Harry Coates is a butcher from Durham. The last piece of equipment he bought was a Thompson 900E mixer-grinder, which has saved shop staff considerable labour.

"It's an absolutely tremendous piece of kit for retail butchers," he said. "We'd never used a mixer-grinder before; we'd always used a separate mixer and a mincer. The one machine replaces two machines for a start and it also does it without having to have an operator standing over it."

Harry bought the machine on the spur of the moment. "It was demonstrated at a Q Guild meeting in my shop," he said. "I was so impressed with it that I just said 'Leave it here!'"

The mixer-grinder comes into its own on the three days of the week when the team is making sausages. "It effectively replaces two machines and a man. You put the mix in and it mixes away by itself and the operator can do something else. When it's finished mixing, you just press the mince button and it minces away by itself."

The machine minces up to 120lb or 50kg at a time. "For sausage manufacture, you put the mince back into the hopper. Then add the other ingredients and it mixes them up."

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