Dawn Meats were delighted to host its second Health and Wellbeing Week in October.
The emphasis for this year was placed on increasing awareness for the ‘Common Cancers’ including: Bowel, Breast, Prostate & Testicular and Skin.
Each day covered a different topic and was designed to be informative, educating employees about the causes, symptoms, testing and treatments available. The importance of hydration and exercise were also highlighted.
Throughout the week a variety of engaging activities and competitions were held including: Wear Pink/Blue to Work, lunchtime walks, park runs, smoothie bike challenge, pedometer challenge, penalty shootout challenge, coffee morning, health clinics, cookery demonstrations and free fruit and water.
Across the week Dawn Meats also acknowledged the support of a wide range of external companies who shared their knowledge and encouraged employees to participate with engaging presentations and competitions. These included, Marie Keating Foundation, Irish Cancer Society, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, St John’s Ambulance, Smoothie Bike Hire and Fitbit.
Dawn Meats was awarded the Excellence in Environment award at the 13th Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Awards which took place on Thursday September 1st 2016 in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin. The annual CSR Awards celebrate the important contribution that CSR practices make to our society and Dawn Meats was pleased to be nominated in the large indigenous company category for Excellence in Environment along with DAA, ESB and Roadbridge.
The CSR Awards applications were reviewed by two separate and independent judging panels, made up of experts in the field of CSR. These 2 panels separately selected the shortlisted projects and companies and from this list a second panel ultimately decided on category winners.
The adjudication panel was looking for projects which were innovative, were well thought out, engaged staff at all levels and utilised a variety of resources in delivering a positive impact on the business and the wider community.
Commenting on the awards Group Commercial Director Richard Clinton said: ”At Dawn Meats we expect all colleagues to engage with the CSR agenda and actively contribute with community projects which have a positive impact both on the business itself and the community in which we operate. The fossil fuel free and zero waste to landfill ambitions which have been achieved in 2016 are a tangible result of our commitment in this area and we look forward to further progress in the coming years. All colleagues can be extremely proud of this award which is just recognition of their efforts in recent years.”
Messrs Parkinson have been awarded the inaugural Marks & Spencer / Dawn Meats Swaledale Producer of the Year award 2016 at the Swaledale Lamb producer meeting in Malham in the Yorkshire Dales.
The Parkinson family farm at Hareden, is in the heart of the Trough of Bowland, in Lancashire. Most of the farm land is moorland, rising to 1800 feet above sea level. There is only a small percentage of meadowland, the remainder is hill pasture. The 1,030 hectare farm, is tenanted from United Utilities, and has approximately 1,000 Swaledale breeding ewes and a beef suckler herd.
Dawn Meats has worked with the Swaledale Lamb Society for a number of years developing and supplying bespoke Marks & Spencer Swaledale Lamb for their Speciality Lamb range. The period of supply is between January and early May each season and the sixth season has just finished.
Anna Playfair- Hannay, M&S Agricultural Manager commented: “I’m delighted to be able to present this award to Messrs Parkinson. The continued support and collaboration we have with the Swaledale Lamb group means we can continue to offer our customers something very special and unique to Marks & Spencer.”
Mr. Isla Roebuck, Operations Director Dawn Meats (UK) commented: “We have now had six seasons of Swaledale Lamb in the Marks & Spencer Speciality lamb range which has been very successful with our customers. In order to recognise the efforts of the Swaledale Lamb producers involved in this supply chain we have presented a cup to the producer that has had the best hit rate for weight and grade over the period of supply from January to early May this year. Congratulations to Messrs Parkinson on winning the cup this year and we look forward to next season which will be our seventh.”
David Ward of Bridgetown Farm in Iddesleigh, Devon, was awarded The Prince’s Countryside Fund Award in England and Wales at the M&S Farming for the Future Awards, at the Royal Welsh Show, in Builth Wells, Wales.
Bridgetown Farm is a supplier to Dawn Meats’ West Devon facility. David runs a family farm in Devon, farming both beef and lamb, where he manages a herd of 140 suckler cattle and 140 breeding ewes. David has dedicated 40 years of his life to working with the ‘Farms for City Children’ charity, which offers urban children from the age 9 – 11, the unique opportunity to spend a week living and working on a farm in the heart of the countryside, to gain an understanding of rural life, food production and animal welfare. The children come to David’s farm from 31 schools across London, Portsmouth, Barnstaple and Plymouth.
Every morning David picks up the school children and their teachers, from Nethercott House, the Farms for City Children residence, in a specially converted tractor and trailer and they spend the day working on the farm interacting with the farm animals, working in the outdoors and enjoying the fresh air. At any time there are between 36-40 children and teachers working on the farm under David’s guidance.
M&S Farming for the Future is a programme of initiatives which champions sustainability and innovation. The programme is designed to help farmers identify opportunities for improvement, increase their profitability and provide a sustainable supply chain that can continue to deliver quality and innovation for the long term.
David Ward, Owner of Bridgetown Farm said: “I am absolutely delighted to be awarded The Prince’s Countryside Fund Award at the M&S Farming for the Future Awards. The charity is very close to my heart, and over the past 40 years it has been extremely rewarding to see children spending a week on our farm getting a real understanding of where their food comes from, sustainable farming and rural life. These children leave our farm with important information that they can pass on to future generations.”
