My other half has been trying to get me to do a food blog for ages but I have always felt it was an overloaded l area on the web, however since moving to beautiful Seaford on the South Downs of East Sussex UK in August I am finally moved to share my frustrations.
As an older woman I have been working hard since I left teaching 2 years ago to have a healthier lifestyle. I now walk by the sea or on the Cliffs nearly every day. I have also managed to lose nearly 2 stone in weight (thanks MFP but that’s another story) and get rid of most of my middle aged spread. My partner has also lost weight, changed his eating habits and is no longer type 2 diabetic. He has long called me ‘The Food Police’
I was looking forward to being able to access fresh fish from the fishmonger (who is great and tells me good ways to cook it) , use a real butcher and enjoy all my usual products and more at the enormous Sainsburys in Newhaven which is about 4 times the size of the old one in Warlingham. From my first visit to the latter I could not have been more disappointed and frustrated.
Where was my regular spaghetti ?– the Hi fibre white (with oat fibre) that we use so much of to help keep our cholesterol down. I spent time on the phone with their customer centre but they did not seem to know what I was talking about. Where were Blue Dragon whole wheat noodles and Alpro Unsweetened Almond milk about which I also wrote to the manufacturer. The customer service desk said they have no power over what comes into the store – in fact I was told today they only stock what there is demand for.
Aagh if you don’t stock things they will not build up a following will they ? and how many customers just go elsewhere – I was told the Eastbourne Sainsburys is much better but why should I drive 15 miles how ecologically unsound is that? Anyway this has turned out to be untrue because would you believe it about a month later I was doing my weekly shop and there they were- my spaghetti and my noodles- the following week the two hi fibre pasta versions appeared. Next came Alpro unsweetened almond milk though I have to say this has not always been there since. Still no sign of the Sainsburys own brand plain passata jars though of course you can buy all sorts of pasta sauces with added flavours sugar etc. The store stocks far more highly processed food including endless cakes, biscuits and ‘snacks’ than I am used to seeing on display which is a bit depressing in an area like this.
Seaford and Newhaven is a community where there are many older people who need to manage our modern day ills like type 2 diabetes and heart disease There is also a significant sector of low waged working families and people living on benefits. Surely they deserve the choice of healthier options? My initial foray into Morrisons in Seaford filled me with dismay- such poor quality fruit and vegetables and you can’t even get a couple of slices of unpackaged cold cuts from their so called deli counter. They cut it and pre-package. The less mobile and many of them appear very elderly tend to shop here and they are not well served as far as I can see.
So the straw that broke the camel’s back was yesterday when I went to get the Non dairy Koko milk with added calcium which I enjoy after my daily walk. The shelf was bare- was told they get one case at a time- 12 cartons and for the first time ever I actually ordered it meaning I had to waste time and petrol returning today to collect it.
It makes we so angry that the big supermarket chains who let’s face it have so much power over the growers, manufacturers and consumers can’t even stock a few wholegrain staples like large packs of plain brown rice, pasta and a wide range of vegetables both fresh and frozen. They have the chance to show social responsibility and promote these products instead of forever coming up with new pre prepared options. There is a place for the latter in our busy lives but not for everyday or at the expense of real food for good health.
Does anyone agree?