Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting YEOVIL NEWS to 80360 or email us
Horsemeat scandal benefits butchers
12:30pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
BUTCHERS are reporting a boost in sales as shoppers turn to people they can trust amid the nationwide horsemeat scandal.
Horsemeat has been found in many supermarket products, prompting a Europe-wide crisis of confidence in the ready-meal market. But the situation has benefited many of our local butchers.
In Ilminster, Clinton Bonner, of Bonner’s Butchers, has said people are visiting him to talk about their concerns about the quality of meat and ready meals at supermarkets.
Mr Bonner told the BBC last week: “There has been plenty of talk about it among customers and I’ve had all the horse jokes I can stick now.”
He said he had used the same farmers for his meat and ‘trusted them implicitly’.
“Up until now I didn’t know horsemeat was being used elsewhere, but it is a lot cheaper, and beef is rising in price across the UK,” he added. “But I know the full traceability of where the meat we use here comes from.
“We are in a niche market and we are meat specialists and know exactly what we are doing.
“We’ve taken a panning over the years and the supermarkets have done their best to get rid of us [independent butchers] but we are still here and we haven’t gone away.
“It is great that people have the confidence in us to come and ask.”
Tom Foley, of Country Butchers in Holyrood Street, Chard, said the business had seen a 15% upturn in trade since the scandal broke.
“We have seen an increase in our sales of red meat,” he said. “People have been worried and asking us about what actually goes into supermarket ready meals.”
Journalist, broadcaster and food expert Rosie Boycott, who ran a smallholding on Ilminster’s Dillington estate before it ran into financial difficulty, told the News this week: “People mistrust supermarket labelling and their traceability doesn’t work. You can only know where your meat is from if you know and trust your butcher.
“It’s going to be a real boon for local butchers, which is brilliant as the meat is fresher and better.
“The more people use their local butcher, the more they will be able to keep their prices down.”
Chard’s largest employer, meanwhile, Oscar Mayer, which produces ready meals for supermarket giant Sainsbury’s, declined to comment on the situation and referred us to Sainsbury’s.
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “While Sainsbury’s has not been implicated and no trace of horsemeat has been found in any of our products, we are continuing to play our part in the wider industry investigation.”
There is no suggestion Oscar Mayer is in any way implicated in horsemeat situation.