Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

As the Old Saying Goes 'You Get What You Pay For' Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

As the Old Saying Goes 'You Get What You Pay For' Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Gutteridge

IF THERE'S one thing my mum knows quite a bit about, it's processed food. At a time when women were expected to stay quietly at home cooking for their husbands, in the 1940s my mum was general manager of a large factory making potted meats.

Yes, potted meats - remember them? Little jars of pork, chicken and beef.

"How did you know it was actually beef you were processing?" I challenged her at the weekend, at the height of the horse-for-cow scandal.

She went puce with indignation.

"Because we brought all the animals straight into the factory. We had an army of women with cleavers chopping them all up."

I didn't go into detail, but my mum said they used to go down to the docks at Tilbury to check the produce off the boats from the North.

Who can My dad worked in the food industry too. He was a chemist: a food scientist. He invented first taste own-brand pickles. Somewhere at home we have the original handwritten recipe for Heinz Piccalilli. beans? Of don't taste They were, are, made cheaper I remember going to the factory he managed on Newcastle's Quayside. They made minced chicken: I saw the chickens come in one side and tins of chicken gunk coming out the other. He wore a white coat and the women wore little white hats and hairnets.

After 50 years of bickering about almost everything in life, my mum and I have reached total agreement on this horse issue.

The scandalous thing about this whole affair isn't really about corrupt dealers in Romania, or France, or Ireland, or wherever the horses cantered into our food chain. It's about us, the British consumers.

The bottom line is: you get what you pay for.

Mum says it started back in the fifties with the supermarkets. Spurred on by the shallowness of the great British wallet, they began to put such price pressure on suppliers that the only solution was to downgrade the product. Welcome to the world of the own-brand. If you buy own-branded products - and who doesn't at some time? - be under no illusions that you have lowered your standards. They can masquerade as "Finest", or "Best", or whatever the marketing department calls it. …

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