There has been a long running debate within the world of food retail with regards to FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) regarding the labelling of products. Traffic light systems have been adopted by some supermarket chains to show consumers in the simplest way how good or otherwise a particular product is – but this transparency doesn’t extend to the ingredients.
We all know that everything we eat isn’t good for us, we also know that to get your five a day can be more of a challenge than it sounds (I think I’m going to turn into an orange on some days!) but when it comes to the point where a beef burger is actually a horse – well, that’s just plain wrong.
Ok, so there is a slight exaggeration in the above statement but I can’t be the only one to be a little shocked that even the slightest trace of horse has been found in burgers supplied throughout the UK. Surely buyers do know the difference between a horse and a cow? A startling difference being that in Britain we eat cow, we don’t eat horse.
I’ve come up with a check for those who aren’t sure – one goes ‘moo’ and the other ‘neigh’.
I am not a particularly squeamish person when it comes to food and have tried a number of more interesting dishes including kangaroo, snails and shark but the difference with these experiences was that I was very aware of exactly what I was eating.
I’m sure there are people who are not quite as flippant about this discovery as I am and many who may be quite upset and this is why I think it would be simpler all round if labelling was made easier to understand.
Let’s get to the bottom of what is in our food and give the consumer the opportunity to make an informed decision about exactly what they are buying. In a world where content is king and information is power, it seems a little naive to believe that people won’t share their discoveries when they find out what an ‘interesting ingredient’ actually is.
Let’s stop horsing around (sorry!) and make labelling more transparent. Not only will this give consumers the information that they require but it will also instill brand loyalty and credibility which can never be a bad thing.