Effect of Politics on Food In our Times

This is a very pompous title and I owe you an explanation for the same before plunging into the topic. We know that the food we eat is not only influenced by the soil and the climate of the place but also by politics of the country and mostly by trade.But we are not qualified enough to write about this vast subject. However we have decided to document how the current political changes in UK will change what we see on our supermarkets shelves and the food we cook – i.e. – Will Brexit change the food we love to eat? But I just did not want to use the word Brexit in the title.

This is how we came about the idea. I listen a lot to Farming Today on BBC Radio 4 which play in the very early hours of the day. I am not a farmer and do not believe anyone in my ancestors was ever a farmer and yet I love listening to radio programs on farming. Even as a small child I remember listeningĀ  to a program named “chasi bhaider jonyo” Bengali “for our farming brothers”. In the age when we are taught to be very parsimonious with our time and attention – saving them entirely for topics which will lead to self improvement and eventually to higher earning potential – I do not feel entirely at ease with my love for these programs but I have begrudgingly come to accept this indulgence. In short I have come to accept that I am information junkie. Anyway, during one such information absorption session I was informed that one of British super markets have decided to stock only pork produced in Britain. And according to the CEO of the company the reasons for this change are lower food miles, higher animal welfare – in management language – all good stuff. When pressed on the issue of choice the CEO said their consumers have told them repeatedly that they would like to only have locally grown pork.

Later in the day when A and I discussed about this we realised that the supermarket was probably getting ready for Brexit. They were using this opportunity to strengthen their relationship with British farmers and in case Brexit did not manage a favorable deal in the pork space then they will be at an advantage to the other supermarkets. About 60% of the pork consumed by the Britons come from EU ( ref- An article in guardian). So clever move to hedge the risks.

And then we decided that it will be an interesting exercise to document those foods that we consume which come from EU and track how their availability and price change over time as the negotiations progress.

We are not only worried about the food that we love such as French cheeseĀ  or Italian Balsamic vinegar but also those that are essential for our cooking such as Italian tomato tins. Let’s document them because who knows when they will disappear from our lives.