A survey which claims consumers in the Irish Republic buy most of their meat in supermarkets is being disputed by the country’s retail butchers.

According to the survey, carried out for Bord Bia by TNS, in the 52-week period to the end of May Irish consumers bought only 18% of their meat from butchers, compared to 72% from supermarket chains and 6% from c-stores. In the previous year the butchers’ share had been just over 20%, with the supermarkets at 69%.

But the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland strongly disputed the survey. Chief executive Pat Brady said they suggested butchers did business worth only €158m in the period reviewed, which he claimed gave each shop an average weekly turnover of just €2,500.

“This could not be correct”, he said. He estimated “the real figure” for butchers’ shops at €530m, and said the Irish Food Safety Authority supported this.

Bord Bia is standing by the findings. It said the figures were based on an independent survey of 1,500 consumers.