My latest piece at MercatorNet looks briefly at the moral responsibility of major supermarkets:
between the exploitation of migrant labourers and the wastage of vast quantities of good food, this dysfunctional relationship between consumers and major retailers is no laughing matter. The supermarkets want ever expanding profits for the benefit of their shareholders; their customers want the appearance of quality and convenience at a low price. These two demands are ultimately not reconcilable, without someone – our farmers, our migrant labourers, our poorer neighbours or our natural resources themselves – paying the real price.
This is disgusting. The wastage; the pandering to an ignorant population, and the vicious circle that results:
“The staff are busy sorting out the saleable onions from the unsaleable and the thing that makes the crucial difference is the outer layer of brown. The inside is still fine and the onions are firm, heavy and not soft. However supermarkets will not accept onions unless they have the outer layer of skin on (which we usually remove when we cook with them).
…since Valencia oranges are the only ones that turn green as sunscreen many people assume that Valencies aren’t ripe unless they are orange.
…two semi trailer’s worth or 40 tonnes of melons are discarded a day – and this is just from one producer in one region!
…have you noticed that in the last few years, those long watermelons with the black pips from our childhood have disappeared and there are now only those round, seedless watermelons? That’s because the stores say that consumers don’t want watermelons with seeds anymore and the same goes for grapes. The long seeded watermelons still have to be grown because these are the male watermelons while the rounded ones are females. […] They can’t sell them and they are ready at an earlier time than the round seedless watermelons so they just stay in the field unpicked.