National Craft Butchers reveal key findings from first British Butchers Survey

Six out of 10 offer grass-fed, organic or free-range meat
calendar icon 17 November 2021
clock icon 4 minute read

National Craft Butchers (NCB), the trade body representing quality independent retail butchers, launched their first ever survey of British Butchers in July 2021, reaching out butchery businesses across Britain. The results are now out and demonstrate just why butchers are the first choice for consumers concerned about climate change.

reported National Craft Butchers.

Sustainability and provenance are growing concerns for consumers and for British Butchers alike. Reducing food miles and supporting regenerative farming practices and the rural economy is ‘meat and drink’ to the majority of craft butchers:

87% of respondents prioritise local produce in their shops
6 out of 10 prefer to sell Grass fed, Organic or Free-Range meat
38% will buy animals live direct from market for full traceability
Two-thirds rely on a small local abattoir to supply their meat

Over the last 18 months shopping habits have changed, with the survey revealing that

60% of butchers have experienced changes in their usual customer profile since March 2020 - the biggest change being the arrival of younger shoppers who want to shop locally and care about where their meat comes from.

Red meat produced in the UK is amongst the most sustainable in the world, so consumers can be confident that British livestock production is part of the solution not the problem. Recent information from AHDB, QMS and HCC points out that 65% of farmland in the UK is unable to sustain food crops but is ideal for grazing cattle and sheep and that the UK Climate is also ideal for growing grass for animals to eat. In other words, ‘It’s not the cow but the how.’

Richard Stevenson, Technical Manager of National Craft Butchers commented,

“As COP26 continues the results of our first Butchers Survey are a timely reminder that British Craft Butchers, like the farmers that supply them, take climate change seriously. They sell high quality, responsibly farmed British meat because they believe it’s the best, and so, in increasing numbers, do their customers.”

National Craft Butchers encourage customers who care about where their meat comes from and how it is produced to visit their local craft butcher.

The survey found that 87% of respondents prioritise local produce in their shops. Six out of 10 offer grass-fed, organic or free-range meat. For full traceability, 38% buy animals live direct from market, and two-thirds work with small local abattoirs to supply their meat.

The survey revealed a change in shopping habits as well. Of those surveyed, 60% experienced changes in terms of the types of customers they served. Since March 2020, the biggest change was the appearance of younger shoppers who are looking to support local and care where their meat comes from.

“As COP26 continues, the results of our first Butchers Survey are a timely reminder that British Craft Butchers, like the farmers that supply them, take climate change seriously," said Richard Stevenson, Technical Manager of National Craft Butchers. "They sell high quality, responsibly farmed British meat because they believe it’s the best, and so, in increasing numbers, do their customers.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

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