Culinary abominations and corporate product weirdness

I do sometimes buy meat from Waitrose, mainly because I know a number of farmers who supply them, and they all say that they get a better price in return for conforming to the supermarket’s stringent animal welfare standards. They are, though, more expensive than other supermarkets, and more expensive than the two farm shops I prefer to use.


That’s become quite a hit topic here, I want and need to know that it’s all done humanely. Lots of activists breaking abattoirs showing some horrendous images, conservative government brought laws to punish the activists but did nothing to combat the inhumane treatment by some.

I was unfortunate enough to work in an abattoirs when I was 20, it still haunts me.


And you get to talk too people. I’m finding supermarkets here anyway have too much power over food supply and pricing. We basically have duopoly Coles and Woolworths they bully their suppliers and then artificially jack up the prices to the rest of us they’re about as popular here as putin.


Local butchers, remember those? … man, that would be nice. They’ve all just closed down over the years here. There are probably still a few in some parts of Toronto, but not roun’ 'ere.
There are a couple of specialty meat shops, mostly for steaks and the like, but the prices are double what I pay at our local smallish grocery store. It’s still a chain, but not one of the huge conglomerates.

I don’t generally buy meat on sale unless it’s just 5 or 10% off. One of the local large chains puts rib roasts and steaks on for about a third of the normal price … I wouldn’t touch it …


So do I AC, but my waistline and Cardiologist both frown upon the higher fat content🫤

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We have a local butcher on our high street.

But they don’t actually butcher or prepare anything, it is all done elsewhere and they just sell prepared cuts of meat.

No different to the main supermarkets in reality.



I think I prefer these vac packed minced beef.
What little flavour it has seems to be left better than the other boxed style packaging with those dreadful meat nappies that suck all the juice and flavour out.
Unfortunately lean ground meat has always been foul.

It doesn’t seem that long ago buying a kilo of fresh ground beef from my local butchers for £5.80.
Today it’s £12.80. I don’t eat it everyday, but that’s a lot when I can buy two packs of 500g Aberdeen Angus 15% on offer £6 at the Coop. With a bit more care in cooking it turns out almost just as good.

Most meat products benefit from this vac pac style.
If buying from a good butchers, they will simply bag up - or wrap in paper and bag up what’s bought from the chilled counter. Then you need to think about how you’re keeping it in the fridge. Mince won’t keep for more than a day and chops and steak cuts start to spoil if left as is after 2 days. Sometimes products preferring to be chilled out from any packaging.

I would think with the vac packed mince you would get more weight in less space when chill storage and shipping. That’s bound to reduce costs.


Not just me on the Fairy fragrance then. Such a backward step and not prominently marked on packet.

I wrote complaining, not something I normally do, but had to feedback.

Got the usual product development spiel but they refunded the cost.

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Last year our Tesco closed its butchery and fishmonger counters, and the prepacked meat and fish ranges offer less choice - e.g. no ox cheek, preset steak thickness (often too thin), no whole intact fresh fish allowing you to see whether truly fresh, and the portion/cut of anything carefully arranged to display only the best side. Whilst in theory it is good for the independent butchers and fishmongers which we did already use at times, those are not so easy to get to, and have more limited opening hours.

(The only other supermarkets we have are several branches of a formerly local one recently bought by Tesco and being converted, and a few Co-Ops though most are just convenience stores like the Spars. Sadly we don’t have either Aldi or Lidl.)


Occasionally I will buy pre-packed meat from Tesco, very rare (not my cooking) but my preference is for the local butchers (we have two plus a farm shop)

The farm shop is occasionally used by Prince William and his missus

We don’t tell the Sun

Both butchers sell high quality free range pork and you can taste the difference.

All non-recyclable soft plastics are washed and returned to the Co-Op - but the idea of vacuum packing your meat to used less packaging seems a good one


Don’t listen to the message , blame the messenger

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Yes I agree. And many, or most, vac packed food items are sealed with a nitrogen flush, or sealed in a nitrogen tunnel. I would suspect that minced beef is one of those, but I don’t know for sure.
Possibly even minced in a nitrogen environment. That would make sense but again I don’t know.
Next post, I’ll give you a very short list of the things I actually do know … :slightly_smiling_face:

That’s very nice Ian. Good to hear that things are still done the way they should be, and once were, in some places.

