Smithfield Market, Britain’s biggest and oldest wholesale meat market is a closed, twilight, male dominated world, steeped in history and tradition. Once the site of London’s livestock market in the 12th century, it began trading in meat nearly 150 years ago and for decades reigned supreme as the sole supplier of meat and poultry in the South East.
This monopoly meant that Smithfield could play by it’s own rules but now the market’s dominance is in decline. The supermarkets, and increasingly the catering and butcher trade have begun dealing directly with the abattoirs so trade is bleeding away.
This new landscape means Smithfield needs to value its customers more than ever. But for many of the market men, coming to terms with the modern, politically correct world of customer service is proving a struggle.