Monday, 18 February 2013


I keep on talking about the issue of trust. As Jack Welch, late, great CEO of GE said:- “forget about technology it’s all to do with trust.”

Thus those scientists whom I was praising last week have, just as I predicted, shot up to number 3 in the IPSOS/ MORI Veracity Index 2013 just published. Scientists are now only just behind teachers and judges.

And we shall need these scientists to sort out the food chain catastrophe. The initial scare and jokes about horse meat (“What do you want on your burger?” “£20 to win please”) are past because it’s just dawning on the supermarkets and government that the real nemesis of cheap food has come home to roost.

We were due a “good food scare” (that’s how an official described it) and this one sticks the knife into a cost driven supply chain.

This is very bad for value products – horse meat, let’s face it, is the least of it. Read “Beastly Things” by Donna Leon which is about a corrupt abbatoir in Italy and you may never eat meat again.

Think old, diseased, filthy cows barely able to stagger to their deaths … yes, that’s Sunday Lunch.
As we become more efficient driving cost out of the system something will snap whether it’s the braking system on a car, a computer keyboard or the ingredients in a chilled ready meal.

We are living through a period of rampant nationalism to which this all plays. So far in the meat debacle the following countries have been fingered – France, Romania, Poland, Wales and Holland via a dodgy Dutch middleman. And Yorkshire…a country by their own reckoning.

The big word when it comes to trust is “provenance”. I want to know where all my food and drink comes from, how carefully the ingredients have been prepared, how the livestock has been cared for and whether the values of the company and brand are sound.

In the end this is as much about values as it’s about process.

It’s going to lead to higher prices, food inflation and the mother of all battles in the high street. Not a bad time to open a local butchers’ shop. A terrible time for a lack of transparency.
Just answer these two questions.

Where are you from?
And what’s the quality like today?

I’m off for a pint of Harvey’s brewed in Lewes and do not dare tell me it would taste as good if brewed in Hungary.

As I said it’s all about trust….and honest people like scientists.

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