You quite often see food in the news. Well, at least you do if you’re a foodie with a radar permanently on receive for foodie news! But this time it’s for all the wrong reasons.
Unless you have been out of the country or on a self-imposed blanket media ban this week, you won’t have failed to see the food industry in the spotlight with scientists, doctors and health experts highlighting the excessive consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) in our diet, their over-use by food manufacturers and the potential links between consumption and numerous health conditions.
Amidst all the current media coverage highlighting the prolific rise in production of ultraprocessed foods in pursuit of profit by food manufacturers*, I think it is important to wave a flag for the small, craft businesses you will find dotted around your local village, town or city right across the country who put quality above profit as a foundation of our businesses.
BUYING FOOD FROM A SMALL PRODUCER
By the very nature of the values that underpin our businesses, it makes us more expensive because we source quality, natural ingredients where we can, often from other small producers in our local business community. We care about the experience you have with our food, the taste and the nutritional value more than we do about pursuing the biggest profit we can make (although we do still have mortgages to pay!)
I’m not trying to paint craft producers as a paragon of virtue whose raw ingredients are always natural and minimally processed. We’re not immune from the world of UPFs.
I can only speak for my own business here…I do use some ingredients that fall under the ultraprocessed banner.
For example, I use [a very small amount] of xanthan gum in my gluten-free flour blend. It was a measured decision I made after endless testing when I developed the blend. And I use plant cream in my vegan products, which has no end of unpronouncable ingredients in it.
But as a general rule, UPFs are the last resort of ingredients for craft producers, not the go-to.
With the cost of living crisis, horrific food inflation and sky high fuel costs, it has become increasingly difficult for us littlies to keep producing the foods you love at a price you can afford without compromising on our values.
But be assured that, for this little business, without those values there would be no business. So they are here to stay.