Friday, 8 February 2008

Health or wealth?

After Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's and Jamie Oliver's spirited campaign on behalf of intensively-farmed chicken, Tesco's decision to sell a bird at less than £2 looks insensitive to say the least. Sadly it's all part of the supermarket culture that puts takings at the check-out ahead of respect for its customers.

Today science is revealing that milk produced from cows on fast-growing spring pastures is high in fat-soluble vitamins, omega-3s and the cancer-fighting CLA, all the things that protect people from disease.

If you want to read more on this topic I wrote an article for the Guardian UK, Comment is Free website today. Click here to read more - A cheap trick.

"Supermarkets stock 50 different brands of instant coffee so there is something - so they claim - to suit all requirements. Tesco's £1.99 chicken sits alongside free range, organic and a host of other birds. It's called market fragmentation, or some such thing, and it allows the company to maximise its take at the checkout. It's also supposed to give consumers a greater choice.

In reality there's no choice at all. While the strategy may work for washing-up liquid or torch batteries - where the consumer can pretty well estimate what they're getting for their money - it's a nonsense when applied to food. Until science comes up with a way of measuring the total nutrient content of a food, there's no way the consumer can make a sensible choice.

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