Have a butcher's at this – fresh meat is back in business!
Since the horsemeat scandal, people are turning to their trusty butchers for assurance, writes Aideen Sheehan
Butchers have been the only ones laughing since the horsemeat scandal erupted.
They've seen sales soar as shoppers seek out meat they feel they can trust instead of buying from the complicated food chain for processed meat that's let us down so badly in recent months.
Industry figures from Nielsen show sales of frozen meat plummeting since the news we were getting horse in our burgers broke in January.
Unsurprisingly, frozen burgers were the worst hit: the latest figures show that even months after the scandal, supermarket sales are still down by a whopping 45pc, while sales of frozen ready meals have gone down 18pc.
But we're not turning vegetarian, either – instead, local butchers have reaped the benefits of our rejection of cheap frozen meatstuffs.
The Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland said a survey of members found that 89pc had seen an increase in trade typically of between five and 15pc.
"This was even more pronounced in working-class areas where there was an increase in sales of 25pc," said its marketing manager Julie Cahill.
A poll they carried out of Irish consumers also revealed that 45pc had changed their meat-buying habits since the horsemeat crisis with most citing lack of trust as the reason.
Clif Lenehan of Fenelon's butchers in Stillorgan said the upsurge in custom was continuing and people were asking more questions than ever as a result of the scandal.
"They want reassurance: 'Where does the meat come from? Is it Irish? Do you make your burgers yourself?'" he said. "And it's not just beef; we sell things such as chicken goujons and chicken kievs and we're getting the same type of questions about those because there's just more awareness and a desire to know what you're eating."
Many customers were also opting to make their own burgers, so were coming in for advice about the best type of mince – apparently, you should go for rib steak rather than round because it contains more fat to bind them.
Mr Lenehan said he and other butchers were also seeing a rise in the number of younger people of working age, and mothers buying from them on Sundays.
"This is very important to us because we're seeing a new generation turning to the butchers," he said.