Horse meat scandal provides boost for local butchers

SHOPPERS across the region are returning to the high street as the scandal over horse meat in the food chain hits consumer confidence.

A poll by The Northern Echo of independent food retailers from the region has found the revelations have prompted a 20 per cent surge in business at many butchers, while encouraging shoppers back to their local high street.

As the Food Standards Agency published results of widespread testing into meat products today (Friday, February 16), it was revealed horse meat had been found in cottage pies sent to Lancashire schools and burgers delivered to hospitals in Northern Ireland.

The agency has tested 2,501 beef products, of which 29 results tested positive for undeclared horse meat, including Aldi’s special frozen beef lasagne, the Co-op's frozen quarter pounder burgers, and Tesco value bolognese.

Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s all declined to reveal if sales of ready meals had declined since revelations about supermarket products being contaminated with horse meat broke last month.

North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham said it was important to remember supermarkets and small traders play key roles in the region's economy.

He said: “If there is any good to come out of the current food scandal then it is people returning to high street independent food retailers, who are vital if our town and city centres are to remain vibrant and diverse."

Auctioneers at Thirsk and Darlington cattle marts reported soaring sales prices this week as demand for locally sourced meat increased.

Andrew Armstrong, from the Darlington Mart, said the average price of a cow at auction had risen by between £50 and £80 since Monday (February 11). He said: “Any animal that was destined for a smart butcher’s shop was very sought after yesterday (Thursday, February 14).”

Jonathan Cockburn, manager of JB Cockburn and Sons butchers, in Bedale, said sales of ready meals and pies had rocketed by 20 per cent in two weeks and the high street was now flourishing.

Gareth Dadd, of Bell’s Butchers, Middlesbrough, said sales had also risen by 20 per cent in two weeks.

He said: “People are saying they are not going back to supermarkets for anything. Out of adversity has come something very positive.”

Andrew Johnson, of Northallerton and District Butchers Association, said members were reporting a rise in trade, which was having knock-on effect for other high street traders.

Nick Fenwick, of Fenwick’s of Darlington, said the supermarkets “had it coming because they cut corners to cut costs”.

He said: “I think the scandal has helped us.”

Paul Taylor-Garthwaite, director of Taylor’s Butchers, in Darlington, reported record sales on Valentine’s Day, while Spennymoor butcher Neil Hocking said their boost in trade was a clear indication people were losing faith in supermarkets.

Durham city butcher John Green, of Taylor’s, said: “I hope this does good for us in the long-term because the independent butcher needs a boost.”

While Stuart Beaton, owner of Ainsty Farm Shop, at Green Hammerton in North Yorkshire, said more customers were asking about the meat’s provenance. “Our cattle comes from one-and-a-quarter miles away from here. It probably walked further than that round its field in a week.”

Lottie Riley, of The Farmer’s Cart farm shop, near York, said she had seen a lot of new faces in the shop this week.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire farmers Jill and Nicho Mortimer and Richard and Amanda Atkinson, are selling rare breed beef and lamb from their farm’s gates, near Borrowby and Bishop Monkton, in response to the scandal.

Comments (4)

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8:44pm Fri 15 Feb 13

harvey22 says...

i have always said processed food isnt good . and its proven you dont know what you eating.i still say chemicals in food has lot to do with illness .years ago processed food wasnt an option and dementia wasnt as common i know it was a hidden illness but not to the extent we have now.
i have always said processed food isnt good . and its proven you dont know what you eating.i still say chemicals in food has lot to do with illness .years ago processed food wasnt an option and dementia wasnt as common i know it was a hidden illness but not to the extent we have now. harvey22

12:40pm Sat 16 Feb 13

smokin says...

what goes around comes around supermarkets didn't give a stuff when they sent small butchers to the wall
lets see how they like it now
GO BACK TO YOUR BUTCHERS they are much better than supermarkets
or if you prefer
someone can crack a whip then you'll be off at a gallop
at least the butcher can tell you his meat is bought local and exactly what it is
what goes around comes around supermarkets didn't give a stuff when they sent small butchers to the wall lets see how they like it now GO BACK TO YOUR BUTCHERS they are much better than supermarkets or if you prefer someone can crack a whip then you'll be off at a gallop at least the butcher can tell you his meat is bought local and exactly what it is smokin

1:29pm Sat 16 Feb 13

harvey22 says...

yes and you can see what u buying good old fashioned ways butchers fruit veg shops
yes and you can see what u buying good old fashioned ways butchers fruit veg shops harvey22

10:14am Sun 17 Feb 13

tommy2screws says...

I never buy meat at the supermarkets, if I buy meat at the butchers, I cook it that day or freeze it. Supermarket meat looks too red to me and have sell by dates of up to a week, that to me isn't right so what are they injecting into the meat for it to last that long
I never buy meat at the supermarkets, if I buy meat at the butchers, I cook it that day or freeze it. Supermarket meat looks too red to me and have sell by dates of up to a week, that to me isn't right so what are they injecting into the meat for it to last that long tommy2screws

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