01:11AM, Thursday 21 February 2013
Delighted butchers are seeing a surge in trade from worried shoppers avoiding supermarket products in the wake of the national horse meat scandal.
Customers are putting their faith in independent stores after losing trust in big-brand chains caught selling frozen meals and burgers containing traces of horse.
Small businesses across Maidenhead, Cookham, Marlow and Bourne End have all seen footfall increase since the scandal broke.
Jerry Rook, who has owned family business J & S Rook in Holyport for 22 years, has seen several new faces in his Stompits Road store in the past three weeks.
"We've seen younger people with younger families," he said.
The store said mince and beef burgers have been among its biggest sellers.
Ged Cowdery, owner of Macey's butchers in Lower Road, Cookham, said the intense scrutiny of national chains has been of huge benefit to small and family-run firms that can provide exact information on where their meat has been sourced.
"You can not buy publicity like it," he said.
"We are up about 30 per cent since this time last year. We have attracted the people who have been let down by the supermarkets."
E. Colliass Ltd. butchers in The Parade, Bourne End, estimates a trade increase of 40 per cent in the past two or three weeks, while Longhurst's in Marlow Bottom is seeing the humorous side of the issue as a way to drum up more customers.
Owner of the store in Brucewood Parade, Bernie Longhurst, said: "I put a sign outside that said 'Home-made beef burgers - no added salt or Shergar.' It's been making people stop and come in.
"Business is up 25-35 per cent. Long may it continue."
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