Friday, 16 January 2009

The Great British Food Fight: The true cost of cheap food

As the credit crunch bites, thousands of families are cutting back by swapping expensive premium-range food for cheaper budget lines – but at what cost?

In this Dispatches investigation, part of Channel 4's
The Great British Food Fight season, food critic and author, Jay Rayner, examines what goes into these budget products and asks why, too often, low cost means low quality.

Supermarkets are promoting their cheaper food lines as an answer to tighter household budgets, but how exactly are these foods produced? Enlisting the help of Michelin-starred chef, Heston Blumenthal, Jay discovers some of the tricks retailers use to make cheap products look more attractive and finds out just what goes into a 5p sausage. How much sugar, salt and fat feature in cheaper lines at the expense of nutritious content?

Dispatches also follows two families in Leeds as they try to reduce their weekly shopping bill – one by choosing supermarket value brands and the other by shopping at local independent stores. Are supermarkets really cheaper? And which family will manage to eat the healthier diet?

Finally, Jay shows how, for very little additional cost, supermarkets could improve the quality and nutritional value of their cheapest foods. Given their market dominance and huge profits, he argues, supermarkets surely have a responsibility to help their customers, in tough economic times, by swallowing the small cost of marketing more nutritious, cheap food.

Coming to Channel 4, Thursday, 22 January, 8pm

For more information of the Great British Food Fight, just follow:

Happy Viewing!

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