There has been a 20% increase in shoppers picking their local butchers over supermarkets since the horsemeat scandal broke, according to the Association of Craft Butchers in Ireland.
Its president, Hugh Maguire, said: “There are new faces shopping with us and we have increased footfall in our shops. People tell us they will never shop in large retailers again for their meat.”
Drogheda butcher Thomas Tuite said: “Our burgers are homemade and nothing in the shop is from more than 35 miles away.”
However, some of their new customers “have never been in a butchers before. They tell us that. Since the horsemeat crisis there has been a massive increase in new customers. The last two weeks of January and the start of February are usually slow but there has been no decrease this year.”
Among his customers yesterday was Patricia McEneaney, from the town, who said: “I used to shop in the supermarkets but because of the horsemeat burgers I am now getting my burgers and all my meat in the butchers. I prefer the burgers here, too.”
Stella Mullen travelled from nearby Sheepgrange to shop in Tuite’s, and said: “I would have always used the local butchers but I would buy a chicken in the supermarket because it would say on the label where it came from. I always got my mince in the butchers, though.”
Mr Maguire said: “The increase in the larger towns and cities is between 18% and 20%. It is about 12% in rural areas.
“There are new faces coming in and they like that we can tell them how to cook a piece of meat so they get our advice and experience as well as the traceability on our meat. People really have huge confidence placed in their butcher.”
He said they are also seeing a huge turn towards home cooking and eating in rather than eating out due to the recession.
Picture: Ciara Wilkinson