Meat processors shine at Institute of Meat awards

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Apprentice and training provider winners of the Institute of Meat Awards at Butchers Hall
Apprentice and training provider winners of the Institute of Meat Awards at Butchers Hall

Related tags Training & recruitment Meat & Seafood

Apprentices from ABP Food Group and Karro Food Group were among those receiving awards at the Institute of Meat's (IoM's) annual prizegiving at Butchers Hall on 24 February.

Ionela Bacioiu of Karro Food Group won the Best Abattoir Worker/Apprentice award. Leon Edwards and Sean McGrath of ABP Foods claimed the awards for Best Meat Processing Apprentice and Best Apprentice Showing Management Potential in a Manufacturing Environment respectively.

Fishmongers & meat wholesalers Cooper Foods (Andover) Limited scooped the award for Best Company Training Scheme.

Jonty Larkin from Sargents Butchers received the Lord Graham Endeavour Award, which is sponsored by Meat Trades Journal​.

Accredited Master Butchers

Outside of the awards, Marc Murphy, group commercial manager at Dunbia Group and Peter Howarth, Kevin King and Roy Mason of Booker Group were among those accredited by the IoM as Master Butchers.

After the pandemic forced last year's event to be cancelled, the IoM and the Worshipful Company of Butchers (WCB) returned to Butchers Hall to celebrate the awards face-to-face.

HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne), past master of the WCB and Fellow of the IoM, attended the event and jointly presented awards alongside IoM chief executive Keith Fisher.

Also presiding over the awards was Margaret Boanas, Master of the Worshipful Company since September 2021 and following in HRH The Princess Royal’s footsteps as one of only three women to have held this post.


Category winners each received a cheque for £250, a framed certificate and a year's free membership of the IoM.

The overall winner, Champion Meat Apprentice of the Year, Austin Howell of Priory Farm Shop, Redhill, Surrey, received a winner’s trophy and certificate, a year’s free membership of the IoM and an additional cash prize of £500. Howell impressed the judges with how quickly he had progressed from being a young apprentice to taking the first step on the management ladder with his employer.

Also celebrated on the day was the awarding of seven new Institute of Meat accredited Master Butchers. In the past three decades of the awards fewer than 60 butchers have gained accredited Master Butcher status as the awarding criteria is rigorous and applications are invited only from very experienced and skilful butchers.

Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers Margaret Boanas, was also awarded a Fellowship of the Institute of Meat on the day, and Food Hygiene Consultant, Paul Bache MBE, became a Fellow.

'Tough two years'

"It’s wonderful to be back and to be able to recognise the achievements of so many talented individuals,"​ said Fisher. "It has been an incredibly tough two years, everyone involved in the meat industry has worked harder than ever before."

Chairman of the IoM Bill Jermey added: "I’ve been involved with the prize-giving for many years, but it has never felt more important to acknowledge and reward achievement. These apprentices really stepped up to the plate in unprecedented times."



Best New Apprentice

Sarah Porter

Josh Huitson

Best Independent Retailer Meat Apprentice

Robert Darling

Best Multiple Retailer Butchery Apprentice

Letitia Redfern

Best Meat Processing Apprentice

Leon Edwards

Best Abattoir Worker/Apprentice

Ionela Bacioiu

Best Apprentice Showing Management Potential in a Manufacturing Environment

Sean McGrath

Best Meat Apprentice Showing Real Management Potential

Austin Howell

Lord Graham Endeavour Award

Jonty Larkin

Best Company Training Scheme

Cooper Foods (Andover) Ltd

Best Meat Training Provider of the Year

MEAT (Ipswich) Ltd

Champion Meat Apprentice of the Year

Austin Howell

IoM accredited Master Butchers

Marc Murphy (MB.Inst.M) – Dunbia Group

Jason Moore (MB.Inst.M) – Newlyn’s Farm Shop, Hook

Peter Howarth (MB.Inst.M) – Booker Group

Kevin King (MB.Inst.M) – Booker Group

Roy Mason (MB.Inst.M) – Booker Group

Roderick Frew (MB.Inst.M) – Barr’s Butchers, Ballymena

John Mutch (MB.Inst.M) – Cutting Edge Services, Chorley

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