THE ASSURANCE of complete food traceability in the wake of the ongoing horse meat scare has seen a welcome business boom for traditional local butchers.
Following the shock news that horse meat had been found in burgers and ready meals, resulting in supermarkets pulling leading products from the shelves, consumers are keener than ever to know exactly what they are eating, and exactly where it is from.
This has led to an increased demand for fresh, totally traceable meat, with local butchers’ shops experiencing a hearty surge in sales.
Andy Cunnington, who runs A.Cunnington butchers in Hucknall with his son Ashley and wife Patricia, has noticed a ‘distinct increase’ in custom, with the shop’s home-made range flying off the shelves.
He said: “The horse meat scare has been an eye opener for customers. Our home-made lines, meat pies, cooked meats, faggots and sausages have been extremely popular with people, unsurprisingly, asking what the ingredients are.
“Footfall has increased across the age ranges, with a lot more younger customers coming in and asking for different cuts of meat. The younger generation are starting to think about exactly what they’re eating and where it has come from.
“Our meats are all locally sourced, our sausages are 100 per cent pork, our meat pies contain 100 per cent beef, no other meats. We hand-pick the finest fresh, locally-sourced meat and poultry across the ranges. If I want a pig, I know it’s a pig, not half a horse. It’s that kind of assurance that people are looking for.”
Andy, who has run the popular Annesley Road butchers for the past three years, is a firm believer in good product knowledge and personal service.
He said: “I’d be a lot happier knowing that if I went into a shop, people knew exactly what they were selling me. In supermarkets, you don’t get that personal level of service or the knowledge. It just comes in a box and gets sold. You don’t know what part of the animal it’s from or where it’s from. I can tell customers exactly which farm this week’s beef is from. The same applies to all my stock.”
On Monday, Tesco apologised to customers after it found horse DNA in some of its frozen Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese, which it had withdrawn the previous week.
In a statement, Tim Smith, Group Technical Director, said: “We are very sorry that we have let customers down. We set ourselves high standards for the food we sell and have had two cases in recent weeks where we have not met those standards. Our DNA testing programme is underway and will give us and our customers assurance that the product they buy is what it should be.”
Meanwhile, bosses at Nottinghamshire County Council have reassured residents that safeguards are in place to trace all the meats it serves in day centres, care homes, schools and other outlets.
The council uses Maloney’s butchers in Tuxford for most of its meat supplies and Brakes for a small number of lines.