Quality genetics and great farmers have proved a winning combination for New Zealand food producer First Light Foods
The company has taken out a gold medal at the World Steak Challenge in Dublin for the second year running.
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The award was presented to First Light for the best fillet steak in the marble score 6+ category and follows last year's win for best ribeye steak.
The World Steak Challenge is a globally recognised competition with over 300 sirloin, fillet and ribeye steaks being judged from 25 countries and four continents.
More than 40 expert judges joined with 14 consumer judges to evaluate raw and cooked entries based on aroma, colour, flavour and marbling. First Light's winning wagyu fillet steak had a marble score of 7. Marble score is an indicator of flavour richness and runs on a scale from 2 to 9.
In this case, the steak came from one of First Light's southern suppliers, Ngāi Tahu Farming in Canterbury.
First Light managing director Gerard Hickey put the win down to quality genetics and great farmers.
"Intensity of flavour is determined by the life the animal has led," he said.
"Our wagyu cattle are 100 percent grass-fed and are raised without antibiotics, hormones or GMO feed. We've found this also increases the nutritional value of the meat so it's win-win."
First Light was one of three New Zealand companies that picked up medals in the challenge, with ANZCO Foods and Alliance Group also among the 106 companies that took out gold awards for their steaks.
First Light entered the market in 2011 with 100 percent grass-fed wagyu and has experienced phenomenal growth with distribution in Europe, US, UAE, Australia and New Zealand. It raises more than 25,000 head of cattle a year, across farms stretching from Northland to Southland.
Finland based JN Meat International was handed the title of World's Best Steak for its grass-fed ribeye.