Shropshire families are falling in love with meat as they explore new recipes during lockdown – sending sales soaring at local butcher’s stores.
G.N. Badley & Sons, in Trench, Telford, said sales were up by around 40% since the start of lockdown, with business for barbecue products having more than doubled.
Managing director Simon Badley said: “It seems that families have been dusting off their cookery books during lockdown, and finding time to experiment with new meat recipes.
“As a result, we’ve seen the average spend of our customers rise dramatically. Sausage and bacon sales are up by more than 60% since lockdown, and we have welcomed many new first-time customers, who are now regulars.”
The company even landed a sale from Australia as a result of the lockdown – from a daughter in Adelaide who was looking for a local butcher to deliver a birthday treat to her father in Ironbridge.
Mr Badley said: “We’ve never been so busy. The first two or three weeks during lockdown were particularly chaotic, as customers tried to stockpile supplies.
“We were working virtually round-the-clock to keep our shelves stocked, liaising with suppliers, and making huge quantities of fresh mince and sausage.
“Things have calmed down slightly since those first few weeks, but we are still very busy with our home delivery service - there is definitely a growing desire to support local traders.”
Mr Badley said the company’s Butcher’s Essential meat packs, available in store and for home delivery, were proving particularly popular – and the provenance of supplies was becoming a far more important factor for customers.
“People are more aware than ever about the origins of the food we eat, and are proud to be able to call on a big local supply network.
“Our turkey and chickens come from Shrewsbury, while beef and pork are sourced from various farms across Shropshire and Staffordshire.”
The trend being seen at G.N. Badley & Sons is echoed by latest figures released by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
Grace Randall, their consumer insight analyst, says: “With many people spending more time at home, we have seen an increase in at-home meals.
“The number of consumers who enjoy cooking has remained unchanged since before the lockdown (72%), however 27% have said they are scratch cooking more now than they did previously.
“Nearly a quarter of consumers say they are cooking from scratch more than six times a week, up from a fifth pre-lockdown. A third have been baking more and 27% have tried cooking new or different dishes.
“More people scratch cooking tends to benefit versatile cuts such as beef mince and chicken breasts.
“We have seen an increase in the number of consumers who think beef, lamb and pork are suitable for a mid-week meal, which may be due to them having more time to cook or cooking a wider variety of meals.”
Mr Badley added: “Many shoppers tell us they are still steering clear of long queues to get into some supermarkets, and instead stocking up at their local butcher’s store on staples and bulk packs.
“And with many people becoming more adventurous with their cooking, the beauty of a local butcher is that we can take time to explain the different cuts of meat, and what will best suit their needs.
“We try to go the extra mile and give people the knowledge that the meat they buy will have been properly hung, come from a traceable provenance, and been cut to order. It’s all about a personal service.
“A proper butcher can say exactly where their meat has originated from, because they probably unloaded the lorry carrying it. We know how every single muscle on an animal works, and how best to prepare it for sale.”