The Great British Meat Company: Choice cuts


Bryn Littleton meets the men who have taken a traditional family butchery business and are in the process of turning it into an online success

When the editor of this magazine received a hand-written card saying thank you for her order from online butcher The Great British Meat Co, she was almost as impressed with that as she was with the contents of the large cold box full of chicken and pork on her kitchen table.

Because, she says, it was such a lovely example of good customer service. “Just like a proper butcher’s shop, only online,” she said, beaming.

The Great British Meat Co is the brainchild of brothers in butchery Dan and Jamie Freeman and their business partner Sam Wass. Their business is devoted to quality produce combined with good value and personal service like that handwritten card, and cooking tips and recipes online.

“People like to chat with the butcher and find out which part of the animal the cut is from, how to prepare it, how much they need for a family of four. These are the things we’re looking to do online,” says Wass.

The company is an off-shoot of Freeman’s Catering Butchers, which started life in South Shields in 1953. The firm supplies many restaurants and hotels and last year it claimed the title National Catering Butcher of the Year.

GBMC_butchertshots_DamienWootten-4-(2)Dan Freeman says: “We’re third-generation butchers. Our grandfather started the business in 1953 and we’re carrying on the traditions he prided himself on 60 years ago.

“There is almost a fear in asking questions about meat these days, but what we’ve found is that people will ask these questions online – things like, ‘How many servings will I get from this cut?’ and ‘What’s the best way to cook this meat?’ We encourage this interaction. We want to hear about customers enjoying the product, but we also want to make sure they’re getting the most from their purchase. It’s one of the key reasons why they’ll come back.”

Every purchase made through the Great British Meat Co. is delivered with a hand-written card from one of the company’s 27 butchers. This may include details of where the meat has been sourced, how it was prepared or a simple message wishing the customer an enjoyable meal and a thank you.

“We’re committed to buying locally,” adds Jamie Freeman. “We believe the best produce is here on our doorstep, but if there is better elsewhere then we will follow the quality.”

There are also events like a pop-up restaurant in Saltwell Park, Gateshead and the team has also hosted butchery classes at Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle.

The export market promises much and the Great British Meat Co. is working closely with The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) developing overseas markets.

RECIPE: Beef fillet tail carpaccio
RECIPE: Great British coronation chicken
RECIPE: Pork with mustard cream sauce

Sign up to our news
You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us.