By SAM BUTLER
Northern Ireland’s Foyle Food Group gained a gold medal for its Aberdeen Angus grass-fed sirloin in the prestigious World Steak Challenge 2018.
And there was also a silver medal for Kettyle Irish Foods for its Aberdeen Angus grass-fed ribeye in the annual challenge.
Based in Derry, Foyle Food Group is a family-run group of companies with a farming heritage dating back several generations. Established over three decades ago, the company has a long standing history of supplying quality beef to leading retailers, manufacturers, foodservice providers and butchers across the world.
Foyle has the capacity to process 300,000 cattle per year across five primary processing locations.
Kettyle Irish Foods, established by Maurice Kettyle and based at Lisnaskea in County Fermanagh, is part of Linden Foods of Dungannon, County Tyrone, a joint venture with ABP Ireland.
Kettyle specialises in gourmet meats including beef aged in salt moss. The company has won a series of awards, including UK Great Taste Awards for its meat.
While the World Steak Challenge is designed to benchmark the quality of beef production against other international competitors and establish a quality mark that everyone can trust, only 10 per cent of the total marks are awarded on the taste of the beef and just 40 per cent in total on how it eats. Most marks go to how the meat looks.
The overall winner came from Denmark and produced grass-fed sirloin reared in Finland.
Overall there were 45 gold, 37 silver and 54 bronze winners. Entries came from 22 countries, a record number since the competition began in 2015.
The organisers say success in the competition and the independent stamp of excellence that comes with it can be used as an integral part of a marketing campaign to build exports and drive sales in home markets.
It also provided an opportunity to engage with consumers to celebrate the joy and benefits of eating steak as part of a healthy balanced diet and highlight the quality and standards of steak production around the globe.