Monday, November 21, 2016

The price of a French 'veggie-burger' - will shock you!

As reported in an earlier post, France is undergoing a veritable organic food revolution and a TV programme* on Channel 6 last night went behind the scenes to reveal a number of its hidden aspects.

- First, the consumption of meat has dropped by 7% since this time last year with sales of organic (bio in French) products are up by 20%. While very few French are actually vegetarian or vegan, there is a growing class of 'occasional veggie' eaters - known as 'flexitarians' - who try and eat a vegetable based product once a week.

- These changes are largely the result of the growing popularity of the 'veggie-burger' which looks and tastes like the real thing, but is in fact made of soya based ingredients and vegetables such as tomatoes (which can give the product a meat colour).  

- Virtually all the major manufacturers of meat-based products have started producing vegetable versions of burgers, sausages, 'chicken' nuggets etc.

- What the programme makers described as 'scandalous' is that while producing the vegetables alternatives costs less than half that of the meat versions - they are sold by retailers at double the price! The same higher prices are found in restaurants and snack bars offering veggie-burgers on their menus.

- Some manufacters and retailers (supermarkets especially) are however starting to compete with their own-brand cheaper versions.

- Retailers selling organic vegetables are sadly still insisting on uniform colour and shape of raw vegetables, with one producer noting that as a result 30% of his carrots never reach the shops and are sold as cattle food. It may be some time before retailers realise that for many vegetarians odd sizes or shapes are not a problem and even add a certain authenticity to the product.

- The second part of the TV programme focussed on the amazing rise in popularity of almonds - mainly from California - where prices have more than quadrupled in the last 12 months. Once again many almond based products such as 'milk' cost much less to produce but are sold at one-third more at the retail level.

* 'Capital' Channel 6 (France) Sunday 20 November 2016.

Posted bt