SINCE HORSEMEAT DNA was found in meat products in recent weeks, trust has been shattered in the food chain which supplies many well-known supermarkets. The scandal is international with horsemeat reportedly entering the food supply chain from Poland and other countries via Hull; then being processed in Ireland and then sold on to supermarkets across the UK.
The labelling of meat products as “100% beef”, when in some cases they were 100% horse has prompted many people to stay clear of supermarket meat products and instead go to their local butcher where the source of the meat and the quality of products is assured.
Andrew Little who owns the Hedon butchers shop which bears his name, has seen his trade increase during the last couple of weeks. Andrew has owned the business for 15 years but worked at the shop for nearly 29, so he knows most of his regular customers. He has seen new people coming into the shop to buy meat in the last two weeks. “We have noticed an upturn of 20% in trade for us. People are trying our meat burgers and minced-meat especially,” said Andrew. A clue that the new customers are ex-supermarket, is when they ask for meat in grammes, he says. His traditional customers still tend to ask for products in pounds and ounces.
Business is definitely good for Andrew at the moment who says that he can tell you where his meat comes from, including which local farms, and can tell you exactly what his products contain. There is a list on the shop wall that indicates that all of the sausages in the store have at least 85% pork contents. An economy pork sausage from a supermarket can legally contain as little as 42% pork – and only needs to contain as little as 32% ‘meat’ in order to be called a sausage.
The horsemeat scandal has prompted the Federation of Small Businesses to encourage people to Keep Trade Local by supporting their local butchers and other independent retailers.
John Walker, National Chairman of the FSB, said: “Independent shops often provide a better quality product – it may well have been sourced from a local farm and in many cases won’t have travelled far to reach the shop. It isn’t surprising that some local butchers have seen an increase in sales during the current scandal. We hope that this has a positive effect on the other independent retailers on the high street so that the greengrocer and baker also benefits.”
Andrew Little backs that argument: “Maybe it might make more people realise that it is better to shop local for all groceries, not just meat. You get better quality and better service by shopping locally!”
Quotes from the Hedon Blog Facebook page:
Jacky Crewe: “About time people took responsibility for where their meat lives/comes from/is treated when alive and how the animal dies!!!!!”
Jeannette Rowe: “I am seriously thinking twice now before buying any meat from the supermarket. I was out near Driffield yesterday and went to a local butchers in Hutton Cranswick and although the prices were a little bit more expensive the produce looked very fresh and I ended up spending about £28. I don’t think I will ever be able to trust supermarkets from now on.”
Helen Wilson: “It hasn’t affected me, I use a butcher I trust and don’t eat ready meals.”
You can order your meat online from Andrew Little and have it delivered directly to your door. Visit the shop website to find out more.
NOTE: Read more about the Horsemeat scandal in this week’s Holderness Gazette to be published Thursday 21st February 2013.