What price is cost control?
There is a natural tendency for us all to be looking to drive down the cost of what we buy.
We all do it. Even those of us who sell stuff, services or products for a living will need to buy, and the same is true for those who buy; they often have to sell, even if it is just themselves to the man.
But the problem of focusing exclusively on cost as an issue was brought home to me again when I glanced at the ingredients on my recently consumed, Bakewell Tart.
How on earth did radish extract have a place in a Bakewell tart?
For a long time now consumers have become finely attuned to E-numbers, flavorings, colorings and additives in food. Food manufacturers have changed the way they do things in pursuit of 'clean label' - a more natural sounding ingredients list.
Products need to be produced at the best possible price and have the longest possible shelf life to ensure that retailers stock them and that we can drive the price of our shopping down.
Few of us investigate the processes involved in making products taste and look good and last longer but we all I suspect have concerns about those ingredients and the sneaky way that they are appearing in our foodstuffs.
From water-injected poultry and powdered coagulated egg, to ultra-adhesive batters and pre-mixed marinades, the raw materials in industrial food manufacturing are rarely straightforward. In fact, they commonly share quite complicated back stories of processing and intervention that their labels don’t reveal. Even when described as natural.
So back to the radish issue.
Seems that Radish extract is used to give the jam in the tart a nice red color. In itself does that worry me? Not really but it has made me more aware of the ingredients in food, and far more aware of the potential impact the driving down of cost has on the quality of what I buy.