Fake Artisan Food

28 Jan

My rant today is about fake artisan food.  About big business copycats and the nemesis of small producers and independent outlets  … supermarkets, or at least the big 5.

Firstly – what is artisan food?  I asked about and it seems that there is no legal definition for it.  Is that sensible or do we want to jump through hoops for Trading Standards in order to prove that we are artisan producers ourselves.  (don’t even get me started on terms and definitions with Trading Standards!)

Ok … artisan food … what does it make you think of?  Handmade,  craftsmanship, skilled, lovingly nurtured, usually ethical, family business, kitchen table and delicious!

Happy pigs roaming outside, before being taken to a small local abbatoir, and then the pork being processed by a small number of people into a few batches of sausages.

That’s what the big boys would like you to think that they do, don’t they? So when they get caught out by the ASA for their adverts being misleading because the actual pigs in the actual products aren’t the happy rooting about porkers in the advert, they respond with surprise.  The farmer shown does genuinely supply them with pork, just the indoor bred ones instead, not the ones we saw.  The supermarket in question (not naming names here) is, and I quote, “a bit baffled by this ruling”

The same supermarket reacted in surprise and dismay when they got into trouble for claiming that their bread was baked in store from scratch using 100% British flour, making every loaf genuinely British.  Except only about 20% of it’s stores actually bake at all and some use imported flour.  In fact their artisan range is delivered to them in pre-weighed packs and pretty much only stirred with a spoon – where is the artisan craftsmanship in that?

What about the suppliers to these supermarkets?  It is beyond me how an artisan producer can supply 150K sausage rolls a week.   Some issues don’t apply to products with long shelf lives though but are they still artisan once they produce in that quantity? Does artisan mean small?  I don’t know the answer to that.




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