Horsemeat scare increases business for Harborough butchers and farm shops
The horsemeat scare may be bad news for supermarkets, but it's good news for butchers and farm shops in Market Harborough, who have all reported an increase in demand of between 10 – 20 per cent for cuts of meat, sausages, burgers, mince, ready meals and pies.
Over the last 20 years the number of local butchers in the UK has dropped from 30,000 to 6,000 (source NFMFT) and we are very lucky to have two outstanding butchers, and two farm shops on our doorstep.
Ben Williams, Head Butcher at Farndon Fields farm shop said, "We have experienced a 20% increase in sales of meat and meat products. We rear our own lambs and source pork and beef from local farms. Our customers can be confident that the animals are slaughtered locally and fully traceable. We also grow a fresh range of ingredients for our sausages and ready meals and are optimistic that the new customers that we have attracted will return."
Mrs Smith, who was making a purchase said, "All the meat here is absolutely delicious and the service exemplary."
Farndon Fields Farm Shop has just won a Countryside Alliance regional award for sourcing food locally and will go on to represent the region in the national finals– dubbed the Rural Oscars, at in Westminster on March 13.
Chris Moore, owner of John Ross Butchers, in the Old Market Hall said, "Sales of meat are up by 10%." Chris takes a pride in being involved in every step of the field to fork process and said, "Our meat comes from Melton, Grantham and Newark and I personally go to the abattoir on the day that the animals are slaughtered. All the animals we select are grass fed and female because the meat is tenderer." I asked John whether prices were more expensive than in supermarkets, "Every two weeks I do a price check of all the local supermarkets and apart from the specials that are on offer, we are generally cheaper."
I spoke to Lesley Swaplow who was standing in the queue, she said, "I will use the butchers until the supermarkets have sorted themselves out. The meat here is brilliant quality, but sometimes it is down to how much time I have and often it is easier to shop in the supermarket."
Eddie Partyka, owner of Bates Butchers said, "We have seen an increase in customers of between 15 -20 per cent, many of whom are surprised at the price; chicken is far cheaper, lamb slightly cheaper and beef around the same price." I asked Eddie why many people believed that supermarket meat was cheaper, he said, "Supermarkets advertise a product price which is actually less important than the price per kilo. I advise all customers to check out the price per kilo . . they will be amazed at how competitive we are."
Kirsty Clarke joint owner of Waterloo Cottage Farm in Great Oxendon, said "More people are coming to us from Harborough than ever before and many are enquiring about where our meat comes from and what is in our ready meals." Kirsty went on to explain "All our meat is reared here or locally. It has no added colour or preservatives and is almost entirely grass fed, which not only increases the omega 3 content of the meat and reduces cholesterol, but ensures that all our animals have longer, healthier lives. Our ready made meals are baked on the premises."
In my experience, meat tastes much better when it is bought from a butcher – they know where their meat has come from, how the animals have been reared, will prepare it to suit your requirements and can offer advice about the most suitable cut and cooking method. They also sell home produced and additive free pies, pasties, sausages, burgers and cooked meats.