Covid-19

Key rural employer diversifies into meat boxes to help safeguard jobs

Submitted by Lucy Johnson.

One of the Westcountry’s leading suppliers of quality poultry, meat, game and speciality foods to the catering industry has diversified to help safeguard the jobs of its 80 employees.

MC Kelly is a 65-year-old company which operates from Elston Farm near the village of Copplestone in the heart of Devon where its staff are all based locally in an area where employment opportunities are few and far between.

But with coronavirus severely impacting the hospitality industry, the company has had to diversify rapidly so that it can continue to provide vital employment opportunities. Now its meat and poultry, which are revered by chefs, the catering trade and retailers for consistently high quality, are available to buy through its new sub brand The Meat Box Company.

Owner and managing director Andy Gray said: “Like so many businesses, we have been hit very hard by the coronavirus, but we are determined to keep going so it was all hands on deck to create a new business platform, The Meat Box Company, enabling customers to by very high quality meat online for the first time.”

He continued: “Sales are growing steadily through word of mouth and social media but continuing sales are vital for our survival until restaurants and hotels reopen.

MC Kelly was founded in 1956 at Elston Farm working closely with a select range of local farmers and well-established producers. It is also the biggest venison and game processor in the south west.

It is entrenched in its local community, not only providing employment, but supporting a number of charitable causes, including most recently supporting NHS employees by offering free deliveries and a discount for all NHS workers, and the The Country Food Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal by helping to source and deliver meat to foodbanks and charities. 

Mr Gray said: “There is a desperate shortage of protein being supplied to food banks at all times but especially right now and this brilliant charity is helping fill this need.”

It’s meat boxes have already been at the receiving end of some serious plaudits for the quality and flavour of the meat. 

Mr Gray said: “Companies like ours are a critical part of the structure and fabric of the rural community, connecting farming and tourism, the two key industries in the southwest, and keeping food and employment local. We are putting everything we can into supporting our own employees, our suppliers, and charities during these difficult times.”

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