Food a status symbol?

The world is full of status symbols, from what car you have, to how big your TV is, or what Mobile phone you sport, but food always seems to be way down that list for most people. Take the car for instance, we buy more brand new cars than ever before and why?

Because we can get them on the Never Never (The Never Never when you pay for something but you never actually own it) for only £250 P/M and make everyone think its yours. The must have 60inch energy guzzling TV to watch our expensive satellite TV channels on. We all do it and its not a bad thing to have aspiration its what drives us on.

So where does food come into our aspirations? What with the rise of the low frill supermarkets it seems to come low on the list of must haves. We drive to these German supermarkets in flashy German cars to buy cheap food. Yeah I know it sounds crazy right but that’s what we do?!?

So how do they do it? Well as a Greengrocer the Fruit and Veg is what I focused on straight away, its so cheap that I can’t even buy it that cheap at the market. So how do they do it, well it has a name and its called a ‘loss leader’ which Wikipedia describes as –

A loss leader (also leader) is a pricing strategy where a product is sold at a price below its market cost to stimulate other sales of more profitable goods or services. With this sales promotion/marketing strategy, a “leader” is used as a related term.

So they sell their fruit and veg at a loss. Now where’s the harm in that I hear you say! Well the Supermarkets won’t be harmed, the Farmer maybe, but I doubt it. Someones got to pay somewhere along the line.

Well the people who must pay, must be us. Like the guys and girls who pick the fruit and veg they are on low income and small shops like ours becomes less busy. Or New Spitalfields market (which employ hundreds of people) start closing it’s stalls, as they can’t sell the product wholesale as cheap as the supermarkets are selling it for!


Also for me it really devalues food as a whole, so we don’t hold it in high enough regard. What we put into our bodies and feed our families should be the highest of all of the status symbols.

So lets all stop shopping at supermarkets. NO! I shop in them it’s part of the modern world now as they also create loads of jobs and are needed. You just need know what they are doing and shop smart.

We don’t have to only shop in them, lets spread the money around, maybe start by getting your weekend meals from you local independent shops, its better quality than you’ll find in a supermarket because the distribution chain is shorter, ie the produce gets to you fresher and quicker.

I know time can be a factor in our busy lives, but if you can spend a couple of hours zombieing (as Shelly calls it) around a supermarket then an hours shopping in the smaller shops on the high street is nothing and I guarantee you it will be a much more pleasant experience.

So why not try it this weekend and then boast about it to your friends about how you’ve found this lovely little shop because Food is a status symbol after all.


Got any Courgettes???

That’s a question that has been bouncing round many greengrocers this week. The simple answer is No! What with the bad weather hitting Spain, courgettes, aubergines and spinach have all been on the missing list this week and this got us thinking, is this the future?

With Britain’s exit (at some point) from the European Union this could become the norm, well when I say the norm I doubt £25 for a 5kg box of courgettes will ever become the norm even when we do leave. So what do we do? Well maybe we the consumers need to have a rethink in what we are consuming.

I mean does it make sense eating courgettes, aubergines and spinach in January when we have perfectly good UK grown produce, bang in season and cheap! We all have an in-built database of ‘go to’ dishes, such as a pasta dish with courgettes and peppers, ratatouille or cottage pie etc so do we now have to treat this database also like our wardrobes?

We have a summer one and a winter one, not many people dig out the shorts and flip-flops in January, so why do we cook a summer dish in winter and vice versa!?? The wardrobe way is a much cheaper option and you’re getting the produce at it’s very best. If you’re not sure what’s in season there’s a great website this gives you a week by week, month by month update of what is in season.

You can’t go wrong!

Take the humble Brussels Sprout, they are at their very best now, yet after Christmas most of us forget about them, you don’t often see food bloggers or TV chefs mention them after the festive period. Yet they’re cheap, local and bloody good for you. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K so a perfect start for your January health kick.

There is also my favourite the Red Cabbage or as Shelly pointed out it should be called purple cabbage as it is purple after all. This beauty is so versatile you can have it raw, braised, pickled with fruit in a kebab or with a roast dinner or even in a sandwich I could go on but best of all its available throughout the year and its from the UK.

Not only is it good for you it’s a beautiful veg, amazing inside and lasts for weeks in your fridge. Also Red cabbage is rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins and it’s an ideal weight loss aid as red cabbage is very low in calories, but high in dietary fibre it’s a win win!

What I suppose I’m trying to say it’s about time we had more confidence in our own produce, this country has come a long since the rest of Europe rightly so dismissed our cooking, we have since absorbed all of the world’s different types of food and become really great at reproducing it. But now we need to start taking it to the next level by using our own seasonal veg and show the world what we have to offer.

So ditch the out of season stuff that’s going to cost you an arm and a leg and find dishes closer to home, that use red cabbage, beetroot, brussels sprouts, celeriac or purple sprouting broccoli and who knows maybe in the future the Spanish greengrocers will be hearing the question Tienes repollo rojo?

Translation: have you any red cabbage?