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I have lurked on this thread for what seems like a year now and it is especially fascinating when we have the current and no doubt short lived shout about school food.

Despite Tarkas fears for the overworked shopkeeper :wink: I do think that local suppliers could help themselves most by extending their opening hours to mirror those on the continent where they open later and then close for a long lunch and then re-open until 8pm. They could still work the same number of total hours. I dont think that this would be too much of a burden. The French and Italians seem to have survived doing it for the last few centuries.

The point about wholesale markets opening early is now slightly redundant as most of the fish in them has been on ice for days by the time it gets there. A few hours extra wouldnt harm it or alter the time when I eat it. The reason the markets open at these odd hours is an historical traffic ban on big food transport carts in daytime hours which meant that the goods were transported at night into the heart of big towns. With new markets built on the edge of town there is only sentimental reasons to stick to these hours especially as most food now goes nowhere near them and we have refrigerated transport..

I think it is important to remember that not only is supermarket food of low quality (I think the water is back in Tescos Finest Pork Chops by the way) but that local shopping is vital in creating a sense of community. I know my local Butcher, Greengrocer and Baker by name (and they know me too) whilst I rarely see the same face more than once behind the counter at the supermarket. This sense of community is vital in engendering respect for an area and its population. At the local shop you see not only the owner but other locals and more often than not find yourself talking to them. Every piece of evidnce ever found by sociologists says that strong communities suffer less from crime and vandalism.

Anyway sorry to witter but in short Satanscos and Satanberries are responsible for not only the persecution of smaller producers, the drastic fall in quality of our most easily available food but also for crime and vandalism too!

The moral is buy food from your local butcher instead of mugging him.

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JUst wanted to add a word that not all supermarkets are the same. Booth's, which we have up here in t'North, has just opened (at their Kendal store IIRC) an area called something like 'artisan' for local producers to sell. Booth's are committed to local producers wherever possible. They're not cheap though...

Which is probably why they'll stay up'north.


It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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hello all

intersting discussion. Would anyone be interested in a forum taking place in june to discuss markets, their importance and their architecture?

isaac

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Artisan is a great shop - I got some magnificent Sillfield bacon and Staff of Life bread, amongst lots of other local goodies, last time I was in Kendal. The in-shop restaurant, which seems to use the produce/products in the shop, is decent as well. I think the menu was created by Stephen Docherty, ex of the Punchbowl Inn.


PS

Edinburgh

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First off, I think we need to accept the dynamics of a free market, because frankly, in my book anyway, the alternative is too heinous to contemplate. By that I mean, a controlled market or Government interference. Don't get me wrong, the buying power of the multiples infuriates me and every time I see another few pence knocked off an every day staple (like plastic bread), it makes me weep.

But where does the responsibility lie? If we blame the multiples for chasing the Walmart model by offering an increased range of product at increasingly competitive prices we need to first accept that it is in response to market demands. Not only is the market more price driven than before, but it is also becoming more informed. Do you see where I'm going?

We need to take into account our history and demographics to fully understand why branded food has risen to these dizzy heights in the first place. It's not just globalisation, transportation and greed. Like most eGulleteers, I didn't experience a war, food shortages or the need to grow my own food to survive. But to people who did, can you imagine the joy of suddenly having the buying power to buy the latest and greatest new product, practically ready to eat? And this change all happened in a relatively short period of time. As the decades have progressed, the public has become more savvy, and own brand product was a direct response to a market for staples at a competitive price. This was followed by premium own brand products, which in reality, have become brands in themselves.

So now do you see where I'm going? Yes, this penny might have a slightly slow descent, but I think we need to believe that we will get there. We should inject a bit of hope into this argument and take it from there. Jamie's Dinners were mentioned in an earlier post and I sincerely hope that the Jamie effect won't be short lived. This to me is a real opportunity. The ground PR work has been done by him (because, let's face it, nothing gets the column inches unless it has a well recognised face attached to it), so now it is up to the media to respond in a more holistic way. By this I mean get off the single issue 'Michael Moorish' sound bites. The media, like the food market has become very polarised and guess what, this is good for their sales too. What I can't abide are these completely one sided arguments that intentionally set one side against another.

Sorry about the rant! The bottom line is, I do believe that the market has the ability to change, although this will be dependent on effective media coverage on the issue ie acceptance that the turnaround is going to be gradual and less emphasis on sensational isolated facts that instill guilt and painc. I believe in the free market and I believe that everyone out there is not a thicko, determined to gorge themselves and their children on turkey twizzlers till kingdom come. Am I alone in this?

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I am afriad that the inexorable economic reality is that cheap food is always going to be mass produced crap.

Lots of people are poor and/or don't care about food, so will always buy the cheapest food.

The best we can hope for is that the bottom end is not positively harmful; some of which has been dealt with by food adulteration laws that go back quite some time, and some of which may be dealt with by new legislation.

