Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Meat vendors hope for ‘merry’ Christmas with robust sales

Published:Wednesday | December 14, 2022 | 12:37 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Writer
Shoppers at the Cross Roads meat market purchase choice meats for Christmas festivities.
Shoppers at the Cross Roads meat market purchase choice meats for Christmas festivities.

Meat vendors in the Cross Roads Market are hoping for a big bump up in sales this holiday season, despite the challenges that have impacted the spending power of many local households.

One vendor, Mark Brown, who has been selling in the market for over eight years, says the signs have been good so far, especially with the main day, Christmas, to be celebrated over the weekend.

He says vendors prefer when the holiday falls on a weekend, such as a Saturday or a Sunday, because it raked in good sales.

This, he said, is because shoppers have an entire week to make their purchases, and it is also convenient for persons who receive their salary on a Thursday or Friday.

This year, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday and will be celebrated officially the following Monday.

Brown says that another major plus was that the COVID lockdowns saw an upsurge in the demand for different types of meat.

He reasoned that with curfew restrictions in place, it forced many families to eat more home-cooked meals, or limited their options to dine out at restaurants or at family homes.

Brown described it as a “win-win situation”.

“I remember that ... last year, I tell the man dem say, ‘Dah year ya, it nah go normal, enuh’, and it did happen. Everybody just come in and buy them meat because, remember, nuff people couldn’t go out ... so them buy in portions and go home ... because more family would be together,” Brown added.

With families no longer restricted by lockdowns and nightly curfews this year, Brown anticipates that the regular crowd for pork, goat, and poultry meat will turn out in their numbers.

He says prices for the provisions have also been significantly reduced.

Brown said that the cost for oxtail had gone down from last year’s price of a little over $2,000 per pound, to approximately $1,400.

Ram goat and she goat meats, he said, are constantly available on the market and, as a result, would be competitively priced at $1,500 and $1,100 per pound, respectively.

Pork, an in-demand item for locals, is currently being sold for roughly $500 per pound, and frozen sliced trout (fish) sold at $800 per pound.

He says keeping the price of the popular meat items stable for the season is crucial to maintain good sales.

“We nuh want it raise, enuh, because the people dem dun a bawl already,” he said of the prices, which typically see an increase closer to Christmas Day.

His wish for a heavy turnout of customers and robust sales is echoed by female seller Mizan Reid. She, too, is hopeful for a decrease in prices to attract even more buyers this year.

She told The Gleaner that her Christmas would only be ‘merry’ when enough customers show out to purchase, so that she can turn a profit.

Reid says last year’s holiday sales wasn’t among the best in her more than seven years of vending in the market, but she is still hopeful that things will be different this year.

She reasoned that although some meat which are typically consumed during the holiday season were expensive - like oxtail, boneless beef and chicken - people would still find the money to buy them.