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Author Topic: Food vs Fuel?  (Read 45393 times)
KenB
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« Reply #90 on: April 24, 2008, 10:38:13 AM »

Nick, List,

There is indeed a considerable amount of wastage in todays food chain.   

I would wager that only 10% of the crops in the fields actually end up being eaten. 

Much of that grown is rejected by the buyer and is ploughed back into the field.  Some is rejected at the packaging stage.  Some gets dumped because it hasn't sold and of the tonnage that we cart home each year, a lot is rejected in preparation, or just not eaten or allowed to go to waste in the back of the fridge.   

BOGOF is a convenient mechanism to dispose of supermarket surplus. Byways was correct in stating that much of this goes to landfill. 

My wife recently needed a few sprigs of parsley for a sauce, and had to buy a bulk pack, 90% of which was wasted.  (We used to buy live herbs in pots - but we were both too expert at killing them).

Food is ridiculously cheap.  I suggest having a look on one of the supermarket comparison sites such as www.mysupermarket.com

By way of experiment - Spend an hour filling a virtual trolley with the foodstuffs that you would eat in a normal week, and then work out how much of your income this comes to.   

I tried the exercise of budgeting for a healthy balanced diet, specifically for my wife (vegetarian) and I (reduced meat diet), and chose items that we would use each week and in a quantity that would be sufficient and without excess wastage.   

The 35 items came to just over 50.  I've included the list below. Note lots of veg, rice, pasta, beans. Protein from eggs, tuna, milk and cheese - and for me sausages and mince. There's not much bread, but could a couple eat 5kg of spuds in a week?

Three hours of work would feed us well for a week, this was before luxury items and alcohol.

Compare this relative abundance to the situation in the developing countries, where staple food consumes about 75% of the family income and the recent food price rises put incredible pressure on the income.




Ken


Here's what 50 buys in the UK.

Sainsbury's shopping list       24 April 2008
   
35 items. 50.32    
   
Bakery & Patisserie
   
1 x    Hovis Wholemeal Medium Bread (800g)    1.15    

Fruit & Vegetables    
   
1 x    Sainsbury's Basics Potatoes (5Kg)    1.76    
2 x    Sainsbury's Broccoli Loose    1.60    
7 x    Sainsbury's Carrots Loose    0.42    
2 x    Sainsbury's Cauliflower Extra Large    2.98    
10 x    Sainsbury's Closed Cup Mushrooms Loose    2.30    
3 x    Sainsbury's Courgettes Loose    0.90    
2 x    Sainsbury's Dwarf Beans (300g)    2.00    any 2 FOR 2.00 - valid until: 29/04/08
1 x    Sainsbury's Green Pepper Loose    0.78    
200g    Sainsbury's Leeks Loose    0.40    
1 x    Sainsbury's Lettuce Round Loose    0.49    
1 x    Sainsbury's Onions (1Kg)    0.76    
3 x    Sainsbury's Parsnips Loose    0.39    
1 x    Sainsbury's Red Pepper Loose    0.78    
6 x    Sainsbury's Tomatoes Loose    0.90    
1 x    Sainsbury's Whole Cucumber    0.80    
1 x    Sainsbury's Yellow Pepper Loose    0.78    

Dairy    
   
2 x    Sainsbury's British 4 Pints Fresh Pasteurised Milk (2.27L)    2.68    
1 x    Hoads Farm Medium Free Range Eggs (6)    1.28    
1 x    Lurpak Slightly Salted Spreadable (500g)    2.37    
1 x    Sainsbury's English White Mature Cheddar (Approx 750g)    4.61
   
Meat, Fish & Poultry    
   
2 x    Sainsbury's British Beef Mince Lean (500g)    4.50    2 FOR 4.50 - valid until: 02/09/08
1 x    Sainsbury's Butcher's Choice 8 Large Beef Sausages (454g)    1.64    

Tins, Jars & Cooking    
   
1 x    Sainsbury's Vegetable Oil (1L)    0.98    
2 x    Sainsbury's Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g)    0.84    
1 x    Sainsbury's Skipjack Tuna Chunks in Brine (4x185g)    2.45
   
Packets & Cereals    
   
1 x    Sainsbury's Corn Flakes (750g)    0.97    
1 x    Tate & Lyle Granulated Pure Cane Sugar (1Kg)    0.79    
1 x    Sainsbury's Spaghetti (500g)    0.41    
1 x    Sainsbury's Trottole Tricolore (500g)    0.75    
1 x    Sainsbury's American Wholegrain Brown Rice (1Kg)    0.89    
1 x    Sainsbury's Red Kidney Beans (500g)    0.69    

Drinks    
   
1 x    Sainsbury's Full Roast Instant Coffee Granules (300g)    1.98    
1 x    Tetley Tea Bags (80)    1.30    
3 x    Sainsbury's Pure Orange Juice (1L)    2.00    any 3 FOR 2.00 - valid until: 20/05/08



