If the major supermarkets had their way, they would have a monopoly on meat-buying. But, despite the undoubted convenience, independent butchers are still going strong, mostly due to the quality of the produce they offer.
Many independent butchers would claim to have a better class of meat, be friendlier and more informative about what you're buying. There are also plenty of options and, if you ask nicely for something they don't have, they just might order it in for you.
Here are four high-quality butchers in and around Merseyside that are definitely worth a visit.
Edge and Son, New Ferry
Established in 1844, Edge and Son's almost 180 years of experience is evident. They still have their own slaughterhouse which is very unusual for a town butcher.
And only dealing with farms within 25 miles of the store, the distance food travels is kept to a minimum, meaning their meat is as fresh as possible. Fifth-generation butcher Callum Edge, told the ECHO: "Everything we deal with is free range and all our lamb and cattle is grass-fed which is something that we are specialising in more than we ever have.
"We are trying to work with farms who are regenerative and zero carbon which is a very important part of our ethos."
Edge's makes all its products in house including bacon, black pudding and sausages. They supply restaurants from across the region including Nord, The Art School and the Chester Grosvenor while providing butchering services for farms and farm shops.
Callum said: "We pay our farmers more to keep animals longe, resulting in a more mature process. Despite this, we try to keep prices as competitive as possible. When we look at the big supermarkets who do grass-fed meat, for the same product that we have, they charge a lot more while our free range chicken is not too expensive but some free range chickens elsewhere are extremely costly."
The store's Christmas selection will include birds such as turkey, cockerel, duck and goose. Edge's has another branch located in Delifonseca on Brunswick Way, Liverpool.
Address: 61 New Chester Rd, New Ferry, Birkenhead, Wirral CH62 1AB
Butcher Farrell's Meat Emporium, Ormskirk
Run by Jonny Farrell, the Meat Emporium is a dry aging specialist housed in the beautiful countryside just outside Ormskirk. They supply many restaurants in the area including Belzan, Manifest and Michelin-starred Sō-lō. The butcher won New Butchery Business of the Year back in May.
Jonny founded the business in 2020 after a spell out of the industry telling the ECHO: "I was working for others and couldn't sell the meat that I wanted to."
He was on his own for a while until former chefs Sam Bailey and James Shaw joined the team. Passionate about his produce, Jonny said: "Our main thing is high welfare meat done well. We love dry aging – it's a big deal for us."
Farrell's sells many types of meat, including rare breeds. They get all their beef from a farm in Skipton and source produce from Scotland too. Every steak they sell comes with Blackthorn sea salt which Jonny insists is "amazing on dry aged meat".
Address: Owd Barn, Spencers Farm, Rufford Road, Bispham, Near Ormskirk, Lancashire, L40 3SA
Nick's, Great Homer Street Market
Nick the butcher has been at Greatie Market every weekend for the past 40 years. The stall, run by Nicholas White, is at the market every Saturday and is a great place to buy good-quality meat at reasonable prices. They also sell a variety of incredible cheeses and 'award-winning' pies.
Completely packed out every week, staff are knowledgeable and always happy to help with a smile. Nick makes the long journey from his home in Wales all the way to Greatie every week.
He said: "I never miss a Saturday. Even when it was snowing I managed to get here and dig myself in and put the stall up. It is a way of life now." One customer told the ECHO: "The staff here are always so helpful and the food, especially the bacon, is really good. I don't go anywhere else for meat."
Address: Great Homer St, Dryden St, Liverpool L5 5AB
Aram, City Centre
If you're looking for good meat at ridiculously cheap prices, look no further than Aram on London Road. One of the many halal butchers in the Fabric District, produce is fres, with the butcher also selling marinated meats that are ready for cooking.
Lambs leg is £8.50 per kg, with them also selling mutton and goat along with beef, beef sausages and chicken. The butcher is located within international supermarket Aram where staff are a laugh and you can buy many variety of ingredients at a reasonable price.
Address: Hughes House, London Rd, Liverpool L3 8JA
What's your favourite butcher? Let us know in the comments.