Sunday, 20 January 2013

"Value" food

Now that the stream of very amusing jokes about horse meat in beef burgers has died down, perhaps some thought on the idea that some of it was found in products described as "value" burgers.

I am not singling out Tesco's here. I have no way of knowing whether their products are as good or as bad as anyone else's, but its quite clear that "value" and other such descriptors are designed to attract the poorer sections of society.

In a rational world "value" might refer to nutritional content per unit cost. If not everyone then many people would go for that, but in fact many people have the idea that "value" means low quality as well as low price. Those on benefits are under pressure to buy such products as they are living of the state, but if the products are typically high in fat and/or high in salt, say, or padded out with worthless fillers, as critics say they are, why shouild anyone be constrained to buy them just because the ticket price is low? And if these products are worse for the eater's  health than the higher priced versions, all the producers and retailers have done is passed on the consequences of these "value" foods to the health service who treat people for heart disease, high cholestorol, high blood pressure and other "lifestyle diseases".

But clearly we do not live in a rational world, and these products are not in fact good value to the eater. Of course that isn't what the "value"  tag claims. It just creates that impression.

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