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Ruxstons Pizzas in Wellington – Creating a takeaway with regenerative meat.

Pizza topped with Grass Fed Beef and Salami
Pizza topped with Grass Fed Beef and Salami

Having spent the last two years since Ruxstons inception in 2021, sourcing high welfare meat and going through the arduous but essential process of checking farms, abattors and even the transport of animals there was a rather silly thing that we were missing. Yes you could come to Ruxstons and buy this amazing 100% grass fed and pasture raised meat, to prepare an amazing meal for yourself at the weekend, or maybe that evening. But if someone walked into our shop hungry and asked for something to eat, you would only be met with a rather blank expression looking back at you. At that moment in time a frozen steak doesn’t quite fit the bill even if it is a beautiful one with great marbling. It was inevitable that we were going to start selling our own stone baked, handstretched pizzas topped with regeneratively farmed meat direct from the retail shop.

The reality is, there is a very large gap in the market, outside of a few examples in large cities, where the quality of meats in takeaway food is not of the highest, and very rarely traceable. People like ourselves and everyone who demands and values high animal welfare would get the vegetarian option rather than stomach a cash and carry brought chicken that couldn’t turn around in its cage. Or a pig that will have lived its life in a cold metal factory having animal feed crammed into it.

Why do normal takeaways use cheaper meat?

Rather than blaming a takeaway owner as someone who is uncaring, even if some do have little care over the matter, one of the reasons high quality meat is rarely used is because to make a takeaway business model work there will be waste on quiet days so the margins have to be very high, as on profitable days a lot of money can be made to cover inevitable losses on a cold Tuesday in January. If the cost of the ingredients, say factory grown chicken compared to our pasture raised chicken would be 10 times higher, then takeaways would need to start charging £20 a pizza which would certainly not impress the passing punters. However we found ourselves in a unique situation where we do not need to entirely survive on a takeaway margin, we have a regular retail shop and online business too.

Grass fed meat topped pizzas in Somerset

We do have a lot of stock that we can convert easily into a pizza topping. Say we purchase 100 chickens, and have them cut up into different pieces, the breast and thighs may sell well that month, and we need to re order chickens to get these cuts back in stock, but we have lots of pasture raised chicken drumsticks left, what do we do with these? We add them onto our new Chicken Tikka Pizza. The beauty of running this sort of business is this can change seasonally as our regular meat sales change. So whilst we may be left with a little bit too much beef mince from a cow one month, after a month of a spicy beef pizza the balance is correct to achieve zero food waste. We may have too many of Robert Hawkers venison sausages the next month and then they will just be added onto that pizza.

This is not a novel approach, no one at Ruxstons claims we are "leading the way" or pioneers in this regard. Farm shops and butchers have been doing this for years often with meat traceable back to the farm, however it will often be in the form of a sausage roll or burger purchased from their cafe, the approach is the same in terms of a takeaway, however the market and demographic is slightly different.

Handstretched Pizza
Handstretched Pizza

What Flavours of Pizza do we offer?

Our menu of Pizzas changes each week, otherwise things can be a little boring not only for the customers but also for us. Our traditional Margherita remains the most popular, interestingly far more at lunch time rather than the evening. We have added a little black pepper on top to give it is a slight twist and live up to our high risk philosophy. Our sliced up Grass Fed Beef Burgers with chillies has proved incredibly moreish and this is one that is never is rotated off the menu. We have also tried out Lamb, Cherry Tomato and Parsley which sadly did not reach the heights of the former. Lamb on a pizza was something I actually first tried in Lebanon a few years back but it does appear that there is not the demand for such a flavour in our current location, which was in spite of me breaking my own rules by keeping it running for multiple weeks despite low sales! Chicken Tikka has also been tried and whilst it does sell and received hugely positive feedback it did not come close to matching the spicy beef so will only make an appearance from time to time. The major success story still belongs to Goats Cheese and Red Onion, this sells out every week even if we sell nothing else. It was a customer recommendation and not a brainchild of ours. The goats cheese is sourced from Cricket st Thomas in Somerset which further helps our local supplier philosophy.

What this is doing is giving people a chance you may not be able to regularly afford our chicken to try it on a pizza, as our pizzas are no more expensive than any other takeaway despite the huge difference in quality of the ingredients due to the reasons already mentioned. This has had a huge impact and people can really tell the difference in quality of the meat and we regularly get comments as such. So if you are in Wellington or visiting Somerset and want a top quality pizza then drop into Ruxstons, sit down and enjoy a fantastic pizza topped with the highest welfare regenerative meats.


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