Starting a Butcher's Shop

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: February 2017
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Butchers prepare and retail fresh meat, poultry, game and offal, often along with related produce such as eggs and milk, cooked meats and pies. As well as supplying consumers, butchers also accept orders and deliver meat to trade customers such as hotels, restaurants, cafés, bed and breakfasts (B&Bs), pubs, independent schools, canteen operators, care homes and caterers. Although demand for meat and poultry is generally steady year-round, there are significant seasonal peaks in demand at Christmas and Easter when purchases of roasting joints are considerably higher than the average for other months of the year.

Independent butchers face intense competition from national supermarket and symbol groups such as Nisa and Mace, and grocery retail chains (many of which offer home delivery), as well as suffering from decreasing footfall on the high street in general.

Butchers' shops are subject to significant amounts of legislation relating to registration of premises, food safety, presentation and traceability, weights and measures, and health and safety in the workplace.

Butchers traditionally trade from high-street premises, but many sell from market stalls or deliver meat boxes. While some butchers also trade online, this profile focuses mainly on a butcher trading from traditional retail premises. It covers the issues affecting all types of butchers, although more specific issues relating to halal butchers are covered in MBP365, Halal Butcher.

This profile provides information about starting up and trading as a butcher. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the main legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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