Go Organic: Cheap food doesn't have to be poorBy James Ashford
January 25, 2013
Tesco must be kicking itself after hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
But however queasy you might feel about eating horse there is a much deeper problem with some of the food we buy.
Food is big business. And where there are profits to be made corners will be cut.
Ironically the biggest profits in the food industry come not from the rich people buying organic fillet steak but from poor people who have to shop in the budget aisles.
Top quality food is expensive to produce and the profit margins are very small. Ask any craft producer or top-end restauranteur.
Highly-processed food at the budget end of the market generates far more profit because so much of it is – perfectly legal – cheap filler, fat and water.
And the saddest part of the scandal is that many of the people who end up buying poor-quality food can least afford to squander their cash.
If you are resourceful you can make delicious, healthy meals very cheaply. Traditional peasant food from every continent is filling and cost-effective but all too many of us have lost the knack and knowledge. Not everything on the value shelves is rubbish but you do have to know how to read a label.
Some of the big food manufacturers use guile that would make Sweeney Todd blush when disguising the contents of their products. Here in the UK we were healthiest during the war years when food was genuinely scarce but we were educated and encouraged to be thrifty. Now you practically need a degree in food science to be able to work out exactly what's in a packet of own-brand sausages.
As a nation we have become too-far removed from how our food is grown and reared which is part of the reason why much of what we eat is so poor.
Successive governments have also let us down. Mrs Thatcher was one of the scientists who found a way of incorporating twice as much air (and half as much ingredient) into Mr Whippy ice cream.
And now I'll get off my high horse.