THERE are two schools of thought about the effect of the current, Europe-wide, scandal of horsemeat being passed off as beef.
One says that it will be damaging for the trade as a whole, with consumption of meat products falling.
The other says that whatever happens in supermarkets, where the mindset is price-led, butcher’s shops, in many cases locally and family-owned, will see a rise in sales because they are trusted to stock only meat whose history can be traced.
The second option certainly seems to be the case in Montrose.
We spoke yesterday morning to Richard Barclay, whose High Street family business has been established for 30 years.
He said that there had been an increase in business since the supermarket shock broke. To a large extent he put this down to the fact that he sources his meat from Aberdeenshire.
And as in any dedicated butcher’s shop, the produce is clearly on display to be cut and weighed to the customer’s requirements.
Neil Watt, Murray Street, estimated that his turnover has increased by a figure of between 10 and 20 per cent since the scandal was revealed.
Tongue-in-cheek he added his grateful thanks to the supermarkets which seemed to: “accept all meat without checking its quality”.
Mr Watt is able to trace the meat in his shop back to the farm, although he expressed frustration about one regulation that he and other butchers have to abide by.
He said: “By EU rules, we are not allowed to say which farm the meat comes from, nor even say that is Scotch beef.”