A couple of years ago I was in a supermarket queue behind a group of students. I say “students”… I was in a university town and they were talking about loans, so I was making an assumption.
Their grocery shop was fairly standard, containing a range of products including fruit, veg, biscuits, drinks and some pizzas. They put it all through the till, put their money together and found out that they didn’t have enough money. After some deliberation, they chose to return a packet of tomatoes and a bag of carrots.
And so it’s curious today that The Grocer (that’s a magazine, not a mystical person known to society simply as “The Grocer”) that those in the 16-24 age group are least likely to buy tinned goods, instead opting for “healthier and fresher alternatives”.
Healthier and fresher?
Some top brands of baked beanz (other brands are available if you caught that reference) are actually really healthy providing a good source of protein as well as constituting 1 portion of fruit and veg per half a standard sized can. Indeed, some of the “reduced salt and sugar” varieties have so little sugar in them that putting less in to the can would require genetically modifying the tomatoes that make the sauce to have less fructose.
Freshness is also up for debate. As long as the integrity of the can remains good, the food should be edible for years past its declared shelf life while the supply chain involved in some canned goods means that food in cans can indeed be more fresh than the non-canned equivalents.
However, the bit of the story that really got me was where said students were getting the money to purchase these alternatives. The canned food industry has apparently lost £142 million since 2013 but the amount of fresh food that can be bought for that money is less than canned products. One can buy a can of beans and a loaf of bread for well under £1 and have a pretty decent meal. You can’t do that with loose veg and fresh meat which also isn’t as tasty as biscuits.
Perhaps those students years ago were on to something when they returned the good stuff and kept the junk.
There’s a big group of lads at the bar
They’ve got Ralph Lauren shirts on and gel in their hair
The fruit machine’s rigged so it never gives out
A pint of John Smith’s is less than a pound
And it’s beer and a burger for dinner again
With all of the pubs on the high street the same
With laminated menus
And terrible music
Really bright lights and some puke in the toilets
Another nameless, faceless town
Another Friday night
Let’s hope some of these lads get laid
Before they start getting into fights
It’s all good though
It’s all gravy
This is middle England Baby
And the roundabouts circle the towns
The carpet got swept and the factory closed down
No-one remembers the town they once knew
And all arrows point to the next Wetherspoons
Where we drink away our sorrows with smiles on our faces
I know this
‘Cause I’ve been there
I’m a fan of getting wasted
Makes me feel good
Drives me crazy
This is Middle England baby
Beer And A Burger by Beans On Toast