Pounds and ounces could return - here's what Sheffield market traders say

Pounds and ounces could be allowed to return to shops and markets – but don’t expect to see price labels at Sheffield’s markets swapped any time soon.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 3:48 pm
Updated Friday, 1st October 2021, 3:48 pm

Ministers have announced a major review of all EU laws automatically kept on the statute book since Brexit, and a “Brexit Opportunities” document released by the Cabinet Office said: “We will review the EU ban on markings and sales in imperial units and legislate in due course.”

Single market rules were designed to standardise weights and measures throughout the EU, although the UK never went fully metric with units like pints and miles remaining.

Regulations were introduced in 1994 requiring goods to be weighed in metric.

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Dean Batty, of Dean's Family Butchers at the Moor Market

Stall holders at The Moor Market were split on the issue.

Dean Batty, from Dean’s Family Butchers, said he would welcome a return to pounds and ounces.

“People still ask for pounds and ounces. We have to put two prices on,” he told The Star.

"I think it would be a good thing. Most people who come in the market ask for things in pounds and ounces but we have to have a kilos price bigger than the ounces.

Susan Osborne of Mick's Grade A Meats at the Moor Market

"I think it would be better for my customers.”

Shaun Osborne, of Morley’s Meats, agreed. He said: “I would imagine 70 per cent of people are still asking for pounds and ounces nowadays. It's never really gone away, it’s just we have to weigh everything in kilogrammes.

“A lot of the older people don’t know what they’re asking for. They’re asking for kilogrammes when they only want a pound or half a pound.

“A lot of the foreign people, they do ask for kilos but a lot of the English, especially the older people we’ve been serving for years and years, they still ask in pounds and ounces.”

Shaun Osborne, of Morley Meats at Moor Market, Sheffield

Others believe both measures are here to stay.

Susan Osborne, at Mick’s Grade A Meats, said: “Some of the young ones ask for kilos, although mostly we get asked for pounds. I think you’re going to have to have both though because youngsters are used to kilos. There’s a split between the two.

"For us who work here, it’s not a problem. We know half a pound is about 225g, so we just work it out. We’re still going to have to work with both.”

Green grocer Ian Bingham, who runs Bingham and Browne, said: “We’ve had both on the price labels here. If they’re going to say you can just have pounds and ounces, we will just continue as we are now. The younger generation were brought up with kilogrammes, and the older ones want pounds. We had to have the scales converted to kilogrammes, so I think we’d still weigh in kilos, and display both prices on the shelves. We’re self service, so people take what they want anyway.”

Ian Bingham, of Bingham and Browne, at Moor Market, Sheffield

Garry Mitchell, of Dearne Farm Foods said: “When we left with Brexit, the older customers were saying we’d be going back to pounds and ounces. I said you can’t be serious. It would cost too much with the tickets and the scales, and there’s a generation who don’t know pounds and ounces.

"I advertise in metric, but I know a quarter of a pound is 113g. Things are hard enough at the minute without changing things like this.”

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper. Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor

Garry Mitchell, of Dearne Farm Foods, at the Moor Market, Sheffield