Young Welsh farmer cooks her award-winning dish at Sainsbury’s HQ

Young Welsh farmer cooks her award-winning dish at Sainsbury’s HQ

Dunbia joined Sainsbury’s at the supermarket’s London HQ recently to welcome the young Welsh holder of the YFC Lamb Initiative competition, who prepared her award-winning entry and presented new data on consumer attitudes towards lamb.

Sainsbury’s Director of Brand, Judith Batchelar, with YFC Lamb Initiative winner Cadi Jones.

The YFC Lamb Initiative, now more than 10 years old, is a partnership between Dunbia, Wales YFC and Sainsburys designed to support Welsh lamb and young farmer producers. Entrants were encouraged to look beyond just the recipe; highlighting the specific type of customer the product was targeted at, what sort of meal occasion it would suit, a breakdown of ingredient costs and packaging ideas with consideration for the environment.

Cadi Jones, a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University, was the winner of the 2018 competition with her lamb shoulder dish. As a result of her victory, Cadi was recently invited to present her product to senior Sainsburys staff including Judith Batchelar, director of brand, and Gavin Hodgson, head of livestock, at their London HQ. Her presentation, including consumer research carried out by Cadi herself, gave insights into the potential for lamb as a product to be further developed in the value added and convenience market.

Cadi found that good flavour, aroma and provenance are all factors for why consumers enjoy lamb. Yet that was offset by consumers feeling that lamb was fatty, had an aftertaste and was disliked when cold. This placed lamb in third place behind beef and chicken when selecting a first-choice meat according to Cadi’s research.

In response to these findings Cadi developed a recipe using a succulent cut and served with accompaniments which appealed to both familiar and unfamiliar tastes: Shoulder of lamb marinated in Moroccan spices with a choice of two yoghurts; Mint, garlic and lemon yoghurt and beetroot and apple yoghurt.

Commenting Cadi said: “Most people are used to the traditional flavours associated with lamb like mint or rosemary. I wanted to enhance these familiar flavours but also give consumers an option of something a little different, equally as tasty and which shows off how versatile lamb can be. It’s been excellent to work with Dunbia, and the support they show for young farmers is promising for the future. Presenting to Sainsburys in a proper development kitchen was a great experience, and really gave me an idea of the journey an ingredient takes from farm to shelf”.

Head of livestock for Sainsbury’s, Gavin Hodgson, added: “Sainsbury’s is proud to be part of this initiative with Dunbia and Wales YFC. More than ten years in the making, it is a great opportunity to engage with young farmers to drive innovation and excellence from the very start of the supply chain. Quality and provenance start at farm level so collaborating with young farmers is where we can make a big impact, and where ideas such as Cadi’s can evolve into products that our customers come to know and love.”

Commenting after preparing the recipe, Dunbia’s head sevelopment chef, Andrew Brondon, said: “Lamb shoulder is an excellent carrier of flavour, and it’s also a cut which can be cooked relatively quickly. This recipe is ready in thirty minutes, but with the Moroccan marinade which Cadi has developed you get a flavour which tastes more like it’s been slow cooked for hours. We’ve served it in some wraps with chargrilled vegetables, but it could just as easily be a salad or served over cous-cous”.

Off the back of her success, Cadi has been offered a work placement with Sainsburys as she continues her studies in food technology.

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