The Swiss are turning their backs on beef this Christmas in the wake of the scare over Mad Cow Disease (or BSE). Instead, families are using different types of meat for their Christmas favourite, "fondue chinoise" (meat fondue).
A spokesman for the supermarket chain, Migros, said the drop recorded in beef sales was continuing in the pre-Christmas period. "Our customers want their fondue chinoise without beef," Andrea Müller said.
She said that in place of beef, customers were buying horsemeat, poultry, and veal for their traditional Christmas dinner. She added that those who were buying beef were being more selective and opting for fillet steak and entrecote.
The Co-op chain reported similar findings. It said around 10 per cent less beef had been sold since October, when fears over the spread of BSE were renewed.
But confidence in Swiss meat remains high, the supermarkets say.
Not surprisingly, the slump in beef sales has resulted in a fall in price. One kilo of beef now costs around SFr53 ($32) in Migros, down SFr10 from last year.
By contrast prices for venison, pork and lamb have remained constant. Besides beef, goose and turkey are popular choices for Swiss Christmas dinner.
swissinfo with agencies