John Mettrick in Glossop, Derbyshire, is known for his wide range of pre-prepared products and has won awards for his range of pies and sausages. He bakes his own pork pies, smokes and cures his own bacon, and is known for both his traditional and more exotic range of sausages.
But earlier this year, John was keen to grow his mince sales and approached Liverpool-based ingredients company WR Wright & Sons for recipe inspiration.
John says the company came to his shop and demonstrated the recipe for meatloaf, and he has not looked back. "It has been very successful. It is a great mid-week meal and it is a lot more profitable than mince," he says.
The meatloaf is sold raw and customers are advised to cook it for 40 minutes at 180ºC. It serves four and John charges £3.60. The meatloaf is quick to make in the shop, and is an easy way to add value to any beef trim. "The same weight of mince would sell for £3," says John. "And of course, in the meatloaf, a lot of the ingredients, such as the vegetables, are cheaper than the meat."
A good idea is to prepare everything in advance, so the mince, chopped vegetables, grated cheese and marinades are all ready in one place. This saves time and means you can easily see if you have forgotten an ingredient.
John started retailing the meatloaf in spring and now sells around 50 a week. Although it is a relatively cheap product, he is convinced it has not lost him sales of pricier meals or cuts of meat. "People are looking for meal solutions," he says, "and I don't think it has encouraged people to trade down from more expensive products. They are buying it in addition to other products. Another advantage is that it is not really seasonal, so you can sell it all year round."
He says several customers have told him they used to make their own meatloaf, but have now switched to buying his instead of mince. He is also enthusiastic about the value of butchers sharing recipes with each other. "As well as ingredients companies, I get ideas from other Q Guild butchers," he says. "In fact, that is one of the main advantages."
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