Posts Tagged ‘food’

Sugar tax? What, really?

March 5th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

sugar 300x225 Sugar tax? What, really?The chief medical officer for England thinks that we might need to introduce a sugar tax in a bid to put the scuppers on obesity rates.

Dame Sally Davies told a committee of MPs that the government needs to get tough with those who produce food and drink and that she believed “research will find sugar is addictive”, and that “we may need to introduce a sugar tax”.

Dame Davies said: “We have a generation of children who, because they’re overweight and their lack of activity, may well not live as long as my generation. They will be the first generation that live less, and that is of great concern.”

Yeah. Those poor children might not live to see retirement age, which has been pushed back thanks to irritatingly healthy people who live until they’re 103 and crap everywhere. Davies reckons that being overweight had been “normalised” and added: “I worry that we have re-sized a women’s dress size so that a size 14 now was a size 12 when I was student.”

“We have to find a new way – not of ostracising people who are obese and making them feel bad about themselves – but somehow of helping them to understand this is pathological and will cause them harm.”

Of course, ministers have been arguing about food packaging for a while and no-one can really agree to anything. More pertinently, does anyone really care? If manufacturers start sticking warnings on food that is bad for you, surely it’ll only end up being like the red triangle Channel 4 used to put on things that would guarantee you a sex scene? It wouldn’t be a deterrent, but rather, a hallmark for what you want.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “To help the nation to be healthier by eating fewer calories, including sugar, we are working with industry through the Responsibility Deal. This work has already delivered results but we have always been clear that, if food and drink companies fail to act, we will look at other options and are keeping all international evidence under review.”

marco That guy in the Knorr ad signs a 50 restaurant dealWe’ve already had Jamie and his empire of Italian chain restaurants that charge £15 for an underwhelming bowl of pasta. But who is the next sweaty, corpulent and bad tempered chef to gain UK wide domination?

Step forward Gallic bad boy and uber-wanker Marco Pierre-White, who has put down his beefy stock cube for five minutes and signed a deal to roll out 50 new restaurants in his name across Britain in the next five years.

The deal is with a hotel development company, and will incorporate his two brands – Marco-Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill and Marco’s New York Italian restaurant. The latest will be in the Indigo Hotel in Manchester, which will open next year. There are already three successful restaurants in Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle, and he plans to spread like a culinary PAN-demic around other major cities very soon.

The depressing onslaught of the celebrity chef continues unabated, and their cache means they can charge £60 a head for food that couldn’t give the Berni Inn a run for its money. And the chef with the name above the door (and on the walls, and on the menu) is invariably conspicuously absent.

But will this be different? Well. Jay Rayner, food critic of the Observer, visited White’s Steakhouse in London and said ‘everything we ate was awful in that “someone must be punished” sort of way’.

Bon Appetit!

british apples 300x250 Do we really want British food in British shops?It’s hard to imagine that it’s just over a year since we first found out that beefburgers weren’t, and trust levels in consumers are still down on those polled before the scandal- an One Poll survey a year ago found that trust in foodstuffs fell from 69% to 35% . A new YouGov survey for the National Farmers’ Union shows the level of trust is now back up to 52% , but apparently trusting British is the way to go.

NFU President Peter Kendall said that the results of the YouGov survey showed that “79 per cent of British people think British supermarkets should sell more food produced on British farms.”

“This survey shows very clearly that consumers want more British food, so I hope they will take this on board and act on it,” he concluded.

The NFU comments come as farmers, particularly in the South, have faced terrible weather conditions and waterlogged land, that will likely impact on their produce and livelihood.Not to mention denting the supply, and presumably, increasing costs. Mr Kendall wants retailers, like the giant supermarket brands, to “commit to stocking more British food” and  to “develop committed, fair and beneficial relationships” with farmers.

Of course, it is no surprise that a British farmers’ union would advocate buying British rather than buying cheap foreign muck -“We’re not saying that supermarkets should not stock any foreign produce. But we would urge the retailers to listen to what consumers are saying.” However, do consumers really want British food, or is cost still king? With renewed reports that incomes are not keeping pace with the rising cost of living, and record numbers of families taking in lodgers, would you steadfastly buy British, or would you rather have enough to eat, regardless of where it came from?

