Meat is a growing category and there are still many opportunities Classic Fine Foods would like to explore. The company has been increasing its investment in this category on a group level in 2019 with the creation of the Group Meat Specialist position, taken by Richard Sanders, previously Meat Specialist for Classic Fine Foods UK.
Meet Richard Sanders, Master Butcher and award-winning charcutier
Richard Sanders is a Master Butcher and award-winning charcutier originally from New Zealand. He trained in traditional butchery on the family farm. From the age of 14 he was slaughtering and butchering cattle, pigs and lambs while also working on fishing boats at weekends. At 20 he bought his first butchery specialising in traditionally handmade sausages, salami, hams, bacon and started to experiment with European Charcuterie styles. In 2003 he won New Zealand’s Young Butcher of the Year and many other awards for his artisan-cured handmade produce which was sold around the country. He lectured theory and practical knowledge to butchery apprentices at Manakau Institute of Technology, which is regarded as NZ’s university of meat.
Richard’s wide international experience throughout Australasia, Europe and UK, includes seven years in Papua New Guinea working in Food Development with the country’s biggest meat processor where he managed 400 staff processing 50-60 tons of cooked sausage and butchering up 20 tons of beef, pork and lamb per day!
From the tropical jungles of Papua New Guinea to the concrete jungles of London, he has spent the last ten years working with London’s most exclusive retailers including being GM of Allen's of Mayfair, the UKs oldest butchery, catering to top chefs, hotels and restaurants in central London. As well as working as a specialist across the UK in farm shops, organic farms and teaching butchery across Europe. He also sailed away as the Head of Meat and Seafood for Carnival Cruises UK travelling the seas, training staff to serve the immense crowds on various cruise ships.
A passion for passing on his knowledge
Over the past 2 and half years, Richard has been the Meat Specialist for Classic Fine Foods UK where he has been training the UK staff, building up relationships with customers, suppliers and increasing beef turnover to help Classic Fine Foods to become one of the leading USDA distributors in the UK. Also working with British Game dealers across England and Scotland, Classic Fine Foods UK has quadrupled game turnover over the last 2 seasons.
Training and passing on knowledge has always been one of Richard’s passions and focus’s for Classic Fine Foods – Richard has also been working with selected Executive Chefs, creating Master Classes and meat appreciation events for chefs and staff alike to help extend their knowledge.
Onsite training sessions with chefs and their teams has helped build stronger relationships between Classic Fine Foods and its clients.
Richard also represents Classic Fine Foods as a judge at the World Steak Challenge and will be judging again this July in Dublin judging over 300 entries in this year’s 2019 competition.
The priorities for the meat category in 2019
Richard’s new role as Classic Fine Foods’ new Group Meat Specialist will be no means an easy task: “Every country has very different cultures and tastes and there’s no exception when it comes to meat!”
Understanding every Classic Fine Foods site’s individual challenges when it comes to product knowledge and meat supply is a #1 priority. Looking at our meat supply as a whole group instead of individual sites will strengthen our position in the market. More and more, beef producers are looking for distributors that are experts at championing brands and working with the best chefs in the world. Classic Fine Foods is definitely seen as an obvious choice for strong future partnerships.
One of our other main priorities and challenges is to find a USDA beef brand for the group and we are currently in talks with US Meat Federation whom are helping us with our search for the most suitable partner. Great attention will also be given to the training of Classic Fine Foods sales teams around the world. Richard confides: “Most of all I wish to help each Classic Fine Foods to train their staff to understand and truly believe in the meat products they distribute as this is of paramount importance to our company. Knowing the absolute basics and then building on that knowledge is the greatest way to forge trust and support with our customers and suppliers”.