There’s a lot of food news out there that’s not really related to diabetes, but it’s interesting anyway, so here’s a little overview of the good, the bad, the weird and the wonderful stuff that’s happening in the food arena currently globally, locally, in supermarkets and in the High Street. Some is about products, some about awards, as well as about communities and new ideas.
With so many farmers being forced out of business, something needs to change and it is up to shoppers to vote with their wallets and buy local. Shoppers are being urged to ‘make one change’ to the way they shop for food. In a bid to end supermarket domination, Anthony Davison, a Cambridgeshire farmer and founder of local food and drink website www.bigbarn.co.uk says buying local could help preserve the UK food industry and ensure the survival of rural communities. He says, “We’re not asking people to make big changes, things as simple as signing up to a local milk delivery or veg box, shopping at the butchers, bakers or grocers, discovering a local producer or growing your own could make a big difference.”
Make One Change launched in 2015 and made strong inroads into getting more people to think about the way they shop for food. This year the campaign has focused on ‘keeping it in the community’, with shoppers encouraged to look within their area to help their own rural economy. As part of the campaign, Davison has launched a pilot Community Food Scheme in his villages of Alconbury and Alconbury West. Joining together with allotment owners, local schools and the village shop, he is encouraging the villagers to become ‘self-sufficient’ and use as much as their home-grown veggies as possible to reduce food miles and bring new wealth to the area. Davidson (#make1change) says, “If we don’t support our rural businesses: dairies, farmers and small producers, then they will cease to exist. Something needs to change and campaigns like Make One Change are just one way to encourage people to take a long hard look at the way they shop for food and make some changes.”
Mine’s a pint!
Meanwhile, The chef patron of The Lord Clyde in Kerridge, Macclesfield has launched a new project to swap veggies for pints. The Cheshire gastro pub has started its own vegetable and herb garden but is several months away from its first crop, so owner and chef patron Ernst van Zyl (pictured right with his partner) is hoping local allotment owners and gardeners will share their surplus in the meantime. For every half pound of fruit, vegetables or herbs gifted to The Lord Clyde, van Zyl will put a pint behind the bar. The Lord Clyde is the only pub in Cheshire to hold three AA Rosettes and one of only four North West pubs to appear in the Top 50 UK Gastropub’s list 2016. Ernst is well known for his confident, creative and playful flavor combinations. Ernst opened The Lord Clyde with his business partner Sarah in 2014 and has more recently acquired two more properties – The Hanging Gate in Higher Sutton, Macclesfield and The Knott Inn in Rushton Spencer.
Award winning restaurant Adam Handling at Caxton, St James’ Park, London, has introduced 60-minute lunches. In a bid to support the ‘reclaim your lunch break’ movement (#Bringbacklunch) sweeping across the UK, the restaurant guarantees that from the moment you are seated, to receipt of the cheque, will take no longer than 60 minutes, or your next lunch is free. Customers should stipulate on arrival that they are on a 60-minute guarantee, then simply order up to two courses from the lunch menu. Items include starters such as nitro salmon with snow peas, wasabi and blossom or smoked pork with pineapple, loveage and parmesan. Mouth-watering mains include tender lamb, artichoke, sour cream and onion or the Wagyu burger with pulled pork and crispy onions.
Just say cheese
The 29th annual World Cheese Awards is being held in November in San Sebastián this year as part of an International Cheese Festival. The awards organiser, the Guild of Fine Food, has announced its first judge for 2016, Andrea Power of Hatchman’s Premium Cheeses, the only cheesemaker in the whole of Barbados. As well as taking her place alongside over 250 other expert judges from every corner of the globe, Power will also be entering her own cheese into a competition for the very first time. Taught by her father, she began making cheese just four years ago in response to concerns from the island’s dairy farmers about milk quotas and poor sales. In 2014, she established Hatchman’s Premium Cheeses, having developed methods to overcome the natural challenges of cheesemaking in a country that stays hot all year round, harnessing solar power to help with the costs of temperature control. The team at Hatchman’s Premium Cheeses is hugely excited by the prospect of lining up against 3,000 of the finest cheeses from across the world, in the largest cheese-only awards scheme on the planet.
