Like so many crises past and present the horse meat for beef scandal has its foundations in the quagmire of lazy consumers. Even.After 15 year of incessant TV programmes on the pleasures if home cooking the UK is still hooked on cheap processed ready meals. The average British housewife is hardly a paragon of virtue in the food preparation stakes! Most people in the UK sit around the television consuming ready-made meals and dire programming with no complaint. News that nearly 50% of us only cook with fresh ingredients once or twice a month is further evidence if our broken society.
The arts of: cooking, conversation and good manners have all gone down the Suwannee. This rush for low cost convenience food has been killing us all gently over the last few decades, with poor health, bad parenting and obesity - three of the more obvious outcomes. I have no sympathy for consumers who buy on price and convenience rather than on nutritional quality and value for money.
Hopefully this mess that the UK and European food industry has got it's self into will lead to greater self-regulation (consumers not buying the cheapest possible food) rather than more regulation and cost for a broadly honest food industry. Research tells us that the United Kingdom represents the largest share of sales of ready meals in Europe with sales of £1.85bn (about £20M has had beef replaced by horse) no wonder we are seen as a soft target by unscrupulous meat suppliers. Market analysts were expecting the market to grow to a value of £2.7bn by 2016 . Given the dire state of UK cuisine this seems quite likely.
Whilst the UK set to stay the largest 'prepared foods' market in Europe it would be good if we could learn from the Italians, who know the benefit of buying local ingredients, preparing a home cooked family meal and enjoying it around the kitchen table.