Food & Wine March 2015

Food for thought

Last year our meeting in April was on the same day as the Budget and Geoff referred to the fact that a TV crew descended upon us, somewhat disrupting our meeting as they sought our views on the Budget – they had not realised that we had not heard it as we were all in the Carrington Room, or on our way there.  Our group did appear briefly on the ten o’clock news that evening.

Geoff was our speaker for today’s meeting looking at some of the important issues facing the food industry.

Today, do we eat to live or live to eat?

Here in Princes Risborough we are well catered for with supermarkets, street markets, convenience stores, butchers and local farm shops.  Where possible, the majority of the group tried to buy British produced food which is cheaper and has a better flavour.

Milk

Due to some supermarkets driving the price paid to their suppliers down, many dairy farmers are going out of business. Tesco, Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose all buy their milk direct from the farmer paying 30 – 35 pence per litre.  Asda, Morrisons, Iceland and Lidl  buy from large milk-processing suppliers and pay prices as low as 21p per litre.  Geoff read a short article he had read in the Sunday Times which was quite horrifying. The author was referring to a situation she found in the USA.   It painted a picture of huge herds of cows kept in concrete pens and feed on grain.  Was this the future for the UK in the need to supply more milk cheaply?

Meat

Cattle fed on grain produce less methane than cattle fed on grass and therefore don’t contribute as much to global warming. The future will become more challenging as the demand for meat continues to grow because of a growing population and increasing demand for meat in emerging economies.

Food and Health – what should we believe?

We are constantly hearing that certain foods are bad for us but later on it appears that they are not.  Government Health Advice is  inconsistent and maybe it is better if we use our own judgement.

Exciting trends in food industry today

British food is now better than ever, with much more variety.  New food and drink businesses are opening locally for example Dukes Wine Bar, XT Brewery, Daws Hill Vineyard (Radnage) and Orchard View Farm in Little Meadle.

After the talk we broke for tea with some tasty Rhubarb Crumble Muffins made by Eileen.

Our next meeting will be on the 15th April, and will feature Margeurite Patten, a look at her life and her contribution to improve our knowledge of food.  This will include an indoor “street party” with recipes from the 1940s.  Please remember to bring: a plate, bowl, knife, fork, dessertspoon and a cup and saucer.  Members have volunteered to make various tasty things to eat.

New members are always welcome and we look forward to seeing you at some of our meetings this year.

Cynthia George.

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