The cost of living continues to bite, with south-west shoppers looking for cheaper meat options, buying in bulk and spending less at the butchers.
Terang's Robbos Country Cuts owner Aaron Robertson said people were more measured in their purchases and buying less due to cost of living pressures.
"We're definitely finding people aren't buying as much and they're trying to look for a cheaper alternative for the family," Mr Robertson said.
"It's definitely taken a toll. You're noticing people holding off on a few items to make sure they can make their rent or mortgage or whatever."
The High Street butcher services its Terang base as well as customers from Mortlake, Peterborough, Timboon and Cobden, with the latter two towns no longer having their own butcher shop.
"Instead of saying 'I'll just get it', it's 'no I'll see how I am next week'," Mr Robertson said.
"It puts the onus on us to bring things to the table for the customers to entice them to come in and spend and keep things ticking over.
"You've just got to think a bit harder about what you can put out there."
Mr Robertson said while people were spending more cautiously "things are still going all right for the business".
He said he tried to offer as many specials as he could with customer spending habits having a flow-on effect further up the supply chain.
"I think suppliers are feeling the same pinch," Mr Robertson said.
"That butchers aren't buying as much so there's more specials coming out now."
Warrnambool's The Meat Barn manager Liam Shanley said he'd also noticed people watching their money and wanting value for money.
"There's definitely a big change in spending," he said.
"People are more focused on bargain buys and looking for specials.
"You can definitely tell people are on a budget, for sure. You can tell people are trying to curb their spending."
Mr Shanley said it was getting more difficult for customers to find alternative cost-effective options.
"There's not really too many cheaper cuts these days," he said.
"The price of chicken's through the roof coming off the back of beef and lamb going up last year and everybody started buying chicken, now chicken's expensive, so people are definitely looking to save a quid wherever they can."
Koroit's Meat at Beany's owner Adam Bean said his customers were purchasing their regular orders.
"We haven't noticed much (of a change), not yet anyway," he said.
"I assume it's going to happen soon enough. Our days and weeks have all been pretty consistent. We're just building the business, we took over 10 months ago. It hasn't dropped off at all.
"We normally run a couple of specials each week and everything sells as well. It keeps moving."
Warrnambool's Lucas Brothers Butchers owner Peter Harris said they hadn't noticed a big change in transactions.
"People have got to eat, people are looking at where they can save money on their meals but everyday people have still got to eat," he said.
Mr Harris said a roast that fed 10 people was a cost-effective family meal.
"You'll find people are eating at home a lot more," he said.
"We've got ready-made meals that we struggle to keep up with because people like to have the convenience, heat and eat and away you go.
"That's something we've focused on over the last six months and it seems to be working really well for us because people are time-poor."
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