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Butchers feel the benefit

A SURVEY by QMS has revealed 92% of butchers' shops experienced increased footfall in the weeks following the media coverage of the horsemeat scandal, some attracting as much as 50% more custom.

SCOTTISH SHOPPERS are seeking out meat they can trust -- and QMS has perfectly summed up the mood with its 'Keep Calm and Eat Scotch Beef' t-shirts, modelled here by The Scottish Farmer's own enthusiastically carnivorous staff, from back left, Kayley Kennedy, Alison Mann, Gordon Davidson, Jacqueline Adamson, Dougie MacSkimming and Melanie Scott, with Patsy Hunter and Karen Carruth in front
SCOTTISH SHOPPERS are seeking out meat they can trust -- and QMS has perfectly summed up the mood with its 'Keep Calm and Eat Scotch Beef' t-shirts, modelled here by The Scottish Farmer's own enthusiastically carnivorous staff, from back left, Kayley Kennedy, Alison Mann, Gordon Davidson, Jacqueline Adamson, Dougie MacSkimming and Melanie Scott, with Patsy Hunter and Karen Carruth in front

The QMS email survey of 300 members of the Scotch Butchers Club also revealed that 95% of butchers believe customers' trust in the Scotch beef brand has increased in the wake of the horsemeat issue. Furthermore, when asked "have your customers taken more of an interest in local sourcing?" 92% of the butcher respondents said yes.

QMS marketing executive Jack Broussine said the survey results were further welcome evidence of consumer awareness of the credibility and integrity of the Scotch beef brand: "Our industry has made a major commitment to traceability and quality assurance from farm to processor which puts our brands – Scotch beef, Scotch lamb and Specially Selected Pork – in a strong position at a time like this.

"It is particularly pleasing to see that consumers in Scotland continue to have a high level of trust in the Scotch beef brand and our butchers are taking great pride in what the Scotch brand stands for."

Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association chief executive Douglas Scott said the survey findings confirmed the feedback he has been receiving from members: "Many butchers are reporting that not only are they seeing existing customers visiting them more frequently they are also seeing completely new faces.

"Many of their new customers are asking a lot of questions about the provenance of meat and how meat products are made. Butchers are keen to make the most of this opportunity and ensure their new customers continue to shop with them."

Scots MEP Alyn Smith commented: "The scandal surrounding horsemeat in our processed food highlighted just how unconnected consumers have become from their food. This disconnection is particularly frustrating as our farmers in Scotland are renowned for their top quality produce across the world but there is simply not enough recognition of this within the home market.

"My work in my local butchers' shop in Edinburgh last week made one thing clear though – this scandal is making people think twice about where their food comes from. Customers were wanting to know just how far their meat had travelled and were asking questions about traceability and welfare.

"With this survey showing that 92% of butchers' shops are seeing increased customer numbers and a big increase in the numbers of customers asking about the sourcing of their meat, I hope this trend continues.

"This is a welcome change of behaviour and I am happy to see our producers and retailers finally benefitting as they should thanks to their good practices and short supply chains."

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