Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

Supermarkets about to rip us off, again.

Supermarkets are all talking about sourcing British meat after the Horse Meat scandal. Will they add a fair mark-up on what they buy it for? Or will they do what they did with organic foods and add a higher profit margin because people perceived it to be better than non-organic.

Commercial profit making businesses will fix their prices on what they think the consumer will pay. Not on a fair mark-up on what they paid for the product. For organic produce this meant that all the Soil Association’s hard work promoting the benefits of ‘organic’ simply allowed the supermarkets to increase their margin and make more profit.

Your friendly local butcher

Your friendly local butcher

Many people predict this will now happen with British beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Foreign imports will not get the same high mark-up and consumers will notice the difference.

The supermarkets will then say ‘We made a special effort to source British meat but the consumer sent a clear message that they could not afford it’!

Your thoughts on this are very welcome below, especially any supermarket pricing manager!

The better way is to shop locally for your meat either from your local butcher or farmer. And ask lots of questions about the right cut, provenance, and price. You should get a better product and by cutting out the middlemen, save money.


  1. nplima says:

    Here’s my guess: big 4 supermarkets will remove non-UK meat for some time and make a big patriotic campaign with some generous discounts. Once the campaign is over, the normal pricing will be above what is paid today (limited supply = higher price)

    Players like Aldi or Lidl, with their price focus having higher priority than a sense of British patriotism will keep selling meat from different countries at different prices after the horsemeat scandal subsides and the big 4 campaign is over. I doubt their customers will see any reason to pay a premium for “UK sourced”.

    Non-supermarket suppliers will see an opportunity to sell their products at a higher price than today, with both the “UK Sourced” premium and “freerange/healthy” premium.

    Later on, the big 4 will resume sourcing meat from other countries, but the overall effect on the market will be a price increase. How this extra sales will be distributed in the supply chain, I don’t know.

  2. There should be regulations against supermarkets encroaching on local businesses. Supermarkets should be super, no more Sainsbury’s Locals and Tesco Expresses, these are the reason for local butchers closing and consumers losing all track of where their food originates.

    Paris has a wide array of artisan bakers because it has legislation which prevents supermarkets from encroaching on local businesses. In an ideal world, every high street in Britain would contain a butcher, a baker, a greengrocer/fruiterer and a fishmonger, but this can only happen if the government practices practices “hand in the market” economics. This can also only happen if butchers etc can be flexible with their opening hours so as to enable British workers (who work among the longest hours in Europe) to purchase from them either on their way to work or home from work.

    Finally, if the pervasiveness of supermarkets is to persist, there should be a guarantee that suppliers to supermarkets receive fair prices so that the supermarkets are not the only member of the supply chain which achieve profits.

    • bigbarnblog says:

      I completely agree. Very interesting to hear about what they do in France. I find it very frustrating to hear about initiatives around Europe that work are are ignored by our governments. Such as your example from France or charging for plastic bags as they have done in Sweden or Ireland for years.

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