What’s wrong with the food chain? With issues from the unfair price farmers get from big retailers, to food waste and hidden sugar hitting headlines, our founder Ben explains how with the help of technology, you help make things better with every bite of our local producers’ food.
I’ve been asked to talk about how we can use tech to fix the food chain at Jamie Oliver’s Food Hackathon this Saturday as part of the London Food Tech Week.
By way of introduction and without wanting to put anyone into a sad mood, here’s a super-fast summary of what’s wrong with our industrialised food chain, i.e. why does it need fixing?
It’s really unhealthy
Think of Jamie Oliver and his sugar campaign. Staying in shape and out of hospital shouldn’t be so darn difficult and wouldn’t be if the supermarket shelves weren’t completely stuffed with hidden sugar.
It’s really bad for our environment
Half the UK’s farmland birds have gone missing since the rocking’ 60s (yep more than HALF!). The bees have taken a hiding too. Fast forward another 50 years and the countryside will feel well … a little irksome let’s say. Not cool.
Producers aren’t getting enough of the money
In fact, our nation’s farmers - the custodians of our fair and pleasant land - are getting about 10% of all the money we spend on food in the UK (it was over half in the good ol’ days when all those birds and bees were still around).
So why am I more excited than a 6 year old on Christmas Eve about the future of the UK food chain? (And I really am). Simply put - because we can, and we are, fixing the food chain using the wonderful world of technology.
With the help of our online-only shop, you can connect with your local farmers and food makers in the fastest, most direct route, to get your hands on the freshest, most lovingly tended to food. Whether it’s our farmer Andy Clarke’s native Sussex cows (check out our video, below) who happily graze on his beautiful Kent wildflower meadows, or Geoff and Kim Bowles’s herd of 160 Jersey cows that they milk only once a day at Ivy House Farm to make full-flavoured organic, unhomogenised milk (and process on site to cut-out distributors), with every click in our shop, you are helping to support a sustainable way of life; not only for our farmers financially or the environment, but for your health and happiness too.
For me, the really valuable tech is that which enables us to get back to the sustainable and natural order of the past. As Geoff says, their way of farming is ‘how everyone used to farm sixty years ago’. And the biggest reason for doing this is that it means more delicious, more affordable and healthier top-quality food, combined with simple convenience for you and a simplified food chain to boot.
We need to do this; horse meat wasn’t the work of some criminal mastermind, it was the work of an industrialised food chain. The economic structure of our current food system is wrong in that too much of the value is leaked between producer and you - every link in the supply chain represents another layer of cost to the retail price. That’s how we’ve ended up with a choice between affordable unhealthy food on one hand and expensive quality food on the other.
The good news is, it simply doesn’t need to be that way. At Farmdrop, with the helping hand of technology and because your love of good food, we’re proving that affordable, high quality food is doable.
Ben will be speaking at Jamie Oliver’s Food Hackathon on Saturday 17th October as part of London Food Tech week.