12 August 2021

The Shoprite Group has launched an internationally-endorsed Master Meat Artisan Programme for its qualifying butchery managers, and will train its initial intake of 52 people to join the exclusive global club of Master Butchers. 

As there are only 55 Master Butchers in the world, this programme will boost the development of a particularly scarce and sought-after skill, provide career path opportunities for its employees and put the Group, and South Africa, on the map as world-class specialists in meat processing practices from farm to fork. 

Of the only 55 Institute of Meat accredited Master Butchers globally, five are South Africans, all of whom are employed by the Shoprite Group. Two received the accreditation from the United Kingdom’s Institute of Meat in 2019 and a further three were certified in 2020. 

The Group already trains some 200 people a year in butchery skills to ensure an adequate supply of talent into its stores’ Meat Markets across the country. The new programme, endorsed by the United Kingdom’s Institute of Meat, will ensure its butcheries continue to enhance the Group’s competitive advantage in this area. 

The Master Meat Artisan Programme takes a year to complete, and participants are required to build a portfolio of evidence that includes modules on butchery expertise, business acumen and food hygiene and safety amongst others. It is anticipated that 250 of the Group’s qualifying butchery managers will be enrolled onto this programme over the next five years. 

Shoprite the retailer of choice in 2021 SAGEA Employer Awards
Master Butcher, Songezo Basela, on the left, is one of only 55 Institute of Meat accredited Master Butchers globally.

The fact that the programme requires 10 years’ experience, with at least five as a Meat Market manager, to qualify, reflects Shoprite’s commitment to being on a long-term career journey with its employees by providing them with opportunities to develop their skills, increase their knowledge of meat and ultimately grow their careers.  

The Shoprite Group is arguably the only company on the continent to provide this type of programme, and as Africa's largest food retailer, it is committed to developing and enhancing the skills of its employees. This is one of numerous programmes its employees have access to.  

The first intake of 52 commenced in August 2021, and all training is undertaken by the Shoprite Group.  The UK’s Institute of Meat will be involved in the quality assurance of the learning programme and learners’ achievements.