Booker claims it is now the biggest catering butcher in the UK.

The cash & carry giant said its meat sales now exceeded £120m a year through its 160 butchery counters making them higher than any other supplier's. It is celebrating by holding a Meet the Butcher event next week to showcase its products.

"The Meet Your Local Catering Butcher week is an ideal opportunity for caterers to come to their local branch and see for themselves the fantastic quality available," said sales director for catering Ron Hickey, adding that there would be free stock, tastings and cookery demonstrations across Booker's depots.

Booker's meat was fully traceable back to source and prices were at least 30% cheaper than retail butchers', he said. The butchers were also able to cut and prepare orders to the exact requirement of customers.

Earlier this year, Booker pledged to address a shortage of butchers by offering butchering training to its staff. It has already trained more than 40 staff over the past 12 months and has just started a second wave.

Last month, Booker revealed it was the UK's fastest-growing catering supplier, having increased sales by more than £100m in the past year, with sales to caterers up 12.6% against an overall foodservice decline of 5%.

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