If the meat section at your local supermarket is looking a little lean, there is another option: use contactless delivery from a butcher (or other grocery outlet), instead.
It comes as supermarkets are experiencing high demand from shoppers during the COVID-19 lockdown, which has been extended. Reports of "no meat" and "empty" shelves at Countdown over the weekend saw shoppers take to social media to express their concerns. Countdown general manager for corporate affairs Kiri Hannifin said "a small technical issue" affected meat picking and delivery in the North Island, which has since been resolved. Customers should see meat supplies "back to normal shortly", she said. In the meantime, there was a limit of six meat packs per customer.
The Countdown website on Monday confirms the limit. "We've got plenty of meat on it's way, but it's taking a little longer than we'd like", the website statement reads.
Under COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown rules, butchers are among the businesses able to offer contactless ordering and delivery services, along with bakeries, fishmongers and green-grocers.
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford told Newshub many butcheries are geared up to offer contactless delivery, adding that as meat is a perishable product, this adds "complexity and cost" to businesses. He understands many "are operating for contactless delivery now".
Contactless meat delivery during level 4 lockdown
Here's a sample of North Island stores compiled by Newshub, taking orders during level 4 lockdown and offering contactless delivery to customers, according to their websites or confirmed directly.
As a delivery fee is usually charged, (e.g. Mad Butcher charges $12 in Auckland, Farro charges $15), shoppers are wise to check the amount before placing their order.
- Omak meats (nationwide, including upper North Island).
- Aussie Butcher (Henderson, Kumeu).
- Mad Butcher (Glen Innes, Takanini, Pukekohe) .
- Westmere Butchery (phone or online).
- Piries Butcher (Mt Eden).
- Ellerslie Meats (Tues to Fri).
- Farro (Epsom, Mt Eden, Grey Lynn, Mt Wellington, Mairangi Bay and Orakei - delivery to greater Auckland).
- Mad Butcher (Chartwell).
- Mad Butcher.
- Mad Butcher.
- Meat Direct (Wellington city, Wairarapa, Kapiti Coast).
- Mad Butcher Upper Hutt (free delivery in some areas).
- Mad Butcher Lower Hutt (includes Wainuiomata and Stokes Valley, free delivery in some areas).
Although not a butcher, Farro confirmed it's open for in-store shopping and contactless delivery, selling meat along with vegetables, fruit and other grocery items.
Farro Fresh CEO Bryce Howard said during lockdown, its Auckland stores have plenty of meat in stock and the "normal specials cycle continues".
"We've been notified [on Monday morning] of some shortages, particularly on chicken…(that's mainly Bostock), but we do have good supplies of lamb, beef, pork, mince products in all our stores," Howard said.
Due to high demand, Farro's online delivery slots are booked out "until next week". Orders for next Tuesday deliveries are set to open at midnight on Monday.
"If you can come and shop with us, come and shop and do it safely, to try to leave those slots available for people who find it difficult or who are in isolation," Howard said.
Commenting about meat supply at Pak'nSave, New World and Four Square outlets, head of corporate affairs at Foodstuffs NZ, Antoinette Laird, said stores have "good supply".
"We know now, more than ever, getting great value is important to our customers and while we’re in Level 4 we’re continuing to deliver promotions, often prepared by one of our in-house butchers," Laird said.
Irrespective of where they're buying from, shoppers wanting to save money can look for bulk meat specials, and use other ingredients such as canned lentils, canned beans, canned tomatoes, grated carrot, and frozen vegetables, to make meat go further.
Budget-conscious shopper Tracy Hemingway, also known as the 'Debt-Free-Diva', suggests lockdown shoppers look for 1kg meat packs, divide them into portions and freeze them.
"Meat like mince, chicken breasts and drumsticks are my go-to’s for buying in bulk… I'll usually get a 1kg pack then break it up and cook half for a week's worth of meals, and freeze the other half for another week," Hemingway said.
Until supplies are replenished, shopping normally will help to ensure there's plenty of meat to go around.