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Small butcher a cut above the rest

peter-bouchier“Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colours, there are only so many flavours – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.” – Wolfgang Puck

Today you can buy pretty much any household item from your supermarket. Especially with the introduction of Aldi to the Australian market and their infamous weekly special buys.

When it comes to buying groceries, supermarkets today are typically targeting budget conscious and convenience seeking consumers. They want it cheap, they want it now and they want everything in one place. However, in contrast to this theory, a recent study from IbisWorld reveals premium delicatessens have financially performed well over the past five years. While delicatessens, butchers and bakeries are normally found on shopping strips and centres therefore placing them in direct competition with major supermarket chains, increasing ‘premiumisation’ means there is a wide market of consumers with higher discretionary incomes willing to pay for more premium products and ultimately service.

IbisWorld also highlighted that the popularity of cooking shows such as Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, has contributed to a growing trend of more gourmet cooking. As consumers are becoming more willing to experiment with new flavours and ingredients, many of these products are not readily available in supermarkets, forcing consumers to look elsewhere for unique, less common items. Consumers then often require advice on how best to cook and serve these ingredients, and yet no matter how hard major supermarkets try, this need is one that cannot always be catered for by the larger formats.

Aldi have recently been trialling some newly designed stores based around the deli look and feel but ultimately, money cannot buy the organic nature and legacy that comes from a traditional butcher, grocer or baker.

‘Peter G Bouchier – Butchers of Distinction’ is not only a best practice example of capitalising on the ‘premiumisation’ trends highlighted by IbisWorld, but an example of a ‘fit’ retailer who’s proving innovation is possible in a small, very traditional brick and mortar format.

Commencing his apprenticeship in 1976 in a shop on Malvern Road only a few doors from the current shop location, Peter Bouchier began managing this shop in 1980 once he completed his apprenticeship; three years later Peter and his wife Sue purchased the shop from his boss and began the tradition that is Peter G Bouchier – Butchers of Distinction.

For Peter, butchery has always been about what’s next, new and creative. They not only keep up with food trends, but also set them. Continuous improvement, innovative ideas and the ability to adapt to the customer’s needs is what distinguishes this brand as such a unique and successful business. While a small business with one standalone store and a concession in David Jones Food Hall Melbourne, the brand still has a strong omnichannel presence allowing customers to access the premium product knowledge, inspiration and advice from their own home through the website and social media channels. For those seeking to explore their culinary skills the Peter Bouchier websitehas many recipes and tutorials humanising the brand and maximising on one of their points of innovation.

“I love creating unique, high quality products that really connect with peoples’ passion for great food,” Peter told a recent food blog. From Clonakilty Blackpudding, Musk’s sausages, flavoured sausages and a collection of German inspired smallgoods, the store offers its customers quality and consistency rather than bargains instilling a sense of confidence in their customers and ultimately building brand loyalty. Additionally the store’s transparent approach to sourcing from smaller suppliers, which is communicated by all members of staff, continues to build upon this strong customer relationship ultimately creating a sustainable and profitable relationship.

The Economy of Shopping Small Report commissioned by American Express highlighted the value of this customer relationship that small businesses such as Peter Bouchier excel at. The majority of consumers agreed small businesses provide positive emotional value, and give the community its identity and charm. As highlighted by Peter, butchers have always been strong community figures “they were thought of as jovial and approachable with a passion for what they do” and in the end, this connection with customers, even if it comes down to simply knowing a customer’s name or remembering a previous discussion/purchase, is their ultimate point of difference that simply cannot be mimicked by the supermarket giants.

Retail consultant and advisor, Brian Walker is founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Groupand can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or


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