Itching Up To Get In Your Kitch-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!
March 25, 2014
That Was The Food Week That Was!
A Billion Squid - Who Knew?
December 19, 2013
It was enough to put me of my rice crispies.
(organic ones, of course).
At a time where seasonal ingredients and provenance are the be-all-and-end-all from those of us lucky enough and arsed enough to bother, this morning’s Sunday papers made for a somewhat chilling experience.
As he points out in his piece, the Nation will today be tucking into a chocolate bar, or ready meal or drink that, at some point, has been touched, shipped or processed by Cargill.
Cargill. You know, Cargill - the multi-billion pound food conglomerate. What do you mean you’ve never heard of it? Shame on you…
Well actually, shame on us, as it transpires that Cargill is the largest maker of food ingredients in the world, with net revenues well over a billion squid last year alone.
Need a few hundred tonnes of grain shipped to The Philippines? No worries. What about the three train loads of corn syrup taking up space in my back garden? Leave it to us.
Cargill are the biggest company you’ve never heard of – but we shouldn’t blame ourselves fot that – not when Cargill’s President admits, albeit jokingly, that their marketing strategy used to be along the lines of ‘If someone knows what we do, someone has screwed up.’
The sheer numbers quoted are eye-watering to say the least and an indication of how one planet can be so polarized when it comes to food production and food consumption.
One example cited was the factory in an unpronounceable city in the Soviet Union – responsible for all of the Chicken McNuggets consumed within Russia’s 300-odd Maccie D shops. How many is that? Well, whilst you are sat at your desk tomorrow, mourning your 9-5 existence, this factory will produce one million nuggets. Times that by three times a day, seven a week etc… that is a lot of processed chicken breast.
What was also striking was the fact that the same company was in itself a food trader as well – in the same way the banks have for years been setting their own rates and prices, it seems so are Cargill.
But the most striking (scary) revelation? This 150 year-old company, who provide logistics and production for some of the most sugar laden, fat rich, heart-attack inducing produce in recent times – are now coming up with new natural sugar substitutes that not only replicates taste, but also ‘mouthfeel’ – a boon for the weight loss industry.
It’s a bit like the school bully taking Open University evening classes, so that he can offer therapy for his self-induced spate of physical abuse.
I imagine Herve This would be both proud and horrified in equal measure.
Me? I’ll stick to water, wine and whatever the kitchen garden gives me as best I can.