Are meat cutter job opportunities growing or declining?

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Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most meat cutter opportunities?

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Ana in Asheville, North Carolina

76 months ago

I think jobs in the industry are definitely on the rise, however the market as we know it is splintering into niche interests. I started out with a gourmet conventional store that was extremely high volume, and since then I've been working with all-natural markets whose volumes have increased dramatically over the last few years. surely that business is coming from conventional markets. I'm finding that with the introduction of food networks and all of the food recalls in recent years consumers have higher standards or they're simply more informed. They're looking for a personal connection with the people who provide them with food, and shrink wrap and styrofoam trays aren't cutting it anymore.

I run the butcher shop now at a gourmet farmers market in the mountains of North Carolina, and my advice to anyone looking for work as a meat cutter is to be informed. I think that people with lots of restaurant experience make great meat cutters because they know the basic cuts (I can always teach you more or tweak what you do know), but they have outstanding customer service and offer customers cooking recommendations. I look for people who are simply passionate about food in general, have a respect for where it comes from and aren't too busy or shy to ask questions from the farmers and meat vendors we work with.

Meat cutting, I've heard, is a dying trade, and the evidence of that is the fact that work is not difficult to come by. Granted many meat cutters are raging alcoholics or drug addicts, but if you're not either one of those things, most stores are thrilled to have you and will very nearly hire you on the spot. What moves you up the corporate ladder, though, or gives you the best job security is knowing a lot ABOUT the meat you sell, not just the cuts themselves.

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jad123 in Scottsdale, Arizona

51 months ago

When I was a meatcutter (over a decade ago) all the stores were moving to replace as many meatcutter positions as possible with lower skilled and lower paid meat wrappers. When I started out in that career, on a busy night we would have maybe 5 meatcutters and 3 meatwrappers working. When I left that career on a busy night we would have 1 or 2 meatcutters working and half a dozen wrappers working.

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brian in Florence, Alabama

43 months ago

I believe most major chains will convert to pre-packaged meat over the next 5-10 years due to the availability and costs associated with meat cutters. Wall-Mart did it to save on payroll and workman compensation claims. Others will follow suit. Smaller independents will be the last to convert, but the pay at those type stores is much less.

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ZoZoBop in New Westminster, British Columbia

43 months ago

I am i meat cutter in a chain grocery store, and yes i have noticed they have almost gone all to pre-pack products. There is only ever one person who can cut meat on shift and most times were gone at 5pm. I rarely cut any more, only for special orders or if we run out of something. Most of the cutting is done at a central plant assembly line still were one journeyman meat cutter is in charge of 10 or more. It's just the way of the times.

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ZoZoBop in New Westminster, British Columbia

43 months ago

Oh forgot to answer first question yes it declining, but as original poster said they are getting on in the years and almost all alcoholics, or into drugs. But there is still a demand, and it becoming a shortage, if you know your stuff there are a lot of jobs out there.

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jimhenry in Morgantown, Pennsylvania

41 months ago

jad123 in Scottsdale, Arizona said: When I was a meatcutter (over a decade ago) all the stores were moving to replace as many meatcutter positions as possible with lower skilled and lower paid meat wrappers. When I started out in that career, on a busy night we would have maybe 5 meatcutters and 3 meatwrappers working. When I left that career on a busy night we would have 1 or 2 meatcutters working and half a dozen wrappers working.

I think this may have turned around. The company I worked for as a meat manager/Chief Journeyman did go to all pre-packaged items, or at least 90% so they could get by with very few meat cutters. They found that it severely impacted sales. Many customers still want a knowledgeable journeyman meat cutter to advise them and they want to buy a product produced on-site. So now it has turned around. Pathmark made the same mistake a decade or 2 earlier in their Deli or as they call it the Appetizing dept. going to all pre-cut lunch meat. It was all about labor costs and it killed sales so they switched back in the Deli too.

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Steve in Victoria, British Columbia

22 months ago

In 1977 I made 10 dollars an hour as a meat cutter.I applied for a job at a corporate grocery store.They offered me part time and 15 dollars an hour. The guy putting up the kellogs corn flakes made 21 dollars an hour. There is no respect for a meat cutter any more.I would not recomend this trade to anyone. As you can train too work in the grocery where it is warm and dry and the training only lasts for 20 minutes.It is funny that we do not respect the people prepareing your protein

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Jim H in Brighton, Michigan

22 months ago

Steve, what chain did you apply to and in what city?
I have said several times that folks looking for a trade would do much better by picking almost any trade instead of meatcutting. For example, there is such a need for machinists, lathe operators, and welders in the USA that if you go to trade school for one of them, there will be several employers waiting to start you at $30/hour once you finish that training, or so several newscasts have reported. I was making $21/hour as a chief journeyman (meat manager) when I quit back in 1996 and I now earn triple that in my new field.
Jim

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