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Meet the Merchants: Albert Matthews

albert_matthews_logoImage_129Established in 1935 Albert Matthews is a 3rd generation family run butchers that focuses on selling high quality, naturally reared, locally sourced, British meat and poultry. Located in the the famous meat and fish hall on Bury market, Lancashire they sell award winning meat to the people of Bury and the surrounding pubs and restaurants in Greater Manchester.

In 2012 encouraged by recognition received through various national awards for the quality of the meat Albert Matthews set up an ecommerce website allowing them to supply the whole nation with some of the best local produce available in the UK today.

We are very much intoalbert_matthews_lifestyleImage_370 innovation and ways we can improve the quality of our products. In 2014 we became only the second butcher in the UK to have a Himalayan Salt ageing chamber. This consists of a wall of Himalayan salt bricks, specifically shipped in from Pakistan which has been built into our ageing chiller. The bricks pull the moisture out of the air which helps with the drying ageing process of meat. They also help purify the air and an ionisation process takes place between the salt and the meat which also helps tenderise the meat further and intensify the flavour.

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We spoke with Chris Matthews, grandson of the company’s founder Albert and current Director, to discover more about the business.

How and when did Albert Matthews get Shopfrontstarted?

Chris’ granddad Albert founded the company in….. Although the company consisted of only one small family butchers during Albert’s lifetime, when Chris’ dad took over it began to branch out, becoming more shops. The company broadened to include hotels and restaurants and now we’ve developed even further to supply internet trading to move into the digital age.

What is unique or special about Albert Matthews?

Our company is special in that it has a perfect location – we are relatively close to both the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, which are not only areas of outstanding natural beauty but also provide loads of opportunities to connect with farmers. Local farmers slaughter for us, meaning that we deal directly with them and this relationship is very special to us, as well as ensuring excellent quality meat. Aside from this, we have won over 20 competitions, which we are very proud of as it proves our consistently good quality as a business.

IMG_0404We embrace a local policy when it comes to all aspects of our business particularly purchasing. Our aim is to source directly from farms that are located within 100 miles of our shop in Bury, situated in areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire and the Lake District, Cumbria. We also like to try and use the same farmers so we can build relationships which help the farmer to understand what we are looking for from a supplier.

Our sales proposition is very much based on quality and we reinforce this message to customers by entering and trying to win as many competitions and awards as possible. The fact we are so lucky to have easy access to some of the best livestock in the country from the Forest of Bowland and Lake District makes this easier and we have won over 30 separate national awards, 18 of which being great taste awards which are known as the “Oscars of the food industry”.

Our most impressive award to date was our Heather Fed Lamb racks being given three gold stars in the 2012 Great taste awards and voted one of the top 50 products in the UK out of 8807 products from a judging panel that included Masterchef Winner Mat Follas, restaurant critic and Masterchef Judge Charles Campion, food writers Lucas Hollweg and Xanthe Clay and more than 300 food buyer from leading food halls such as Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason, as well as farm shops across the country.

What is your favourite Albert Matthews product?

For me, it has to be the brisket!

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What has been your proudest moment during your time with the company?

This is hard because there have been so many, but personally I think it has to be my first Christmas working for the company. We were blown away by our success over this period, especially online, and we even had to turn off our site a few times because we were receiving so many orders! That year broke records and I think we were all proud of our business during that time.

Finally, what is your favourite part of your job?

There are two aspects of my job that I honestly can’t choose between! Firstly, I love the tech aspect. I really enjoy bringing what is perhaps an antiquated industry into the modern day and the mass online market- and it’s a pairing that works very well. I also relish the opportunities I have to meet interesting people, for example chefs, restaurant owners and working so closely with farmers. So you could say I enjoy both the practical and technological sides to my job!

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