Horse meat scandal means boost for 'real' butchersBy Laura Nightingale
February 27, 2013
BUTCHERS and farmers have reported a boom in sales over the past few weeks as a result of the horse meat scandal.
As supermarkets and food firms withdraw items from their shelves, A Turner & Sons butchers in Aldershot and Newlyns Farm Shop in Hook are two businesses that have benefited in light of the food scare.
Not only have they seen more customers through the door, they hope this will change consumer patterns for good as people turn to their local butchers for someone they can trust.
It comes as Camberley firm Eden Foodservice, which has a network of multi-million pound contracts including nurseries, primary and secondary schools, has temporarily withdrawn some of its products.
A spokesman for Eden Foodservice, said: “We temporarily withdrew six products as a precaution despite the fact we are extremely confident that no contamination has occurred in any of our beef products.
“We can confirm that four products have already tested negative for equine DNA and we expect the same results for the remaining two.”
It was one of the many companies caught up in the scandal which has seen horse meat being used instead of beef in a variety of products.
The Food Standards Agency announced it was doubling the number of DNA tests being carried out – previous tests have been largely confined to beefburgers and ready meals, but the European Commission has requested analysis of steak, stock cubes and beef dripping.
Emma Higgens, owner of Newlyns Farm, said the international outcry had been "very positive" for her shop.
“All our products are fully traceable as we know what animals we have and in what field,” she added.
“At the end of the day it comes down to trust and customers will see competitive prices in our shop.
“We are not expensive, we are fully traceable and we can give supermarkets a run for their money.”
Mrs Higgens said her biggest concern about the ongoing horse meat problem was it being in school dinners, as they are made cheaply en masse.
Her farm regularly hosts open days to allow people to look “behind the scenes”, meet the farmers and watch how they operate.
Newlyns Farm won the Countryside Alliance best farm retailer award in 2009 and Hampshire Life best farm shop in 2011, plus numerous awards for their meat and sausages.
Another butcher known for its award-winning sausages is A Turner & Sons. Kevin Turner, owner of the North Lane shop, also described the horse meat controversy as having had a "positive impact" on his business.
Mr Turner said people’s biggest misconception was that the butchers were much more expensive than the supermarket.
“I do not buy meat from the supermarket, but when I see adverts on the television promoting half-price meat at the supermarket, their original price is no cheaper than ours,” Mr Turner said.
“A lot of people are scared of coming into the butchers and asking for help, but we are more than happy to help people prepare a meal.”
Mr Turner said recent trade had been a scene from back in time.
“The shop has been full with people coming into the butchers, laughing and joking and going home away satisfied,” Mr Turner said.
Both traders thought the horse meat problem was just the “tip of the iceberg” and that more shops and supermarkets would in time investigate their products.