food industry

  • I operate a just-in-time supply chain

    Apples packaged in plastic on a supermarket shelf
    (Photo by Ethan Feng)

    It’s called my ‘supermarket-to-kitchen run’. But I hadn’t realised – until I read Dan Hancox’s article in the June issue of Prospect magazine – just how recent and unusual my lifestyle is. 

    Don’t panic, Mr Mainwaring!

    We’ve all heard the tales of rationing, and how it lasted into the mid-50s for Britons. But it always felt very far away from a 1980s childhood. 

    Hancox relates how responsibility for food security has been handed to supermarkets by the British government since the 1960s, and in earnest since the 90s. 

    But since the 90s, just-in-time supply chains have become the norm, reducing waste and unused capacity, and allowing us ever cheaper chickens and strawberries whenever we want them.

    Freezers are for losers

    I don’t really do freezers. Like many of my generation, I smirk at 70-somethings with their bursting freezers and their back-up chest freezer in the garage with another years’ supply of Findus crispy pancakes and Quiche Lorraines. 

    Just like Sainsbury’s, my supply chain has about enough capacity to last two days in a crisis. I haven’t even planned for what I’ll eat tomorrow, let alone at the weekend. 

    But I am also completely at ease with the idea that what I will eat might be a poké bowl, or a Greek salad, or perhaps some tuna sashimi. Because growing up in this culture has given me infinite choice. 

    Meat and two veg

    This has shielded me from another uncomfortable truth. I don’t much like the food that actually grows in my country. I’ve often been given pause by Blackadder episodes where Baldrick bangs on about turnips. Turnips! Are they edible?

    I’ve always preferred mezze to Sunday roast. I’ll take calamari over fish’n’chips. I’d rather an olive than a turnip. If I hadn’t lived in this hyper-connected age, what might I have never tasted? 

    While we’re on the subject of food, Fancy a Dinner Share?