The endorsement by a panel of expert judges is a substantial boost for the Co Tyrone company and a significant development for grass-fed production. Linden was the most successful from the island of Ireland and was the first from Northern Ireland to win a ‘world’s best’ title in the challenging competition.
Linden won the top award for a delicious ribeye steak developed exclusively for leading UK retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S). The local ribeye came out ahead of meat processors from 20 international countries including Australia, Japan, Poland and the Republic of Ireland.
In addition, Linden won five gold awards for grass fed beef cuts including fillet and sirloin, many also produced for the hugely successful M&S Food.
Elaine Willis, Linden retail director, who works closely with M&S and other key clients on developing innovative meat products, says: “We are absolutely delighted with the win. It’s great for the team to get the recognition they deserve for their relentless work in sourcing beef of the highest quality and beating competition from across the world. Even better, this Dexter beef was reared right here in Tyrone.
“This long awaited competition puts the finest steak cuts to the test, and gives suppliers the opportunity to showcase product quality on a global stage.
“We’re so proud of our team who go above and beyond every day to ensure we’re producing the very best products we can and to have been given this prestigious award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our producers, colleagues and partnership with M&S which yielded five golds for: M&S Dexter Sirloin; M&S Dexter Ribeye; M&S Wagyu Fillet; M&S Wagyu Ribeye and M&S Wagyu Sirloin.
“Our Kettyle Irish Foods brand in Lisnaskea also took gold for Salt Dry-Age Ribeye steak. We’re proud to be representing Northern Irish quality in producing some of the very best steaks in the world.”
There were awards too for Dunbia, another Dungannon-based processor which has operations in England. ABP, which has two processing units in Northern Ireland, also featured in the awards.
Beef processors on the island of Ireland won a total of 54 medals, the most for any country involved.
The prestigious event is sponsored by the official host partner, Bord Bia, the Republic of Ireland’s hugely successful food and drink promotion body. Bord Bia, in addition, organised a farm tour to meat processors in the Republic for visitors to the high-profile event in Dublin.
The awards will also feature prominently in Bord Bia’s international marketing of meat from Ireland through initiatives such bas a chefs’ clubs, a network of which it has established in key export markets such as the Netherlands, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. The clubs meet regularly to prepare dishes using meat from the Republic.