Pleasures of the flesh: of bangers, bleaters and burgers

To celebrate the arrival of barbecue season (and to reference the recent increase in explicitly man-focused advertising) we thought it appropriate to compile a post filled to the brim with meat-related news, including the announcement of New Zealand’s Next Top Sausage, accolades for Silver Fern Farms and New Zealand’s penchant for gourmet burgers.

Sausage fest

In what should be seen as irrefutable evidence of our nation’s love affair with mystery meats, more than 400 sausages from across the country were gathered together in Auckland last week to battle it out for Best in Show honours at the 2010 Great New Zealand Sausage Competition. And a Pork and Fennel gourmet banger from the deep south came out on top.

The awards are run by Retail Meat New Zealand and sponsored by Devro, Kerry Ingredients and Alto Packaging and have been going since 1994. And this time the Mediterranean Wholesale Market in Wanaka was named Supreme Award winner, with owner Brendon Wilson putting the success down to his German-born master butcher of 30 years, Simon Tiefenbach.

“I have worked for many years combining fresh ingredients and customer feedback to refine what makes a unique and memorable sausage. The hard work has finally paid off,” he says.

Alongside the search for New Zealand’s Supreme Sausage, the inaugural People’s Choice Award was also staged, where consumers received their chance to vote. And the people chose the beef sausage from Peter Timbs Meats in Christchurch.

Winning an award like this is something of a marketing goldmine, as evidenced by the increased business of whoever wins the pie of the year winner, but after recently being sucked in by a sign saying ‘award-winning pies’, only to find the award was won in 1996, StopPress wonders if there are any limits on how long a ‘best of’ accolade can be used for.

Category winners:

Beef: Peter Timbs Meats, Christchurch

Pork: Meat Cuisine, Auckland

Pork: Waikanae Butchery, Wellington

Saveloy/Polony/Cocktail: Saveloy, Southbridge Tasty Meats, Canterbury

Frankfurters & Rounds: Smoked Kielbasa, Island Bay Butchery, Wellington

Traditional: Cumberland, Netherby Meats, Ashburton

Flavoured Precooked: Precooked Cheese, Tegel, Auckland

Precooked: Gluten Free Precooked, Hellers Tasty Ltd, Christchurch

Flavoured: Angus, Brookfield New World, Tauranga

International Bratwursts & Boerwors: Boerwor, Ellerslie Meats, Auckland

International Spicy: Chorizo, Peter Timbs Meats, Christchurch

International Spicy: Merguez, Franklin Country Meats, Auckland

International Mild: Italian Pork & Fennel, Seaside Meats, Auckland

Gourmet: Pork & Fennel, Mediterranean Wholesale Market, Wanaka

Gourmet: Venison, Hellers Tasty Ltd, Christchurch

Gourmet: Chicken with lime, Jansessen’s Continental, Auckland

Gourmet: Razorback Wild Boar & Bacon, Harmony Foods, Paeroa

And for true sausage aficionados, the rest of the meaty medal winners can be found here.

Packing heat

Tthe Silver Fern Farms Lamb Rump retail pack has added another string to its bow, after being awarded the Zespri Product Innovation Award for Food Packaging at the 2010 New Zealand Food Awards, adding to the bronze award it won for graphic design at the Best Design Awards.

Silver Fern Farms’ retail range was launched in November 2009 to respond to a gap in the market for smaller portioned products that could meet the modern needs of an ageing population, smaller families and those seeking healthier lifestyles. Up until then, marketing manager
Sharon Angus says there had been very little packaging innovation in the red meat section of supermarkets in New Zealand.

The judges of the 2010 New Zealand Food Awards had this to say: “Functional packaging with barrier properties to ensure freshness of the chilled meat product, a clear panel to show product quality and iconic New Zealand graphics and branding make this package attractive for both local and export markets.”

Silver Fern Farms’ range of premium quality lamb and venison cuts are thermoformed (vacuum packed) for optimum freshness and hygienic storage. This provides a longer shelf life so they can last in a consumer’s fridge for up to two to three weeks.

“All of the packs also contain a simple recipe, prepping, cooking and serving instructions, as research told us that New Zealand consumers lacked confidence in selecting, preparing and cooking lamb and venison,” says Angus.

Youtube Video The TV campaign for Silver Fern Farms (which is currently in talks about a merger) has also been well-received.

“Building a strong consumer brand is a long term strategy, but it’s very satisfying to achieve recognition for the fact that we’ve made a promising start and that we’re absolutely on the right track,” she says.

Bun fight

New Zealand is quite advanced when it comes to gourmet burgers, as evidenced by the success of Burger Wisconsin-inspired Gourmet Burger Kitchen in the UK and, more recently, Burger Fuel’s expansion into the Middle East. And research by Burger King for its latest menu expansion backed that up, finding an unusually high number of gourmet burger outlets.

“Kiwis have been cultivating their own love affair with gourmet burgers for over two decades now – they’re seasoned connoisseurs. It’s only been in the past five years that we’ve seen this trend gain a foothold in other markets internationally, however,” says Burger King NZ’s general manager marketing, Rachael Allison.

Rather than put BK off though, it’s decided to tap into that demand and develop The King’s Collection.

“We’re unapologetically targeting traditional gourmet burger fans, and lovers of chicken burgers. Since launching with the ‘Steakhouse’ range, our angus beef gourmet burgers have been enormously popular, which is really important when you’re introducing customers to a whole new range. Now we’re intent on wooing those sophisticated chicken palates too.”

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