Meanwhile, back in Blighty, Colston Bassett’s achievements have continued on the back of two successful year’s where the dairy collected Reserve Champion UK and Best Stilton in 2015, and won the highest prize of all, Supreme Champion, in 2014. This year it has now won a Gold medal for Shropshire Blue, and a Silver medal for Stilton at the International Cheese Awards (ICA), one of the biggest cheese events in the world. And Quicke’s have had a triple triumph at the International Cheese Awards (ICA) 2016 winning Quicke’s Gold medal winners were Ewes’ Milk Cheese and Oak Smoked Cheddar, with the Silver medal going to Quicke’s Extra Mature Cheddar. Organised by Nantwich Agricultural Society and having been established in 1897, the ICA annual awards take place in Nantwich. In July, over 200 experts judged a record-breaking 5,000 entries.
Egging us on
It was a clean sweep for Blackacre Farm Eggs at the Taste of the West Awards this year, with owners Dan and Briony Wood picking up Gold Awards for their entire ‘Free’ collection, including their new Dabbling Free goose egg offering. Judges described the goose eggs as “simply delicious – very mellow with a great depth”, while also commenting on the unique packaging, saying that the “eggs would make a really lovely gift.” Its Foraging Free quail eggs were described as “rich and creamy”, with a “grassy flavour.” Dan Wood, managing director of Blackacre Farm Eggs, commented, “Our five Gold Awards are testament to the quality and taste that can be achieved using traditional farming methods, so I hope they provide a boost for independent family-run farms across the south west and beyond.”
Farming for over 35 years, the Wood family and their flocks have achieved critical acclaim with their Free Collection of Rambling Free hen eggs, Waddling Free duck eggs, Foraging Free quail eggs and Dabbling Free goose eggs, collecting a Great Taste 3-star award and a Great Taste 1-star award in 2015, followed by five Taste of the West Gold Awards in 2016.
United Biscuits (UB), a leading international manufacturer of biscuits, snacks and cakes, has announced the launch of two new products into the free-from aisle – McVitie’s Gluten-Free Original Hobnobs and McVitie’s Gluten-Free Milk Chocolate Hobnobs. Rolling out in-store during July, the new range is designed to give all consumers the chance to enjoy a McVitie’s moment. The high proportion of naturally gluten-free oats in McVitie’s Hobnobs allowed the recipe to be converted without any compromise on the biscuits’ signature taste and crumbly texture. Available in two variants – Original and Milk Chocolate – the McVitie’s Gluten-Free Hobnobs will feature new packaging, based on the conventional McVitie’s Hobnobs design.
Mr Lee’s Noodles have gained Sugarwise certification, which is awarded based on the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on sugar consumption. Mr Lee’s is a new gourmet, gluten free instant noodle in a pot. With the finest rice noodles and quality freeze-dried ingredients, Mr Lee’s noodles offer maximum nutrition and flavour. Also Mr Lee’s is the first company to have been approved by Compass Group before launching.
Waitrose has introduced the UK’s first chicken that is a source of omega 3, the polyunsaturated fatty acids which, as a key part of a balanced diet, help to maintain normal heart, brain and vision function. Optimum health benefits are obtained from a daily intake of 250mg of omega 3 fatt¬y acids as part of a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle. Despite leading authorities recommending regular consumption of foods containing omega 3, research suggests that only 23% of the UK’s adult population consumes the recommended intake, generally classified as at least one portion of oily fish per week. Intake levels are particularly low in children and young people. The new omega 3 chicken, which is unique to Waitrose, is produced by Moy Park on family farms in Northern Ireland to Waitrose’s bespoke high welfare standards, which include plenty of natural light and more space than the industry standards allowing the birds to display natural behaviour. The chicken is enriched by feeding the birds on a diet containing an algae – the family of aquatic plants that includes kelp and seaweed – naturally rich in omega 3. The taste and appearance of the chicken is the same as birds reared on a conventional diet.
