Muddy Boots sets out butcher shop plans
Published:  04 October, 2013

Homely burger-making company Muddy Boots Real Foods has announced it will be opening a chain of high street butchers’ shops in the New Year.

The company, which has a range of meat products listed with Waitrose and Ocado, disclosed its plans in a statement yesterday and said the chain would be called ‘The Modern Meat Shop’.

Co-founder Miranda Ballard said the shops would stock a full range of fresh meat products and will have a new take on the traditional butcher’s shop.

“We got to a fork in the road, as I’m sure many small food companies do. Do we go the volume/large supermarket route? Or not. We had the complement of the chance to begin a Tesco contract regionally. We’re not anti-supermarket, we admire Tesco, but it wasn’t the right time for us – not for our production, our margins, nor the brand. We very respectfully turned it down and they were really understanding,” Ballard said.

“The choice at the fork in the road is a risk, of course, but it feels like a better risk for Muddy Boots.”

Currently Muddy Boots’ products are exclusive to Waitrose and Ocado and it is continuing to grow those contracts. However, the decision to step into the face of consumers directly and launch a chain of shops was taken following the decline of the Tesco contract.

“If we’re not going to launch with the other supermarkets, we should have a go at running a shop ourselves, if we think we’re so special,” Ballard added.

“We’ve always wanted to do our own retail and we want to try a different approach to the traditional butcher’s shop format: stocking and celebrating top-end, totally traceable British meat products will be a given – that’s what we do – and then we think we can show shoppers, women shoppers in particular, the wider potential for meat shops on the high street and try out a whole new customer experience.”

Muddy Boots will be opening its first shop in Crouch End, North London, as Ballard believes there is a great community and good shops in the area. She said: “Good shopping experience is rewarded with custom. They’re not obliged to support us, we just need them to give us a try and it’s our job to make sure they want to come back.”

There are, however, two butchers already in the area, but Ballard said she hoped they and Muddy Boots would join forces to promote the same message. “We’re not competing with butchers, we’re competing with supermarkets.”

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