Meat costs continue to rise for many people across Canada, as prices have stayed high since they began rising at the start of the year.

That was caused by a drought last year which had farmers selling off cattle thanks to low stocks of water and feed.

Now we're still feeling the effects of that price increase, and many consumers are looking for ways to avoid that increased price at the grocery store.

One way to do so is to go partways on cattle and to have that animal processed at an independent meat business.

Horizon Meats in Maryfield is one of those businesses and Manager Sarah Bedford says that across the whole pandemic they saw more people using their services.

"It's kind of been a mixed bag. As prices go up, obviously it's because producer's costs have increased, so our prices have gone up a bit as well. I think since COVID, there have been more people looking at alternative sources, so going directly to their producer, knowing where their food comes from, that kind of thing."

Horizon does the processing of the animal for the producers that they receive it from, and can create a variety of meats for the end consumer.

"Our main aspect of the business is the producer raises the beef when it's ready to market, they would arrange customers themselves and they would arrange customers themselves. Then they bring up an animal live and we do all the processing according to the customer's instructions. How they'd like it packaged, whether they want sausage, hamburger patties, that kind of stuff."

They've also had a retail side operating for a while, which provides meat without the need to purchase part ownership of a cow.

"We do retail business as well, but that's probably less of our main operation. That would be like bulk steak, we do ground beef, ground pork, that kind of thing as well."

Though she has seen more people looking for meat outside grocery stores, Bedford says whether or not they'll expand is difficult to say due to costs.

"It's hard to say because the cost of expansion is high, even before the pandemic and construction costs went up, the cost of expanding any food processing business is very high because of the standards you have to be able to meet."