I am spending two weeks traveling through England learning more about its production, marketing, merchandising, and sustainability programs for the meat industry. One great tour was of Aubrey Allen, one of the top-end butchers here in the United Kingdom, and most importantly, the butcher who received the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen, as suppliers of meat, poultry, and game. This warrant took effect on January 1, 2013 resulting from the company supplying the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham, and Her Majesty’s other private residences since 2007. What a great honor to meet the people behind this successful business.
My guides for this trip were Dr. Phil Hadley, Senior Regional Manager – Southern Region, and Kim Matthews, Meat Scientist, both with EBLEX. EBLEX is the organization for the English beef and sheep meat industry related to promotion and marketing of the products for farmers. I have known Phil and Kim now for a number of years, and I really appreciate the time they and their colleagues took planning my trip.
Aubrey Allen’s principal product that is sells is beef and dry-aged beef at that. The two primary cuts it receives from abattoirs in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are sirloin/rumps (in the U.S., this would be trimmed loins — short loins/sirloins without the flank) and fore ribs (four-rib fore ribs from England, and five-rib fore ribs from Scotland and Northern Ireland). Beef carcasses are initially separated between the 10th-11th ribs so the sirloin/rump sections have three ribs in them (11th-12th-13th). The four ribs that the English fore ribs have in them would be the 7th-8th-9th-10th ribs, whereas the additional rib for the Scotland and Northern Ireland fore ribs would the 6th rib.
Alan Healy from Allen Aubrey led the tour and showed the dry-aging rooms filled with great looking products. The beef was from animals that were about 24-months old when they were slaughtered, and they were fed grain for about three months at the end to help promote some marbling and fatness development. These animals were owned and raised by farmers with grass-feeding the principal feed source before the grain feeding, and there was complete traceability of the animals from the farm to Allen Aubrey’s operation. Tags on the products showed the farm, abattoir, birth date, slaughter date, sex-class, weight, and EU grade for conformation and fatness.
Complete identification of beef products has been in place in Europe ever since BSE. Here is a label demonstrating some of the information that is found on products going to the foodservice industry.
Beef is not the only products that Aubrey Allen sells. They have a complete line of lamb and pork products, too. Here are some photos of some of these products either as wholesale cuts or as being processed.
Thanks to Alan and David from Aubrey Allen and Phil and Kim from EBLEX for a wonderful tour and visit.