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northern installer
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« Reply #91 on: April 24, 2008, 11:00:17 AM »

sterling work on the figures Ken,and it only goes to bolster my belief,that a:there are no poor people in this country;and therefore b:we dont need cheap food,which c:encourages wastage on a collossal scale.
Once again the supermarkets must shoulder the lions share of the blame,amongst other things,they are guilty of rejecting huge amounts over 'quality' issues(like carrots that dont fit the packaging) and of offering bogoffs;both of these at no cost,but huge profit to themselves.But the average wheelybin contains ,I suspect,a large amount of food waste,again,directly brought about by the artificially low prices.I was brought up in immediate post war Britain,food wastage was much lower,partly through necessity(for soup we would boil up the lable from an empty can discarded by the rich people in the next street),and partly from the effect of the war years,when there really was a food shortage! to have eaten a sandwich and left the crusts would have invited a 'short sharp shock'and rightly so!Possibly sensibly priced food,and a massive education policy might change things? and perhaps a return in the schools to'domestic science' so that tomorrows adults can use food properly,instead of putting some processed gunk(mainly made from turkey 4 letter words are my favorite and feathers,swept from the processing shed floor) into a microwave for the time printed on the packet!...ping! bootiful (vomiting smiley please)
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KenB
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« Reply #92 on: April 24, 2008, 11:22:08 AM »

NI, List,

With all the media exposure about the recent food crisis, I thought it would be instructive to work out exactly what we eat, and what the relative costs are.

The supermarket comparison sites make this an interesting and intuitive exercise.

MY wife was fortunate enough to go through school when domestic science was still on the curriculum.  Given that list of ingredients, she could quite easily produce a varied menu throughout the week ( and still have spuds and rice and past to spare).  Even I did domestic science for 1 year, aged 11-12 and learnt the basics of home economics.

By comparison, one of my neighbours daughters, 17, does not know how to cook for herself, let alone turn on the oven.  wackoold

The shopping list I prepared was notably short of heavily prepared foods (frozen pizza, ready meals etc) and reliant on fresh vegetables, and basic ingredients.

It was interesting to note from Orwell's "Road to Wigan Pier" - that the family diet described in chapter 6, featured lots of bulk carbohydrates potatoes and quaker oats, with bread being baked at home from 28lbs of flour being bought each week!

It would be interesting to see whether this approach would be economically feasible now, buying flour and yeast and baking one's own - assisted with a 30 breadmaker.

Anyone actively using a breadmaker, know typically what the electricity consumption is per loaf?




Ken
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 06:16:04 PM by KenB » Logged
NickW
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« Reply #93 on: April 24, 2008, 11:23:01 AM »

Interesting stuff Ken

An observation - Ploughing stuff that clearly isn't going to be sold, back into the fields is no bad thing. The nutrients and biological matter end up back on the field with minimal transport costs.

As for BOGOF - I have a golden rule - only utlise the opportunity for shelf stable or preservable foods / groceries. Recently I bought up a years supply of deordorant, toothpaste and shaving foam on BOGOF (ok - I know they aren't food but same principle applies).

My household has a healthy diet - low meat - mainly food prepared from base ingredients. Costs per head less than 25 - so yes food is cheap.

Doing our bit to reduce food waste - all potatoes cooked in their skins - even roasties!

Regards

Nick
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ajstoneservices
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« Reply #94 on: April 24, 2008, 12:13:34 PM »

Nick

Quote
[ Costs per head less than 25 - so yes food is cheap.
/quote]


Per meal,day,week?
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NickW
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« Reply #95 on: April 24, 2008, 12:34:25 PM »

Per week!
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NickW
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« Reply #96 on: April 24, 2008, 12:44:00 PM »

sterling work on the figures Ken,and it only goes to bolster my belief,that a:there are no poor people in this country;and therefore b:we dont need cheap food,which c:encourages wastage on a collossal scale.
Once again the supermarkets must shoulder the lions share of the blame,amongst other things,they are guilty of rejecting huge amounts over 'quality' issues(like carrots that dont fit the packaging) and of offering bogoffs;both of these at no cost,but huge profit to themselves.But the average wheelybin contains ,I suspect,a large amount of food waste,again,directly brought about by the artificially low prices.I was brought up in immediate post war Britain,food wastage was much lower,partly through necessity(for soup we would boil up the lable from an empty can discarded by the rich people in the next street),and partly from the effect of the war years,when there really was a food shortage! to have eaten a sandwich and left the crusts would have invited a 'short sharp shock'and rightly so!Possibly sensibly priced food,and a massive education policy might change things? and perhaps a return in the schools to'domestic science' so that tomorrows adults can use food properly,instead of putting some processed gunk(mainly made from turkey 4 letter words are my favorite and feathers,swept from the processing shed floor) into a microwave for the time printed on the packet!...ping! bootiful (vomiting smiley please)


Curiously one of the groups that suffer the most health inequalities from poor diet are men over 60. This is because traditionally they have relied on the other half to cook and then find themselves widowed or divorced and are unable to cook.

A friend of mine who is a chef by profession now works in public health wanted to run projects for men over 60 - to help them learn to perpare healthy food from base ingredients. As well as health benefits there are also economic and social benefits (single older men are often socially isolated).

