News in review

MORRISONS MAY have shed a tear when it read this week’s assessment of its move to appease disgruntled farmers.

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The supermarket will launch a new milk brand this autumn, called Milk for Farmers, that will guarantee 10p per litre of the retail price to farmers. The catch might well be the 23p premium for a four-pint bottle against the standard product, which contains exactly the same thing. Morrisons said the offer will give shoppers a chance to support farmers directly, but critics suggested it’s a move to shirk responsibility. It seems that some farmers have already had enough of the supermarkets, with Farmdrop reporting a “700% increase in farmers registering to sell their milk direct to consumers”. The online marketplace wouldn’t say how many new producers this represented but it is “significant”. Those that are involved receive 80% of the retail cost of milk thanks to the removal of “unnecessary middlemen”. Two litres of organic milk from Farmdrop is £2.50, compared to £1.84 for 2.27 litres at Morrisons. The same amount of conventional milk is just £1 and currently – and perhaps carelessly – tagged “offer”.

 

THE UK WASTES more food than any other European country – at least according to the headlines across various mainstream and trade media this week.

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The researchers in the new study they all referenced suggested: “The UK was the worst culprit, wasting the equivalent in weight of one can of beans per person per day, whilst Romania had the best record, wasting an amount corresponding to one apple per person per day.” However, the data used dates back five years or more. Between 2007 and 2012 household food waste was reduced by 21%, Wrap noted in a statement. A spokeswoman also argued the UK had been a victim of its thoroughness in collecting statistics on food waste. “The UK’s food waste measuring system is arguably one of the most comprehensive in Europe,” she said. Anyone who has tried reading one of Wrap’s reports would no doubt agree.

 

FINDING A SOLUTION to childhood obesity has been a hot topic since the first Turkey Twizzlers were unearthed behind school gates.

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A tax on sugary drinks and more severe marketing restrictions are amongst the interventions currently mooted. But researchers at the University of Arkansas in the US said the common-sense approach is to give free fruit and veg snacks in schools. Their study calculated that the fruit and vegetable programme in the US costs about $50 (£32) to $75 (£48) per child per year and reduced the obesity rate by 3%. That’s a “staggeringly small cost” compared to the previously calculated $280 (£179) to $339 (£217) per-student per-year cost “break even point” to reduce childhood obesity by just 1%. “By this measure, our results suggest that the fresh fruit and vegetable programme is a very cost-effective obesity prevention tool,” the team concluded.

 

WITH NO FEWER than 12 MSC-certified species on the menu, Plymouth-based fish & chip shop Kingfisher now has more sustainable seafood on offer than “any restaurant worldwide”.

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Jersey lobster, Cornish sardines, as well as the cod and haddock are from the well-managed waters of the North East Arctic. “I could see where things were going in our industry regarding fish sourcing and we didn’t want to sit back and wait for things to happen,” said owner Craig Maw. Amongst his suppliers are Unique Seafood, Smales, Kingfisher Brixham and 3663.

 

And elsewhere this week…

 

  • Researchers in Holland have investigated how to market “mildly sustainable” products to those consumers that can’t afford organic premiums.
  • The European Commission has approved Dow AgroScience’s new pesticide, but it comes with a sting in the tail. Campaigners say it’s a neonicotinoid similar to the ones already banned for harming bees. Dow doesn’t agree.
  • McDonald’s has apologised for threats to sack workers that offered food to homeless people in France. The Guardian reported a note seen in one outlet stated: “McDonald’s is not in the business of feeding all the hungry people in the land.”
  • “If you’re patient and keep trying things, most kids will eventually give it a go.” Nicole Pisani, formerly of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi, explains how she’s learning from her new job in a school kitchen.

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