/ Food & Drink, Shopping

Where do you buy your meat?

A steak dinner

Would you make an extra journey just to buy a great steak? Is it really worth your time, effort and money to go out of your way just for a piece of meat? Or do you pick up your steak with your weekly supermarket shop?

I think an extra journey for a great steak is well worth it, and that isn’t just because I’ve been working on the recent Which? sirloin steak taste test.

Most of the time I shop at the same supermarket and pick up everything I need there. But I buy a steak to eat at home about once a month and, when I do, I buy it from my local butcher. Steak is a bit of a special occasion food for me and I like both the meat and the service I get at the butchers.

But I’m in the minority – six in 10 steak-buying Which? members buy their steak from supermarkets, with only a quarter buying from local butchers.

Steak taste test

We’ve recently tested premium, pre-packed sirloin steak from seven supermarkets. We tested sirloin steak, because it’s the most widely bought steak by Which? members – half of steak buyers go for sirloin. The results of our taste test show which sirloin is worth making an extra journey for.

Super butchers vs supermarkets

There are more than 2,000 butchers recommended on Which? Local, so many butchers are certainly doing a lot of things right and seem to be popular with their customers.

But some of the premium supermarket steaks we’ve tested are exceptional. So is there really any difference in the quality of the meat you’ll find at the butchers and at the supermarket? And am I right to carry on choosing local and paying a little bit more?

In the battle of local butchers vs supermarkets, is premium steak at the supermarket just as good as the best butchers’ meat? Or will the butcher always be best? Let us know where you buy your meat and what you think of it.

Where do you buy your meat?

At the supermarket (41%, 132 Votes)

At the butchers (27%, 86 Votes)

It varies (23%, 76 Votes)

I don't buy meat (9%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 324

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I like to buy my meat from a online butchers. Have been doing so for the last year. Spend about £200 and that can last me a good few months.

What I like is they send you it all frozen so you just take and use as when is needed and never goes off.

Jon Bradbury says:
16 April 2013

I’m sure the figures will be somewhat skewed by recent horse meat situation.

I’ve been buying all our meat from a local farm butcher for about 12-18 months now, generally found most of the meat less watery, particularly the bacon (which is also thicker cut, so whilst getting same number of rashers per £, getting more weight), and the price very competitive. The sausages at one of the butchers are absolutely superb, so much that we usually end up coming away with orders for family far & wide, the other butchers, yeah I struggle to tell their sausages apart from Tesco’s.

Even if the supermarkets are upping their game again, I’m choosing to support local businesses, put my money back in to them, and be a small part in attempting to cease the supermarket juggernaut of taking over every high street & side street & public inn possible

athur adams says:
10 July 2013

I have for at least three years been buying meat and other products from Donald Russel by package from Scotland. I think that I get value for money.
I love Rib Eye steak and every one that I have bought from this source has been excllent to my requirements.
I notice that you did not include this company in your report
Arthur Adams

Donnie MacLean says:
26 July 2013

I have also bought meat regularly from Donald Russell and could not agree more with quality and reliability of the meat. Never been disappointed and with lots of orders delivery is free. Great company, great value and origin of meat reliable.


Looking at the website I’m not sure I’d include “great value”. However, better to have a bit of high quality meat and enjoy it than a lump of cheap stuff – somewhere in between is probably the best compromise and I think a decent butcher or quality supermarket can meet that need.

richard says:
16 April 2013

Used to buy local – but local stopped supplying decent meat reliably – Now like Lee – I’m buying it increasingly from on-line suppliers.


We buy our meat at M&S – steaks almost always excellent, particularly rump which from other sources can be tough. Even small beef joints hold their size and stay succulent.


I’m part of a partly-vegetarian household and our diet is largely vegetarian. One daughter is staunchly vegetarian. My partner will eat only certain meats(chicken or beef) after having been vegetarian for twenty years. I prefer lamb to most other meats.
We live near the north Wales border so there’s an abundance of locally-produced high quality free range beef and lamb which is available through various local outlets including our bi-weekly town farmers market. We generally get our meat from these sources even though the prices are higher than the town supermarkets(Saisburys and Morrisons). We used to get organically produced meat from Sainsburys but they have slowly stopped supplying these brands. Now none is ever available. Pricing would have prevented customers from buying these products during the recent economic duress.
When I buy meat I would prefer organic, but free-range local produce is acceptable.