Greggs are doing the unthinkable: going healthy

February 26th, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Greggs 300x286 Greggs are doing the unthinkable: going healthyGreggs’ accountants have been on the phone and told of a slump in profits. With that, Greggs are now aiming to be healthier, in a bid to win back business, which is terrible news.

They’ll also be making a move into giving everyone the opportunity to make mobile phone payments when they go in to pay £1.09 for a pastie.

The company want to increase sales of products below 400 calories, when maybe, they might see a growth if they make the most unhealthy food imaginable, thereby making it a guilty pleasure and joining in the Britain’s current fetishisation of greasy burgers and the like.

Less health. More junk!

“We’ve got a significant number of products, particularly in the sandwich range, that qualify under that banner and we want to make more of that as part of the sandwich work that we’re doing,” Chief Executive Roger Whiteside told Reuters on Wednesday.

Either way, they’ll have more butties, won’t be stopping the sale of sausage rolls and you’ll be able to pay for stuff with your phone, so there you go. Welcome to the Greggs of the future.

Internet food needs to stop – NOW

February 17th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Twitter is about to leap from your phone, into your mouth and right down into your stomach, giving you indigestion and making some off-hand commentary as it drops out of your hole.

How? Those git-boxes at Birds Eye have made Mashtags – food which trolls your stomach lining. Next, they’ll probably make ‘food based on Buzzfeed, which will be Pinterestaurant quality or some nonsense.

This has to stop.

mashtags Internet food needs to stop   NOW

If you’re interested, they come in symbols like ‘@’ and ‘#’  and all that rubbish. If you buy these for your children, you should be beaten and left in the street as an example.

[via laughingsquid]

Everyone loves a bit of sausage on Valentine’s Day, so how about a salami bouquet? From $50, you can despatch some meat to your loved one via Olympic Provisions.

zzz 500x400 Give her what she really wants this Valentines… part two

Offered in 3, 6, and 13 stem bouquets:

  • The 3 stem includes 1 Italian salami, 1 French salami, and 1 Spanish salami
  • The 6 stem includes 2 Italian salami, 2 French salami, 1 Spanish salami, and 1 Greek salami
  • The 13 stem includes one of each of the 12 salami and 1 chocolate salami.

What an amazing world we live in.

Tesco wants your kids to ‘Eat Happy.’

January 27th, 2014 4 Comments By Lucy Sweet

If your kid thinks that oven chips come from ovens and tuna is a kind of chicken, then Tesco’s ‘Eat Happy’ project is designed to help them find out where food comes from. (er…Tesco?)

kid sprout Tesco wants your kids to Eat Happy.

The first part of this new project is the Farm to Fork initiative, where bored school children will tour factories and farms (possibly missing out abattoirs) and be forced to talk to coffee growers from Costa Rica. BOR-iNG. I mean, GREAT!

Tesco, in their continuing attempts to shed their reputation for being heartless megalomaniacs, will be investing 15 million in the scheme, which includes a digital launch and cookery classes in store. The aim is to help ‘the next generation have a healthier and happier relationship with food.’

So kids will go from garbage eating, clueless idiots to food bores who will say pretentious things about ‘provenance’ in restaurants.

Chris Bush, Tesco’s MD added:

‘We know parents are concerned that kids don’t always understand how food is made and where it comes from, which is important to developing a strong positive life-long relationship with food.’

I don’t know what he’s on about. Personally I’ve had a life-long relationship with Jammie Dodgers, Findus Crispy Pancakes and whatever the hell is in Rustler’s microwaveable burgers.

McDonalds to continue expanding

January 24th, 2014 6 Comments By Ian Wade

mcdonalds logo McDonalds to continue expandingMcDonalds gets a bad rep, but things have turned around in the company’s reputation in the last couple of years – their coffee isn’t terrible, Big Macs have less fat in them than most pre-packed sandwiches, and you can make a Filet o’Fish last a couple of hours while you use their wifi.

But McDonalds’ grip on the world’s munchies appetite is slipping. Admittedly with 34,000 branches of the chain, an overall sales fall of 0.1% isn’t that big a deal, and sales have actually increased by 1% across Europe in Q4.

The company, in a ‘no shit’ kinda way, have claimed that 2013 was a “challenging year”, but still plan to open up to 1600 new outlets across the planet. Globally they still face big competition from Burger King and Wendy’s, but over here in the UK it looks like they are fast being outnumbered two-to-one by Tesco Express.

