The most recent news on British products in the supermarkets and other key bits and pieces of interest about British food; here is our summary for December.
Quote of the day:
Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. – Thomas Sowell
Defra has announced a new Labelling Standards Code. The Country of Origin Labelling Code will strengthen the information provided by companies on the origin of their meat and dairy products. So far, the British Retail Consortium, the British Meat Processors Association, British Hospitality Association, Dairy UK, Food and Drink Federation and Business Services Association have all signed up to the principles of the code.
British sprouts are in jeopardy! Directly as a result of the dry weather in July and August and the freshly freezing temperatures suppliers have become increasingly worried over the past year with some retailers already turning to emergency Dutch crops to comply with demand.
The pork industry has gone from sinner to saint on country-of-origin labelling. Sausages and bacon now lead the way in clearer, easier to understand labelling. The prerequisite for clear labelling on all pork products will be put into practice from 1 January 2011, but 85 percent of product is already meeting standards
Greengrocers are closing at the rate of 2 a week and are in danger of vanishing completely! Only 1,765 are left, down from almost 7,000 in 1997 so starting using your local shops today, or face losing them forever, remember if you do not use it you lose it!
The Co-operative has given an undertaking to use 100% British wheat in its own brand sliced bread range, across all its stores in England. The move encompasses 10 lines across its premium Truly Irresistible range, standard and Simply Value ranges, and equates to in the region of 7.9 million loaves of bread a year.
Non-native foods such as olives, chillies, and even tea are more and more being grown in the United Kingdom. Warmer temperatures, brought together with more exploratory British eating and growing practices, have created local need for exotic foods to be produced on our own shores.
Sainsbury’s sales of Woodland eggs and chicken have paid for 300,000 trees to be planted this autumn by schoolchildren across the UK. Sainsbury’s donates 1p per dozen eggs sold and 2p per chicken sold to the Woodland Trust who have used the funds to send out ‘hedge and copse’ packs, containing trees for schoolchildren to plant.
Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have launched new initiatives to support British farming. Morrisons’ farm in Scotland will showcase more sustainable agricultural methods. The aim is for the farm to demonstrate how sustainable farming methods can be commercially viable in the long term and aims to show farmers the benefits of using environmentally friendly methods.
Sainsbury’s has pledged £40 million over the next three years for farming ‘development groups’. Part of the money will be paid directly to farmers as bonuses for adopting ‘good agricultural practice’ and the rest will be invested in improving infrastructure and efficiency, offering benefits such as vets bill payments and training courses.
The cabbage is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the help of celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson. 500,000 more cabbages have been sold over the past 12 weeks compared to the same period last year.
English vineyards are producing record harvests of English bubbly this year as sparking wine is set to account for more than half the country’s total production for the first time. The rapid increase in planting of champagne-variety grapes has pushed up the production of sparkling wine from 300, 00 bottles of a total 1.8m in 2000 to half of the total 3m bottle production last year.
Consider the red sprout! A new variety of the Brussels sprout has been launched in Asda, which is a milder and sweeter version of the bitter-tasting Brussels sprout. Grown in Cambridgeshire and harvested between October and February, they can be served raw in salads or simply steamed like their green cousins.
M&S is to sell mince pies year-round due to shopper demand. Supermarket Morrisons have been stocking the festive treats through the summer for the last ten years. Now Marks & Spencer are planning to put the pies on shelves throughout the year after sales rocketed. A number of other chains are also though to be considering the move. Normally the savoury goodies are reserved for the weeks before Christmas. But this year Brits have been asking retailers to stock them from the end of August. Last year M&S sold 12million pies before December — over a third of its stock. And shoppers snapped up 2.4million in September alone. The pies have a shelf life of just three weeks so customers are buying them to eat, not saving them for the festive season. Nicola Brown, M&S Mince Pie Buyer, said: "Our customers don’t wait just for Christmas Day. They have become such a popular treat we are actually thinking about selling them all year round." The store said it will sell more than 40million mince pies in the run up to this Christmas.
A Morrison’s spokeswoman said: "Due to customer demand, we have been selling mince pies all year round for the last ten years. “ During our peak festive period we sell an average of 30million mince pies. They are a quintessential British treat."
Supermarket chain Lidl offers £4.99 lobster supermarket chain Lidl has begun offering cut-price lobsters for less than a fiver. "As they say in the retail trade, "when it’s gone, it’s gone", but you can expect our rivals to wage a lobster price war with us once they realise we have caught them on the hop." The pre-cooked, frozen product is targeted at shoppers in the run up to Christmas, a Lidl spokesman said. Tesco now has its own promotion on frozen lobsters, priced £6. A spokesman said: "We have promotions on a range of items, which change every week. In these difficult times we try to make our produce as affordable as possible." Lidl’s offer comes amid a trend of "credit crunch cuisine", with supermarkets enticing customers on a budget.
Finally, it is good news for those travelling by train from Manchester. Travel food company, SSP, is to provide an alternative to Panini and Ciabatta in a new ‘Best of British On-the-Go’ kiosk due to open in Manchester’s Piccadilly railway station.
Look Out For In the Supermarkets This Month:
Apples (Bramley’s, Russets, Spartan and Worcester), Chestnuts, Walnuts, Pears (Comice and Conference), Forced Rhubarb
Artichoke, Aubergine, Beetroot, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Celeriac, Celery, Chillies, Courgettes, Fennel, Garlic, Horseradish, Kale, Leeks, Marrow, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes (Maincrop), Pumpkins, Radishes, Rocket, Sweet Corn, Turnips And Watercress.
HERBS AND STUFF;
Chestnuts, Chives, Mint, Parsley (Curly), Sage and Wild Mushrooms
Beef, Chicken, Grouse, Guinea Fowl, Lamb, Partridge, Pork, Rabbit, Turkey, Venison, and Wood Pigeon
Brill, Clams, Coley, Crab, Grey Mullet, Haddock, Halibut, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Lobster, Mackerel, Monkfish, Mussels, Oysters, Pilchard, Plaice, Pollack, Prawns, Scallops, Sea Bass, Sea Bream, Squid, Turbot And Winkles.