Blogs

Write new blog
gourmetpimpernel

Death of an (honourable) Salesman

by gourmetpimpernel published on

A few weeks ago, listening to the news on the radio over breakfast, it was one tragic story after another, and then the newsreader added a pep to her tone with the line "...and now for some good news".

Rather than put a smile on my face, her final news snippet was the most tragic story of all, made worse because it was feted as a joyous event - Dealz, the discount retailer, had opened it's 17th outlet in the republic of Ireland. Where do I begin? This is a tragedy on so many levels, a tale without light.

Firstly I suggest that you look at their "grocery" page on their website. Jars of hot dogs, tins of "pork luncheon meat", pot noodles, chocolate and biscuits. Do we not care about what our nation is eating? Do we not care about the adverse effects on health caused by a diet of convenience food?

Next, look at the prices. Most items retail at €1.49. How will small independent retailers survive if they are loosing customers to these insanely cheap prices? And how can nutritional food be sold at such a low price? (Obviously it can't, nutrition is not for sale in Dealz).

Thirdly, look at the origin of most of the food. The milk is Bangor Maid milk from Co.Down, the meats are made by Struik Foods, a Dutch company, the sugar is made by Whitworths, a U.K. based company, all products that we produce (or produced, as the sugar beet factories have been closed in Ireland for some years) ourselves in Ireland. How do we expect our agricultural industry to grow when the opening of a retail outlet that sells mainly imported food products is hailed as a good thing?

Lastly, I refer to Dealz the great employer. Today's opening brings the number of jobs Dealz has created in Ireland to over 490. RTE journalist, Philip Boucher Hayes, in his documentary What's Ireland Eating(2011), showed that for every job created by a supermarket giant, 1.5 jobs are lost locally within 2-3 years. So you see, this is a tragic story. Dealz should not be lauded as a great employer or a positive business that will work for the good of the nation. Dealz, and the likes of Dealz, do nothing but harm everything and everyone in its path, from the customer who is now tucking into a sandwich of slice pan and tinned bacon, to the small local traders who are struggling to survive, to the nations economy.

I speak for Ireland, and the damage these discount retailers are doing to our economy, communities and health, but the same applies to all countries who allow these retailers to grow.

4 replies
Replied on

Great article - good reading, I grew up eating rabbit, ox kidney etc: all of the cheap cuts. I was so shocked to see they are now so expensive in a leading (Delia)! supermarket as they are considered trendy! I also feel the lack of schololing in teaching people / kids about food, crafts etc mea]ns they are distanced from things. But the greatest problem for many is lack of time. Work, running a house etc means people struggle to have the time to do proper cooking, crafting etc.

Replied on

I don't see the growth of these supermarkets as a result of the stubbornness of the Irish. From the Government down, these giant food suppliers are feted as welcome additions to communities. They are seen as great employers who give value back to the communities. When this message is being conveyed all around us here it is no wonder that these businesses are prospering.

We are being told daily in our newspapers how much Lidl, Aldi, Tesco and the likes are doing for our agricultural industry and for our country. All their print advertisements show green fields, Friesian cows and a smiling "Irish" farmers. My problem is that these companies are being encouraged and promoted by the Irish government and the Irish media. The government is interested in quick money and not in a sustainable local economy that will work for the good of the country years down the line.

People will, more often than not, seek out the better value. My hope is that the government and media will cease encouraging the supermarket bullies and highlight that, actually, spending a little more on local produce will give better value in the long run, sustaining jobs and communities and bringing back the hearts of towns and villages.

Replied on

I lived on the west coast of Ireland and was shocked to find how keen the locals were to see Tesco move in to our local towns.

Moving there from Sussex I was delighted to see independent shops; real butchers and fruiterers for instance.

Until i got the bill.

The Irish got VERY greedy when the tiger was roaring and haven't lost that sense of greed when times have got hard.

An irish friend was amazed when she saw 'yellow sticker' goods in Sainsbury's over here. She said that her 'local' supermarket (supervalu) would rather throw it away than offer a discount.

Ireland is just not used to competition. The man in the pub who smiles at you will happily rip you off over the counter.

Harsh but true.

In my opinion, the only reason that these discount stores are thriving (Aldi and Lidl included) is because the Irish are so stubborn.

Replied on

Strangely enough,Kerry Gold Butter is sold in the UK.

