GWENT consumers are backing a survey today which says the horsemeat scandal will change the way we all shop.
It looks set to be good news for our independent traders, as Gwent’s residents seemed to agree with the survey, and said they’ll now be shopping more at their local butcher.
The survey conducted by market research group Consumer Intelligence conducted an online survey of 2,257 UK adults over February 14 and 15 this year at the peak of the scandal.
They found that 25 per cent of adults said they would buy less processed meat, with 21 per cent of those surveyed saying they have started buying less meat generally and 25 per cent saying they will buy more unprocessed meat instead of processed goods.
The survey suggested the scandal had rocked confidence in the packaging our food comes in too, with 67 per cent of respondents saying they trust food labels less now.
Those surveyed also gave a ringing endorsement for their local butcher too, with 62 per cent of those who took the survey saying they are now more likely to use independent butchers for their meat.
What Gwent people said about buying meat now
● Dean Beddis – Dad of four from Newport and owner of Kriminal Records: “Whereas people before might be buying any meat just because it was cheap, they might think twice now because they cannot trust the meat they buy from supermarkets.”
● Mike Ryan – funeral director in Newport: “I do not mind buying meat such as joints from the supermarkets, but in my opinion, buying from independent butchers is the best policy.
Horse meat is not a health hazard, but the problem is that customers have been defrauded.”
● Susan Hughes of Pick up and Press in Newport: “I will be buying far fewer ready meals that’s for sure. At the moment I buy my meat from local supermarkets and will continue to do so. However, I am not confident about buying processed meat from anywhere now to be honest.”
● Councillor Debbie Harvey – Alway ward: “I buy my meat from the local butchers because I like to know what I’m buying.”
●Shamaine Tatton, who works at her father’s stables in Newport: “It’s inhumane in my eyes to eat horse meat.
“I buy my meat from ASDA but I haven’t bought anything this week just because I want things to be made clearer. I don’t think I’ll stop buying from there, but I won’t be buying as much as usual either.”
● Graham Rickett, who owns a Costcutter store in Ringland: “I don’t buy ready meals. Personally, I buy meat from local markets and from a local butcher up the road and my shop supports local traders.”
● Roma Rimola, of Roma’s Fruit & Veg in Newport: “It’s awful. Personally I don’t find anything wrong with eating horse because I’m Italian and they do it in Italy, but people should know what they’re eating.
“Most people think it’s so much cheaper to buy at supermarkets, but you’d be surprised how much food you can get for four pounds at the butchers.”
● Mark Soady – vicar of an Abergavenny church: “My eating habits will not change as a result of the scandal. I have always bought meat from my local butchers, as I know I can trust the source of the meat I buy there.”
● Pippa Bartolotti, leader of the Green Party in Wales: “I’ve been a vegetarian for many years. But I am concerned at the lack of traceability in food.”
● Paul Williams, Cwmbran community councillor: “Luckily for me I very rarely eat ready meals and nine out of 10 times I go to my local butcher rather than the supermarket. I enjoy cooking, and the two or three minutes you spend talking to a butcher to get advice on how to cook is worth it.
● Bob Barry, from Duffryn Community Link: “Personally I’ve moved away from processed food as a result of this.”
● Alan Edwards, who runs Vacara’s fish and chip shop in Newport: “We had a scare a few years ago with the beef but eventually customers came back. “I suspect we’ll be OK because we buy all of our pies from a family-run company in Swansea.”
● Hedley McCarthy, leader of Blaenau Gwent council: “To be honest I don’t eat a lot of processed foods anyway, but I can see it’s a worry. You should always get what you set out to buy.”
ARGUS COMMENT: Food for thought
A NEW survey of shoppers implies that the horsemeat scandal is changing our food shopping habits.
This is hardly surprising, given that not a day seems to go by without some further unwelcome revelation about Europe’s tangled food processing industry.
At the very least this could be good news for local butchers who, with the support of countless campaigning celebrity chefs, have been arguing for years that locally- sourced, traceable meat is best.
Who could argue with that.
The one problem we foresee though is that supermarkets have trained us over many years to expect to be able to buy food really cheaply.
Let’s face it, we buy it in our droves.
We only have to look at the number of supermarkets here in Gwent to see the level of retail success the big four stores have enjoyed by employing this business model.
The problem is that for producers it is nigh on impossible to balance the need to do things as cheaply as possible with the determination to provide the best quality.
It would take a lot of us to radically change our shopping habits to force supermarkets to accept that they might have to pay farmers and producers more and hence charge us a extra for food. It may be a difficult pill to swallow but it may be something which has to happen if only for peace of mind.