Saturday, 05 September 2015

Shoppers switch to local butchers over horse meat scandal

West Cumbrian butchers have seen sales rise as shoppers turn their backs on supermarket ready meals because of the horse meat scandal.

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SURGE IN BUSINESS: Brothers Frank, left, and Sammy Peel, have seen an upsurge in their business at Marshall's Butchers since the horse meat scandal

Demand for mince and stewing beef has increased and the demand for assured, quality Cumbrian beef has never been higher, says the National Farmers’ Union.

Sam Peel, manager of Marshall’s Butchers in Corporation Road, Workington, said that sales had increased overall by 25 per cent in two weeks. Beef and steak mince were the main sellers.

He said: “More people are not going to supermarkets. People can trust a butcher and can’t trust supermarkets, which is the feedback we have got from customers.”

Malcolm Huddart, manager of Pioneer Food Hall in Harrington, estimated that overall sales were up 25 to 30 per cent in the last week.

He said: “People don’t like the idea of being ripped off or being conned whether intentionally or unintentionally.”

Mark Lindsay, owner of W Lindsay & Son in Station Street, Cockermouth, said: “Sales have gone right up. I think the bad publicity in the press has made people think twice about buying from supermarkets.”

David Pearson, joint managing director of Haigh’s Butchers in Pow Street, Workington, said: “We’ve had an increased footfall through both our stores since the scandal hit.

“People are turning their backs on supermarkets in favour of butchers because of the trust that comes with them. I think supermarkets will also suffer from this because they have long supply lines.

“All of our ready meals are made using the same quality local meat, which we sell in the shop.”

Peter Walsh, owner of PD Walsh, Crosby Street, Maryport, said his sales of mince, stew and burgers had increased and people were buying other meat while in the shop.

John Nicholson, who owns the Senhouse Street butchers in Maryport, said: “We’ve had quite a few customers come in who would normally go to supermarkets but they don’t quite know what to do here.”

Peter Wilson, owner of P Wilson Butchers on Market Place, Cockermouth, said: “I have seen a little increase in business and it is certainly down to the horse meat scandal.

“If I was found selling something like that I would be closed down right away but nobody has been punished for this.

“The price of meat isn’t cheap and it is such a price that it has got to be kept properly but anybody dealing with proper local butchers should not have any problem.”

Andrew Wright, operations manager at Mitchells Lakeland Livestock Centre in Cockermouth, said that the price of cattle had gone up but it was hard to say whether it was due to lack of supply or the scandal.

He said: “Speaking to a few people in the trade they said they are looking to get their meat a bit closer to home to have that security of a supply.

“We support the rigorous checks that are being brought in. We want to support local business and the local industry and we hope people will start to buy a bit nearer to home.”

Bosses at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary said patients had not been inadvertently served with meals which may contain horse meat and education chiefs said they used the local firm Pioneer, which has confirmed that its suppliers have no links with those which are implicated as sources of horse meat wrongly labelled as beef.


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