Great British Meat Company
Tom Keighley

Member Article

Gateshead online butchers want to put region on the exporting map

Shopping online for steak or lamb shanks might not have occurred to many consumers, but a trio of North East businessmen have found success with their online butcher’s shop.

The Great British Meat Company is the brain child of two members of the Gateshead butchery family, Jamie and Daniel Freeman and marketer Sam Wass.

The business launched in June selling a full range of meats that are delivered to customer’s homes.

Co-founder Sam Wass says the venture typifies the evolution of high street retailers into e-commerce operations and ultimately hopes to export with the business.

He said: “We’d been kicking the idea around for a bit and it really seemed like the right time to do it and test the market.

“Buying meat online is still quite an unusual thing but common sense tells us that ten years ago it seemed weird to buy books and CDs online. So far there have been more ambient goods sold online but now we’re seeing more chilled goods breaking through.

“Packaging innovation means we’re able to do this with meat.”

Freemans Catering Butchers supply top restaurants and chefs across the North of England and Scotland, and the trio spotted a demand among the general public for top quality meat.

Sam says a growing interest in home cooking has been fuelled by cookery programmes and shows like ‘Come Dine With Me.’

He added: “It’s actually very difficult to get ahold of good quality meat. It’s well documented that the high street butcher has been in decline for years and the supermarkets haven’t filled that void. The meat they sell is nothing like what meat used to be 10-15 years ago.”

The Great British Meat Company (GBMC) has been in development since January 2013 and has doubled turnover month-on-month since launching in June.

For Sam, Jamie and Daniel, the North East roots are fundamental to the success of the business and the GBMC is keen to work with local suppliers to grow an exporting business.

Sam explained: “The plan is to create jobs when we’re established and we were very clear when we bought the domain and started branding that we wanted something with export potential.

“The horse meat scandal actually came at a good time for us because it was just as we were launching, and suddenly people came to realise that its really important to know where you meat has come from.

“We want to be a North East exporting success story. If you look at something like Aberdeen Angus as a brand - that was driven by the American beef industry’s drive to market it as a commodity on a global scale. There’s nothing to stop British beef being a worldwide success.”

Pay-per-click advertising and online marketing have helped to build a customer base and now as the firm approach their first Christmas they hope to crack the market.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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