Sainsbury's will say anything to sell you foreign meat

22 February 2010

Despite the best efforts of past governments to clean up food labelling so it doesn't completely bullshit the customer, there's still plenty of it about. In October, the Telegraph called out Pret a Manger over its sushi - 'delivered every day, spankingly fresh' according to the blurb. In fact the fish was frozen in Chile, shipped 7,000 miles to the UK south coast before being delivered to a wholesaler.

The website Complete and Utter Zebu highlighted Birdseye's range of Great British Menu products that, of course, weren't made in Great Britain, and according to avid Bitterwallet reader Russell, Sainsbury's are attempting exactly the same sleight-of-hand:

'Sainbury's 'British Classic' range is emblazoned with a Union Jack, the meat in their Shepherds Pie and the liver is New Zealand Lamb.'

Bitterwallet - Sainsbury's British Classics

Bitterwallet - Sainsbury's British Classics 2

What do Sainsbury's have to say for themselves? According to a Customer Careline Manager:

'The description on the packaging is very clear. The dish itself is a British classic, and not all of the ingredients used in the pie are British. The country of origin for the mince used is stated on the packaging.'

Sorry Sainsbury's, but we're calling bullshit on you. Nobody needs to read the ingredients of what's in a shepherd's pie - we already know what to expect - but seeing 'BRITISH CLASSIC' plastered across the front, a customer would wrongly assume the ingredients were sourced in Great Britain. And of course you know this, and of course that is why you did it. Buying local or national produce is a strong motivator for many consumers, because they feel they're buying fresh or they're supporting local business.

For a dish to be a British classic, it needs British stuff in it - otherwise in no way is it a classic British dish. But then 'NEW ZEALAND SHEPHERD'S PIE' wouldn't sell as well, would it? Neither would 'SHEPHERD'S PIE - MADE WITH ANIMAL CARCASS SHIPPED FROM 12,000 MILES AWAY.'

There's lies, damned lies and supermarket marketing - well done Sainsbury's, you seem to have all those bases covered.

23 comments

  • philip f.
    and i bet their scotch eggs aren't made in scotland. Outrage!
  • Laurz
    Disagree entirely. The packaging is quite clear that it is made of New Zealand lamb, its there in the description in bold lettering right next to the product name. It IS a British classic dish because it is a dish that has been eaten for many years in Britain, that doesn't mean that it is made of british ingredients though and I dont think they've tried to pretend that it is, theyve merely said that its a classic british meal.
  • philip f.
    and i've just found out their chinese meals aren't even made in china! I'm so angry i'm going to disembowel myself in my nearest sainsburys
  • piggy
    Next you're gonna tell me Haggis you buy in Sainsbury's isn't Haggis at all, but some made up bullshit instead!
  • Paul s.
    LOL much a do about nothing- it says the dish is british not the ingredients :S must be a slow day at the office for you guys
  • bobinio
    oi philip o' fish, at least they will have some british meat to use then.
  • Gunn
    I really like Sains but they need to improve their meat section, too often i look at the back of the packet to find out the meat is from brazil, germany, holland etc
  • oliverreed
    If you too lazy to make food and rely on this slop in a tray you aren't going to caare about what's in it or where it's from.
  • Mark
    Don't see what the problem is here. It's a British Classic made with New Zealand lamb. No slight of hand at all. Do you expect all of the Italian ready meals to have been made in Italy?
  • Nobby
    I disagree too. It is a British classic, made with New Zealand lamb. Prawn cocktail is also a classic British dish, but most of the ingredients people use to make it (whether at home or industrially) will not be British.
  • cRuNcHiE
    It seems pretty clear to me, also it's not the right season for British Lamb, but NZ Lamb is currently in season so what's the problem?
  • Larry L.
    I note the drone's response uses the (relatively new) customer-service trick of avoiding the use of the confrontational word 'but', by using 'and' wherever you would normally use 'but'. What they meant: " The dish itself is a British classic, but not all of the ingredients used in the pie are British" What they said: " The dish itself is a British classic, and not all of the ingredients used in the pie are British" What comes out *is* English, but reads... a little oddly.
  • adam t.
    The labelling is very clear on this and don't see any problem. Think the supermarket should be commended not dissed,
  • Nobby
    SHEPHERD’S PIE You might as well argue that it says it is a shepherd's pie. Was it made by the person that looks after the sheep? If not, it's clearly false advertising.
  • Ed
    I'm with everyone else here. The dish is a British classic - it's not like you have to go hunting to see that it's not British meat used. It's right there in big letters. You'd have a harder time reading the cooking instructions than reading the notification it's New Zealand lamb.
  • nobby2
    Jesus (or Paul Smith) - you guys must be running out of things to rant about! I hope this blog isn't going the same way as HUKD!!
  • sayed
    maybe fucktards wouldnt notice but...... and its a little late to start worrying about the fact that not much is still made in Britain.
  • Andrew
    Agree with everyone else. It's quite clearly a dish from their 'British Classic' range and the meat is clearly labelled as from New Zealand. You wouldn't expect their Indian meals to use only Indian meat, would you? Every pointless rant like this only serves to damage people's perception of this blog.
  • Mr
    It's the big letters that count, then again, those who don't read small prints don't care what they are eating.
  • Rachel
    I'm with everyone else too. Just because it's a British dish doesn't necessarily mean all the ingredients are British.
  • A S.
    It a matter of READING WHAT YOU EAT. Just beacuse the words on the label, 'New Zealand' are not as large as 'British Classic', we expect you to try to think for yourself, and not go with half of a label. Furthermore, yes the fish is fresh, 'Fresh' does not mean that same day it came straight out the ocean, that would be ligistically impossible, 'Fresh' is defined by national food health guidelines. Get get fist frozen straight off the boat, giving limited holding time it's fresh enough to be frozen even after purchase. You remind me too much of the 50+ customer niche that moans about these completley irrelevant things, and it amazes me you need an eighteen year old to explain how simple buisness works. 'Support Local Buisness' - what rubbish, learn a thing or two about import econemy. And if you're so fussed about a local source, pay through your teeth at a butcher. But hey, that's not happening is it? No, because i assume given your 'moan about bullshit' status you're in the catagory of 'extremely tight asshole' who wont pay a penny over reduced price. It sickens me what a tannoy goes out (I used to have to do these) announcing reduced items on out reduced shelf, people swarm like damn buzzards to get a whole POUND off their salad. Woopey-fuckin-doo.
  • tim
    this is bullshit who cares
  • mark
    i'm so glad after reading this article to see that everybody disagrees with you. you've totally missed the point, and with all the underhand marketing going on in large corporations, this is not one of them.

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