SHOPPERS have been turning away in their droves from supermarkets in the wake of the house meat scandal – and instead are heading straight for their nearest butchers.
As the nation was rocked by the revelations which swept along the shelves of many of the major food suppliers, butchers in the Midhurst and Petworth area have been reaping the benefits.
Traders throughout the area have spoken of the boost they received as people’s eyes are opened to the realities of the international meat trade.
“It’s been fantastic for us,” said Shon Sprackling, of Rother Valley Organics, who added there had been a 20 per cent upturn following the news.
“I think people are really thinking about where their meat comes from. It’s been a real shot in the arm to us.”
Shon, and his brother Simon, are organic beef farmers who have been based at Sandilands Farm, in Rogate, since 2004.
Now approaching a decade supplying locally-sourced meat to consumers in the area, Shon added he was pleased people were finally realising the benefits of what the brothers, and others like them, could provide.
Speaking of mechanically-recovered meat, he said: “It’s a horrible thing, it always has been. Mechanically-recovered meat is repulsive – it’s what we chuck away.”
Saying it was ‘about time’ the subject came out in the open he said: “I think the general public and supermarkets turned a blind eye and didn’t want to talk about it.”
His sentiments were echoed by Leon Stillwell, owner of Michael Courtney Butchers, in North Street, Midhurst, who has just invested in around 30 sheep and two Galloway Beltie cows from the National Trust at Woolbeding.
“I have been thinking about it for ages – I’ve been looking at these Galloway Belties for a long time,” he said.
He said their meat quality was ‘absolutely superb’.
Speaking of the difficulties of knowing the origins of meat when it comes off a supermarket shelf, he said: “People turn a blind eye to it and rather not know.
However, he added: “I think people now are thinking more about where their stuff is coming from.”
WHAT ARE YOU BUYING?
Richard Hayler, of Petworth Butchers, said he had noticed a few more people coming in, although the increase had not been dramatic.
However, people were questioning more what they were buying.
“They’re wondering what else is being fiddled in the supermarket,” he said.
He feels trade will pick up in the near future as a result of the news. “I think it will over a period of time as people realise they get a different service from the local butchers and greengrocers,” he said.
“They have got a lot of confidence. They can see the meat there and see who’s cutting it.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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