European Countries See Increased Horsemeat Demands

Despite the fact that European consumers in several countries were shocked to discover horsemeat in some "beef products" earlier this year, butchers, exotic meat suppliers, and restaurants have since seen an increased demand for horsemeat in some areas.

“We’re running at about a 100% increase in demand for horsemeat today compared to before the scandal,” said Paul Webb, spokesperson for, an online distributer of horsemeat in the United Kingdom. “It’s steadied off a bit since the scandal first broke out (when demand was even higher), but there’s still a lot of interest in the meat.”

New English horsemeat buyers are attracted to a variety of cuts, he added, from steaks to burgers to sausages.

Restaurants and pubs are also starting to order horsemeat from their website, Webb said. And it’s not just London that’s giving it a try. Eateries across the country are serving up horse to adventuresome Brits and finding it a very successful business.

“That’s a market we never even would have touched before,” Webb said. “But when they serve it on their menus they sell out every time.”

French businesses also experienced a surge in sales as consumers have been sampling the highly publicized meat. Eddy Mathere, a horsemeat butcher in Bray sur Seine on the outskirts of Paris, said that the scandal brought a lot of new faces into his shop.

“We had a lot of curious people just wanting to try it out after hearing so much about it on television,” he said. “But for us, it didn’t last very long. Paris butchers benefited from the publicity more than we did. For us, things are already pretty much back to normal.”

Jocelyne Lamire, owner of a horsemeat butchery in Paris’s residential middle-class 15th district, said her business is also leveling out to the way it was before.

“At first we had a lot of people—especially older generations remembering how they used to enjoy horsemeat—coming back for it,” she said. “And we had customers in their 40s wanting to try it out for their families. I think they liked it, but they’re back to their old routines again. That’s just how trends are.”

Even so, horsemeat trader Norbert Baubigny from Chammes, just south of Normandy—the “bluegrass” region of France—is still finding business better than ever. With a 15-20% increase in sales since the outbreak of the scandal, Baubigny is looking for bigger storage facilities for his goods, according to a local business news source.

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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