Today's lifestyle dictates that most of us have an awful lot to squeeze into one small day, but the way in which we prioritise is largely to down to the individual. However, one common trait that we all share, is our requirement to eat and drink. Much like our necessity for air, we need sustenance, and without it we would die - fact.

You would then think, that like our pre-programmed need for clean air, we would stake as much claim on the quality of the food and drink we consume. This doesn't seem to be the case, you only have to travel down to your local supermarket to witness what has really happened to our society. Upon entering the store you immediately feel like you've been teleported onto the F1 grid ready for qualifying with Lewis Hamilton. Everywhere you look, there are other trollies being thrust in every possible direction, and unless you partake in this frenzy, the only place you will end up is back of the grid!

Once you do finally make it to the aisles, you are confronted with an even more worrying site - packaging! It's everywhere, surrounding the overly red steaks, the water oozing bacon, the unnecessarily trimmed celery and don't even get me started on the spring onions! The government states that it is investing more money in recycling, and committed to coming up with new ways to raise funds by rewarding those who recycle more, and fining those who don't! For example, if you use each of the three bins (that most of us now have) correctly, you won't be fined - pure genius you might think?! But then, here's a novel idea, lets not produce as much waste, and then we won't have to recycle it!!!

There is absolutely no need for this packaging, nor the need for the produce to pumped full of chemicals to make it look nice, or to have it trimmed into pretty little shapes. This is either detrimental to ourselves or the environment.
In which case, why is it so many people still go and make that weekly or monthly journey to the uninviting beast that the supermarket has become? Is it because we are fed to believe that supermarkets are cheaper? If you think yes, then ask yourself the last time you spent less than £100 at the supermarket, came home with just the items you wanted to buy, or didn't end up throwing half of what you bought in the bin because it was passed the use by date. We're all guilty of it, we allow ourselves to be pulled in by loss leaders, 2 for 1's, and my personal favourite - buy 3 for £10, when you only needed 1!!!

On the flip side of the coin, if you go down to your local market, butcher, baker or candle stick maker, you will not find any of this wasteful packaging. You'll find meat that looks like meat, and best of all tastes like meat. Bread, that isn't chewy or bloating, and tastes good enough to be eaten without butter. But best of all, what you will find, is people who know what they're talking about. People who are happy to help, and actually glad of your business. Not some corporate giant, who's so busy trying to compete with the other corporates, that they've forgotten what's important - me and you, the customer. 

The irony being that if we all started supporting our local shops again, we would be the ones who benefit. It's not complicated economics, just plain and simple cash-flow. If you put money into local business, they will put it right back into the community. Your local high street would look refreshed, there would more be local jobs available, there would certainly be less bloody packaging, and the quality of the food and drink we devour would be far superior.

So the real question is, why do we as a country favour the supermarket over the local “super” market?

Is it because they’re cheaper, the aesthetics of the produce, their convenience, or is it just our draconian need publicly assert ourselves with other F1 trolly dollies? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer, but I do know that in these uncertain financial times, I’d rather my money was being pumped back into my local community, and that the money that I spend on a rib eye steak buys me a product that looks and tastes like a rib-eye steak.

I’ll leave you with this thought - This Christmas, many additional people will seek out their local butcher, local farm shop or fine food purveyor, because they want Christmas dinner to be perfection. This can only mean, that deep down these people know that their local suppliers offer better quality products. The sad fact being, that unless we continue to shop locally all year round, next Christmas, your favourite butcher, farm shop or baker, may just have gone out of business.

So remember, shop local for life, not just for Christmas!

Season’s greetings to one and all,

Degsy. x

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