Cost of living changing butcher shop purchases

Barry Kerrigan

Hottest June on record led to BBQ bonanza for the butcher’s online and in-store sales



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18 August 2023

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Despite recent research suggesting households in Ireland are eating less meat or switching to cheaper cuts of meat to combat the increased cost-of-living, Dublin-based Kerrigan’s Craft Butchers is experiencing greater demand for premium cuts.

Fillet steak emerged as a top five seller this past May, June and July across the butcher’s in-store and online sales.

Managing director Barry Kerrigan believes the spike in demand is due to people recreating the restaurant experience at home to save money.

He said: “Fillet steak isn’t an everyday meat, and certainly isn’t in the currently economic climate. However, our customers are eating more of this premium cut, particularly on weekends with online and in-store sales peaking Thursday to Saturday in recent months. Our 10-ounce fillet steak is about half the price of the average restaurant price, so for those confident in their cooking ability it makes sense to lean into the local butchers as an alternative to eating out.

“The cost of living is changing customer activity, but the business of butchery has long been changing. Once visited multiple times a week, new consumer trends and technology have created an environment that is increasingly difficult for brick-and-mortar businesses – the butchers, the greengrocers – to contend with. How people shop has changed but we’ve adapted by investing in our in-store experience.

“Any one of our butchers can advise our customers on the provenance of our products, the best cuts for specific recipes, meal ideas, cooking tips and so on. Customers appreciate this knowledge. We’ve also successfully combined the quintessential butcher shop experience with the contemporary aesthetic of an upmarket neighbourhood deli – and it’s this premiumisation paired with expertise that has helped us stay relevant and continue to entice shoppers to come in-store.”

With this past June the hottest recorded in Ireland for 83 years BBQ meats such as chicken sizzlers, lamb grill-sticks and chicken wings brought about a welcomed sales boost. Wagyu beef burgers were the top seller for Kerrigan’s with almost 8000 units sold in June – more than 250 per day.

Kerrigan continued: “Wagyu has fast become one of the most desirable meats in the world, and appreciation here in Ireland is evident too. It’s often described as the foie gras of beef thanks to its intense marbling – as a beef experience goes it doesn’t get more melt-in-the-mouth than wagyu. We source our wagyu exclusively from a trusted farmer in West Cork – a partnership that is proving very successful. His variety is a cross breed of wagyu and angus which delivers great flavour at a more affordable price than the Japanese full-blood wagyu. We grind the shoulder and add a simple seasoning to elevate the flavour and create what we consider the perfect burger.

“BBQ meats, whatever the weather, are a reliable seller every summer, and generally affordable with €20 often plenty to feed a family of four. The heatwave enticed more people to enjoy a BBQ this year but there’s been a greater interest in backyard cooking since the pandemic with consumers experimenting with and investing in outdoor pizza ovens and grills. We recently added Traeger grills to our online store and are just about keeping up with the demand, showing that that the traditional BBQ has been elevated and Ireland has well and truly embraced less conventional outdoor cooking methods such as smoking, grilling and braising.”

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