We had plenty to beef about...

Joe Jenkins and his family from Fareham, have been using the same butcher for a long time and buy all their meat on a monthly basis so they can plan their meals out with quality meat.''Pictured is: Joe Jenkins (41) with his partner Sylvia Kerslake (44), her children (left) Helyn Kerslake (13), Rhys Kerslake (11) and their daughter Jayne Jenkins (5), making burgers.''Picture: Sarah Standing (13820-5203)
Joe Jenkins and his family from Fareham, have been using the same butcher for a long time and buy all their meat on a monthly basis so they can plan their meals out with quality meat.''Pictured is: Joe Jenkins (41) with his partner Sylvia Kerslake (44), her children (left) Helyn Kerslake (13), Rhys Kerslake (11) and their daughter Jayne Jenkins (5), making burgers.''Picture: Sarah Standing (13820-5203)

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Do you know where the meat on your plate came from?

Before the start of this year it probably wasn’t a question that troubled the average meat eater.

But then a couple of weeks into the new year the stories began piling up about horse DNA being found in everyday products, from burgers to lasagnes and meatballs.

People were left horrified by the claims that the scandal could involve companies all over Europe, and could have been going on for years.

As a result, public confidence in supermarkets has been left at an all-time low – some have fought back with media campaigns and massive adverts asking for forgiveness and pledging that lessons have been learned.

Some have turned back to their local butcher in a bid to get their hands on meat that they know will have been well treated and sourced.

But critics have complained that going to the butcher is all well and good – if you can afford, it, as they are typically seen as more expensive than the supermarkets.

One family from Fareham say that they can’t see what the fuss is all about.

Since they switched to buying their meat almost exclusively from their nearby traditional, family-run butcher’s, they say they have been eating more healthily and actually saving money on their monthly food bill.

Joe Jenkins and his partner Sylvia Kerslake, of Cambrian Walk, take a trip once a month to Dave’s Family Butchers in Highlands Road, Fareham.

There, they talk with the staff about what they want, pile up the meat they’ve chosen in the way they want it prepared, and take it home ready for freezing.

They usually pay about £120 to £130 a month, which, along with a weekly spend of between £20 and £30 on fresh vegetables and fruit, can keep them and their three children going quite comfortably.

Joe, 42, says: ‘We only used to go the butcher’s every once in a while, but for the past six or seven months we’ve made a habit of going there regularly.

‘It tastes good and I know it’s the type of meat I thought it was when I bought it.

‘This whole business has given a new meaning to the expression of horses for courses.

‘I don’t see what we do so much as a lifestyle choice.

‘It’s about what tastes better, being more economic, and I think in the end, that’s what people care about.

‘If we go back to the supermarket stuff now it just doesn’t taste as good – there’s not as much taste to it.

‘People say it’s easier to go to Tesco, but you go to any local butcher and they will do whatever you want with the meat and talk to you about it.’

And the website developer thinks their children eat better as a result of their new food regime.

‘If the kids want a burger these days, rather than take them to McDonald’s or Burger King, we do them ourselves,’ he explains.

‘We even make the chips ourselves from scratch with the potatoes and the kids love it.

‘They are getting what they want, and this way it’s cheaper and healthier.

‘We are trying to cut out as much of those E number and additives as possible as well.’

Sylvia, 44, adds: ‘We used to go to places like Iceland and Aldi and buy everything from there, but we were finding we were spending a fortune and it all mounts up.

‘Now we have a good joint of meat every Sunday, and we make sure we hardly throw anything away, we try and use it all.

‘Tonight we’re doing steak and kidney pie.

‘I just put it on in the slow cooker in the morning, then in the evening all I have to do is stick the pastry on top and it’s easy.’

Although healthy eating wasn’t the main reason for the change in the family’s eating habits, it has proved to be a pleasant bonus.

And the kids have become more involved in mealtimes as well.

Joe says: ‘There’s always enough for everyone, and the kids have got good healthy appetites.

‘I think you can see a connection between obesity and the quality of the food that people eat.

‘We do watch a lot of the more fun cookery programmes which give us some ideas for recipes and things to try out.

‘The kids love Hell’s Kitchen, and it’s been good for getting them into their food without them thinking that they’re being “taught” something.’