THE RECENT horse meat scandal has not just seen horse-puns rocket, but it has also had a huge impact on sales in local butchers.
Bruce Brymer’s in Brechin have revealed that they have noticed an increase in business, whereas Edzell based butchers, Bel’s Butchers, has said that although customers have been talking about the scandal, they haven’t seen a dramatic increase in sales.
Speaking to the Brechin Advertiser, Bel Forbes, owner of Bel’s Butchers, said: “In this area the customers that are coming to us, would have been coming to us anyway. It’s not like we have a supermarket ten minutes away that they would go to instead.
“I am hoping it has increased everybody’s awareness of buying quality meat. If you buy cheap, there is a reason why it is cheap.
“I would hope the increase in sales would eventually trickle down to us but certainly we aren’t seeing a 25% increase in sales like the city butchers are.
Bel does hope that the scandal will make people think twice about buying pre-made meals. She commented: “It’s been a long time coming. I think this scandal has being going on for years and years. I would love to see the footfall in my shop increase but what I would really love to see is an increase in people going back to home cooking.
“We should see this as a whole shift, of not just buying habits, but of people’s whole attitude to food. Whether it’s eating less meat but buying better quality.
“We don’t need to eat meat three times a day. If we could eat quality meat and a little less of it, it would be better for us and it wouldn’t be supporting an essentially criminal activity.”
Bel added: “If we can benefit then great, I would be delighted. It’s a struggle. Any shop on the High Street would tell you it’s a struggle. You have to grab on to and really make the most of any bit of opportunity that comes your way.”
Gavin Brymer, of Bruce Brymer’s, has noticed a significant increase in customers. He said: “We have noticed quite a big increase in sales. There has been a lot of new faces coming in.
“The majority of people have been telling us that they are now paying attention to what they are buying. As far as the butchery trade goes, its been huge. We have seen a huge turnaround. It’s been brilliant.
“The people in the cities will see a bigger difference than we will here in this area.
“We have still had a lot of customers come in, not just from Brechin, but from Forfar, Montrose and Arbroath and they have said they won’t buy in the supermarket anymore. They’ve lost confidence.
“What we are focusing on just now, and we do it anyway, is to give everybody what they want and the quality that they want and hopefully it’s enough to keep them coming back. Hopefully it’s not just a flash in the pan.”
Although the scandal has been a huge boost to butchers up and down the country, there are concerns that supermarkets will look to source all their meat in the UK, and drive up prices.
Gavin commented: “The downside of this whole thing is that the all the big supermarkets are going to have to start sourcing their beef, pork and lamb in this country now.
“There is a shortage of cattle as it is at the moment so it will push the price of cattle up because everybody is going to be scrambling for a certain amount of cattle so the prices are going to start to rise again in the meantime.
“Hopefully the farmers will start producing more cattle again.
“A lot of farmers have come out of that and are not producing cattle anymore because it wasn’t worth the money.
“Now that they see there might be a bigger demand in this country they will probably start producing again. But until that filters through, which could be another year, there is going to be a shortage of cattle in the country.”