By Neale McQuistin

Butchers remain among the strongest red meat retailers in Scotland even as consumers return to pre-lockdown shopping habits, according to new statistics from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

Across Scotland, butchers have seen a 20%-plus increase in value in year-on-year sales, and reports from the last few weeks suggest this continues to strengthen. Large retailer figures also show steady growth in red meat sales.

The latest figures analysed by QMS show that, of overall unprocessed red meat sales, butchers are still seeing a 21.7% increase in value of sales and are up 13.2% by volume over last year, compared with the rest of the market which is averaging +12.8% in value and +9.3% in volume.

Gordon Newlands, Quality Meat Scotland brands development manager, said: “Butcher trade peaked during the first lockdown in April and May, and became the second highest retailer of red meat. This corresponded with more consumers choosing to buy local, whether to avoid the supermarket, for convenience or having more time or inclination to go to the butcher. The trend has continued, even as shopping habits have seen more consumers returning to the larger retailers, and we anticipate it will carry on through Christmas."

Market round-up

C&D Auctions Ltd sold 62 cattle at its weekly sale of primestock in Dumfries yesterday.

Nine prime cattle met plenty of demand from local butchers, selling to 243p/kg for a Limousin cross heifer to R Johnstone & Sons Butchers, Annan, while Charolais cross heifers sold for 236p/kg to W. Lindsay Butchers, Creetown.

The 53 OTM cattle at the sale would be sharper on the week with a Simmental cast cow selling to £1010, while a Limousin was top price per kilo at 132p.

There were also 1220 prime lambs in Dumfries yesterday which continued to sell for a pleasing trade. Top prices were 246p/kg for lightweights and £112 for heavy Texels. The average price of the 630 lambs which weighed between 39 kilogrammes and 45kg was 213p/kg.

Cast ewes sold to £118 for heavy Texels and £73 for Blackfaces.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1551 prime lambs at Newton Stewart yesterday to average 207p/kg. All classes would see a rise on the week with export weights still commanding the biggest demand. Top price of £102 was achieved for heavyweight Texels with Beltex leading per kilo at 246p/kg. A feature of the sale were the 390 Blackface prime lambs that sold to average 205p. They were topped at £95 for a pen of heavy weights or at 213p for another pen. Cast sheep were a good show with trade remaining good. Heavy ewes peaked at £129 for pure Suffolk ewes with mules to £84. Hill ewes sold to £84 for Cheviots.