Firm beefs up business in capital

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FAST growing meat supplier Underwood Meat Company is to expand into London and the South-East with the purchase of Norsted Manor Meats, a specialist butchery business based in Kent.

The six-figure deal will give Rotherham-based Underwood a foothold in the capital and its surrounding counties.

Underwood, which has been supplying the catering industry with quality, fresh meat products for more than 40 years, said that the acquisition will complement its existing operation in Godalming.

Norsted is a strong operator in London, supplying a number of well-known football clubs and golf clubs.

Underwood’s managing director John Heeley said: “With this acquisition we’ve bought some turnover, production capacity space and customers.”

Underwood serves the food service sector and customers range from pub chains such as Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread and Greene King, to smaller independent restaurants.

The group has also opened three butchery shops following strong demand for Christmas meats such as turkey, sausages and bacon, which have expanded into an all-year operation to meet demand.

Mr Heeley said: “Our shops offer everyday, great value. We take on the supermarkets and the discount supermarkets.

“We’re providing retsaurant quality meat at extremely affordable prices.”

The group will open its fourth shop in Barnsley in August.

The Sheffield office of Irwin Mitchell advised Underwood on the deal, which follows a number of previous acquisitions dealt with by the law firm.

Last year Underwood, which has an annual turnover of £44m, bought St Albans-based wholesale butcher business, Butlers.

In 2013, it took over Country Park Foods which gave it its Bramley Foods subsidiary.

The deal resulted in the company expanding into a new site on Chesterfield’s Holmewood Industrial Park.

Matt Ainsworth, corporate partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Underwood is an exciting business which continues to grow both organically and through acquisition.

“The addition of Norsted Manor Meats represents another excellent purchase for the company which will no doubt enable it to continue building both market share as well as its reputation for high quality products and customer service.

“Irwin Mitchell has built up a strong and close working relationship with Underwood and we look forward to supporting the business in the future.”

Underwood supplies a wide range of meats to different customers.

At the top end, its premium range of National Parks beef and lamb products are sourced exclusively from prime beef cattle and lambs which are born and grazed in one of the UK’s 15 National Parks, principally the North Yorkshire Moors, Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District.

It has achieved the British Retail Consortium Global Food Standard and currently has a Grade A Status.

All the group’s National Parks cattle are fed an entirely natural diet; many being grass fed for traditional flavour and succulence. It also encourages optimum muscle development, with a degree of marbling.

All beef is matured and hung for at least 21 days before being cut, packed and labelled specifically for the chef.

The group also sells wild game and venison.

The game is produced in season and sourced from many of the prestigious sporting estates in the North of England.

Its wild venison is sourced from the West Highlands of Scotland and is available throughout the year.

Its lamb is available throughout the year and some is produced on Underwood’s own Red Tractor approved farm, which is set in the Peak District National Park.