Grade A Quality Meats - Part 1

At The Meat Company Bradford we pride ourselves on selling the finest quality Grade A meats. But what exactly is Grade A? And what makes it so different?

Grade A is generally the colloquial term used in the industry for the highest quality meat in a given animal category as classified by the EC Marketing Standards for Poultrymeat and regulated in the UK by DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs). 

In this series of articles we explain in more detail what these classifications mean and in particular the benefits of higher grade meats, starting with chicken.

Class A Chicken

This is the highest grade of chicken in the UK market and is generally defined* as the whole chicken's conformation and appearance being in excellent condition. This means the carcase is well shaped and symmetrical and has well developed legs and breast. The carcase should be well plucked, with a thin regular layer of subcutaneous fat. Some slight marks are acceptable, as long as they are small and relatively unobtrusive. 

The Class A Difference

The main advantages of class A chicken over lesser grades are that the chicken will be free from excessive bruising, tears and abrasions. It will also be more succulent and lean as well as not being subject to any added water or salt. Class A chickens are also checked for breakages and other damages. All in all, this will result in a more meaty, healthy flavour with less fat and more leanness. 

*From Poultrymeat Quality Guide, September 2011 © Crown Copyright 2011


Next week, we take a look into the various grade classifications for mutton and lamb. Stay tuned.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published


FRESH FLAVOURS is a weekly blog brought to you by SaveCo Bradford - with the latest in cooking tips, recipes, food trends, news, views, ideas and lots more!


If you would like to write for us, whether you're a seasoned cook or a novice or just have a passion for good food, please email: with a short bio.


  1. The Big Ramadan 2022 Sale at SaveCo - Instore Only
  2. Win An Umrah Ticket In-Store!
  3. New Nationwide Delivery Partner For The Meat Company
  4. SaveCo Supports The Date Project
  5. We have a winner - a brand new PS5 console courtesy of Supreme Ingredients and SaveCo