Ultra Processed Foods

If you didn’t watch the Channel 4 programme called Good Harvest, then I’m sure you will have read about it in the papers, or people might have mentioned it in conversation. It was a programme that was televised in July.

I sat and watched it in absolute horror. I was thinking that it had to be a joke, Gregg Wallace was the presenter, along with the celebrity chef Michael Roux cooking up the steaks to taste. All the meat on there was grown from human flesh. I thought it was a late April Fool’s joke and then I thought I must have been watching a horror movie and kept saying to myself, I really hope this doesn’t take off.

Thankfully it was all a hoax and the full story was published in the next morning’s newspapers. Thank goodness for that. However, what it did do, was highlight just how scary our food manufacturing industry is becoming and, although it was a joke this time, it certainly hits home what could actually be manufactured for real. We are already eating so much ultra-processed food that comes from modified starches, added sugars, fats and lots more nasty ingredients.

Even before the cost of living crisis, it was shocking to learn that UK consumers were spending just 8% of their household budgets on food for their families. This is significantly lower than other European countries, who spend 11-14 % of their household income on what they eat at home.

It is so important to teach our children how to cook? We should be encouraging and educating them on how to eat well and the importance of knowing where their food has come from and what is in it. The chemicals in processed foods are designed to make us eat more, increasing weight, obesity risk and impacting on our health, none of this is good news.

The importance of good honest food labelling is vital for our health and wellbeing. It is essential to read the lists of ingredients on food packaging before you eat it. It’s staggering how misleading food labelling is, the packaging paints a different picture of what’s actually inside with clever pictures and hints at it being British when often it isn’t at all. Even if you see the Union Jack wrapped around the packaging, always check the origin, it’s not a given that the contents are British, it can be just part of the marketing. You have the right to know exactly what you are eating and where it has come from.

I know we are all are busy people when we go food shopping and yes, we haven’t got time to read every single label, but we need to support our British farmers more than ever right now. Buying home-grown produce will help achieve that so a couple of minutes reading a label could make all the difference. The farmers are really struggling with the supermarkets cutting their prices below the real cost of food production. Selling it for less than it costs to produce simply spells disaster, the loss of farms, farming jobs and our fabulous British food heritage.

As ever folks, please buy British, support our brilliant, hard-working farmers and small food producers and eat local and seasonal whenever possible.