Marks Tey: Cheap food is a false economy, warns entrepreneur

Danny Spence, Butchery Manager (on left) and Lawrence Arnolda (on right) at The Food Company

Danny Spence, Butchery Manager (on left) and Lawrence Arnolda (on right) at The Food Company - Credit: Archant

WE are not far away from completely synthesised food, an Essex entrepreneur has warned.

Danny Spence, Butchery Manager (on left) and Lawrence Arnolda (on right) at The Food Company

Danny Spence, Butchery Manager (on left) and Lawrence Arnolda (on right) at The Food Company - Credit: Archant

Leslie Linch, boss of melamine food display makers Dalebrook Supplies Ltd, set up The Food Company in Marks Tey, Colchester, in 2000, offering consumers an alternative to supermarkets.

“If you don’t understand quality you have two choices - either put your faith in someone who does or buy as cheap as you can,” he said.

“The outcome of buying as cheap as you can is that you are asking your supplier to do the same, so it shouldn’t surprise you as to where their attention is going to be focused.

“We have seen over the years the chemists, scientists and financiers replace the cooks, butchers and farmers dictating the food chain. We are not far away from completely synthesised or processed food, meaning to say that the next step is to feed humans in the same industrialised way as battery hens.”


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When a food scare occurs, several retailers are affected at once because the product is mass-produced, he said.

“The problem now is that the retailers know that their product is all basically the same so the marketing is on price, convenience and environment. With the latest supermarket trend not only are we are invited to self-serve, proving that the packaging is doing the talking, but now we must operate the transaction too,” he said.

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“You should not really worry too much about the substitution of horse meat for beef, worry more that due to the clever people operating the food chain no one could tell the difference. Independent retailers do not operate in this way ”

“Real” food is not expensive and it’s what our bodies run best on, he said. “Buy two burgers or chicken fillets from your butcher not four from your supermarket. You will almost certainly be getting more good protein for your pounds.”

He added: “If we buy the food already processed it’s not surprising that our bodies have unused capacity, so there are side effects to our health and appearance. Many of us know what we can eat and we know that a hamburger is a meat sandwich, basically protein (the meat) and carbohydrate (the bun), but when an economy burger is produced and it only has to contain a legal minimum of 47% beef, what’s in the rest of it? Filler. This is not only a cheat because the illusion is that the beef part is all beef, but you are consuming mechanically deboned meat and rusk.

“Industrialised farming is one issue, it remains to be seen whether the American methods of rearing cows on processed corn rather than grass is going to have any residual effects. But it is the processing of these animals into food at the factory and its presentation to us that is much more serious.”

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