It’s not often that I feel disillusioned by my job. This week I have thought on a couple of occasions ‘What’s the point? The mountain we are attempting to scale is just too big.’ But if Hugh Fernley Wittingstall and Jamie Oliver thought the same, the small waves of change wouldn’t be trickling their way into our thoughts about food waste and the food we consume. I visited my local Post Office this morning. What used to be a old fashioned Post Office that sold stationary, newspaper and magazines and other items you used to find in one has been taken over by an office licence. The first thing that greats you as you walk through the door is a sea of crisp packets. To the left is a lake of sweets and confectionary and behind the till an ocean of alcohol. The wine section is extensive selling cheap low end brands. The fridges are packed pull of fizzy drinks, particularly energy drinks. There is not one fresh produce on sale. I ask the owner if she sells any fresh produce and she said yes but the delivery is late. I couldn’t quite see any space in the shop for any fresh produce to be merchanised. I said ‘There’s no wonder that our society is so ill because of the food we eat. Everything thing on sale her is processed and full of chemicals’ She replied ‘It’s what sells I’m afraid.’
Sitting at my desk writing this article I am a little dumbfounded. Who is to blame for this? Firstly I wanted to blame the owner. I wanted to make her take responsibility for what she is selling. But at the end of the day she is meeting demand. That’s what business is about. Meeting supply and demand of your customers. But why is there such a high demand for these products? This problem does not exist in Europe. The situation is changing but the prolific number of office licences selling what I can only class as poison to the general public only exists here in the UK. I live in Finchley in North London. A wealthy, leafy London suburb. Why has no one opened a greengrocers that sells fresh organic or locally produced products? 2 big reasons that shout out are people habitually want now to get more for their £1 and think that fresh food costs more than processed and the business rates in Barnet are too high for small business to exist. Who is to blame for this? The Government.
At Kinder Kitchen we work with thousands of children and families each year, teaching them how to cook from scratch plus giving them vital knowledge how to make better food choices. We know we are making a difference in helping children lead healthier lives but when we are faced with seas of crisps, biscuits, sweets, alcohol, fizzy drinks at every corner we turn it is hard to resist temptation. I myself have to stop my hand reaching out of a packet of crisps (to which I am partial). How do you solve this epidemic?
Education. Education. Education.