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Hello from North Yorkshire. As I type this, the Dales are bathed in sunshine, and it feels like some normality is returning as restrictions ease. With the football season wrapping up, we must congratulate our F&Co customer Liverpool FC on their success.When it comes to food's 'new normal,' I believe we might be seeing a return to the 'old normal.' That means a resurgence of healthier food habits, based on enjoying and appreciating food, at structured mealtimes, whether as a family or alone. It is a revival of our national food culture - and threats to it - that I want to discuss in my update this month.One customer's letter I received this month resonated with me. It concerned a study of household expenditure on food by country. The UK finished bottom in a league table of European countries, with an average household expenditure of 7.8% spent on food (and non-alcoholic drinks).
Our neighbours spent much more per household: Germany 38% more, relative to the UK spend, Spain over 60% more, France over 68% more, and Italy a staggering 81% more. Such comparisons are not straightforward by any stretch, but I was unsurprised the UK came last. In the age of industrial agriculture, our neighbours across the Channel are managing to hold on better to the ceremony of food - sourcing, preparing, and sharing.
Our senior customers often tell us that F&Co produce tastes like the food of their youth: tasty, wholesome, nutritious. I fully believe customers when they say they can taste that difference, and I believe that a healthy food culture must be underpinned by sustainable practices. In this country, we spend so little on food because our supermarket supply chains squeeze food producers in the name of margin and profit.
There has been a race to the bottom to produce more out of less, supported by 'promotions' and 'offers.' In a system where cheap and quick is prevalent, our food culture has been made poorer for it. This has pushed our heritage breeds to the brink and sacrificed natural flavour as animals are rushed to market. I first founded Farmison & Co, confident there was a market in the UK for a better way of doing things - and we're getting there.
Thanks to your support, my team are bringing small holders and farms into our flock and adding on a daily basis new breeds and artisan produce to our range. Better meat is becoming more available. But as we make progress in our aim for the country to eat better meat, it's also why I despair at the prospect of future trade deals that some say could erode standards of food production.
Long time supporter of our Eat Better Meat mission and award-winning author and journalist Joanna Blythman has this month penned an article for us, detailing exactly what future trade deals might mean for UK food supply. I urge you to read it, regardless of your political leanings. Of course, this debate requires nuance. Food supply is a complex business, and the outlook is different for every link of the food chain. What we need to make sure as consumers, farmers, butchers, and suppliers is that standards don't slip and erode the gains that have been made in the foundation of our British food culture over the last twenty-five years. A letter to your local MP is always a good means to raise concerns.
As ever, if you have any thoughts or feedback, do get in touch via [email protected] or you can leave us a review here. I always make time to read your comments. On behalf of Lee (Founder), myself, and our amazing team, I would like to give my thanks to helping our vision of making accessible, better meat a reality.
John Pallagi - CEO & Founder