Isla Roebuck, Operations Director, Dawn Meats (UK), said: “We are very proud of Bridgetown Farm’s win at today’s M&S Farming for the Future Awards and of David’s commitment to educating children about farming, the countryside and food production. At Dawn, we are fully committed to ensuring all of our products have traceability from farm gate to plate, and believe that knowing where your food comes from is of the highest importance. We congratulate David for equipping the hundreds of children who come through his farm every year with this knowledge, teaching them the importance of food production and broadening their horizons by becoming familiar with rural life.”
George Coles of Red Oak Farm in Westbury, Northamptonshire was the runner up in the Outstanding Producer Award for Innovation at the M&S Farming for the Future Awards. The awards ceremony was held at the Royal Welsh Show, Builth Wells, Wales.
The M&S Farming for the Future Awards recognise farmers who show the utmost dedication to farming sustainability. The Outstanding Producer Award rewards farmers who show dedication to the 4 E’s – Efficiency, Ethics, Education, and Environment.
Red Oak Farm is a supplier to Dawn Meats’ Cardington facility in Bedfordshire. The farm works a combination of grassland and arable crop production, and a 120 strong beef herd. Coles plans to expand the herd to 200 breeding cattle, and is developing a pedigree Red Aberdeen Angus herd using imported embryos from Argentina.
Coles has embraced new technology as a means of improving the health, welfare and productivity of his cattle, such as a thermal imaging camera for early identification of hip and foot problems in cattle, allowing for targeted treatment and lower antibiotic reliance. He has also employed use of the Moocall alert system which provides him with advance notification if a cow is calving. This system uses a sensor attached to the cow’s tail to alert the farmer by text message when a cow is about to calve, ensuring that he can be present and of assistance if required.
Coles is committed to constantly improving his own knowledge of sustainable beef production and is an active member of three beef discussion groups. He is a member of the AHDB Better Returns Programme, and has hosted several events for AHDB Beef & Lamb at Red Oak Farm. He has also pioneered the use of a new cordless vacuum pump for milking, which allows farmers to milk cows quickly without risk of being kicked, and hopes to offer this product for sale in the UK market shortly.
Commenting on the award, Mr. George Coles, Red Oak Farms: “It is an honour to be runner up in the Outstanding Producer award category on behalf of Red Oak Farms and Dawn Meats. It is extremely rewarding to see the progress that can be made in cattle farming by embracing new technology and investing in our most valuable assets, our livestock. I have always believed in the need to innovate to ensure the farm is as productive and as successful as possible, and I am very pleased to see our efforts recognised today.”
Commenting Mr. Isla Roebuck, Operations Director Dawn Meats (UK): “George Coles is worthy of the recognition he has received in this award, and exemplifies exactly what we look for in our beef supply chain. Sustainability is essential to the future of agriculture, and we are very fortunate to work with suppliers like Red Oak Farms whose principles and commitment to innovation and sustainability are in line with our own”
The world’s most coveted blind tasted awards, The Great Taste, has released the stars of 2016 and Dawn Meats is amongst the producers celebrating having been awarded gold stars for 5 products, including a 3-star for our ‘Ridings Reserve Marbled Standing Rib’, which has also been listed in the Top 50 Foods of 2016. The Guild of Fine Food underpins the British speciality food sector, with the recognised Great Taste Awards for produce that surpasses excellence in quality, taste and innovation. To receive a 3-star rating, every judge at each judging session, had to unanimously agree that the product had achieved absolute perfection by delivering exceptional quality and taste. Dawn Meats are proud to carry the Great Taste logo as it is a badge of honour but more importantly a signpost to our wonderful tasting products.
Products to receive gold star status this year include:
3-star Ridings Reserve Marbled Standing Rib - also listed in the Top 50 Foods
2-star West Country Choice PGI 21 Day Matured T-Bone Steak
2-star West Country Choice 28 Day Matured Picanha
2-star Ridings Reserve Cap on French Trimmed Rack of Lamb
1-star Caledonia Crown Scotch PGI Porterhouse Steak, Matured on the Bone 21 Days.
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with branding and packaging removed prior to tasting. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.
This year saw the Great Taste judging road-shows take place in Tipperary, Belfast and at the Guild’s Headquarters in Gillingham, Dorset. Judged over an intense 49 days from March through to early July, by over 400 of the nation’s most discerning palates belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restauranteurs, producers and a host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely recognised as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality fine food and drink. Of the 10,000 products that were entered this year, only 141 products achieved the highest and most coveted rating, three stars – including our very own ‘Ridings Reserve Marbled Standing Rib’. There were 878 products that received 2-stars and 2,520 were awarded 1-star, meaning that only 35% of entries were accredited.
Commentary from the judges on our 3-star accredited ‘Ridings Reserve Marbled Standing Rib’ included: “This looks fabulous, has a wonderful aroma, and cuts beautifully both with and against the grain. It tastes as good as it looks, full flavoured, with a delicious nutty outside, rich tasty fat and a glorious tasting meaty flavour that lingers”. “A soft and rich melting texture, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this well flavoured rib is the buttery texture”.