Light at the end of the tunnel

Call me an optimist, but the news that we are starting to edge our way out of the recession has put a spring in my step this month.

=Sure, we are not out of the woods yet - as economists have taken glee in pointing out - but at least we are not in the dark ditch in the middle of the woods, wondering if we will ever see the light again.

The recession has been a double-edged sword for butchery. On the one hand, it has prompted a return to home cooking, encouraging people to ditch supermarket ready meals and return to their butchers for locally sourced ingredients. But on the other, it has had a dire effect on the restaurant trade - which has caused problems for the catering side of our business. On balance, none of us will be sad to see the back of the "economic downturn", and news that it is on its way out is most welcome.

As the experts have pointed out, it will be some time before the high street returns to normal. Meanwhile, you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. You might sell the best-quality meat in town and have the friendliest staff this side of the Wash, but if you don't shout about it, no-one will know. So think about how to raise your profile - be it advertising your locally sourced meat on blackboards or entering one of the many competitions open to butchers.

Speaking of competitions, there are some exciting ones coming up. BPEX has launched a search for Britain's most magical banger to celebrate British Sausage Week (page 9), while MTJ's annual Champion of Champions is now open to entries (page 5). I would urge everyone to think about entering these competitions - not only are they great fun, but they might just help boost sales.

CARINA

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