QUALITY and service are the two most important ingredients for success, according to The News Butcher of the Year 2017.
Meon Valley Butchers in Wickham is run by Ben Sawyers and his team, who took the title for the second time.
Ben said: ‘It is great to win and get the recognition from our customers for all the work we do.
‘For us we think quality and service is why our customers choose to come to us.’
The shop, which Ben has run for four-and-a-half years, prides itself on supplying free range meats from trusted farmers.
The 34-year-old said: ‘We know all our farmers and visit them to ensure the animals are all well looked after.
‘I am actually an animal lover and although I do eat meat I like to make sure all animals are treated with care.’
Hundreds voted for the butcher which is located in The Square in the village.
Ben said: ‘We have a variety of customers and the service we provide means we can help people find the cuts they want and ask us questions about how best to cook it which I think is what people like about our service.
‘We have quite a lot of people who have just had kids and they want to know what is in the food and make them eat healthier so they come to us.
‘We also get older customers who have more disposable income and like to try different meats from us.’
Ben and his team want to try to dispel the myth that independent butchers are more expensive than supermarkets.
Ben said: ‘There is this misconception that butchers are more expensive than supermarkets but that is not really the case and actually we can give our customers the exact amount they need so there is no wastage.’
The butchers, which has recently rebranded, also supplies produce to local restaurants and cafes including Clifford Brown’s Brasserie in Knowle and to a food stylist in London who makes adverts for big supermarket brands.
Ben said: ‘The majority of our produce is sold through the shop direct to our customers but we do a few things for restaurants and can source special cuts.’
Ben has also opened another shop in Petersfield as part of an expansion of the business.
Ben said: ‘We have also just started baking our own pies which once we have all the packaging sorted we will be selling through our shop.
‘Customers can not only buy poultry and red meats but we also have gravies, seasonings, cheese and exotic meats including goat, crocodile and kangraroo.’