How to spot a good butcher online from a fake one
By Sam Wass, Medium Well
Shopping for meat online can be a daunting experience. How will my meat be transported? Is it safe to buy meat online? Where does online meat come from? Will my meat be chilled during transport? There are lots of questions that run through a customers mind, before buying a meat pack online.
Even we doubted if people would want to get meat deliveries online, instead of going to the supermarket or usual suspects when we set-up the business. We completely understood the apathy, and we try to ease those fears by answering those questions as honestly and transparently as possible.
Buying meat online, like much online shopping can be a faceless experience. It is easy for companies to use clever marketing techniques, and give the appearance of a butchers, but the experience can be somewhat misguided. So how can you recognise a good online butchers?
Our advice is that a superficial assessment can be made, much like walking around a shop. How is the meat presented and how does it look? Have they used generic stock photography, or have they taken photographs of meat they actually sell? How easy is it to tell the country of origin of the meat, is it local? Can you get in touch with them easily, or are they the online equivalent of a shop keeper who’s body language says ‘I hope you don’t ask me to do anything’ Are there any pictures of butchers working, or are they conspicuous by their absence?
Beyond what you can see there are probably two essential factors in a really good craft butcher’s - service and knowledge. What you look for beyond that is generally down to personal preference, but we’ve provided a checkpoint we think is useful of ten things to look for in an online butcher:
- Butcher’s - there are pictures of staff butchers actually working and cutting
- Meat Photography - they don’t use generic stock photography
- Provenance - they know where the meat comes from
- Cut to order - all the meat is cut after the order is placed, not pre-packed
- Speciality Cuts - you can get cuts you don’t find in the supermarket
- Fresh Meat - products are provided fresh NOT frozen
- Delivery - they offer timed delivery slots, to ensure freshness and convenience
- Chilled packaging - packaging is tested and verified to keep the meat chilled in transport
- Feedback - they have good customer reviews
- British - if it doesn’t say it’s British, it almost certainly isn’t
Those ten points are not exhaustive and we appreciate that with the rise of butchers online popping up all of the time, many are just marketing companies working with big meat processors (who supply the supermarkets) giving the perception they are butchers. It can be confusing for customers, as they are not ‘real butchers’, in the traditional sense, but they are real good at marketing, and that unfortunately is what we butchers have to deal with as an industry for now.