Getting something for free is great? But then as my father always says nothing in this life is free, everything has a cost. It’s a true sentiment and something that rang in my mind the last few days at the news that SuperValu have withdrawn their free food giveaway amidst anger from farmers and farming groups including the IFA.
The story began with the giveaway of free carrots and potatoes upon the purchase of roast beef from the store. It’s to be noted the beef was at 50% off too. It’s a great deal and I’d be the first to admit it but if we look closer it’s a much bigger and more threatening situation.
For years now the supermarkets have been pushing cheap food on the consumer, like drug dealers they nearly give it away for free to get the consumer like a junkie hooked. It is simple business practice get them in for the deals and they will spend their money but the knock on is much worse. Firstly, the consumer gets used to having cheap food readily on hand, the inherent value of beef, or fish or lamb gets undervalued by the consumer they don’t appreciate the amount of work it takes to produce these high protein items. No, like a drug dealer or pusher they get their fix a cheap hit of protein but like drug dealers too cheap protein must be produced cheaply and as a result standards slip.
Now I’m not going so far as to say the meat is being made in bath tubs in some of Breaking Bad bathtub scenario but high quality meat cannot be made when prices are dirt low.
For our vegetable farmers it was a plain slap in the face. The actions went as far to say that you don’t even register on the consumer scale, it’s just vegetables they are not important enough to even have a price.
The race to the bottom that is currently underway in our supermarkets will lead to only one place the mass production of crap at cheap prices, it will also erode farm families who rely on their produce to make a living.
It sounds like a broken record but when you shop local you help everyone, when you shop in the supermarket for the deal you might be saving yourself a few euro but in the long run you are killing your neighbours livelihood.
As our fake food investigation, has shown the battle for Irish consumers and Irish produce is well and truly on. What’s at stake is the very future of our domestic industry. SuperValu should know better, in fact the worst thing is they do.