Three Northern Ireland butchery businesses have been shortlisted in the UK’s annual Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards, the final of which will be held in February.
The Northern Ireland butchers shortlisted are Cunningham’s Food Hall in Kilkeel, County Down; H&J Carnduff, Newtownards, also County Down; and McAtamney’s Traditional Butchers in Ballymena, County Antrim.
They are shortlisted in the Northern Ireland Butcher of the Year category.
In addition, McAtamney’s in Magherafelt, County Derry is in the running for a national award for the Best Butcher’s Display category and H&J Carnduff’s Evan Smith is in the running for the national Young Butcher of the Year award.
The awards acknowledge and celebrate the achievements annually of butchery businesses throughout the UK, which have seen sales grow substantially over the past year during the coronavirus pandemic.
The event is organised in association with trade magazine Meat Trades Journal. It has been running for almost 30 years to showcase innovation and craftsmanship amongst independent butchers in the UK, supporting and endorsing their service, skills and quality meat products.
There were 12 categories in this year’s awards, which provide a national platform for positive media attention – whether a family run independent butchers in a rural location or a chain of outlets.
All three shortlisted in Northern Ireland are family businesses. As well as a popular food hall in Kilkeel, Cunningham’s has another successful butchery business nearby in Newry. Both shops also include deli sections with a range of local artisan food. McAtamney’s is a long-standing business in Ballymena which also has butchery shops in many regional towns, including Magherafelt.
The pandemic has also meant that the annual celebration and networking event of winners has been replaced by a virtual announcement.
The organisers said: “It has never been more important to recognise good business, innovation and the thriving community spirit that has been demonstrated over the past year.
“Exciting plans designed to create the reach and exposure the industry deserves are in motion to ensure the Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards continues to be the leading event in the calendar.”