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  • Writer's pictureMeyrick Consulting

Food Fads and fancies

This article stems from my reading of a piece about chlorinated chicken. What is it about that phrase that makes me feel slightly queasy? I kept asking myself: ‘is it really necessary that we should adulterate our food quite so much and is it really true that we are so short of chicken in the UK that we cannot provide our own?

8,000,000 pounds of chicken wings

While watching the Hairy Bikers eat their way down Route 66 I was truly astonished to learn just how much chicken the U.S consumes on the night of the Super bowl during Super Sunday. If you didn’t watch it’s that’s approximately 8,000,000 pounds of chicken wings. It’s enough to turn your stomach. Why is it that whatever we do it appears to revolve around food? It’s impossible to get away.

Variety is the spice of life

All this got me thinking that our reliance on one particular ingredient or type of food is never a good thing. If chicken was in short supply shouldn’t we eat something else? There was a time when chicken was considered a Phot Paulo Bendandi from Unsplash

luxury but now it appears inside every sandwich in the chiller cabinet. Perhaps post Brexit, if we ever get that far, we should take the opportunity to think again about how we grow and consume food in the UK. Isn’t variety the spice of life after all? Shouldn’t we do our best to vary the types of foods we eat to ensure we have the right nutrients?

Food waste should be a number 1 priority

I can’t help thinking that an element of faddishness comes from the simple fact that we actually experience so much choice. Back in the day meals were put on the table and if you didn’t like it you were forced to go without. Do I want to return to that? Well, I am not sure. But when you consider just how much food is wasted in the UK perhaps we should be less cavalier about the food we ignore or throw out.

According to Fareshare the UK Food Industry dumped 1.9 million tonnes of food during 2018.

That can’t be right can it? On a smaller scale I have seen this happening. I was in my local shop a few weeks back and they were throwing out bananas that were no longer green. Piles of packaged bananas were destined for waste. Think of all the energy, time, effort, knowhow and money, transport, packaging and person power it took to get those bananas on the shelves. Surely there must be a way for us to change our attitude to food and see it as a precious commodity that should not be taken for granted?

For the past fifty years, more or less, we have been living in a relatively plentiful food environment.

We spend a much smaller percentage of our annual income on food and we seem to fall victim of one food and diet fad after another. I’ve noticed many friends and colleagues advocating fasting; my two children are vegetarian and other friends won’t eat Quorn as it’s over processed. I can’t help wondering where we are headed; probably towards more allergies and food intolerances.

Should we stick to locally produced food for health?

However, what I do think is that now is the time to reassess our relationship with food. We cannot sustain our expectations that every single food stuff should always be on the shelves just in case we fancy a strawberry in December. There was a time when people ate locally and experienced the moulds and yeasts that were specific to their location. Is there something in that I wonder? Is the excessive choice of unusual foods contributing to food intolerance? Does anyone have any research evidence?

Is it time we practised a little restraint? I say this quietly!

But back down to earth, perhaps we should all think about eating smaller portions, shopping locally and seasonally and purchasing mindfully. With climate change high on the agenda the days of filling the trolley to bursting and then throwing our uneaten fridge food the following week has to be over don’t you think? We have never been so obese and one must consider that means we are probably not as healthy as we might be. Food is our fuel but it’s just one aspect of being alive and being healthy. Isn’t it time we exercised a little restraint so that really there would never be the need to import chlorinated or poorly treated chicken from anywhere in the world. What do you think?

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