Ethical eating

February 26, 2008

Doing my mid week shop after not really wanting to create a dish out of the remains in my cupboard- a tin of peaches and pasta swirls I headed to my local supermarket Co-op. I may be a student but strangely enough I like eating fruit and vegetables. Things like apples, pears, banana’s, broccoli, mushrooms and peppers understanding pizza toppings and fruit pastels don’t add much to your five a day.  

I may have experienced ridicule from my peer in the past for eating cereal instead of leftover curries the morning after the night before but I just like eating healthily. Or so what I thought was healthily until I started researching organic produce.  There I was waltzing around buying and eating fruit with a clear conscience that I didn’t eat too much rubbish when now I’m in a predicament that I don’t eat ethically enough. 

Chicken are being reared in awful conditions and I’m being told to eat free range, fruit and veg are being grown dowsed in “nasty” pesticides to produce in mass and I’m told to choose organic, tea and coffee is being picked and produced by those being extremely underpaid and to be ethically conscious I should opt for fair trade.  

Without even realising it I have chosen probably the best supermarket to shop at for fair trade goods with the Coop being the first chain of supermarkets to lead the fair trade mark on goods such as hot beverages, milk and fruits. 20% of Co-ops stock is now fair trade and it’s reasonably priced too with a box of 80 tea bags only costing me one English pound and they make a great brew. 

All of a sudden eating organically and ethically has become cool, celebrities are ranting and raving about the health and ethical benefits and we all starting to want to be a part of this.  I was raised thinking organic and fair trade foods are only what hippies ate, I was sent to school with penguin bars and packets of quavers in my book-bag whereas the hippy kids had carrot sticks and raisins. Now schools provide fruit for the children to help contribute for their five a day and those who send their kids with sugary snacks are frowned upon. 

Media attacks on our health to eat more fruit and veg is proving successful but now we faced with feeling guilty buying mass produced healthy foods and using plastic bags. When will we reach a happy medium of being healthy and environmentally friendly?   


One Response to “Ethical eating”

  1. benjamr said

    Hello Laura,

    I completely agree with all of your thoughts.

    My local supermartket is the co-op (or co-operative as they are now calling themselves again in their new Freetrade ads on TV).

    One of the difficult contradictions I find eating healthily is that, (especially at this time of the year – February), to get fruit, you need to have it imported from Argentina, USA, New Zealand, Israel, Chile etc.

    Should I be responsible to myself: Eating my 5-a-Day from the supermarket?… or to the rest of the world by not buying produce that hasn’t been locally grown in season?

    Lots of fruit and veg can be dried, frozen, pickled or otherwise preserved for eating in the leaner months. Apart from that, at the moment I’m enjoying swedes, parsnips, leeks in hearty caseroles and stews.


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