Have you noticed that food shopping is becoming increasingly difficult for the ethically minded?  We might now be aware of consumer power but, as we know, with power comes responsibility.  It’s your money – spend it wisely.  So now every decision seems fraught with a thousand considerations.  First, where to shop.  Support the local community?  Buy at the Farmers’ Market?  Choose a supermarket with mutual status in the hope that it really is as ethical as it makes out to be?  

But that’s only the start of it.  As you fill your trolley (or rustic basket), you’ve still got to check each product’s country of origin, and then weigh up the pros and cons of food-miles v economic support to developing countries, or whether you stick to traditional, in season, British, produce).  Then there’s organic. Then there’s free-range – a fairly simple choice for eggs, but what about the actual chicken. You sat through all Hugh F-W’s programmes, so now you wrestle with your conscience over whether to pay twice as much for free-range, or some kind of half way house where the chickens might not ever see the light of day but still have space to move.   Then there’s over-packaging considerations (glass and cardboard – easily recycled, some plastics yes, some not).  And that’s before considering healthy eating, calories, e-numbers, fat content and all that stuff.  

And maybe it’s a luxury in any case to be able to consider any of these things – because, (to use the vocab of the media) “in the current economic climate” maybe the first consideration for many is still price.  But the problem is, if we, the consumers, make it all about price, that’s the only thing the supermarkets will care about too – and who can blame them?

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