Food with Standards

As a child I had many dreams and ideas.  It was the 1980’s and one of my phases was to be a YUPPI!  However growing up on a farm with a home economics teacher for a mum and a farmer for a dad my fate was sealed.  Never at that young age did I think I would see the world with food and win the accolades I have.

On the farm we had a red Massey Ferguson tractor.  Dad used it to farm and at the age of 16 (I rarely admit this) I won the local ploughing championship.  My prize was a barrel of oil.  I was not impressed.  Dad was!

Sitting drinking Beefeater and Tonic last night at the Oval Lounge, Matt the Scottish Jock (aka the owner) was telling me that he has a new meat supplier.  Well, this was music to my ears as every time I have called in meat has been the topic of conversation.  New sausages would be cooked and presented to me for my thoughts, chicken breasts and steaks.  My experience of organoleptic testing of food for leading UK supermarkets and manufacturers has taught me lots about food from a consumer choice point of view.  Sausages in my view should be juicy and have nice meaty chunks with a good flavour.   The eating experience of texture should be harmonious so the strength of the skin should be a relative texture to the filling.  I’ve tried so many sausages with a firm texture of skin only to find a weak textured filling.  Disappointing.

As Matt and I talked about meat and we looked into Red Tractor.  And thats what Matt and his team in the Oval Lounge are now selling.  78,000 farmers across the UK produce food to the Red Tractor standard – food assurance scheme which covers production standards developed by experts on safety, hygiene, animal welfare and the environment amongst other things.

And as for those sausages – come and try them – Scotts have a concept of being mean, but trust me, The Oval Lounge full English, it keeps you going all day.

4 thoughts on “Food with Standards

  1. Hi James – your farming background is fascinating.

    However, I have never been a big fan of the Red Tractor scheme. It gives the impression of super high standards when really they are the minimum requirement.

    When an ad claiming ‘Red Tractor pork is high-welfare pork’ was recently banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, the campaigning charity, Compassion in World Farming, commented:

    I feel a right spoil-sport saying that! I think farmers everywhere do a grand job. So no disrespect to them.

    • Thank you Elisabeth.

      I agree that many different schemes offer different things to consumers, but I also feel that consumers should have a choice and the availability of knowledge to make their own decisions. Each scheme does different things, so from my point of view, it’s great what Red Tractor do, but its for consumers to research! Share the burden of responsibility and all of that!

  2. Pingback: Sunday lunch with William and Kate | James McIntosh's Whisk Weblog

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