May 19 2013 Latest news:
Else Kvist, Reporter
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Traditional local butchers in Tower Hamlets and Newham seem to have been given a much-needed boost by the horsemeat scandal.
Several have reported seeing a rise in customers as shoppers switch to them after losing trust in meat sold by supermarkets.
Peter Sargent who runs the Butcher Shop in Bethnal Green Road, said he had seen his sales rise by 10 per cent.
The issue first came to light in Britain when horsemeat was found in supermarket burgers but Mr Sargent believes customers have now also lost confidence in other processed meat.
Mr Sargent said: “More people are coming into buy minced meat and steaks. I recognise people I haven’t seen for ages, who had probably started buying packages of minced meat from the supermarket, but are now coming back.
“They tell me they don’t fancy the stuff in the supermarket anymore. And some of them joke with me, asking if I have got any horsemeat.
“But I think they know that we bone and mince the meat ourselves and stuff our own sausages, so we know what’s in them.”
He said that last Saturday the shop had sold “lots of sausages” after news broke that mechanically recovered residue had been found in processed sausages.
Last year Mr Sargent gave up producing his own burgers after finding that he could not compete with the supermakets on price.
He said: “Some supermarkets were selling 10 burgers for £5 –-it was so cheap you wondered what was in them. But now I think I might try again when the barbecue season starts.”
Mr Sargent added that younger customers are also generally becoming more conscious of where their meat comes from and asking questions about food miles.
At Dewhurst butcher shop in Stratford’s old shopping centre, staff have also seen a rise in sales of mince, though the manager is not linking it to the scandal.
Kevin Quirk said: “A lot more people are being inquisitive about where the meat has come from, asking what’s in our burgers and sausages and whether they were made in England.”
But he believes people buy more meat when the weather is cold and said he could not attribute the increase in sales it to the scandal.