The importance of the butcher sector to the Scottish red meat industry has been highlighted by Quality Meat Scotland.
New statistics published by Kantar Worldpanel reveal that annual sales from Scottish butchers are estimated £34.4 million, accounting for almost 11% of the retail market for fresh red meat throughout Scotland.
“Butchers are very important to the Scottish red meat industry in terms of retail sales of Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork,” said Laurent Vernet, head or marketing for Quality Meat Scotland.
“The statistics show that at least one in five Scottish shoppers has visited their local butcher in the past year. Those who visited a butcher shop during that period went on average nine times over the year.
“Additionally, a red meat shopper will, on average, buy more in a butchers shop than they will in a supermarket.”
During the 52 weeks, to 11th October 2015, the volume of red meat sold through British butchers decreased by 7.8%, but Scottish butchers succeeded in limiting their sales reduction to just 3.6%.
“It is important to recognise that these statistics show only part of the picture,” said Mr Vernet.
He added: “Butchers in Scotland are selling more and more products which are not counted in the red meat retail sales figures, such as marinated products, sausages, burgers, ready-meals and other new innovative products which reflect the dynamism of the sector which now accounts for about 50% of total red meat retail.”
Looking at fresh meat sales, beef, lamb and pork roasting cuts, and steaks, especially lamb, continue to sell well in butchers, Mr Vernet said.
These latest statistics show that, on average, butchers can offer much more value for money than some supermarkets and even some of the discounters.
He added: “QMS has supported the independent butcher sector for many years, especially those who sell Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork, and we work closely with the butchers federations and associations both in Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
QMS also runs the Scotch Butchers Club, whose members benefit from seasonal point of sale material along with various promotional activities to support members’ trade and increase the visibility of red meat produced in Scotland.
Currently there are over 300 members of the club who have shops located in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.
A number of butchers also take part in the QMS Butchers Think Tank and make suggestions on areas such as the content and focus of QMS campaigns for butchers.