Thousands of British consumers have returned to their high street butchers' shop during the Covid-19 lockdown, new figures show.
Kantar Worldpanel figures for the 12 weeks ending 17 May showed an overall increase in purchasing of meat at retail across Britain.
In particular, there has been a dramatic jump in the trade of independent butchers.
This increase in retail trade has helped to partly offset the loss of important markets for red meat in restaurants, hotels and catering.
Sales of beef, for instance, were up by 26.9% overall when compared to last year, but up by 49.1% at high street butchers.
Pork showed a similar pattern of a 48.4% jump in sales at specialist independent stores compared with a 24.2% overall increase.
Lamb sales were flat at supermarkets during the period, as both Easter and Ramadan fell during lockdown leading to fewer purchases of roasting joints for family occasions.
But butchers’ shops saw a 24.9% increase compared to 2019 according to Kantar Worldpanel.
Many high street butchers have innovated with new ways of serving customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some businesses have adapted their shops to ensure social distancing and some firms have started ‘click and collect’ or other online ordering services.
Meanwhile, many butchers have delivered meat to the door, providing vulnerable customers with a lifeline.
Carl Williams of Wavells Butchers in Llanrug, north-west Wales, started a new delivery service which was taken up by customers 'in their droves'.
"This helped to soften the blow felt from the closure of cafes, pubs, hotels and restaurants," Mr Williams said.
"We’ve introduced new products and are working hard to ensure customers feel safe and confident to shop locally and continue to receive quality, tasty goods.”
The current crisis has seen many people return to high street butchers’ shops, according to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).
"Around 8.5% of beef and pork, and over 12% of lamb, is now sold through these specialist outlets," said Kirstie Jones, HCC market development office.
“People obviously appreciate how butchers have adapted quickly to the restrictions and served their communities well in difficult times, providing high quality meat and a bespoke service to their customers."