This east end butcher says he doesn’t mind a bit of competition from the UK’s first vegan butchers down the road.

Peter Sergeant, 64, told that ‘trade is very bad’ with so many people eating less meat, but said he is ‘too long in the tooth’ to worry about the new ‘meat-free’ rival opening in Shoreditch tomorrow.

Sainsbury’s is launching the vegan pop-up for Meat Free Week, selling everything from Cumberland shroomdogs to veggie ribz.

It will all be dressed up to look like actual butcher meat but will be made from the likes of mushroom, jackfruit and pea protein.

Peter has been selling traditional cuts of meat at The Butcher Shop in Bethnal Green for 40 years, but says he’s open to a bit of a change.

He told ‘I don’t mind it at all. People can eat what they want.



‘It’s not my choice. If they want to come to me then they can come to me. If they want to go somewhere else, they can go somewhere else.

‘I do understand we’re in a progressive world now and perhaps that’s the way things are progressing.

‘Perhaps I’ll be out of a job soon. I’m old now, I’m 65. I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember.’

Peter says he’s seen lots of trends come and go in his part of London.

He said: ‘Perhaps meat-free is the new trend. You’ve only got to go Shoreditch to see the hipsters.’

When asked if he’s offended by the vegan shop using the word butcher, he said: ‘I’ve got no objection. If that’s going to be the way of the future, so be it.

‘When I first got my mobile phone I was embarrassed to use it in the street. I thought people would think I’m nuts but I use it in the street now.’

He said he now plans to take the short trip down Bethnal Green Road to check out the competition.

He said: ‘I’ll go have a look. It will be interesting to see what they do actually. If I thought it was going to be commercially viable perhaps I’d take it on myself I think.’



But he later admitted he didn’t think vegans would want to buy their food in a room surrounded by meat.

Despite more and more people cutting meat out of their diet, Peter says he is thankful for meat-eating immigrants moving into the area.

He said: ‘There’s so many vegans about now but I can’t mind them being vegan.

‘It’s not up to me. I’m lucky because so many Europeans have moved in. There’s so many Italians and you can’t see them packing up meat.

‘There’s Spanish too but the English have changed their ways.

‘It used to be the Irish. If you had an Irish butchers years ago, you’d sell a lot of meat because they ate a lot.

‘But now they don’t seem to share a sausage round here.’