There’s only one thing better than a local meat supplier, and that’s an award-winning local meat supplier.
In a region such as Gippsland, where the soil is rich and the produce plentiful, awards for smallgoods are highly sought after. At Shaws Quality Meats, the trophy cabinet is heavy with recognition.
Shaws has picked up first prize for their bacon and kabana from the Australian Meat Industry Council for several years running – and that is no small feat. A few years back, Shaws took out the bronze medal for their pastrami at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Even their apprentices have been recognised for their hard work – a slew of Apprentice of the Year awards rounds out their hefty medal collection.
“ Word of mouth is their most important marketing asset ”
Awards aside, David, the proprietor at Shaws, says word of mouth is their most important marketing asset. That, and the high level of trust that comes with 30 years of continuous business. Shaws is a second-generation family operation. Along with his wife Michelle, David took over the business eight years ago, succeeding his father, Barry, who still helps out occasionally.
David says sourcing consistent produce that is locally grown, pasture fed and free roaming is central to Shaws’ success. Their beef is sourced from nearby Glencliff Farm in Wy Yung, while their pork travels a short distance from Flints Pigs in Seaspray.
David says there is increased demand from customers to reduce the miles their food travels, with a newfound leaning towards the ‘paddock-to-place’ philosophy. Customers increasingly want to know the history behind the produce they have purchased, and being a local business, Shaws can reveal the journey taken by all their smallgoods, as well as providing the hands-on experience of a passionate team of employees.
The Shaws team is 10 butchers strong, and there is an enormous focus on consistency across their two locations, in Sale and Stratford. Shaws also nurtures the next generation of butchers by taking on a new round of apprentice workers each year.Thanks to the digital age, Shaws also now fulfils email orders, particularly from tourists and travellers who crave the local experience when purchasing smallgoods.
As well as supplying to customers, Shaws produces smallgoods on-site, including their award-winning pork products. David believes there is value in knowledge about the meat we consume, and that customers are increasingly vigilante about their food’s origins.
Trust, David says, is implicit to the produce industry. And that’s worth more than any award.