Power to the people in new retail butchery initiative

Supermarket customers are to be offered the chance to butcher their own meat, in a new initiative by one of the major multiples.

The retail chain is reported to be considering the move as it reduces staffing in its butchery and deli departments in a bid to cut costs.

A spokesperson for the company told Meat Trades Journal that customers would be offered the chance to butcher their own carcases and make their own sausages, for example, enabling them prepare their preferred cuts of meat in a specially-dedicated section of the in-store butchery, rather than having to wait in a queue to be served.

Asked about the safety of allowing members of the general public to wield sharp knives, the spokesperson said that a first-aid trained member of staff would be present to supervise the customers, and, if required, offer first-aid assistance.

“The idea of this initiative is that it will save our butchers time, allowing us to reduce the manpower on the shop floor. Customer can order a side of pig, for example, and butcher it themselves to suit their purposes. We think it’s a win-win for both us, as a retailer, and the customer,” said the spokesperson.

However trade union Unimeatandpoultry is up in arms as the proposals will mean job cuts for butchers, and is concerned that other retailers may be tempted to employ these kinds of money-saving tactics in the future. Speaking to MTJ on 1 April, shop floor representative Kevin Bacon said: “It is also ridiculous to think that customers can be trusted to butcher their own meat. Trained butchers are very skilled individuals and to think that the general public can just pick up these skills with a small amount of supervision is a pie in the sky idea.”

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