BUTCHERS in the area say the ongoing horse meat scandal could help kick-start the high street economy after they reported an upturn in trade.
The Advertizer caught up with several of the area's meat traders who all said they were experiencing a higher volume of customers and claimed the horse meat furore could see more shoppers place their faith in independent sellers.
And Oswestry butchers believe the controversy will help them stand up to the town's big supermarket chains as it prepares for the development of the new Morrisons store on Shrewsbury Road.
Eric Roberts, who owns the Eric Roberts and Sons butchers on Leg Street said: “After what has gone on it could help traders who are the genuine article.
“People are looking for confidence in what they buy. It is a question of trust and we have definitely seen an increase in the number of customers since the horse meat scandal broke.
“I think it could also have a knock-on effect on the rest of the high street which is badly in need of a boost,” he added.
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson is currently struggling to contend with the horse meat headlines in his role as Secretary of the State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Following Friday’s address of Parliament and the release of the first set of industry horse DNA test results, he told the Advertizer sales were down to consumer confidence, commenting: “It is down to every food business to get the confidence of consumers, but if they do that they will do well.”
Butchers are hopeful the new trend which is seeing shoppers return to independent meat retailers continues for plenty of time to come.
Willow Street's Meat Man, Phil Brown said: “We have seen lots of new faces and people have been asking more questions about where we source our meat from.
“There has been an uplift in sales since the horse meat story broke and people seem keen to re-establish a relationship with their local butcher.
“The scandal revolves around processed meat but all of our meat is sourced locally and I think people will now appreciate that more.”
Chirk butcher, Mark McArdle of Steve McArdle Family Butchers at Church Street's St Mary's Precinct said: "All the ready meals we sell are home made and the products are doing very well.
“People trust their local butcher and I think the horse meat controversy will only go to strengthen that bond because we have seen our sales increase.”
Meanwhile, another Oswestry meat trader, Kevin Battam of M Battams General Butchers in Beatrice Street believes the scandal could result in a new generation of shoppers moving back to the high street for their food products.
“I have seen more younger customers coming in which is a good thing,” he said.
“We have got busier but it would be lovely if this could kick-start other businesses off too.
“People coming to their independent butcher will be passing other independent retailers along the way and it could have a chain reaction.”