Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: selling meat to public - worth it?  (Read 5386 times)

Liam_86

  • Joined Apr 2013
selling meat to public - worth it?
« on: August 18, 2014, 04:26:33 pm »
Im thinking of going through the regulations to sell meat to the public.

After some success selling to 'Family' id like to do it officially, all boxes ticked etc.

Has anyone done this? is it hard work? where do i start?

Id be interested in peoples experiences if they have tried this

thanks all

hughesy

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2014, 07:40:16 pm »
Best to contact your local EHO and discuss what they will require you to do. No rocket science involved but all EHO's interpret he rules slightly differently. You need to ask yourself a lot of questions like who is going to process the meat? Who are my likely customers? How will I get my product to their attention and why might they buy mine instead of someone elses? Don't assume that just because you have a great product people will queue up to buy it. In short, yes it is hard work, time consuming and not at all cost effective until you have a customer base.

fiestyredhead331

  • Joined Sep 2012
  • NW Highlands
    • Facebook
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2014, 09:38:56 pm »
its not as hard as it sounds, as Hughesy says contact your EHO before you start as they can sit down with you and go through the regs with you before you decide its the way to go for you.
We were the same as you, slaughtered for ourselves then ended up with so much we opted to sell to the public without too much trouble, as usual it mostly comes down to paperwork so be prepared but its not so bad  :thumbsup:
keeper of goats, sheep, pigs, ducks, chickens, turkeys, dogs, cats, goldfish and children, just don't ask me which is the most work!

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 07:18:36 am »
We sell as lamb / beef boxes; carcases go from abattoir to butcher for processing and vacuum packing. We pre-sell so pick up from the butcher and deliver in one afternoon. Couldn't do it with hunners of beasts but it's fine for the numbers we have.

We registered with EHO; outlined the system and they were happy with that. If the meat is processed by a butcher and packed, the main issue is temperature control in transit but raw meat isn't a high risk product since it;s going to be cooked before consumption.

Can be worth getting on an Elementary Food Hygiene course - not expensive, covers basic information and has a multiple choice test at the end.

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 05:26:06 pm »
Been there on a bigger scale and made loads of mistakes (no money) and saw how difficult it could be.


The LA and public health bit is easy its the hassle that goes with it.



1. The biggest problem is finding a brilliant butcher as the public expect to have the cut exactly as they request and as they are paying a prob premium the packaging needs to be professional. Quality vac packing as the blood spoils and looks awful. Therefore you need to professionally label using deep freeze labels that stick.
2. buy a decent and reliable walk in fridge and freezer
3. Dont sell individual cuts as you'll be stuck with bits, do a 1/4 or selection.
4. what are you going to do with the cuts that dont sell - freeze?
5. Whats your USP as many are already selling pork etc
6. The public want sausages and bacon/ham.
7. How are you going to transport?  I had a refrigerated van but many uses boxes but this only suits individual cuts.  If your selling boxes then it has to be delivered in a fridge van.
8. Delivering - what a nightmare that was driving around and the receiptant wasn't in or forgot
9. Now you have frozen pork can you shift it?
10.  Do you have time for people to pop up, have a look around, chat about it and move them on?


My butchery started good and then went down rapidly, the reason why we used them was the abattoir delivered to this butcher otherwise you need to drive back and collect then have a cutting room, and walk in fridge.  The butchery really let us down, the meat was getting sweaty as they were using in walk through fridge and the moisture was too high.  It was very rustic indeed.  We labelled it oursleves we had a professional machine but the designer messed up again and they didnt stick good enough to the wet surface.  We did a food fair and killed a lot of animals and hardly sold much at all.  Ended up with tons in the freezer.  After all this it started to go wrong from us and decided to pack it all in the debt was building up and we couldnt shift enough.  Even though we had customers they didnt order enough and really only had 10 odd reliable people who continued to buy from us.


Really it is endless and its proper graft, it is not easy money but if you love talking, passionate, and have plenty of time then it works - questionable on whether you'll make much money though there is a lot of organisation and your time has be paid for.


Do market research, go to food fairs see which ones have the appeal. Whether you are keeping it low key or not, word spreads and it needs to look good and be presented as well as a supermarket.  Oh and people do say they'll buy from you and support you but in our experience they dont.


You must keep account of your finance too.  You must keep tabs on your expenditure, fuel, boxes, labels, feed, hours, advertising etc.  Dont waste any money on advertising it is a complete loss. before you know it your doing it for nothing.


I can speak from vast experience on this and many will agree its not an easy option.  If you want to kill one pig at a time (if you can justify the transporting costs & time) then it is ok but you have to be in control they have to collect it on that day you tell them and they have to pay there and then.


It all seems negative doesnt it? But if you keep it small and controlled then you'll be ok.












hughesy

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 07:13:37 pm »
I think what farmers wife is saying is "don't run before you can walk". Truth is you'll never make a bean if you're paying someone else to do everything for you. Keeping a tight grip on costs is the biggest thing you need to learn and planning ahead is essential if you don't want to be feeding dozens of pigs that you haven't got a market for. It isn't easy for sure. There's a massive difference between the idyllic smallholder lifestyle and really making a go of it as a business.

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 07:24:48 pm »
selling frozen meat (ie blast frozen by the butchers) is easier as that saves needing to handle short-shelf life raw meats and the requirement of wash hand basins etc

hughesy

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 09:33:09 pm »
selling frozen meat (ie blast frozen by the butchers) is easier as that saves needing to handle short-shelf life raw meats and the requirement of wash hand basins etc
The discerning punter doesn't want to buy frozen meat. He or she wants fresh, high quality meat with provenance if they're going to pay a good price for it.

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 09:56:56 pm »
selling frozen meat (ie blast frozen by the butchers) is easier as that saves needing to handle short-shelf life raw meats and the requirement of wash hand basins etc
The discerning punter doesn't want to buy frozen meat. He or she wants fresh, high quality meat with provenance if they're going to pay a good price for it.

i see your point, but i was thinking in terms of selling half pigs / lambs etc
we sold ours frozen and delivered straight from butchers. it solves the need for plumbing in sinks etc. our freezer was in our workshop and the EH was happy with that, though he recommended the blast freezing, not home freezing for quality.


hughesy

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 10:16:56 pm »
I think that's fine for occasional sales but if you want regular turnover with repeat customers fresh is the way to go. It does pose problems with wastage though until you get going a bit.

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2014, 10:53:53 am »
I agree, when doing artisan meat the public want it fresh.  It doesnt look so good frozen either.  Also if you want to sell at the higher price then it has to be fresh.  I had a handful of people who were happy to have a box of frozen because they had had it before and knew what they were getting plus they were going to freeze it anyway.


There are rules and regulations with freezing too - strictly speaking it should be a blast freezer and labelling should be for a frozen product with a date.  I always relabelled the meat for frozen if it wasnt sold.  Not that it is an issue with the majority of the public but it only takes one person to report you to EH for not ticking every box to comply with endless paper chasing exercises.

Liam_86

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: selling meat to public - worth it?
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2014, 12:26:23 pm »
All excellent advice - thanks

It does come across negative, but i thank you for pointing all these things out before it happens to me

Just to be clear, its never going to be for a business, just to share what we do, get people interested in rare breeds etc.

we only every keep 8 pigs and tend to kill 4 and then 4 2-3 weeks later. It helps when you have parents who run a pub to pass some meat to.

I agree sauasages are easy to shift, even frozen ones. We had a runt in our last litter, carcass weight was 120lbs which gave us 100lb of sausage. packed them up into 1lb trays and then sold to 'friends' for three quid a time. sold out in 3 days.

Again thanks for your advice


 

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