a marvellous achievement by McCartney’s to bring the Supreme Champion title to Northern Ireland for the first time in the history of the UK Great Taste Awards. It’s also tremendous to learn that five of the six expert judges gave McCartney’s corned beef their top marks. I am sure that this superb achievement will lead to great sales success particularly in Great Britain.

“The awards also showcase the tremendous strength of the local meat industry, now our biggest sector within food and drink, and its ability to develop the wholesome and tasty products that consumers demand.

“This has also been the best year ever in terms of the achievements of our companies, both large and small, in the UK Great Taste Awards, which shows the strength of the local industry and its ability to compete successfully with the very best available elsewhere in the UK and Republic of Ireland.”

McCartney’s was chosen as the Northern Ireland regional Best Speciality Food winner from a group that included four other local companies, all of which achieved three-star status in July: Alfie Murray Family Butchers, Killyleagh; Ann’s Pantry, Larne; Dale Farm Dairies, Belfast, and Hannan Meats, Moira.

In addition to the Supreme Champion title being awarded to McCartney’s, three other Northern Ireland products were named by the judging panel as ‘Golden Fork’ runner up winners – Ann’s Pantry for Guinness oven wheaten bread, Dale Farm for spread-easy butter, and Hannan Meats for its Moyallon smoked sweet cure chop.