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Independent greengrocers and butchers disappear from the high street

Monday 03 December 2012

The number of independent greengrocer and butcher shops in the Netherlands has plunged by almost 50% since the turn of the century, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS.

The Netherlands now has 2,600 butchers shops and 1,300 greengrocers, a decline which mirrors the rise of large supermarkets, the CBS says.

The number of supermarkets has also gone down, from 7,100 to 5,800 but they've gone up sharply in size.

'Supermarkets are benefiting from longer shop opening hours and the principle of one-stop shopping,' a spokesman for the CBS said.

Not all specialist shops have been hit by the rise of the supermarket. The number of bakeries and fishmongers has remained relatively stable.

Where do you do your shopping? Share your thoughts using the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (17)

I love the open markets and think they have the freshest produce and fruit. I have tried to shop at those green grocers and find their produce sometimes too old and very expensive. I also like to buy biologic and many supermarkets are following that trend including Sligro where I have a membership.

By M | December 3, 2012 3:30 PM

I shop mostly at the AH or other stores where I can get most of the stuff I want in one place. All these little shops are inefficient, but very nice to have if you can afford the time to go from place to place looking for all the little things you need. I just don't have the time.

By Dave | December 3, 2012 3:47 PM

(AH) 3 x white/brown bread - €2,00 ..
Often with extra 35% discount.
Euroshopper products, lousy packaging but the same food inside.

Make deals at the market, never pay the asking price. Fruit & veg that doesn't look perfect & won't keep long, the Dutch are fussy lol!

Things to ignore:

Slogans like fresh, cheap, special offer, fancy packaging & the shelf at eye-level. The meat is often illuminated with a rose coloured tube to enhance the colour, free coffee & 2 out of 10 checkouts = to keep you there!

Check out the ground-shelf, avoid the 'ready meals', mostly over cooked boring & expensive crap, learn how to cook! "V" ;)

By The I-love-shopping-visitor | December 3, 2012 5:40 PM

Dutch "butchers" (that don't butcher) just repackage packaged meat and are no loss whatsoever from where I sit.

By David | December 3, 2012 5:48 PM

Where are these 'large supermarkets' they keep talking about? Are they the ones with 12 aisles instead of 8?

By osita | December 3, 2012 6:29 PM

That is a normal trend. The idea of shopping in one different store for every item you need, all with limited opening hours, is a relic of bigoted times when women were deemed unfit to work and have careers. Now, convenience is needed. I couldn't see myself visiting 5 different stores every week instead of going to Alber Heijn.

By A.L. | December 3, 2012 11:55 PM

I regularly have to go to multiple supermarkets because they sold out of or don't even stock what I want. My local veg shop (now closed) didn't sell potatoes?
My local butchers refused to order me lambs kidneys, real bacon, minced pork. Shopping in NL sucks!

By Anne Onymous | December 4, 2012 12:02 AM

Its a shame,
my local greengrocer knows what he's selling, and is honest. Hell he even makes his own ready meals for people on the go. A lot of the produce in AH is a joke. Rotten veg still on the shelves, and I definitely avoid buying bread there if I can. 5 min walk away and I find a baker selling better bread that cost only a little more.

By Mike | December 4, 2012 9:22 AM

I went to my local Butcher because there was a sign saying there was Lamb on offer. I asked him to mince it for me and he refused saying it would dirty his machine! I left empty handed and never went back. They closed down and another butchers appeard which has also since closed down.

By Corv | December 4, 2012 10:22 AM

To the people complaining that butchers refuse to mince lamb/pork etc. Suggest to them (you have nothing to lose) that they do what everyone with experience in home sausage making knows: Run a slightly moist lump of bread through the machine and the meat will come off. This way you can immediately mince another type of meat until you open the mincer and clean it (which HAS to be done regularly). Finally if the butcher shows signs that he is not cleaning the mincer GET OUT OF THE STORE IMMEDIATELY AND DO NOT RETURN.

By Neo | December 4, 2012 10:55 AM

Many negative comments regarding AH supermarkets on DN: I think the different outlets vary according to how they are managed, some good, some bad..

By The I-love-shopping-visitor | December 4, 2012 1:58 PM

Most meat I buy from AH or Dekamarkt except pork, for which I have found an excellent local butcher who cuts chops that are actually thick enough that they aren't transparent and from where I can order ground pork.

And there's the expat stores where I can order my Christmas turkeys.

I find it annoying that whole chickens only average about 1.2 kg here when every recipe asks for a bird of at least 1.5 kg.

I just wish these small places would open ONE evening during the week...Or on a Sunday just to accommodate working families.

By CW | December 4, 2012 2:35 PM

I've been to visit NL twice and loved the place. The small shops were clean, well stocked, wonderful. The AH left me cold. It was dirty, and the shelves were stocked sparsely. I have to say, my HEB Plus leaves everything you have in the ditch. It's about the size of the Amsterdam Arena, and it has EVERYTHING. The prices are half of what you are paying, and the veg looks pretty nice and fresh 95% of the time. You would be overwhelmed by the HEB. It would freak you out. I love that store.

By The Cat Lady | December 4, 2012 2:56 PM

I'm only a tourist for 3 weeks every other year. But I'm a regular at both AH and a group of small shops near Rembrandtsplien in Amsterdam. I try not to eat like a tourist, so I fix most of our meals. I buy a few small pre-packaged items at AH like the Kip Satay and maybe some Pate. But for cheese and bakery items I go to the small shops. The baked goods are fresher and the cheese selection is far greater. There is a green grocer right below were I stay and it's always fresher there than AH.

By AJVaughn | December 4, 2012 5:49 PM

I shop at independent stores as I believe they are essential to the health of a robust economy. Loss of small businesses is an indicator of loss of economic health, the same people who think that small stores are less efficient will find less jobs in the market. In addition I prefer to keep my shopping experience a personal one , where I can actually interact with a person. I also a good part of my shopping in the organic market ,as I enjoy the delicious , fresh organic produce and to support the dwindling Dutch farmers...My contribution to this society and economy as long as I live here ....

By Devi | December 4, 2012 6:59 PM

I go to the Turkish Butchers and Shops. They are the best and they have the most fresh food stuffs from Turkey but they also have western food stuffs like the potatoes chips. I look forward to day when Turkish company buys the Albert Heiin and everybody can buy best Turkish food.

By Deniz Bilmen | December 4, 2012 9:56 PM

I like to shop the small green grocers and butchers on weekends when I have time. It is gezelllig.

By Quince | December 5, 2012 10:27 AM

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