Meat co-op's latest product wins prestigious food award
THE self-appointed Beef Capital of Australia has always been well-known for its beef, but now Casino can brag about its veal after locally-made products have won a major national food industry award.
Northern Cooperative Meat Company's Three River Farms veal brand won a major accolade in the annual Food and Beverage Industry awards held in Sydney last month.
Three River Farms' slow-cooked veal osso bucco in red wine sauce product took the top gong in the meat, poultry and smallgoods category.
The prestigious category focuses on recognising outstanding meat products, with an emphasis on unique processing and value-adding techniques, innovation in packaging and why the product was introduced to the market.
The Three Rivers Farms brand, produced through the Casino cooperative's subsidiary NCMC Foods, is produced exclusively for sale through Woolworths retail outlets across Queensland and NSW.
NCMC Foods general manager Mark Manning said it was the company's first attempt at such awards, and to his memory was the first time a veal product had won any branded product award of significance in Australia.
"It was an outstanding result, given we were competing against beef of all types, including Wagyu, pork, chicken and smallgoods,” he said.
The Three Rivers brand was launched by NCMC Foods about three years ago.
NCMC, Australia's largest meat processing co-operative, is one of only a few processing plants in Australia running a dedicated veal processing chain.
The company typically processes 1500 to 2000 veal carcases each week through the Casino plant, producing fresh and value-added veal products for a range of export and domestic markets.
NCMC Foods exports veal under a suite of brands into various markets in the Middle East, North America and Asia.
As well as Three River Farms, NCMC Foods' other brands include Fairlight Specialty Meats, Co-Op Fresh, Queens Veal, Ramornie, Ramsey, Richmond Valley Veal, Manning Foods and Cassino RSM.
Mr Manning said these brands can be found in major supermarkets, independent butchers and on restaurant menus both domestically and internationally.