That’s interesting, where do you buy it?

Apart from the fact it seems compressed the ones I tried (2 packs) last year at separate times are a devil to separate when frying and seems to form large clumps so the consistency is all wrong unless you spend ages bashing it up.

Then there was the packaging which made no sense as unless Sainsburys have changed it was not recyclable and produced a lot more black bin waste than a recyclable tray and thin bit of non-recyclable film.

Yes, there’s also travel and parking - there’s supposedly a very nice butcher shop a few miles away, but with all the crazy traffic measures it would probably be a 50 minute unpleasant round trip at least with no guarantee of parking. Even a butcher shop I used many years ago which is closer is virtually impossible to park close to, and I avoid that area now, I’d be surprised if it’s still open.

Indeed - we had a very good butcher in our local village, who sourced his meat from local farmers. He supplied the local school with their meat. A couple of years ago the school terminated the arrangement and that has meant that the butcher couldn’t really keep going. Closed down. A real shame.

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And, of course, no need to reduce the prices to the consumer. Indeed, you can increase the price if you use the right spin!

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I’m starting to think I should avoid packaged raw meat where possible - I suspect I’d save money as I often buy several items of packed meat in the evenings in the supermarket when I’m inevitably hungry and often buy too much. I scramble to freeze some before the use by date, but frequently as well I get the use by dates wrong thinking they are good for longer than they are. A real danger of overfilling the fridge, especially when others don’t use things in expiry date order!

We have two fridges, and the one is decades old and really needs to go but it’s where I tend to keep fresh meat and pre-pepared items such as pizzas/currys which will be normally cooked in an oven or blasted in the microwave. The old fridge doubles as a drink chiller and you’re right that storing non-packaged meat would be a concern if we switched to one fridge as I prefer to keep dairy/veg/cooked meats completely separate.

Vacuum packed mince seems to be appearing everywhere, packed so tight that I put some through a mincer to get the right consistency (an aside, does that then make it ultra processed?). Luckily our local Tesco takes “soft” plastics for recycling, so the packaging gets rinsed and put in with the petfood pouches and crisp packets.
Waitrose seems to be going downhill, unless you use the butchery counter, they seem just as adept at hiding the less good portion under the label as any other store, pre-cut and packed pork comes with the processed skin that refuses to turn into crackling.
We have two butchers, one I gave up using simply because I never felt welcome, the other allegedley has most of his business from the catering trade and they shop sells what they do not want. Prices do not compete with Waitrose but they have decent faggots and sell beef skirt.
We have two farm shops, one seems to have nothing to do with a farm, the meat comes about 100 miles from a large commercial abbatoir, all prepacked, the other is best part of a 20 mile round trip, so not always practical.
Then, there is Lidl, less choice…

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Supermarkets taking all manner of plastic wrappers for recycling in the last couple of years is a game changer when the local authority won’t, but I suspect too many people just bin the plastic as it’s a chore taking it back (or remembering to) when you do a shop.

There is a road not too far away which is a busy shopping area - the last traditional style butcher was part of Dewhurst but it’s closed.

There are now at least 3 Halal butchers on the street along with a plethora of small convenience stores catering for numerous cultures. The veg on sale loose in many of these stores looks of incredibly good quality and I really should start supporting some of these small local businesses more.

One of the recently opened Halal butchers is huge, probably triple the size of most traditional ones, I’m actually wondering if it used to be a branch of Sevenoaks years ago or if it was an old pine furniture store. It is extremely well lit and looks amazingly clean, almost hi-tech inside. I’m thinking of trying some of these sources as I’m fed up with supermarkets no longer selling chicken portions/breasts with skin-on which to me really helped keep the meat succulent whether or not you eat the crispy skin.

Googling earlier most UK supermarkets seem to insist on stunning prior to slaughter for own brand, and often even when the meat is ‘blessed’ according to religious rites and sold as acceptable for various faiths.