A tried-and-proven elite Wagyu product, and a new shortfed brand making its competition debut claimed important medals for the Australian Agricultural Co at Royal Melbourne Show’s fine food awards announced yesterday.
AA Co’s Darling Downs Wagyu brand, drawn from crossbred cattle, won a gold medal in the Wagyu class at the awards, while the company’s Master Kobe fullblood Wagyu brand won the silver medal in the same class.
The company’s new 1824 Gold beef brand won a bronze medal in the MSA Grainfed class. 1824 Gold is a new MSA-graded 70-day grainfed AA Co beef brand, taking part in branded beef competitions for the first time.
The 70-day grain fed product competed head-on with longfed products in the same category, including some fed for more than 200 days.
The new 1824 Gold brand is a 70-day grainfed brand, as distinct from the company’s original 1824 Premium Beef brand which is fed 100 days.
The reasons for developing a separate 70GF product behind a new brand was to address two main points:
- Under the AusMeat language, users cannot refer to a 70GF product as ‘grain fed’ if it is fed less than 100 days. AA Co said it did not want to mislead customers by selling a 70-day product under the 1824 Premium lid, when its customers already know 1824 Premium in the market as a long standing, quality 100-day product. 1824 Gold has a new, gold coloured carton lid to distinguish the two but still leverage the 1824 market presence.
- There is demand, particularly domestically, for an MSA graded 70-day product – because the carcase is that bit lighter it produces a smaller steak portion-size on the plate. “A lot of restaurants are asking for that, so they can balance portion size (in grams) and the thickness of the steak on a plate,” AA Co said.
AA Co branded beef group general manager Cye Travers, said the results reflected the rigorous quality assurance program and innovation that supports all of AA Co’s beef brands through the supply chain, ensuring the brands meet stringent standards in food safety, animal welfare and product quality.
All three beef brands were commended on their tenderness, juiciness and flavor with the Darling Downs Wagyu described by judges as “an outstanding eating steak which melted in the mouth.
The result was the second win in a row for AA Co’s Darling Downs Wagyu, which was named best in class at the recent Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show held in June, where it achieved the only gold medal in the Wagyu category.
Darling Downs Wagyu comes from AACo’s crossbred Wagyu program with a marble score 3+ and fed for up to 300 days on a white grain based Japanese style ration at Aronui feedlot in Queensland’s Darling Downs.
Master Kobe, the multi-award winning headline act for AA Co’s suite of beef brands, is derived from Fullblood and purebred Wagyu cattle that have spent 500-plus days on a highly-specialised grain ration, to achieve a minimum marbling score of nine.
AA Co’s Master Kobe, Darling Downs Wagyu and 1824 Gold are three of the brands produced and marketed by AA Co, featuring in some of the best restaurants throughout Australia and exported to more than 20 countries internationally.
- AA Co is Australia’s largest integrated beef and cattle producer and the oldest continuously operating company in Australia. The company runs the world’s largest breeding herd of Wagyu cattle which includes the famous Westholme Wagyu, some of the most elite genetics ever to leave Japan.
- The Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards are conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV). The awards recognise excellence in premium fine food producers. The RMFFA provides opportunities for producers to benchmark their products and establish their credentials across boutique food categories in Australia.