Locked Down, our famers and producers need us more than ever. The second great wave of food processing is coming.
In the last month, the world has changed beyond more than we could have even begun to imagine. Restaurants are closed, many markets have shut, producers have lost customers, and the economics of many small artisan stores mean even small drops in footfall has left them on a cliff edge.
Meanwhile, supermarkets are overwhelmed, they have restricted their ranges to “feed the nation”. And we all know the sort of food which they are concentrating on: highly packaged, highly processed food with a long life. We are not meaning tinned tomatoes or chickpeas here, but a trip to a local store had plenty of flavoured processed noodles but light on fruit and veg, and think again if you want fresh herbs or eggs.
At the time of writing, Tesco reported sales up 30% over the last three months. A 30% quarter increase on a company that normally sells £60bn worth of food on its own.
The first great wave of food industrialisation came after the second world war, food that was for the battlefield was long life, easy to move about – even if poor in flavour or for our health. That food evolved into much of the food we have today. Now, those same industrial processors are increasing capacity as small producers go to the wall.
It does not have to be this way: some markets are still open if you live near one, and it’s open and you practice social distancing, the risk of shopping here is no more or less than in the average supermarket.
Likewise, if you have independents still open, then choose them – you may find that only two customers can be in-store at a time, and you may have to queue, but we need them there when we come out the other side.
Many producers also sold their goods to restaurants – they, in particular, need our help and support. If you haven’t tasted kid goat meat before, now is the time.
Stay safe. Stay Good, Clean and Fair now more than ever.