Coronavirus: Butchers’ shops see red meat sales soar

Independent butchers have seen a spike in trade during the coronavirus lockdown, with sales of some red meat up by almost 50%.

Figures released by market analyst Kantar Worldpanel show a UK-wide increase in red meat sales for the 12 weeks to 17 May 2020.

But the rise in sales through high street butchers has been almost double the national average.

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While retail sales of beef increased by 26.9% across Britain compared with the same 12 weeks last year, the trade through independent butchers rose by 49.1%.

Likewise, the average UK pork trade was up 24.2% on year-earlier figures but specialist butchers saw a 48.4% jump in sales.

And although lamb sales were flat through supermarkets – attributed to Easter and Ramadan both falling during lockdown – butchers’ shops saw a 24.9% rise.

The Kantar figures were welcomed by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

HCC market development officer Kirstie Jones said: “Although most meat is still sold at the big retailers, the current crisis has seen many people return to high street butchers’ shops.”

Ms Jones added that about 8.5% of beef and pork, and more than 12% of lamb, was sold by these specialist outlets throughout the UK.

She praised butchers for taking an innovative approach to serving the public during the pandemic.

Many butchers had adapted their shops to ensure social distancing was maintained while others had started “click and collect” online ordering and meat delivery services, Ms Jones explained.

“Customers obviously appreciate how butchers have adapted to the restrictions and served their communities in difficult times,” she said.

Deliveries to the door

Dafydd Davies of Cigydd Dewi James, a company with shops in Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn, said business had dropped in the initial phases of lockdown.

“We felt an initial loss of custom from the catering sector with only a small number of these foodservice providers continuing to sell takeaways,” Mr Davies said.

“But having a really strong team that’s been able to operate a fleet of four vans means we’ve been able respond to changes quickly and serve an increased demand of customers seeking deliveries to their door.”

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