I read with interest lately how Lidl removed chocolates and sweets from it’s checkouts, (hurrah) due to parental concerns, and I agree it was a good thing to do, if not financially a great move for the supermarket probably, but I can’t believe they wouldn’t of factored the cost in. But supermarkets play a huge roll in our health, far more than we realise from the food they sell to the wages they pay, as well as the way they promote certain foods to us, even via their menu plans never mind just the visit to the supermarket itself, and obligatory smelly bakery.
The ends of aisles never contain the latest offering of 2 for 1 in apples, or banana’s but instead cooking sauces, wheat and highly processed products, meal deals with noodles that turn blue, I tried them and left them open on the side of the kitchen, and within a week of being opened they had turned blue, what on earth were they covered with??!!! Slightly distressed not only by their blueness but by that stage by the fact I had actually consumed some of them earlier in the week to try them out. I do lots of that for clients to see what they are like, ingredients etc! Anyway I digress, these are normally accompanied by packets of crisps bigger than the shopping basket itself all reduced and rather enticing, and looking financially better than buying a packet of apples.
There is sales and marketing art in the sales of products in our supermarkets, I’m not knocking it, this is business, and it fascinates me, and it is absorbed through our senses whether we like it or not. What concerns me is how our supermarkets in acts of altruism and getting involved with our communities are now taking our children to farms on educational trips, paying for these to happen to allow children to become back in touch with their food. Great in some respects, but I do wish they would treat their suppliers better, I.e the farmers themselves by paying them better margins, I do wish that they hadn’t decimated those communities of their local shops bringing money into our community itself rather than taking into a bigger corporate. I do wish they hadn’t cornered the market in part time jobs paying minimum wages that predominantly women and students end up working in, and lobbied hard to keep that minimum wage pretty much as small as it can be. And more than anything I do wish that they weren’t starting to get involved with the education of our children, companies shouldn’t be getting involved with educating our children or funding our education system, they are biased as to what they will want our children to learn, and it will be branded learning, there is evidence of this in the States when companies became involved with children’s education there.
But the supermarkets which are now running these schemes are doing this they say because of the obesity epidemic that is happening. How does a visit to a farm help to reduce obesity? I can’t see it myself, when all the research and my own practise shows that children and adults both know when I ask them what is healthy food, they always know what they should be eating, they know what is healthy, and in many respects know what their body needs. What they don’t do is buy it or actually eat it!
What happened to supermarket social responsibility, why are they selling the food in the first place, food they know damages health, why are manufacturers making the food in the first place, food they also know damages health and why are their associations busy saying it’s not the food it’s the amounts and people who eat them.Why are subsidies given to those growing specific foods that are made predominantly into processed junk foods in the very first place…from our taxes? Can’t we use those taxes to help apple farmers, etc to grow better quality foods, and more of them? These processed foods change our behaviour, they are designed to be under no illusion about that, and the manufacturers have it down to a fine art, don’t feel bad that you can’t stop eating their food, the ad once you pop you can’t stop, guess what it’s totally correct, and they know it and it’s designed to be that way affecting your neurtransmitters and hormones. But I’m not totally anti supermarket, even I shop there, what I am is anti supermarkets and manufacturers paying lipservice to a crisis in health, and saying they are helping our children saving them from obesity, I’m sorry when the apples are 50p each, and chocolate bars are 40p our world of health is totally upside down.
When children think carrot cake counts towards one of their 5 a day, we should be scared, please don’t tell me that you’ve been doing the same! DOH! LOL But seriously I was at a workshop over the weekend and we were talking about the amounts of vegetables you should be eating a day, about 8 portions a day is a good place to be…I know most people can’t imagine eating that many! But they can imagine eating a whole cake….But that number is the number of improved health and energy, I promise you.