CHOICE membership

Supermarket Butchers

An article regarding Coles possibily making instore butchers redundant.

A nearby Coles ditched both the meat department and the deli months ago and only sells pre-packed items, and both the revamped Coles and the new Woolies in the Cairns Central Shopping Centre only sell pre-packed meat.

The meat department manager at another nearby Coles tried to tell me a few years ago that there is no such breed of cattle as Angus, and only cattle from some southern property named Angus are actually Angus beef.

The majority of items on display in the meat section in Coles are all pre-packed, and many are also cryovaced or otherwise sealed, including the mince, the sausages, the steaks, and even the “pretend meat products”

The only thing I see the meat department employees doing at Coles or Woolies is wheeling out heavy trolleys stacked with cartons of pre-packed products and placing the contents on the shelves.

It is a vast cry from our local Supa IGA where almost all of the meat department items are prepared and packaged instore and customers can request meat to order like the “olden days”.


Interesting. Our Coles still employs butchers. I sometimes get them to dice up some chuck for me if theres none already out on the shelf. They are behind the shelves/fridges chopping, dicing, carving.


Woolworths “streamlined” their meat department some time ago, and the quality of their prepacked red meat immediately noticeably declined. The chicken is OK though. The butcher shop staff were not happy at the time and those remaining still aren’t. My local Woolies still has a small inhouse butcher counter which is generally OK for quality, although the quantity/range is limited.
Westfield installed a fancy dedicated butcher/fast food shop opposite Woolies. It has seen three tenants go bust since it opened a few years ago, combined with long periods of no occupancy and hence no rent for Westfield!.


Nearly all of us are used to this common layout with fresh meat, chicken, seafood, F&V retailers located close to the big supermarket entrances. It’s hard to see how these small businesses can survive against the big supermarkets. These can offer many low cost volume backed specials, long overwhelming displays with the appearance of variety, personal choice, all offering the convenience of grab and move on to entice the shopper. One stop shopping and checkout.

The thought of having to follow up at the specialty butcher, seafood etc, with the ice cream melting in the trolley might be too much for many. It’s been a frequent point of discussion when we have been shopping together for the whole family, two trolleys in tow. It’s the allure of the supermarket fir a customer choosing which packed cuts vs the unwanted choice of the butcher of the hidden chops hidden under the prime display samples. Some shoppers are more assertive than others. Some butchers play these games - short term gain for longer term - no customers.

We shop at the local butcher in our small shopping area, because it’s convenient, and we can get exactly the cut or quantity over the counter. The nearest big super market is in the next town.


The shopping center near me , Altona Central , has a Coles New World complete with butcher and bakery .Outside Coles in the Mall there is a Hot Bread Shop that you have to que up to be served , a butcher nearby who is doing a thriving trade a green grocer that is usually packed to rafters with shoppers , a Deli that does brisk business and a fish monger . Goes to show that good product line and service are appreciated ,

Unfortunately when Coles New World opened up in Pier St Altona the 3 green grocers and 3 butcher shops we had soon closed down mores the pity .