Is your butchery one of SA's best? The winners of the 2020 Cleaver Awards

Just how do you go about judging a butchery — we find out

12 November 2020 - 10:32
The Cleaver Awards has been celebrating SA's best butcheries for 15 years. File photo.
The Cleaver Awards has been celebrating SA's best butcheries for 15 years. File photo.
Image: 123RF/Tyler Olson

There are so many “best lists” in the food industry — the best restaurants, the best wines, and the best cheeses to name a few. But how does one decide which really are the best of the best?

Well, when it comes to the butcheries that triumphed at the recent Cleaver Awards, it’s because they are “tried, tested, and have been proven to be the very best,” said Dewald Olivier, executive officer of the SA Feedlot Association.

Interestingly, it was butcheries in smaller towns that shone on the national winners’ list. Vleislapa Marshall Street in Polokwane, Franks Meat in Middelburg, and Saveway SuperSpar in Witbank came tops overall in the Cleaver Awards' three categories, which are based on store size.

They were among the 19 butcheries that scooped up platinum awards this year (see the full list below). A further 12 runners-up received gold awards.

Surprisingly, only one establishment in Cape Town, and two in Johannesburg, took home trophies despite both cities boasting a number of excellent butchers.

FREE AND FAIR?

So are the Cleaver Awards a fair representation of butcheries around the country, and how was the judging done?

Butcheries nationwide were invited to nominate themselves for consideration free of charge; there were a total of 600 entries this year. Perhaps this explains why wins were thin in Joburg and Cape Town; after all, with all the best will in the world, how do you persuade each and every butcher to enter?

The entrants could then invite their customers to vote for them, and all establishments who received more than 100 votes went on to the next round of judging. I find this part a little dubious as a butcher could ask friends and family to vote or — dare I say — even offer patrons a complimentary boerie roll in return for a vote.

According to Oliver, the qualifying butcheries were then “anonymously visited by a member of the SA Meat Industry Company”. This expert secret shopper audited them against an extensive 212-point checklist, which took factors like quality, service, hygiene and value for money into consideration.

Justin Mosterd of the Gold award-wining Delft Butchery and Deli in Joburg says that boerewors is their best seller.
Justin Mosterd of the Gold award-wining Delft Butchery and Deli in Joburg says that boerewors is their best seller.
Image: Supplied

“This, in my opinion, is the most crucial part of the judging," said Justin Mosterd of Delft Butchery and Deli in Johannesburg, when asked to comment on the process. “The first part where customers vote could perhaps have the potential to be manipulated.”

Mosterd, who was thrilled to have won his first gold award this year, added: “Winning feels like we’re doing something right: we offer good service, good food and good old-school hygiene; we don’t cut corners.”

For the first time in the 15-year history of the Cleaver Awards, butcheries who were audited had the opportunity to view their scores.

Said Olivier: “Year-on-year, the top butcheries all seem to have three attributes in common: they are customer-centric, they invest in the training and upliftment of their staff, and above all else, they are passionate about what they do.”

2020 PLATINUM AWARD WINNERS 

BUTCHERIES WITH FOUR OR MORE TILLS:

  • National: Vleislapa Marshall Street, Polokwane
  • Gauteng: Boma Meat Market, Moreleta Park
  • North West: Vision Meat, Klerksdorp
  • Free State: Fredilia Meat, Welkom 
  • Eastern Cape: Cuyler Butchery, Uitenhage
  • KwaZulu-Natal: Bluff Meat Supply, Bluff                                               

BUTCHERIES WITH UP TO THREE TILLS:

  • National: Franks Meat, Middelburg Mall
  • Gauteng: Boma Meat, Olympus, Pretoria 
  • Free State: Country Meat, Kroonstad
  • Eastern Cape: Continental Butchery, Port Elizabeth
  • Western Cape: Akeru Butchery, Gordonsbaai
  • KwaZulu-Natal: Medina Meats, Chatsworth
  • Northern Cape: West End Vleismark, Kimberley

MEAT MARKETS:

  • National: Saveway SuperSpar, Witbank
  • Gauteng: Karaglen SuperSpar, Johannesburg
  • Mpumalanga: Malelane SuperSpar, Malelane
  • Eastern Cape: Levyvale SuperSpar, Uitenhage
  • Western Cape: Malmesbury SuperSpar, Malmesbury
  • KwaZulu-Natal: Bluff Meat Supply, Richards Bay

Visit beeftalk.co.za to see which butcheries won awards at the 2020 Cleaver Awards.