Maybe they should go back to being outrageously unhealthy and not giving a shit because that’s precisely the reason you go? Sod being healthy.

Ok, so we all know that Marmite polarizes opinion and Irn Bru tastes like rusty orange bubblegum, but surely they’re not a health risk?

irn bru 300x242 Canada rejects Marmite and Irn Bru on health grounds

Well, Canada has a different opinion. Apparently some of the lovely additives in our favourite British treats are illegal in Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is busy shutting down stores who stock British products for homesick ex-pats.

One of the issues they have with our products are synthetic colourings, some of which are banned in Canada. Irn Bru contains the excellent sounding Ponceau 4R, which give it its otherworldly ginger glow.

But they’re also not allowing any foodstuff that’s ‘enriched with vitamins and minerals.’ Marmite has extra vitamin B12 and Riboflavin (B2) so contravenes their regulations. Other ‘enriched’ foods include Penguin biscuits, Bovril, Ovaltine and Lucozade.

Irn-Bru have managed to get round the ban by creating a Canada-specific recipe that doesn’t include Ponceau 4R. But it’s sad news for the rest, and it means that British born Canadian citizens can’t get their Marmite fix – even though there’s nothing wrong with it at all.

Meanwhile, Canada gave the world Celine Dion, and if she isn’t a health risk, then nothing is.

The UK could soon be overrun with branches of Subway, as the American chain announced a major expansion across Britain and Ireland, creating 13,000 jobs. They plan to increase the amount of franchises from 1,731 by 3000 by 2020 – that’s a hell of a lot of not-very-nice sandwiches.

subway 300x300 Britain to be swamped by sub nutritious meatball sandwiches

Some might say that the last thing the UK needs is another dire US fast food chain that pumps sugar and additives into everything and creates entire generations of kids who think that food should be 5 foot long and covered in Ranch dressing that looks like Satan’s semen.

But the response to the Subway chain in the UK has been so strong that we represent their biggest market outside America. Their new £2 breakfast range – which includes something terrifyingly visceral called a ‘Mega Melt’- is going down a storm.

Subway Europe’s assistant regional director Mike Charest said (in retail robot speak): ‘The UK and Irish markets have been fantastic success stories for the Subway brand and we see opportunities for further growth as more and more consumers demand great tasting food at a value price-point.’

But what we really need to worry about is this. What will happen to Greggs if Subway take over the country? Will the Meatball Marinara triumph over the sausage roll? Or will Subway be squished by the sheer lardy power of the cheese savoury Big Softee?

It seems that the British public has long memories when it comes to horsemeat, and they never want to risk accidentally eating perfectly edible and safe horsemeat ever again. Instead, people have started using their local butcher – who probably scratches his dandruff into the sausages – but at least he’s not a horse, or worse still, a FOREIGN HORSE FROM ROMANIA.

butcher 286x300 Local butchers still doing well out of horsemeat scandal

According to the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, the good old independent British butcher is experiencing an upturn in fortunes, with reports of a 15%-50% increase in demand. Customers are keen to know the provenance of their meat since the horsemeat scandal, and butchers have managed to hold onto their trade – as stripy-aproned random guys with massive knives are seen to be more of a trusted source of local produce than the supermarket.

Still, although it might be borne out of unfounded squeamishness and xenophobia, people buying their food from a local small business is a nice return to the butcher/baker/candlestick maker high street shopping of old. Roger Kelsey, CEO of the NFMFT said:

‘Independent butchers have the benefit of local supply and in most cases they know the farmer up the road and have a one-to-one relationship with them.’

Eeee, I remember when it were all Asda superstores round here, as far as the eye could see…

scotch whiskey glass Scotch whisky needs to be protected and so does everything elseThere’s a new scheme that has been launched which want to give Scotch whisky some protection from crappy, sub-standard products. And it really is about time. The French have made huge amounts of money by having their famous produce protected, like champagne and most of their cheeses.

The Spirit Drinks Verification Scheme, set up by the government, is hoping to do the same with our booze, so you know that, if you’re spending your money on whisky, you’re not getting an inferior product. If we could do the same for our cheese and sausages, that would be great (Lancashire cheese should be made in Lancashire and Lincolnshire sausages should be made in Lincolnshire, rather than anyone from anywhere simply following the recipe for a regional cheese).

