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Owen Taylor & Sons, Alfreton

Where did it all begin?

Owen Taylor’s is a 3rd generation family run Retail and Catering butchers based near Alfreton in Derbyshire. The catering side of the business was born out of necessity when the retail and slaughter sides of the business hit turbulent times two decades ago.

What was your first recollection of the industry?

“On my first day of work I went up to see my dad, who said to me. “We’ve just lost all the school contracts. So you better get out there and get sellingâ€. And that’s how I started in the business “says Richard.

How has the business grown?

Today Owen Taylor’s has a large catering aspect covering the East Midlands and a single but thriving retail shop. With over 150 staff and 20 refrigerated vans the company has certainly grown since its founding roots back in 1922. The family and the company still stay true to the heritage by buying most of the beef pork and lamb direct from farms within its delivery area, some of whom even sold livestock to Owen Taylor back in the day.

Do you enjoy entering Competitions?

“We have had quite a few years where we have been successful with our products. Competitions like the Smithfield Awards and National Competitions are particularly good to enter. When competing against other Q Guild butchers we know it’s going to be a tough competition. And that’s good; because when you win a Gold or Diamond Award you know you’ve really achieved it and more importantly the staff know that their contribution has achieved it. The competitions help to get creative, improve quality, raise your game whilst generating good publicity. I love it when staff get passionate about the products they produce.†Says Richard.

What awards have you won lately?

Owen Taylor’s has achieved success with many products including seven Golds at the Smithfield awards, Category winner at the National Products Competition, finalist at the British Pie competition and winning Britain’s Best Sausage at the trade industry`s Meat Management Awards. Lennon Callister, our retail shop Apprentice, also gave a good performance as a finalist at the premier Young Butcher competition. The company was also a finalist in the catering Butcher Award at the Meat Management Awards.

“We also like to enter regional business competitions. This year we entered the Midlands Family Business Awards where we won the Manufacturing Excellence award and achieved highly commended in the Corporate Social Responsibility Award. The awards night was a good networking opportunity with a celebration but it’s the application and the 4 person interview panel that gets you thinkingâ€, says Carl Evans , Operations Manager

What’s in store for 2019?

Next year’s competition diary is already shaping up for Owen Taylor’s starting the year with the 2019 Smithfield awards on the 30th January 2019.

We are looking forward to taking part in competitions again in 2019. If I have any advice for anyone entering a competition it is simply this – maximise the whole value of the competition.

  • For product competitions look at the judges remarks with a view to improve them
  • Look at the competition and speak with the entrants to give you new ideas
  • Make sure your staff are involved in producing the products and celebrate success with them
  • Use social media before and after the competition
  • Write your own press release and send it to your local paper
  • Have fun!