Customers turning back to traditional butchers to buy meat they can trust
A campaign to convince people that local is best is already paying dividends.
The Western Morning News launched its Buy Local drive on Saturday as part of a bid to encourage companies and consumers to source produce from Devon and Cornwall.
Amanda Baskerville, shop manager at the Ivybridge branch of Lidstones' butchers, said there had already been a lot of interest.
"We have our regular customers, but we have also had a lot of new faces coming in," she said.
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"It's great. We get a lot of questions about where our meat comes from and we can tell them exactly that it all comes from the local area."
The company is a family business which started out from a wheelbarrow in 1835, now counts three shops in Plymouth and the South Hams.
Mrs Baskerville said she believed that the horsemeat scandal was causing increasing numbers of people to turn their backs on supermarkets. Customers want to chat with their butcher and be assured of where exactly their meat is coming from, she said.
"I think a lot of people are wanting to go back to basics, which is good news for local butchers."
Brian Carey, of the Village Butchers at Mylor Bridge, near Falmouth, said he had noticed an increasing interest from people who wanted to Buy Local.
"Holidaymakers who come in always ask if our meat is local and we can say yes," said Mr Carey, who believes confidence has been badly dented by the horsemeat scandal and that consumers are now seeking reassurance.
Butcher Malcolm Pyne, from North Petherton, near Bridgwater, said revelations about adulterated food have already led to a surge in both customers and takings.
"It's clear this has all come as a tremendous shock to a lot of people – and they are turning back to independent butchers because they know they can trust them," he said.
More than 10,000 high street butchers have closed in the last three decades, many of them victims of aggressive supermarket discounting.
But Mr Pyne, whose shop was named the best in Britain earlier this year, says the tide has been abruptly reversed.
"Everyone I have spoken to in the trade has the same story – the customers are coming back in droves," he said.
"Our weekend takings were incredible," he said.
"We had families with young children turning up who we had never seen before and at least one of them said they had come because the children wanted to go to a real butcher's shop."