With the country's increasing Tesco-isation, it's great to find independent outlets where consumers can still get real choice.

This is where butchers, delis and farm shops can come into their own. They can eschew the mass-market brands in every multiple and offer something a little different alongside their meat and poultry.

It could be a marinade or a sauce or even a preserve. Locally-sourced items will have a particular appeal, because today's consumers are more clued-up than ever - they are aware of things like food miles and the fact that local suppliers need local support. They are also more adventurous - they've travelled a bit, they've watched TV chefs knock up delicious meals in minutes and they're keen to have a go themselves - and you can give them a helping hand by stocking unusual lines.

The other day I found my local butcher-cum-deli chock-full of delicious and unusual lines. I was on the look-out for marinades and sauces for a barbecue and I came up trumps. I found an 'old original recipe' marinade from the Shropshire Spice firm - which was great on pork - and a chilli dressing from the firm Suffolk Mud.

However, my favourite find was Good with Chicken; I couldn't resist the name and the tarragon herb sea salt was great with chicken.

Tracy West

Fine Foods Guru

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