CUSTOMERS are snubbing supermarkets and turning to traditional butchers across the region in the wake of the horse meat scandal.
Independent butchers in Wrexham, Flintshire and Chester are reporting an upsurge in trade as more horse meat is discovered in processed foods and ready meals.
Supermarket companies Tesco and Aldi and frozen food firm Findus have found some beef products, including lasagne, spaghetti bolognese and burgers, contain up to 100 per cent horse meat.
But the region’s independent butchers are proudly advertising their “does what it says on the tin” goods and are reaping the rewards.
Rob Platt, of D. L. Platt in the Butcher’s Market, Wrexham, said the increase in custom has been “like a breath of fresh air”.
“We’ve sold more burgers in the last fortnight than we normally do in a whole winter,” he said.
“I think people are turning to independent butchers because they’re more trustworthy.
“We’ve got an A-board out the front saying “beef not horse burgers” and we’re proud of how traceable our meat is – most of it comes from our own farm near Minera.
“I just hope people will keep coming here after it’s all blown over because they realise they’re getting a higher quality product from us.”
The Meat Man store in Rhosddu Road, Wrexham, has also noticed a boom in business recording footfall of up to 130 customers per day in comparison to the usual 100-110.
Manager Lyndon Knowles said: “A lot more people have been asking where our meat comes from and we can say it’s from our main base in Oswestry.
“We’re cheaper than most supermarkets and I think people are annoyed that they’ve been paying more and don’t know what they’re getting.”
Mike McLoughlin, of Upton Village Butchers in Weston Grove, Chester, said customers were now putting quality before price.
He said: “We have had a big increase in the past few days.
“All our burgers are 100 per cent beef but we are getting people buying mince to make their own burgers too.
“Customers want traceability now and we source all our meat within a 25 mile radius.
“They are looking for quality rather than price. There are mums from the schools coming in and buying meat instead of having ready meals.”
In Mold, Clifford Williams of Williams and Bonham butchers said he had seen a surge in people buying mince over the weekend.
“With processed meat they’ve got no idea what goes in it.
“It’s not the horse, it’s what the horse has been injected with that does the harm.”
MPs have been debating the growing scandal in the House of Commons and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has been meeting supermarkets and food suppliers.
He has pledged immediate testing of products across the supply chain will be carried out, including checks at schools, hospitals and prisons.
Mr Paterson said ‘criminal activity’ appeared to have taken place and legal action could follow.