And with the best will in the world I don't believe this claim that if you factor in the true costs (externalities like environmental damage, hidden subsidies etc.) that everybody will be eating organic turnips six months of the year.

I live in London and have a choice between cheap crap, and expensive high quality goods. (actually I can also find expensive crap quite easily but that's another story). I certainly wouldn't want either of those two choices taken away, and it must be difficult to live in an area where the choice is between two (or one) big supermarket.

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Just wanted to add or perhaps clarify I once heard that in the UK we spend about 1 tenth of our income on food, where as the French spend about 4 tenths of there income! Surely its down to the majority if this is the case, we wont more for our money and the supermarkets will win. For until the majority reach the same expenditure as those in France presuming this is correct.(Though I was under the impression that it was slowly happening in France as well!) Price will be the driving force for the consumer.

Would appreciate it if some one does know the relative expenditure of income on food in comparison to our European neighbours, if they could post the relative info or link!


Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!

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Well for England it is about 10% -- 43.50 food and non-alcoholic drink out of a weekly household expenditure of 418. But you must add in restaurants and hotels (34.90) and of course booze and fags (11.70). So that makes .. sucks pencil .. carry one .. mmm... say 20%, but taking out fags and hotels (theres a joke in there somewhere -- get those fags out of my goddam hotel ...) it is probably about 15%.

40% sounds implausibly high though.

Link:

stats a go go

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Hi balex

Wasn't sure of exact figures but i'm sure it is quite a bit higher, they are a culture of food though. I remember discussing with a French man and he said have I had Duck Liver on steak he lost me for a mo, had he said Foie Gras i'd of known what he meant. Even the regular folk in France seem to eat good food, not even sure where I heard it originally, but you kinda of confirmed the original statement. Reckon if you include Hotels and restaurants from a French point it may come out higher still just need someone to find the French stats now my French isn't up to that. once I lose the cooking terms I get well lost I struggle on the recipes. :wacko:

Thanks for link

Edit: Typos all over(I'm not meant to write, just cook)

I found table from 93 that puts there expenditure at one and half time ours. No nearer to 2005

http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:3HgM3...lient=firefox-a


Edited by PassionateChefsDie (log)

Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!

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Just stumbled on this thread and as I've just started reading Shopped I thought I'd add my two'penneth before I spend it down the local supermarket.

Tescos,Sainsburys et al are as big as they are because they are good at what they do - purchasing, distributing and selling goods (and increasingly services) to as many people as possible. The food element can be criticised in parts for being low-grade stuff but they stock it because it sells - none of them are inherently low-rent outlets and if there was a public clamour for GM-free/seasonal/locally-produced/organic (delete as appropriate) food above all else then they would bring their experience and marketing abilities to bear on ensuring that the public got it. I don't think they have to be answerable for the actual or perceived quality of the food they sell - if there are standards then they should be applied across the board (ie by legislation).

If there were to be legislation concerning supermarkets then one of the primary areas that I think needs to be addressed is that of planning permission - such is the buying power of these organisations that they seem to situate themselves wherever they please, sweetening the deal with councils with the offer of providing the facilities - low cost housing, sports centre, whatever - that the council is not able to fund themselves. The effect they have on an area is profound - not just aesthetically or environmentally but in terms of the displacement of exisiting traders (food and non-food) whose land is CPO'd for peanuts, replacing skilled workers from a range of trades with low-level till operators and warehouse pickers. Where I am in Birmingham our closest supermarket, Safeway's, after briefly flirting with a Morrison's re-brand, has now closed and, because its agglomeration of services stifled and killed off competition, the area is now in decline - card shops and charity shops to the exclusion of all else do not constitute a thriving retail environment.

We have all (individuals, local and national government) encouraged and perhaps benefitted from the rise of the supermarket and pocketed a bit of cash as a consequence. The darker consequences of such encouragement are increasingly evident and as with other issues that have evolved unchecked we have to decide whether we shrug and just regard it as the way the world is today or else determine ways to halt if not rollback the impact of supermarkets on our society.

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Out of curiosity, how do we (the Royal We) feel about places that toe the line: Fresh & Wild, for instance. Definitely a supermarket. Definitely a chain supermarket (owned by American organic-foods giant Whole Foods). Definitely valorizes producers and method of production. Hm.....

Should it get thrown in with the Tescoes, or is it still close enough to Borough?

Thoughts?


--------------------------------------------

Nathalie Jordi

nathalie.jordi@nealsyarddairy.co.uk

http://www.nathaliebouffe.com

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Moxon's is a fishmonger -- .  He's open Tuesday-Friday from early in the morning until 8 pm, and on Saturdays until around 6 pm.  It's a pleasant stop on the way home to pick up fish (or confit duck legs, or soup) for dinner. 

Let me get this right. Is this place a fishmonger or deli or game seller? Fish, duck and soup - I'm a wee bit confused.

Sounds nice whatever it is.

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