The project, which has taken a decade to bring to market, came about as a result of concerns within the medical community that consumers were not including enough sources of omega 3 in their diets; this is of particular concern in children, who often do not like oily fish. To help improve intake, the idea was conceived of developing a more popular protein containing a source of omega 3. Chicken is Waitrose’s top-selling protein.
Initial trials demonstrated that people eating enriched chicken for just five weeks have increased levels of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and see measurable effects on their cardiovascular health. Tests were carried out on 30 healthy participants whose omega 3 levels were measured after one, three and five weeks of eating three servings per week of omega 3 enriched chicken meat. On average participants saw their levels of omega 3s increase by 12%. A total of 10 different new products, including whole chickens, breast fillets and thigh meat are now on sale priced from £3.59 per kilo.
Another big supermarket,Tesco, is to stop sourcing eggs from caged hens by 2025. This comes after the retailer conducted a detailed review of its egg sourcing strategy, which included consultation with suppliers, industry experts and other key stakeholders. The move is the latest initiative designed to ensure Tesco sources products in a sustainable way. Tesco recently launched its Fair For Farmers Guarantee for fresh milk, which demonstrates how every own label pint of milk helps support British dairy farmers. Tesco has also introduced guaranteed high value contracts for British potato growers, and sustainable farming programmes for lamb farmers and producers of cheese. Earlier this year the supermarket launched new fresh produce ranges, including a number of Farm Brands and its Perfectly Imperfect range, which allows Tesco to take more fresh produce from British growers, up to 95% of their crop. Tesco has also pledged to source more of the seafood it offers customers in a sustainable way, in partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council.
Tesco has announced all the cocoa required for its own label chocolate products sold in the UK will be from Rainforest Alliance Certified sources by the end of 2018. The retailer will also ensure the cocoa used in other Tesco UK products, such as biscuits, cakes, desserts and cereals, will be responsibly sourced by the same date.
For heat freaks, the world’s hottest chilli pepper, the Carolina Reaper, has gone on sale in Tesco stores across the UK. If you thought the notorious Komodo Dragon – a chilli pepper launched last year by Tesco – was hot stuff then just wait till you try the Carolina Reaper, officially the hottest chilli pepper in the world according to the Guinness Book Of Records, measuring an average 1.5 million Scoville units*, about 400 times hotter than a jalapeno, the chilli pepper commonly used on spicy take away or supermarket made pizzas.
Tesco chilli pepper buyer Phoebe Burgess said, “The Carolina Reaper is absolute meltdown material – it’s one for hot food connoisseurs. Despite it being astonishingly hot it also has a wonderful fruity taste. Only a sliver is needed to add exciting flavour to your favourite curry. Last year the Komodo Dragon became our most popular chilli pepper ever and since then we’ve been inundated with requests from customers to see if we could go one better and thanks to the fantastic growing skills of our chilli producer we’ve done that.”
The Carolina Reaper is being grown by the UK’s largest producer of chilli peppers, Salvatore Genovese whose seven acre farm in Bedfordshire. He only started growing chilli peppers 15 years ago after he took over his parents’ cucumber business. Since then chilli peppers have become so popular that he now grows about one million, or 15 tonnes, each week just to satisfy UK demand.
The Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2017 is now underway. Now open for entries, this year’s awards will be judged by food writer and reviewer Jay Rayner, David Loftus (Jamie Oliver’s photographer), Thomas Gerwers (Chairman, TIPA, Germany) and Paul Burrows (Editor, Camera magazine, Australia). Andy Macdonald, Managing Director of Pink Lady Apples UK, says, “In just six years, we have seen the Awards develop into such an amazing International event, with hugely qualified judges from the world of photography and food, and from all corners of the globe wishing to be involved, all of which demonstrates the importance of the awards. Last year we received entries from more than 60 countries and a staggering 30,000 mouth-watering images have been entered into the competition since its inception. These Awards are going from strength to strength.”
This news item first appeared in Desang Diabetes Magazine, our free-to-receive digital journal. We cover diabetes news, diabetes management equipment (diabetes kit) and news about food suitable for a diabetic diet. Go to the top of this page to sign up – we just need your email address.