Foodservice Footprint Issue 21 April 2013

Foodservice Footprint Footprint-21-Upload Foodservice Footprint Issue 21 April 2013 MagazinesI HAVE NEVER been a fish-on-a-Fridaysteak- on-a-Saturday-joint-on-a-Sunday kinda guy, but I do like meat. The thing is I’ve gone off it.
In the past couple of years I have not only cooked with more vegetables, but I have also been hit with food envy when eating out and the meals arrive for my vegetarian friends. There is still the odd 20th-century ethical incident (lamb gravy on vegetarian sausages does not a happy vegetarian make), but these are now a rarity.
But because I eat less meat, I want the small amounts I do eat to be the best. Two steaks and a bottle of wine for £25 now make me suspicious rather than salivate. And because I am willing to pay more for meat, I have started asking more questions about it. It’s not easy, but I find it easier than when I was buying the steaks on special offer; then I felt I was asking too much – it’s cheap so I can’t demand it be ethical too.
Just last week, on my way to interview Peter Kendall (see page 12), I stopped at a service station-cum-farm shop and asked about the sourcing of their bacon and sausages. I felt a little awkward while I waited for the response but, three people and a chef later, it came: the bacon was direct from the farm but the sausages were not. I am not sure where they got the sausages, or why they weren’t from the farm, but I chose just the bacon.
I wondered how many other people would be asking the same thing after "horsegate"? Eating less and paying more for my meat has given me the confidence to ask more questions, but whether it's frozen beef lasagne or fresh south Devon fillet steak every customer should feel comfortable asking about the food they are being served. I expect more will do so, but that my veggie friends didn’t complain about their lamb gravy shows how reticent diners can be. Foodservice companies can help: if you are proud of your sourcing then why not say so on the menu?

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