National Butchers Week is a celebration of the industry, with butchers coming together to host events, trial new and innovative products, as well as support British industry. We caught up with some of our students that are supported by the industry through the Butchers' & Drovers' scholarship, Morgan Metcalfe and Nia Williams. They shared their interest in meat studies with us and chatted about degrees that matter.
"We're really grateful to have been awarded the scholarship," Nia said. "And it's going to be really helpful in supporting us through our final year Honors Research Projects."
Morgan continued: "Having a background in the meat industry, I'm interested to find out more about the different paths I could take and how I can shape industry progression. The scholarship from Butchers' & Drovers' will help me on my way to achieving this.
"I'm hoping to gain more experience and become more knowledgable through different elements of the industry. While I do want to go back to the family butcher business in the future, I'm excited to see what else I can learn along the way.
"The meat industry isn't as narrow as a lot of people think - there is so much to learn."
Nia is studying BSc (Hons) Food Production with Marketing and is working on a way to support British farming and the relationships between supplier, farmer and consumer. She said: "My dissertation is looking at the quality of relationship between UK lamb suppliers and buyers. While the consensus sees most people claiming to want to buy organic and local, consumers still choose to buy the cheaper option that may have a lot more air miles behind it.
"There's a responsibility that the consumer and the supplier need to be more aware of in lowering their carbon footprint through their food miles.
"So far, I'm at the interviewing and data collection stage, asking if supermarkets support farmers enough. There's been a mixed result so far which has surprised me. I'm hoping that the project will help me to make the industry more collaborative, especially going into a graduate role with Morrisons as a supply chain specialist."
Morgan is taking his research as an opportunity to adapt a new food product. He explained: "I consider the food and drink industry to be of great importance to the Welsh economy; this is currently a priority for the Welsh government, as a growing industry to provide economic growth. With my family business based in the Welsh food industry, I wanted to find a way to diversify and try something new."
In studying BSc (Hons) Food Technology and Product Development, Morgan's undergraduate study is supporting his research project. He said: "I'm doing a study on black pudding production; using spent grain from beer production, I'm matching it up with oates to reduce grain waste, while also adding the beer characteristics to the black pudding flavour. I've made connection with a brewery back home to reduce the food miles of the black pudding that we will sell in our shop.
"All of the work I've done so far has been undertaken in the RFA, where I've run a number of trials. So far, the product has been well received. I'm now working on refining the texture and cut."
Should you be interested in pursuing research within the meat industry, you can find many scholarship opportunities from The Development Trust that compliment our food courses. Want to see our RFA facilities for yourself? Visit us on our open day, March 21!