Olly Wehring

Consumers wanting more and more for less and less

By: Olly Wehring - 13 February 2007 15:43

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This has been a cosmopolitan few days on these blog pages. Only a few postings ago we were inspired by ideas from our sister site just-auto. Now, a couple of stories posted on just-food.com, and a follow up call from a BBC journalist, has sparked a debate on our news desks today (13 February).

The stories both concern food safety. The first concerns bird flu and its connections to UK poultry group Bernard Mathews. The second is the news that Cadbury is once more embroiled in a recall, this time of Easter eggs following a labelling error that could affect people with nut allergies.

The call from the BBC was to ask us to partake in a debate this afternoon on the World Service. The journalist wanted to know if we believed the demand for cheap food imports make health scares more likely because of poorer safety controls and standards.

Are we asking too much from our food and drink importers and producers? There is an insatiable demand in the UK and across much of Europe for cheaper and cheaper food and drink products. At the same time we are expecting ever more stringent rules on health and safety. Are the two trends compatible with each other, or, in the end, is something bound to give?

Comments on this blog post

Companies who take short cuts and chances in producing goods(liquor, wine or food)have a responsibility to first insure that their product is SAFE to use and will not cause harm to the user. A number of years ago,shady wine bottlers in France and Italy caused many deaths by adding unsafe liquids to their wines in order to cut corners. Not only did they do themselves harm (biz wise) but they hurt the entire wine Industry. Consumers want to buy "on the cheap", but expect that their lives and health will not be in peril. Some times, in buying "cheaper goods" consumers will get what they deserve. Companies' first concern ought to be their users health, not profits.


Norman Weiner, United States

The "insatiable demand in the UK" as you state is certainly not consumer driven - sadly it is a combination of over capacity and retail buyers pushing against a weak supply base.


paul fieldhouse, United Kingdom

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