Brian Everton, left, with brother Lyndon receiving their award at the NZ Food Awards. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

BECKIE WILSON

beckie.wilson@age.co.nz

A family meat processing company that has created a niche for meat products away from the larger red meat exporters has hit the nail on the head.

The Everton family don’t want to be “lumbered in the same box” as other red meat providers.

They pride themselves on the integrated process of owning the meat all the way from the paddock to the plate.

Cabernet Foods Ltd and the processing plant Kintyre Meats has been working out of rural Carterton for the past 17 years.

Lyndon Everton, the managing director and in charge of processing, works in the Wairarapa office on Gladstone Rd.

The family company recently won the chilled/short shelf life award for their Everton Dry Aged Beef at the NZ Food Awards.

Mr Everton said it was great to be recognised for the smaller meat exporter that they are.

“The red meat sector is very challenging when it comes to the larger exporters which overshadows smaller exporters like us,” Mr Everton said.

“We don’t want to be regarded as just meat, we have got responsibilities behind our name and brand, whether it be an animal welfare aspect, or environment sustainability aspect.”

They were approached by a food technologist three years ago to develop the speciality product, which they carried on into the commercial and retail stages.

“Often you will hear consumers talk about home kill or farm kill products largely comparative to buying meat in the supermarket, and a lot of that comes down to the ageing process in delivering these materials to the market,” he said.

Cabernet Foods selects appropriate high-end cuts used in restaurants or for frying dishes, such as scotch fillet, and places them in a controlled environment to age over a 30-day period.

It had been trialled and tested, along with a solid economic model, the Everton’s knew it would be a niche product.

“What it means for the company it gives us a stand out factor compared to the wider export products as Everton Dry Aged Beef which complements all our other products we supply to supermarkets.

“It is one of our corner stone branded products that we would use to demonstrate to the consumer and supermarkets the types of items we can produce.”

The Everton family is from a long line of meat processing experts.

When Lynton’s grandfather returned from WW1 he started a business by killing an animal, and hanging it near the Foxton township for residents to come buy a cut.

Mr Everton’s brother, Brian Everton, oversees the Hamilton distribution centre, “is the craftsman in all of this” and has experience in the smallgoods sector, such as bacon and sausages.

The meat is predominantly Wairarapa sourced, and from the family-owned farms.

Stock is processed at the Wairarapa plant, and then distributed across the North Island in the company’s refrigerated vehicle fleet.

The company delivers meat sourced from 120,000 sheep, 10,000 cattle, 30,000 pigs and sundry from other animals to distributors, meat processors and retailers.

“To be recognised for the type of products we are striving to achieve on that bigger industry stage it is extremely rewarding not just for us but for the people who have been with us and backed us,” he said.

The Everton Dry Aged Beef can be found in Moore Wilson’s stores, New World supermarkets and Fresh Choice in Greytown.