NI consumers prefer butchers to supermarkets

Consumers in Northern Ireland believe that meat should be purchased in a butcher’s shop and not a supermarket. 

The views were expressed in a study published this week by the Food Standards Agency, safefood and the Consumer Council entitled “The cost of a healthy food basket”.

Three focus groups, seen to represent different segments of the population, were established in three different areas of Northern Ireland: Derry/Londonderry, a city in the north-east; Enniskillen, a town in a rural area in Co. Fermanagh; and Belfast in Co. Antrim.

There was a strong consensus in all of the focus groups that meat, such as chops and joints should be purchased in a butcher’s because of the importance of being able to purchase good-quality meat. Participants were clear they did not want to purchase cheap meat and would buy their meat separately from their normal supermarket shop.

The research suggested that the cost of a healthy food basket for a family of four – two adults and two children - was £119 per week. Meat was revealed to be the largest sub food category of the expenditure, costing £30 per week and accounting for just over a quarter of the total weekly cost of the food basket.

The research also revealed that low income households in Northern Ireland need to spend at least one third of their take home income in order to purchase a basket of healthy food.

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