Bygone: Big box store, bulk meat buying

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th September 2018

IF you needed further evidence the butcher shop was, to say the least challenged, Victoria’s largest independent retailer has entered voluntary administration.

Tasman Butchers’ poor performing stand-alone, big-box, bulk meat, stores at 17 sites across Melbourne and regional Victoria owe creditors, according to some reports, as much as $38 million.

Owner, Singaporean private equity firm Equity Partners bought into the company in 2013, exiting original owner Joe Catalfamo – who began his career in the meat industry as a teenager in the 1960s.

But how times have changed. The Tasman model relied on stand alone stores positioned in budget-minded, though largely time-poor and dual-income-family population growth areas.

Shoppers had to make a special trip to buy red meat (usually in bulk to make the stop worthwhile), and there was a limited range of complementary deli and grocery lines.

It’s perhaps a wonder the model lasted as long as it did competing against supermarket convenience, shrinking families, and consumer habits in terms of the frequency of shopping and dietary moves away from red meat.

The days of loading the home freezer after a bulk meat purchase belong with handlebar moustaches and Holden Monaros.

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Roy Morgan research published in April found Coles and Woolworths now account for more than 50 cents of every dollar spent on fresh meat in Australia.

“Butchers and markets held around a third of Australia’s fresh meat market in 2010 however this share has now dropped to just under a quarter,” Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said of the research.

The voluntary administrator appointed on Friday, Pwc is now trying to find a buyer for the cash-starved business.










The company producing ice-cream products under the Bottega del Gelato and Dairy Bell brands is also looking for a buyer after collapsing last week owing creditors upwards of $1 million.

Administrators at Cor Cordis were called in last week to oversee Bon Appetit Australia, which produces frozen goods.

The business makes jams under the Berry King label, as well as Bottega Del Gelato products, which are stocked throughout Australia including in independent supermarkets.

Bon Appetit Australia also makes ice-cream products under licence for Dairy Bell.

Established back in 1980, Bon Appetit is a family business that started out as a small Melbourne gelateria on Chapel Street. In 2011, the company began producing and supplying ice cream and gelato to a number of Australian businesses through the Bottega del Gelato and Brown Cow Ice Cream brands.

The company is the main producer of ice cream for the Dairy Bell ice-cream stores based in Victoria, and also runs a frozen and packaged fruit and jam brand called Berry King.

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