Our shopping habits!

I saw an interesting blog from Nick Riley in the week – Nick is a good friend and a talented Architect. You should read it here.


I actually saw the programme he referred to – looking behind the scenes of Britain’s supermarkets with Greg Wallace. It was a fascinating insight to how this whole industry operates. I have made my feelings now here in the past that I have a reticence about some of these major supermarkets and what the do to small retailers – but it is clear that I’m not going to stop their inexorable rise!

In fact I was in Leicester in the week – and on the site of the old ‘lightbulb factory’ just north of the city centre a new Sainsbury’s is being fitted out. It is 87,000 sq ft. This is difficult to comprehend for most people. If you look at an Olympic swimming pool (50m x 25) that is pretty big – well the new supermarket could house 6 ½ pools!

Outside of London most of the big four supermarkets are moving away from these monstrous boxes and into ‘convenience’ footprints – those ones that do destroy the butcher, the baker and candlestick maker for sure! But this is what we want, apparently.

I was also interested in the actually foodstuff and spent some time last week with a farmer client. The way in which our food is produced is quite fascinating. He was telling me about the premium paid for ‘organic’ foodstuff – on average it can be 250% of the bulk farmed produce. So why doesn’t everyone do this? The method of farming is different – it doesn’t allow weed-killer or artificial feed – and so the comparable yield of the crop is around 30%. And, it is much harder work rotating crops!

In our 100mph lives it is interesting sometimes to stop and think about what we are doing – especially when it comes to that most important of functions – eating.

And all is not what it seems!

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