Harper Adams students help judge Foodservice Pork Product of the Year

Harper Adams students help judge Foodservice Pork Product of the Year

Two students from Harper Adams University were given the chance to sample some of England’s best pork products after being chosen as judges for a national BPEX competition.

Michelle Evans and Paula Lobb are second year students at the university and are behind artisan small business, Really Porky Pies.

The girls were asked to be judges for the Foodservice Pork Product of the Year 2013 competition after Keith Fisher from BPEX heard about their luxury pork pie venture.

The girls joined fellow judges over two days in the university’s Regional Food Academy to sample the products entered in the competition, the results of which will be announced at a special awards lunch at Butchers’ Hall, London, on April 12.

Up to 130 products from butchers, farm shops, manufacturers, retailers and catering suppliers where sampled by the judging panel, which also included two representatives from Ladies in Pigs and BPEX foodservice trade manager, Tony Goodger.

Products were entered into six categories – Fresh Pork Cut, Pork Ready Meal, Best Cold Eating Product, Pork Bakery Product, Best Cured Product and Best Innovative Pork Product.

The judges were asked to put the raw and cooked samples through a rigorous analysis including assessing shape, size, texture, appearance, taste and much more.

Keith Fisher, product development manager at BPEX, said: “It’s the first time we have used students from Harper Adams. As a result, what I have here today is a mixture of experienced judges and new judges who have never done it before but they have experience of products and they bring something new to the competition. I also think the girls will get something out of it as well.”

Paula, 20, from Bristol, said: “Being invited to the BPEX competition by Keith was a real honour. We had such a fun time judging all of the products which ranged from barbecue pork to Chinese-style pork dumplings.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity to see how a range of different flavours work to complement pork and has enabled Michelle and I to consider developing our products using these flavours.

“Similarly is has been a privilege to meet and work alongside the other judges.”

Michelle, 20, from Church Stretton, in Shropshire, said: “It was really good to meet the lovely people from BPEX and to see all of the products that had been entered.

“There were so many innovative products which were presented to us and we really enjoyed trying them. We learnt a lot about pork and the flavours that work well, and not so well, together.

“We feel privileged to have been approached by Keith from BPEX to judge the competition.”

Fellow judge, Mr Goodger, said: “When it comes to meals eaten out of the home, pork meat has the largest share of the market, accounting for over 1.75 million servings and increasing year on year. Whether it’s a pie or a pate, ribs or a traditional roasting cut – it is safe to say that pork is a firm favourite on menus.”

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