Horsemeat scandal sparks roaring trade for South Devon's traditional butchers
INDEPENDENT butchers in South Devon are doing a roaring trade in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
Butchers have seen a huge increase in trade from people who have lost confidence in supermarkets.
The 50 per cent rise in customers comes as beef meat turned out to be 100 per cent horse meat in many ready meals and burgers found in supermarkets.
Jeremy Hooper, from Hooper's Butchers in St Marychurch, Torquay, said: "There has been a massive drop in consumers' confidence.
"We've seen a 50 per cent increase in the number of customers looking for quality products as a direct result of the horsemeat scandal.
"People want quality, free range, traceability and local meat."
Mr Hooper said many of his customers have discarded meat products they bought in supermarkets.
Chris McCabe, from CM McCabe Butchers in Totnes's Fore Street, has also seen a rise in the number of customers.
He said: "We find people want to know about traceability of the meat they buy. We sell good quality meat, we have experience and knowledge. Hopefully these people will come back.
"Many of these new customers have told us they want to shop more locally and support their local shops."
Mr McCabe said butchers had been hit badly by the foot and mouth and the mad cow disease scares but the horsemeat scandal had been good for trade.
He said: "There is a growing demand worldwide for meat. The price of a bullock has doubled in the past 10 years. But there are still people who want to produce cheap meat so they cut corners. We certainly don't."
Stewart Piggott, trade manager at Gribbles Butcher at Occombe Farm, said the trend was the same in all Gribbles shops in South Devon with more people coming in to buy beef products and mince in particular.
He said: "We have seen a rise in the number of people come through the door."
Graham Jones, director of Bakers The Butcher in Newton Abbot, said his Market Street shop had seen a huge rise in the number of customers.
He said it was ironic that quality independent butchers have been inspected regularly for years while supermarkets have not.
He said: "The people customers can trust for delivering quality meat are constantly being inspected. We've been for years, but those they think they can trust have not."
Meanwhile, butcher Sean Hack from Aune Valley Meat, which has shops Loddiswell and Modbury, put up a cheeky sign on the meat counter to advertise the absence of horsemeat in the light of the recent food scandal.
The sign said: 'Neigh horsemeat here'.