Retail & Consumer Products
Butchers process and prepare meat, poultry and meat products for sale through individual shops, supermarkets or local markets.
What does a Butcher do?
Butchers process and prepare meat, poultry and meat products for sale through individual shops, supermarkets or local markets. Specialist butchers may also make their own meat products such as sausages, burgers and pies.
As a butcher, your work would include:
- buying, ordering and controlling stock
- receiving deliveries and checking their content and hygiene
- moving meat stock to cold storage areas
- preparing product displays
- cutting, boning and trimming meat
- serving customers at the counter
- advising customers on how to prepare and cook meat.
You may also drive to markets, wholesalers and customers’ premises. You could also specialise in, for example, halal, kosher or organic foods, depending on the demands of the local community
Key skills and interests
To become a butcher, you would need:
- good practical skills
- a high standard of personal cleanliness
- the ability to work well in a team
- good communication and customer service skills
- in-depth product knowledge
- good visual sense for counter and window displays.
Working hours and conditions
You would usually work a standard number of hours during the week, which may include early mornings. You would also usually work Saturdays, with time off during the week. If you own your own butcher shop, you may work longer hours.
You could work in a butcher shop, supermarket, or specialty store. You would spend much of the day on your feet and you may need to lift and carry heavy joints of meat. You would wear protective clothing when handling meat, to comply with hygiene standards.
You may work in chill rooms and cold stores for short periods.
Employment of butchers is projected to grow slower than the average for all occupations.
As more people demand pre-cut, partially prepared, and easy-to-cook meat products, butchers will be needed to prepare them. The popularity of various meat products such as sausages, cured meats, or specialty cuts is expected to result in demand for butchers in grocery and specialty stores.
However, meat processing plants continue to consolidate animal slaughtering and meat processing by preparing and packaging meat products simultaneously. As a result, employment growth may be limited as fewer workers will be needed to pre-cut, trim, or package meats.