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Why buying local food will improve our food quality.

One stop shop full of marketed brands

One stop shop full of marketed brands

The more local food we buy the more we encourage artisan producers to create new tasty products. And keep the big brands on their toes.

It seems that, in most cases, once a product has built a brand identity it will be bought by a big business, distributed to a wider market, then lose quality as costs are cut by replacing quality ingredients with cheaper imitations.

I suppose we consumers are at fault for believing the marketing. Why should monkeys drinking tea make us buy it? Anyone remember: Young chimp:’Dad, do you know the piano’s on my foot’, Old Chimp,’You hum it son, I’ll play it’.

Those who know tea think that the quality of the big brands has dropped dramatically over the last 20 years, and is why there are now some fantastic small, artisan producer, teas available.

Another example: We think Heinz ketchup is the best when there are now lots of really good high quality, and even healthy, ketchups available. As soon as we see the Heinz bottle and remember the brand, advertising, and some of the cheap catering ketchups available in a pub or take away, we conclude that Heinz is the best. If you have a blind tasting however, you soon recognise the difference.

Arnold's Ketchup; The Winner at blind taste tests.

Arnold’s Ketchup; The Winner at blind taste tests.

I say blind because that is how strong brands can be, and why big business is happy to pay so much for a ‘quality’ brand.

For examples; I note the Dorset Cereals Muesli I bought recently does not have anything like the quantity of fruit and nuts it had before the family were bought out by Associated British Foods.

I have been told that Kraft have added Soy Lecithin to Green & Black chocolate since they bought it. This means it doesn’t melt in hot countries meaning one product fits all. This Soy Lecithin however could be GM yet the label still has the organic stamp.

If anyone has more examples please add them below.

What about examples of new products improving old established brands?

Does anyone remember Walkers advertising that they had changed to frying their crisps in sunseed oil? Sunseed is actually sunflower oil and had been used by Artisan Crisp producers like Kettle, Tyrell, Burts and Pipers for years before Walkers changed. And the reason? Palm oil had been used traditionally because it was cheap, but really bad for us.

local food map with artisan foods

local food map with artisan foods

I suppose, overall, the quality of our food is rising so I should be happy. I would prefer however not to see the marketing hype replace quality and why I am such a local obsessive. Local where you get the full story from the producer and most of your money is going to the producer rather than the retailer and middle men.

So please look around, ignore the big brands and try something new. Try your local farm shop, butcher and deli using our local food map and see what artisan products they sell to replace the complacent big brands. Or use our MarketPlace to find artisan producers. Including artisan; tea, ketchup, chocolate, cheese, coffee, etc.

And know that the more you buy the more you improve our quality for UK food & drink.

Comments

  1. Rosemary Howe says:

    During your ‘buy local food’ week, it would have been nice to see a mention of Country Markets! Nothing is more local than the food they provide, whether the cakes and pastries, the preserves and chutneys made with home grown fruit and vegetables, and the same fruit and vegetables grown in our own gardens and allotments for sale in the markets.

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