Couldnt get any funding - no one interested - men over 60 not exactly high on the list of politcially motivated priorities Wink
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ajstoneservices
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« Reply #97 on: April 24, 2008, 12:46:08 PM »

Last year we did some work for a young couple with two little tots, one little more than a baby. We were there for 4 days and discovered that these young children would only eat McD's chicken nuggets and chips and couldn't be made to eat anything else Roll Eyes it seems the nice kitchen was just for show. Not much real food shopping done by household but one of them had clearly shopped at big a*se's r us  Lips Sealed
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KenB
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« Reply #98 on: April 24, 2008, 12:52:00 PM »

List,

This week, Farming today on R4 looks at the various aspects of potato farming in the UK.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/farmingtoday/

Today's programme - a look at the McCain Oven Chip factory near Peterborough (honest guv' only 5% fat), and then a more traditional grower in Lancashire who sells his spuds to the chip shops of Liverpool, Manchester, Blackpool etc.

Tomorrows programme looks at the environmental aspects of growing spuds in the UK.


Ken
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NickW
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« Reply #99 on: April 24, 2008, 12:56:40 PM »

Last year we did some work for a young couple with two little tots, one little more than a baby. We were there for 4 days and discovered that these young children would only eat McD's chicken nuggets and chips and couldn't be made to eat anything else Roll Eyes it seems the nice kitchen was just for show. Not much real food shopping done by household but one of them had clearly shopped at big a*se's r us  Lips Sealed

Hi Tony

I went away to university so had 3 years of learning to cook on a budget.

The lack of food preparation skills in the Uk populous is shocking. This arguement of time saving is absolute rubbish. Last night it took me about 20 minutes to put some chicken breasts in a baking tray, chop spuds, peel carrots, cut some brocoli, and make some gravy! We even had home made yorkshire puddings - pre prepared batter in the frige ready to pour

Now that house price inflation inspired equity release is over - we as a nation are as poor as Romania. Learning to cook from base ingredients will be one way of offsetting our rapid deflation of living standards.
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ajstoneservices
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« Reply #100 on: April 24, 2008, 01:12:07 PM »

Nick

Our eldest daughter is home from uni, Gemma is 21 today Smiley she can cook and lives within her tight budget. We all take turns in our house to cook proper meals whoever's home first, does the cooking. We do have the occasional takeaway only to moan about the cost and quality.
Ken, tins of chopped tomato's at twice the price of whole ones Undecided

Tony

You say tomatoes and I say tomato, um, you make a song about that.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 01:15:56 PM by ajstoneservices » Logged
Ivan
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« Reply #101 on: April 24, 2008, 05:13:16 PM »

Ken,

I make virtually all the bread I eat with a home breadmaker. It works out around 1/2 the cost of shop bread when you take into account the cost of the electricity (0.3kWh for a 500g loaf) and ingredients. If you want bread that tastes like cardboard, I mean White bread, then it would be even cheaper - white flour is a LOT cheaper than brown flour.

The smell of fresh-baked bread in the morning is something that can't be matched. The bread tastes nicer, and I have complete control over the ingredients (I put 1/4 of the recommended salt into the loaf, and 'losalt' at that - it tastes just as good). Of course there aren't any preservatives, so it tends to go stale faster than a normal loaf
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northern installer
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« Reply #102 on: April 24, 2008, 05:18:16 PM »

Ivan,from memories of home made bread when I was a youngster,it was only any good on the day it was made,following day it was used for toast. but supermarket sliced bread? vomit
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northern installer
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« Reply #103 on: April 24, 2008, 05:36:12 PM »



Couldnt get any funding - no one interested - men over 60 not exactly high on the list of politcially motivated priorities Wink



Nick,everyone,things are changing,it has been noticed in political circles that the over 60s are a growing band of(largely discontented) voters,hence recent govt sucking up with free bus travel,so around election time it may be possible to get some hollow promises(or outright lies) just hope I make it to 60 without getting trampled to death in a food riot!   warning!irrelavent smiley application coming up......................................... norfolk
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« Reply #104 on: April 24, 2008, 05:42:45 PM »

I make virtually all the bread I eat with a home breadmaker. It works out around 1/2 the cost of shop bread when you take into account the cost of the electricity (0.3kWh for a 500g loaf) and ingredients...

I was converted to using a breadmaker years ago - an impulse buy from Etcso in the New Year sales - only 40-summat quid. I suspect it's by now way past its design lifetime, since its electronics blew up once, but a friend who knows all about such things managed to fix it by replacing a capacitor - even that was years ago.

For some reason, I've never added up the cost of a loaf - must do so. I usually let it bake on Economy 7 during the night, or these days let it take advantage of the PV electricity in the afternoon.

Fermipan dried yeast in 500g packet is good for economy. I tend to share one of the packs with another home-baker, divide my 250g into 5 lots of 50 in little plastic boxes, and keep all except the one in use in the freezer. Lasts for months, possibly years.

I'm not very adventurous with the recipe - usually 50/50 wholemeal/white. 100% wholemeal is good for making bricks, and 100% white is of course white. I add extra gluten, depending on the flour.

More fat is supposedly good for 'softness' and keeping-quality (if not necessarily good for the consumer!).
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