Waitrose takes stock of forgotten cuts

Waitrose is calling on consumers to reconnect with forgotten cuts of meat, in a bid to beat the credit crunch.

New research released by the retailer today revealed that many of the more economical cuts of meat are being ignored by modern consumers, who have lost touch with the thrifty techniques used by their mothers and grandmothers to make food go further.

A survey of 1,000 men and women revealed that the nation's obsession with fillet and breast has fostered an unwillingness to explore and experiment with unfamiliar ingredients.

Of those questioned, only 10% had cooked with mutton or brisket and just 3% had used feather steak, a tender and flavoursome cut, which is prized by the French and costs just a fraction of the price of prime beef. Similarly, 56% said that they wouldn't normally contemplate buying offal.

Even savvy money-saving techniques, such as stock-making, have been forgotten or neglected. Two-thirds of respondents admitted that they never boil up meat or poultry bones to make stock and only 48% make their own gravy.

Waitrose is now aiming to reconnect Britons with the lesser-known cuts of meat to help shoppers make the most of their grocery spend. From next month, cuts including pigs' cheeks and pigs' trotters will go on sale in the Food Hall at John Lewis, Oxford Street, while ox cheeks will be launched in selected branches.

Waitrose meat buyer Andy Boulton said: "Our mothers and grandmothers were experts at making what little they had go a long way when it came to cuts of meat - but these thrifty techniques seem to have been lost inside a generation.

"Most people feel they lack the time or skills to cook anything other than fillet or breast meat. But popping several ingredients into a pot and leaving it to cook for a few hours is not only one of the simplest ways for busy people to prepare food, it is also one of the most economical.

"There are a wealth of cuts that have become like the Cinderellas of the food world, but deserve more attention than they are getting - and plenty of ways to make a little meat go a long way. It is not only a cost-effective way to enjoy high-welfare, great quality food, but a means of appreciating the full range of wonderful flavours and textures that are there for the taking."

Waitrose says that it is committed to buying the whole carcase, which gives farmers an assured market for the entire animal that they rear. As such, customers can be assured that lesser-known cuts of meat come from exactly the same carcases as more expensive cuts, ensuring similarly high standards of farming and animal welfare.

As part of the Forgotten Cuts campaign, Waitrose has created a selection of recipes at www.waitrose.com/forgottencuts and is even inviting consumers to join in a special online chat room sharing their thrifty techniques for making meat go further.

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