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OUR MEAT AT HOME.

Although latterly the prices obtained ! m the London market for New Zealand frozen meat— that is to say more particularly mutton — have shown a marked improvement upon the absurdly low rates formerly ruling, it still remains the fact that the exporter does not receive anything like its value as compared with the prices paid for English and Scottish mutton. Why this should be so would appear on the face of things to be inexplicable, seeing that not only is best New Zealand fully equal to the best Home grown article, bat has even been at least, once pronounced to be superior thereto. But the otherwise unexplainable is explained by one word — prejudice. Prejudice goes, we know, a long way m more matters than those relating to alimentary products, and with respect to the latter it may with more force, perhaps, than m respect to any other thing be insisted that de gustibus non est disputandum. Anglicised, our quotation may be regarded as the equivalent of the old saw that " there's no accounting for taste," and if the disfavor with which New Zealand meat is largely regarded arose from a distinct preference for the flavor or quality or some other characteristic found to be peculiar to it after a fair comparison by the actual test of the palate with meat grown on English or Scottish pastures, then there would be an end of the matter, and it would be idle to argue against the Jiat of the Home consumer, who "paying his money " is clearly entitled " to take his choice/ 7 But the fact is that there are thousands who will not "taste and try," and consequently deoline to buy New Zealand meat, as New Zealand meat, but who, for all that, both buy and eat and also enjoy it, believing it to be the primest Home-grown, and what is more pay for it at the price of Home-grown, This, however, to the advantage of the retail vendor, and not to that of the New Zealand exporter, who receives only the prioe of an inferior article. Very plain proof of this state of things is given m a letter published m the " Otago Daily Times " a day or two ago. The writer is a Mr David Mann who, until recently, carried on business as a butcher m Dunedin, but is now carrying on the same trade m the West End of London. He writes—" Place a first-class New Zealand wether alongside an old English ram and you will get from 2d to 2£d per pound more for the latter, and all owing to the prejudice against frozen meat. Until this prejudice is removed New Zealand meat will stand as it is, I know there is any amount of it retailed as prime English mutton and lamb, but I won't say Ido it. Ido not blame anyone for selling it as English, and m faot it speaks highly for it that it can be sold as such, although New Zealand loses the credit of it. When a customer is hard to please, the butcher, although he may have no English meat m his shop, fyili' say ; ' 'T-his is none of that nasty foreign frozen meat. All purs is slaughtered at the rear of our premises.' If you told a customer that, this is a fine leg of mutton, just from New Zealand, yon would soon have the shop to yourself. Of course this way of gelling will never affect the wholesale price, as everything under the name of frozen goes hand m hand with cheapness." Mr Mann seems to of ever rooting out the prejudice to whioh he refers, avowing the belief "that New Zealand frozen meat will never command the price to which its quality entitles it." J?9 'tfeer^s to lopk forward to the discovery of some other process th&n'thut of freezing as the only solution' of the difficulty and writes that as soon as meat can be preserved by some other method he has " no doubt it will command its proper value." The powder process, of which we heard so much a few months ago, seems to have turned out a failure, and we doubt very much whether any chemical process will ever befouad to angwe^ so ijhatif. we haye s as we 1 believe w9 shall have, 'to depend upon refrigeration, then, if Mr Mariti be fisty} there is vdry little hope of our pver, $ett}ng the full yalu'e for bur pro<iuoe. ' J3ut we cannot ljelp believing that Mr Mann is too despondent, and that the prejudice which he finds too strong to remove at present will yield to time and experience, and that bofqrp • many years are over the 1 prime ! ' qtiHWy qf " s Ne.tir Zealand meat wilf !l 8 universally known find ' »"-;» -w^^w. *.ha .nninniai grower aamumu, mi ..„ __ will eventually receive the full benefit of the prioe paid by the consumer, less only the fair profit and oharges of the, carrier w& dirtr Mar.

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OUR MEAT AT HOME. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 22358, 24 September 1889

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