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Fresh meat sales at Morrisons rise in the wake of the horse meat crisis

Morrisons’ butchers have reported a rise in sales of 18 per cent at their fresh meat counters since the horse meat crisis took hold.

Morrisons has around 1,700 butchers serving across 500 in-store butchers’ counters in the UK.  They say they have had an unprecedented number of customers approaching them for advice and to buy fresh, (rather than frozen or pre-packed), burgers among other meats. 

Morrisons butchers’ counter sales*:

  • Over all fresh meat counter sales up 18 per cent
  • Increase in sales of fresh beef burgers up 50 per cent
  • Sales of beef mince up 21 per cent
  • Increase in pork (124 per cent)  and Lamb (15 per cent)

The supermarket has always had trained butchers serving frontline at its fresh meat counters offering advice and information.  It has also invested heavily in extending its fresh meat counters this year, which are stocked with only 100% British meat. This, they say, has proved invaluable at a time when shoppers need to be reassured of meats’ source and quality.

Morrisons operates a “vertically integrated” business model, which means it owns its farm and is close to its supply chain and production line “from field to fork”.  This means Morrisons can ensure full traceability of its fresh meat offer, something the supermarket not only sets major store by, but also believes sets it apart from its supermarket competitors.

Commenting on the confidence in the in-store expertise of its butchers, Morrisons CEO, Dalton Philips, says:

“There’s never been a better time for consumers to buy fresh meat from sources they know they can trust.  Because we work direct with farms, (even owning our very own), our counters and expert staff can confidently offer the most reliable meat to customers. 

“Shoppers who are concerned by the recent crisis should buy fresh meat supplies from a trained butcher.  We encourage all customers to talk to the butcher about where their animals are sourced from.  Buying from reputable, skilled butchers should give shoppers reassurance and greater confidence in meat products.”

The rise in sales reflects those from assured product across the country according to industry body EBLEX, the organisation for beef and lamb levy payers in England.

Mike Whittemore, head of trade marketing for EBLEX, said:

“Consumers are increasingly looking for assurance marks such as Red Tractor and the Quality Standard Mark (QSM) – both of which butcher counters such as Morrisons have -  when buying beef products. In that respect demand for assured, quality beef clearly remains robust.

“Provenance of products is important and moving forwards independent auditing, which is already a key requirement of both the Red Tractor and Quality Standard Mark (QSM) assurance schemes, will play a key role in ensuring that consumers have confidence in what they are buying.”

Notes to editors:

*sales data for the period w/c 4th Feb 2013 compared to 17th Dec 2012 - 13th Jan 2013 based on a week-on-week comparison, taking an average over the four weeks.

Published 14/02/2013

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