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Feature: Meat Masterclass - a learning experience

Eight managers from the UK meat industry attended the DAFC Meat Masterclass’ in June and went home a little richer from their experiences.

The ‘Meat Masterclass’ is a full week learning programme, specially tailored to the needs of junior and middle managers in the meat industry. The course is run by the Danish Agriculture and Food Council and participants are able to enjoy a varied programme in Denmark, during which they gain insights into the whole meat production chain.

 Meat Masterclass – a learning experience in Denmark


Attendance on the course is open to participants nominated by the Danish companies in the UK, either young managers from their own companies or their customers. The ‘Class of 2015’ included participants from Danish Crown, Direct Table and Tican and four customers – Brown Bros, Farmer’s Boy, Russell Hume and Walter Smith’s Butchers – with mixed working backgrounds – operations, trading, technical and sales.


 Sausage making at Gourmandiet


The programme included a hands-on course in sausage-making with Master Butcher and restaurant owner Peter Steen from Gourmandiet in Copenhagen , practical butchery training at the Danish Meat Trades College, a visit to Danish Crown’s slaughterhouse in Horsens, a farm visit in Zealand (Allindemaglegaard) and presentations on meat safety and ethical and sustainable pig production from DAFC specialists.


 Learning butchery Danish-Style


It was generally agreed that the two highlights of the week were the visit to Danish Crown’s slaughterhouse in Horsens and the visit to Kim Kjær Knudsen’s sow farm in Zealand. For a number of the participants, this was their first ever visit to a pig farm. One delegate described their host as “a passionate farmer who cares and understands the welfare of his pigs.”


 Kim explains pig production to the group


As for the visit to Horsens, the group found the experience “amazing”, in terms of the size and the technology employed at the factory. One delegate commented ”The throughput of product and speed of work were fascinating. The guide was very informative regarding all the operations on the work floor. Learning new cutting standards, information and practices was most beneficial”.


 Danish Crown Horsens “amazing experience”


The week was packed with information, but there was still time for the participants (many of whom had never visited Denmark before) to get out and about and experience Danish culture at first hand. The Danish open sandwiches and hot-dogs proved particularly popular, and the group thoroughly enjoyed the final dinner in the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.


Herring and Danish schnapps in Tivoli


The Meat Masterclass is now in its 10th year and DAFC UK Market Director, John Howard, is highly positive about the programme.

“There is no better way of acquiring knowledge than through first hand experience and I hope that our programme provides a good ‘mix’ of theoretical knowledge and practical ‘hands on’ learning, combined with better appreciation of the unique Danish culture. We had a fantastic group this year, from a variety of backgrounds, who were keen to learn and gave us first-class feedback on their experiences during the week. Over the years, around 100 young managers have attended our course and I hope the experience gained in Denmark will have served them well in their careers in the meat industry.”

The Meat Masterclass received formal recognition recently as one of the finalists in the Meat Management ‘Training Scheme of the Year’ Award.

Finalist in Meat Management Industry Awards 2015

Some of the feedback from delegates

“Excellent throughout. Great programme that covered a lot and gave great understanding. Well done on a brilliant course”.

“One of the best experiences I have ever had. An excellent learning curve.”

“An excellent experience. A good insight into pork production and Denmark”.

“Not only do I just sell the Danish product, this has helped me understand it better and actually see how much is put into the production, welfare and the consistent quality achieved by the Danish pork trade”.