This protection will be extended to other geographically specific drinks, such as Somerset Cider Brandy and whiskey made in Northern Ireland, with blenders, producers, bottlers and importers needing to apply to HMRC if they want to be verified. It might seem like a trivial thing, but the country stands to make much more money on drink and food, so it can’t be a bad thing.

Producers will have to sign up for the scheme if they want to sell within the EU.

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive David Frost said: “This is a step change in the protection of Scotch whisky and should be warmly welcomed. We fully support the introduction of the verification scheme by the UK government. It will give even more protection to consumers of Scotch whisky.”

“It will greatly improve the industry’s ability to stop the sale of adulterated Scotch whiskies bottled abroad.”

Depressing hipster café puts a price on time

January 9th, 2014 11 Comments By Lucy Sweet

A café is supposed to be little oasis of calm and contemplation, where you can refuel and relax. But not Café Ziferblat, a new business in London’s idiot capital Shoreditch. Instead of charging you for tea, coffee and biscuits, they charge for that most precious of commodities – time. 3p a minute, to be exact.

cafe ziferblat 300x180 Depressing hipster café puts a price on time

At Ziferblat (which means clock face in Russian, yeah?) an antique clock is given to you when you arrive, then you hand it back when you leave. In between that, you actually have to make your own coffee and do your own dishes. So basically, it’s a room full of chairs and tables and a kettle, which you rent out by the minute.

Apparently Café Ziferblat has been a big hit in Russia, where people aren’t used to having nice things. Owner Ivan Mitin boasts nine branches there, which bring in 30,000 customers a month. He calls it a ‘free space’ (which is er, not free) where customers can be ‘micro tenants’.

But will it take off here? Because apparently I’ve heard that there’s this great place called ‘Your House’ where there’s a kettle and you don’t have to shell out 3p a minute to sit at a table with a bunch of East London trendy eejits being mercilessly tormented by f***** ticking f***** antique clocks.

ARRRRRRRRRRGH!!

Surprise surprise: breakfast biscuits are rubbish

December 18th, 2013 6 Comments By Lucy Sweet

It’s always been hard to imagine how the dry discs that are Belvita breakfast biscuits could constitute a healthy, filling breakfast. And guess what? They’re full of sugar and fat – so much so that you may as well scoff a packet of Hob Nobs in a bowl with some milk.

belvita Surprise surprise: breakfast biscuits are rubbish

That’s according to Which! who tested a range of breakfast biscuits, and found that seven out of ten of them had more sugar per 100g than a Digestive biscuit. Most breakfast biscuits, like Oat So Simple bars, Belvita and McVities are full of ‘healthy’ honey (sugar) and yoghurt (fat). But they usually contain around 25% sugar – compared to Corn Flakes (8% sugar) and Digestives with 16.6% sugar.

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to eat them anyway, but Which! have decreed that breakfast biscuits are, essentially, just biscuits in disguise.

Richard Headland from Which! said: ‘It’s tempting to grab a breakfast biscuit when you’re on the go, but we’ve found they’re not always the healthiest choice. You’re probably better off with a bowl of porridge or a healthier cereal, like Weetabix.’

Or THIS.

Deathwatch: Bananas!

December 17th, 2013 2 Comments By Lucy Sweet

ARRRRRGH! The fate of the banana could be in jeopardy, thanks to plagues of bugs and banana related infections that are currently sweeping Costa Rican banana crops.

sad bananas 300x201 Deathwatch: Bananas!

The bugs, called mealybugs, might sound like cosy little critters made up by Roald Dahl, but they’re a menace to our yellow, fruity friends. Along with their partners in crime, scale bugs, they’ve destroyed almost 20% of banana crops – and the problem is so bad that Costa Rica has declared a national banana emergency.

Magda Gonzalez, from the agricultural ministry, said the reason the bugs – which weaken the plants and cause discolouration on the fruit – were spreading was clear. ‘I can tell you with near certainty that climate change is behind these pests.’

But the problem isn’t just confined to Costa Rica, or bugs. Scientists have also found a strain of fungus, catchily named Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.cubense (Foc), in banana crops as widespread as Mozambique and Jordan. Experts are now worried that the plague will spread to the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean, where 80% of bananas are grown.

We need help, otherwise our favourite fruit will die!

If this isn’t a case for Bananaman, I don’t know what is.