Young butcher talk

The most common business questions people ask me these days are 'How are you managing in the credit crunch?' and, with a concerned tone, 'Is business doing ok?'. The mainstream media has painted such a bleak picture of the economy that customers seem to think everyone in business must be struggling. But at Dalbeattie Fine Foods, such is our rate of business growth that the quiet period between Burns' Night and Easter, the oasis of calm I normally use for planning, just hasn't happened.

Even in a recession people need to eat and perhaps the upturn I've noticed is partly down to customers starting to think more traditionally when it comes to meal planning. Cooking homemade food is always more cost-effective than buying pre-packaged supermarket meals, and a knowledgeable butcher, armed with tips and meal ideas to help customers maximise their budget, provides valuable customer service as well as quality, cost-effective products.

Perhaps the recession will do more for our industry than just reminding customers of the cost-effectiveness of using their local butcher. Now is the perfect time to showcase the benefits of our trade to a whole generation of school-leavers, nervous of entering an unstable job market. I hope the economic downturn will lead to a renewed interest in traditional skills such as butchery, with ambitious young people embarking on a career as a butcher - one that brings rewards for hard work whatever the economy is doing.