National Craft Butchers

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How was Christmas?

Like life in general, festive trading was a bit last minute with one Oxfordshire butcher remarking that ‘the lead up was about as expected and everything coming right at the end’.
In London, Brexit was blamed for poor trading in the lead up to the festivities, particularly amongst those relying on pre-Christmas celebrations.
Central London hotel and restaurant orders toward the end of November and beginning of December were down for one butcher as firms cut back on office lunches and Christmas parties.
Also evident in trendy London suburbs, ‘young professionals’ were either away for the long break or putting a brake on spending, possibly reflecting ‘jitters’ and or smaller bonuses within the financial and service sector.
The story was similar in the ‘home counties’ with reports of less buffets and less party food being sold. But increased demand for large roasts and dinner parties particularly with some customers deciding to entertain or stay at home rather than going out to celebrate New Year.
Bone-in Turkey Crowns were very popular, and sales of Geese and Sirloin were good for one Surrey butcher with ‘traditional’ gammon particularly good for another in Essex. Where customers were looking for a high quality reasonably priced alternative to Ribs of Beef.
In Suffolk Pork regained its popularity, particularly amongst Eastern Europeans. And although sales of whole Turkeys, Geese and Ducks stagnated at 2017 levels, for one butcher Turkey butterflies and large Cockerel or ‘Capon Style’ Chicken sales increased.
Whereas in the north-east and north-west both ‘town and country’ butchers reported a good all-round trade with whole birds, boneless Turkey breast, stuffed poultry stacks and ribs of beef being particularly popular.
Wholesalers and suppliers proved helpful delivering fresh meat on Saturday and some on the Sundays both before Christmas and New Year. Taking pressure off refrigeration space and much appreciated in areas of the country experiencing ‘mild ‘n wet’ weather and double-digit temperatures.
For some, a mid-week Christmas was blamed for a poor New Year trade just because everyone eventually got fed up with what was a fortnight of celebrations. But no one so far has got around to working out whether they’ve made a profit or not!

Written by : John Bond

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