Delivering quality every day

For almost a century, family butchers Owen Taylor & Sons has been proudly serving both retail and catering customers across the East Midlands with the finest quality produce

It was in 1922 that Owen Taylor made the decision to start his own family business at Chestnut Farm in Somercotes, initially operating as a farm supplying its own on site abattoir and then its local ‘Owen Taylor’ retail shops in the Leabrooks, Ripley, Riddings and Somercotes villages. Quickly earning a reputation for providing high quality meats, home produced sausages and pies baked on site, the business ultimately outgrew its first home and moved to a new site in Leabrooks, where it remains to this day.

In 1977, Owen Taylor’s son John Taylor, took over Owen Taylor & Sons Ltd. (Owen Taylor), upgrading and expanding its wholesale and contract catering operations, before the third generation of the family – in this case current Managing Director Richard Taylor – took over the reins in 1992. Rapidly approaching its 100th year in existence, Owen Taylor continues to grow year on year, providing its retail and catering customers with the same high quality, locally sourced fresh meat and meat products that have served it well for almost a century.

“I believe it is the quality and consistency of our products, and passion that we have for what we do, that gives our customers confidence in the business, and has helped contribute to our success,” Richard explains. “Ever since Owen Taylor was first established it has also retained a strong family ethos and a set of core values that have played an essential role in our growth. Perhaps even more vital has been the continued contribution of our people, and we have made it a matter of importance that we give each and every one the ongoing recognition that they deserve.”

High level welfare
To this day, Owen Taylor continues to purchase the majority of its beef, pork, lamb, poultry and game products as livestock from local ‘Farm Assured’ farms in the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, with other livestock routinely sourced from neighbouring counties in order to satisfy demand from the wider region. As has been the case since its earliest days, Owen Taylor hand picks the finest animals, which are later slaughtered at local abattoirs, before they return as carcass meat, giving it full control over its products, their quality and their traceability, from farm to fork.

“When it comes to our products, the primary reason why they are so good is the simple fact that we never, ever cut corners,” Richard continues. “We are firm believers in the idea that what you get out of your efforts is solely the result of what you put in, or to coin another phrase, that you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. With all of our products, quality begins at a farm level, with all livestock being properly looked after, reared, fed and ultimately processed in a humane manner, with high level welfare being the priority from start to finish.”

The time and effort that Owen Taylor places in its day-to-day work has seen it go on to accumulate a large number of industry awards and accolades. In 2019, for instance, the business scooped the ‘Catering Butcher Award 2019’ at the Meat Management Awards, walking away with the prize for the third time in four years. It was also this past year that it was presented with an award as part of the UK Sausage Week celebrations, being recognised in the Traditional sector of the ‘Best Independent Butcher: East Midlands’ category for its Taylor’s Country Special Sausage.

Consistent growth
Looking to build even further still on its past success, Owen Taylor has a number of exciting developments ongoing in the early part of 2020. For one, it is in currently in the process of expanding its operations by way of investing in the construction of a brand-new facility, located within a mile of its current home. “We purchased the land beneath this new site in May 2019, and we have been developing it since,” Richard confirms. “Once complete, we will be left with a completed, up-to-date facility that is fit for the 21st century and will house all of our operations under one roof going forward.”

Growth wise, Richard is confident that this will continue at a consistent pace, with the business still retaining capacity to serve new customers. “While a notable trend within the food industry today is that people are tending to consume smaller portions of the foods they eat, 43what they do retain is a strong demand for quality products, which is where a business like our excels,” he states. “As far as what avenues we can pursue to achieve our goals, we are increasingly looking at potential retail opportunities that will allow us to offer our products to a greater number of people, and we are doing more event catering than ever before. Furthermore, we want to expand our export activities, which are things that the new space provided by our new facility will allow us to do.”

With the above-mentioned facility under construction, new revenue streams opening up on a regular basis, and another generation of Taylor’s waiting in the wings to take over when their time comes, things are looking bright for Owen Taylor, and are set up nicely for a company that looks forward to beginning its second century in business in ruder health than ever before.