Four steaks from three New Zealand meat companies have won gold medals in the 2019 World Steak Challenge.
ANZCO Foods, Alliance Group and First Light Foods all picked up the medals in the international competition that helps to benchmark the quality of beef production against global competitors.
ANZCO Foods won two golds for its Ocean Beef grass-fed rib-eye and sirloin entries at the awards event in front of 200 invited guests on 10 July after an intensive day of judging held at the judging host FIRE Restaurant and Lounge in Dublin, Ireland. It was the first time the company had entered the event.
“The win is prestigious, says Heath Milne, ANZCO’s general manager UK. “The challenge tests our steak quality against competitors from around the world and the awards provide us with an independent stamp of quality.
“The awards are becoming bigger and more prominent each year with only the very best steaks making the grade and being entered. It’s a fantastic achievement for ANZCO to win gold for both entries,” he says.
This is the second year Alliance Group has placed in the medals in the competition, winning a gold for a grass-fed Pure South Handpicked 55 Day Aged Beef rib-eye steak and also a bronze for a grass-fed fillet, while First Light Foods also won a repeat gold for a marble-score &+ grass-fed Wagyu fillet steak.
Shane Kingston, general manager sales at Alliance Group, says the company’s Handpicked 55 Day Aged Beef was launched to the foodservice sector last year and is now in high demand among chefs in Asia and New Zealand.
“We’re delighted to have Handpicked ranked among the very best steaks in the world for the second year running,” he says. “This underlines both the consistency and exceptional quality of this product, which is also what our food service customers in New Zealand and internationally are telling us.
“It is also strong affirmation of our commitment to building a differentiated portfolio of such quality that consumers are willing to pay a premium for our product. This means that as New Zealand’s only 100 percent farmer-owned major red meat co-operative, we can pass these gains onto our farmer shareholders.
“The success is a tribute to our farmers’ exceptional farming practices, the skill of our accredited graders and processing team. The winning steaks were processed at our Mataura plant in Southland,” says Kingston.
Alliance’s Handpicked 55 Day Aged Beef range was launched last year following a three-year research and development programme. It offers unprecedented levels of tenderness and a milder beef profile, suitable for a variety of eating experiences. Accredited graders carefully hand select the meat from prime cattle of any breed. Only a fraction of the very finest beef ever makes the grade. The selection is based on quantifiable meat quality characteristics such as marbling, fat cover, fat colour and pH. Alliance selects from prime animals only (Steer and Heifer), and the meat must have a marbling score of 4+, and pH of 5.7 or lower. Selected cuts are aged in a vacuum bag for 55 days.
On Facebook, First Light Foods said its win was a team effort, “So this accolade is really for everyone involved from our dedicated farmers and shareholders to those putting in the hours at the office, our founders, our board, the retailers and our wonderful customers.”
Finland wins the World’s Best Steak … again
The supreme award, the World’s Best Steak, was a grass-fed Ayrshire beef rib-eye steak raised in Finland from Finnish beef processor JN Meat International. This was a repeat win for the delighted company, which also took home 26 golds, one silver and nine bronzes in the competition.
The winner of Best Fillet was an Irish grass-fed beef fillet from ABP Cahir, while Australian beef processor Jack’s Creek picked up the top awards for Best Sirloin and Best Grain-fed Steak, both of which were grain-fed.
The list of 255 medallists shows the breadth of competition for New Zealand beef in Europe, with over 300 steaks from 25 countries and four continents entered and 106 gold, 90 silver and 59 bronze medals awarded in this year’s Challenge.
The steaks were judged by 41 expert and 14 consumer judges, who convened at FIRE restaurant on 10 July to blind test and taste all of the entries. They judged each entry raw and then cooked for aroma, colour, flavour and marbling.
More information is available on the World Steak Challenge website, where you can also register your interest in entering the 2020 competition.