To leave a response to the post you will need to be a registered user. Sign-up here or Login here
@rivercottage
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Learn a new skill this year + help save #bees! Come on our #beekeeping course this summer: https://t.co/fMUYOxRHyx http…
  • RT @ThisisDavina: I love Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. #Scandimania
  • @ThisisDavina thanks for the love, Davina! x
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: The ultimate rural retreat...allow us to present to you our Four Day Cookery Course! link http://t.co…
  • Exciting! Look what's arrived in the office, hot off the press... #pigsandpork Congrats @GillMeller! link
  • RT @JamiesFoodTube: Who's that in the @rivercottage kitchen? Why it's @tesswardchef knocking up a storm! link http://t.co…
  • . @samgorecomedian If you aspire to a career in comedy this does not reflect well. Neither, thanks to you, does our mirror.
  • RT @DeborahMeaden: “@bristolcanteen: Somebody told us @DeborahMeaden popped in for lunch. Hope you enjoyed it! #celebrityspotting in #Brist…
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Only 7 tickets left for our @martinharley gig in April. Don't miss out! https://t.co/H8x7p0PrL8 link
  • A beautiful sunset over the valley tonight! link
  • RT @RCChefsSchool: Welcoming our first #Trainees to River Cottage - the first step of their 3 month work experience programme. link
  • Hey @nationaltrust still looking for lovely frosty pics? :o)
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Wrap up warm, it's frosty out there! link
  • RT @plymouthcanteen: Feeling hungry this lunch time... Visit @plymouthcanteen for 3 small plates for only £10! link
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Tickets just released for our @sohsteve gig on 22 May, which kick starts our #RCFoodFair weekend. Grab a ticket now! ht…
  • Make the most of your oven's energy, cook meals in bulk where poss. Reheating uses less energy. Top tip via @wwwfoecouk
  • . @johnmushroom looks like someone needs a #selfie stick!
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: We have discounted tickets available for this Sunday's dining experience. Gather your loved ones + come on down! https:…
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: The only thing blue about our Monday is the sky. #BlueMonday link
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Want to meet @GillMeller and hear about his forthcoming book #pigsandpork? Don't miss this! https://t.co/MHIsUvUb7t htt…
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Gain work-experience in our @RCChefsSchool – free traineeships starting 26 Jan – travel expenses paid. link
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: How much cake is too much cake? The fruits of our labour from today's #cake course in our #cookeryschool... http://t.co…
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Hooray! #pastrysuccess #choux link
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Oh dear #pastryfail link
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Time for our third breakfast of the day. It's a hard life at our #cookeryschool... link
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Time for a second breakfast at the #cookeryschool... Drop scones with runny honey. link
  • @anneHuscroft1 so lovely to hear, thanks Anne! Any plans to come back to the farm soon?
  • RT @Hartsturkeys: Great stuff @ChefTomKerridge @BBCFoodandDrink @rivercottage. The best 30mins of TV this week. Looking forward to @Corriga
  • RT @jiholland111: @rivercottage @BBCFoodandDrink Great show. Excellent banter with @ChefTomKerridge :)
  • @linsalad @BBCFoodandDrink glad to hear it :o)
  • Hope you are all enjoying Hugh on @BBCFoodandDrink right now, BBC2!
  • @CharlotteClare1 sorry, blame Hugh!
  • And of course we couldn't let Hugh go without a birthday cake #50yearsofHugh #AskHugh link
  • And if you'd like to buy the book, check it out here! #lightandeasy #askHugh link
  • Thank you, its been great chatting! Have to dash, making a birthday cake for a fellow 50-year-old. Chocolate + hazelnut, pg 374! #askHugh
  • .@Eco_Gite It spreads like mad so not in the veg patch, better in a big pot, but it does take nearly a year to produce good sized roots.
  • . @Lou_la_may Default topping is a sprinkling of soft brown sugar but a trickle of runny honey is also great. #askHugh
  • .@trishaocf Could be your choice of flour or that your sd starter needs a feed up, take a good tblsp, feed it for a few days & start again.
  • . @bookslinger always lovely to hear that people are cooking from my books and enjoying the results! #askHugh
  • .@harrycornwall Cider is a good choice, I would choose a fairly dry one as the onions are quite sweet #AskHugh
  • . @_DjTC_ soon! Early Feb is good, provided you can keep them frost-free. A sunny window is good. #askHugh
  • .@IantheCW I'm all over the roots right now, big trays of them roasted and finished with a sprinkling of toasted seeds and spices #AskHugh
  • . @ACoSfChildren but it's so flat! Actually I do have a soft spot for Norfolk and it's been a while so who knows. #askHugh
  • .@rojob1 Yes, series 3 coming your way very soon and as ever Paul champions the sustainable approach to fish, veg and meat #AskHugh
  • . @missaniela really sorry but I'm not around for that one. I will be here for the Spring Food Fair in May... #askHugh
  • .@pupspigspoulets We said goodbye to our Oxford Sandy & Blacks before Christmas, they were fab! We like ringing the changes though. #AskHugh
  • . @bookslinger It's always a treat to be given other people's goodies. Of course I try them! #askHugh
  • .@GrowandEat That's a tough one to comment on without knowing the whole picture.
  • . @MyrtlesGarden there's a lovely potato gnocchi recipe in RC Veg and you could swap a GF flour in for the wheat flour. #askHugh
  • .@pickleshlee A good way to deliver vitamins and fibre but not to be drunk by the gallon as they are often quite high in sugar #AskHugh
Login or Sign-up

Login & Sign-up

Forgotten your password? Retrieve it here
Or connect via Facebook
Connect with Facebook
Join River Cottage
Close
Shopping basket: 0 items £0.00