The best tomato ketchup ever

Why am I writing about Ketchup? Not normally a product associated with ethics in the food industry. Well this family staple serves as a great example of the how to assess the real value of the food we buy.

It is easy to look at the label, see organic and think hmm, ‘it might be slightly better’, look at the price and wonder if it is worth the difference. So what is the difference?

The difference is huge! There are 600g of tomato per 100g of Mr Organic ketchup. Compare that to standard Heinz at 148g per 100g, Heinz organic ketchup 180g per 100g and a similar price to Mr O and Tiptree which is considered a premium brand (By appointment to Her Majesty The Queen) coming in at the highest cost per KG, but still only 180g per 100g.

Tesco value is 116g per 100g so the smart money is to either buy a supermarket value product or to buy a branded product that really is a quality product and worth the extra money. It is worth looking past the labelling and questioning what a brand represents.

Overall, because it is so rich we end up using less so the cost equals out. I’d never buy anything else now. If I am honest I am a bit in love with Mr Organic, he is my kind of guy!

Parting thoughts – Some companies put a lot of money into marketing and branding with the focus of driving up profit and others companies create a product they are really proud of. That is the one that is worth the extra cost. With everything you buy, look to support producers that have everyones best interesting in mind and are genuinely passionate about creating a great product.

 

 

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Fairtrade – it says it all

Image result for fairtrade logo 2018

Fairtrade originated from the need to protect farmers and workers in developing countries. Today the Fairtrade label represents a global movement that guarantees better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade.

Conventional trade traditionally takes advantage of the poorest and weakest producers that have the least bargaining power. Coffee and chocolate are amongst the commodities which are particularly prone to appalling working conditions and price fixing by the major corporate buyers.

Fairtrade represents more than just money and ultimately it means a better product reaches you. Their policies include:

  • Price – farmers are paid a reasonable price, never below the market value.
  • Investment premium – paid on top of the Fairtrade minimum price that farmers and workers invest in social, environmental and economic developmental projects to improve their businesses and their communities. They decide democratically by committee how to invest the premium
  • Environment – farmers have to meet environmental standards, to protect natural environments.
  • Sustainability – promoting the use of sustainable and organic farming techniques.
  • GM ban – forbid the use of GM seeds and planting stock.
  • The small producer – with around 70% of coffee producers being small scale they face particular disadvantages in the market place. Fairtrade favours and support these producers.
  • Child labour – prohibits child labour (under 15 yrs old).
  • Discrimination – Fairtrade follows the Universal Declaration of Human rights.
  • Occupational health and safety for workers – the developing world has acutely inadequate. standards for health and safety. Fairtrade sets minimum standards.

If you want to learn more check out their website, specifically the farmers and workers section: https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/Farmers-and-Workers

Note, where you see a list of positives promoted by an organisation, realise that it is a mirror image of what goes on in the other side of the industry. See https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/bittersweet-toil-how-2-day-10760532

So when you next shop for bananas, tropical fruits, coffee, tea, dried fruit and nuts, rice or sugar look out for the Fairtrade logo.

Final thoughts –  The need for the Fairtrade movement highlights everything that is wrong with corporate power and greed in the food industry. The plight of the farmers in developing countries in the starkest realisation of this, but the same principles apply globally. Being an Ethical omnivore is about supporting good farming practices and real farmers. Without them we won’t have ongoing access to quality, sustainable products. It might cost a bit more but the value is far greater.

Fairtrade banana with my porridge this morning 🙂


Non Fairtrade – Nemon Siluo, nine years old, works on farmland clearing vegetation (Image: Adam Gerrard/Sunday Mirror)

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Herefordshire – beautiful open countryside and…..

Check out this interactive map of factory farming per county. We live on the Herefordshire and Worcestershire border, we love this area, the countryside around us is stunning. Rolling green pastures in every direction, yet there are 17 million farm animals being raised indoors, it is very disappointing https://www.ciwf.org.uk/factory-farm-map

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Children are our future

‘I believe the children are our future,
Teach them well and let them lead the way,
Show them all the beauty they possess inside,
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier,

Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be….’

Whitney Houston knew it and so does the food industry. Teach them while they are young and they’ll never question it when they grow up. Yep I’ve found a child’s colouring book promoting the factory farming of pigs, read it here.
The truth is that the majority of us has a wonky perception of reality when it comes to farming, thanks to our childhood. ‘Drink milk for strong bones’ is the first one that springs to mind. (Which, if you haven’t read the post about ‘calcium and dairy’ you’ll know that bone density is mainly attributed to weight bearing exercise done during your 20s and 30s and over 40 food contain calcium – anyway back to the point…)
Start ’em young and ensure your customer of the future. We all do it, we take the kids on days out to ‘show’ farms. We buy them farm sets of the happy farmer and the animals dotted around the pastures. We coo at the baby chicks. And so we should, we should show our children the sunny side of the street, teach them what a good farm looks like and to love and respect nature. On the flip side we should teach them that not all farms are like that and that they should watch out for it as they would any danger. The same as we teach them about about crossing the road, stranger danger, smoking, junk food.
But to teach children that factory farms are great places – that is wrong for so many reasons. Where taking the pigs away from the mud into the clean barren plastic indoor stall, with a slatted floor (to allow the poo and wee to flow away) is a good thing. Or that small metal cages that house the mummy pigs are a great because it makes it safer for the piglets, or to teach them about mutilation of 3-10 days old piglets, or that ‘culling’ is the practice used to deal with the sick pigs. ‘Don’t worry children the sick pig has been culled, it is all OK now’. YES this is happening. A colouring book and quiz aimed at children of 12 yrs and under is being distributed by the US pork council, and supported by the USDA (equivalent to DEFRA) and the US government. It is lovingly, titled ‘Producers, pigs and pork’, see the real life version here Factory farming colouring books (double click the link), and take the very age inappropriate Swine Knowledge Junior Quizbowl it is worth a look, even for a laugh at how ridiculous it is. If you don’t laugh you’ll cry!

Now this is in the US so why is it relevant to us? Well there is a universal theme here and a serious topic. We are very lucky that people in the UK are not so gullible. No one would ever fall for such a tactic. Would we? Think about how many images and statements of false advertising we see every day relating to food production that we don’t question? The smiling child holding the chicken or the cuddling family in front of their spacious lawn rather than the massive windowless sheds, the Willow farm logo, when no such farm exists it is meat that comes from the EU, not even a specific country. When we start to see past the marketing messages we start to see what we need to and make the right choices.
Get your colouring pencils out, draw a blue sky, big fluffy clouds, a big yellow sun with spikes, a cow grazing in the long grass and a pig laying in a muddy hole. That is the image I want both in my imagination and my reality. P.S. If anyone does do a drawing, I’d love to see it!
Love you Whitney!
The Ethical Omnivore

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Enjoying the sun!

There is nothing better than relaxing in the sun 🙂

Everyone deserves to enjoy that as a basic right. Factory farmed animals never get to feel the warmth of the sun on their backs. Support either free range, pasture fed, organic, all lamb and mutton and outdoor raised produce when you choose any eggs, meat and dairy. #rollonthesummer

Chilling with The Ethical Omnivore.

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