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Issue:- 09 September 2010

Beef Is The North-West's Favourite Meat

BEEF has come out on top in a new survey to find the North West's best loved meat.  The poll, run by online meat retailer pitted beef against traditional favourites like pork and chicken as well as trendier, continental fare including pancetta, chorizo, salami and prosciutto.

It revealed that despite the huge choice now on offer, 38% of people from the North-West still remain loyal to their traditional cuts, opting for beef over all other meats.  From the summer months when burgers fill our barbecue grills to the roasting joints which dominate our ovens during the winter, beef has been a constant on the British dinner table for hundreds of years.

Despite this, chicken is still the best-selling meat on the butcher’s counter with consumption of poultry having doubled over the last 20 years, while red meat and pork consumption has been a constant on the British menu. Our favourite bird, chicken, came a close 2nd in the survey, charming 24% of the voters.

Butcher Phil Ward from Westin Gourmet has more than 20 years experience in the industry and has seen changes in buying patterns first hand.  He said:- “When I first started out my customers came to me for their sausages and traditional joints of meat, but over the years I’ve seen more and more people shopping for chicken breasts and duck.  However my experience has shown me that despite all the newcomers to the market, we still love the meats we've grown up with. The traditional beef roast dinner is certainly here to stay.  Men and women voted differently in the poll with beef steaks being the top choice for the gents, with the ladies opting for a healthier chicken breast fillet as their favourite meat. In my experience women have always preferred poultry whilst the men stick to the red meats.”

Lamb followed chicken into third place in the poll, winning 18% of the votes. Another Sunday lunch favourite, lamb joints and chops have remained in Britons’ hearts and retained their popularity due to the recent arrival of lamb burgers and kebabs onto the dinner table.  Surprisingly, pork only came out as our 4th favourite meat claiming a measly 9% of votes. With sausages and pork chops relegated to such a dire position for voters, are Brits really moving away from their bangers and mash heritage?

Phil said;- “Sausages will never disappear from the butchers counter. I have seen a dip in the number of customers buying sausages but its so ingrained into out national cuisine, it will take a lot to oust it.”

Duck picked up 7% of the votes with turkey picking up just 4% after being tagged a Christmas meat.

WestinGourmet offers a large selection of meats, 90% of which is British reared. Produce is of the highest, gourmet quality and prices are up to 40% cheaper than leading supermarkets.

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Over half of NW businesses to recruit staff as confidence grows

54% of North West businesses plan to increase their workforce over the next 12 months, according to new research issued by Yorkshire Bank.  According to the research, 51% of the companies surveyed are confident their business will grow in the next 12 months while 30% believe their business will continue to operate at current levels.  Businesses planning to recruit are evidently twice as likely to be recruiting skilled labour. 49% of all businesses surveyed intend to recruit skilled workers, with 23% looking to take on staff at managerial level.

However, despite improving confidence levels, 15% of businesses still expect to see a reduction in business in the next 12 months while 21% of businesses expects to reduce their staffing levels over this period.

The research also found that businesses recognise the importance of investing in their existing workforce with 34% identifying staff retention and recruitment as their key priority over the next 12 months with training (32%) following closely.

Brian Colquhoun, regional director for Yorkshire Bank, commented:- “These results are encouraging and suggest a growing number of businesses are starting to look to the future with more confidence and are looking to build the framework they need to develop their operations. It continues to be a challenging time for businesses and many will have had to make tough decisions to protect their business, but few will have lost sight of the fact that their staff are their most important asset. By investing in their workforce when the time is right, businesses are helping to pave the way for growth and future success.  The research appears to indicate that recruitment and training are beginning to re-emerge as key priorities for UK businesses as they look to the future and plan if, and how, they will take advantage of any emerging opportunities.  We are keen to play our part in helping businesses achieve successful growth. In addition to having pledged to advance £10 billion of gross new lending by October next year, our recently launched ‘Investing for Growth’ support initiative is there to help successful businesses grow and develop by easing their cashflow pressures.”

The Investing for Growth support package offers both new and existing business customers a dedicated planning service and a more flexible and tailored approach to lending.

Yorkshire Bank’s research also found that the sales, media and marketing sector is leading the recruitment drive with the majority of businesses in this sector looking to take on more staff (66%). IT and telecoms as well as architecture, engineering and building are also sectors that are leading the way with 65% and 63% of companies in these sectors, respectively, looking to take on more staff.

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