Farming Thinking

The insane supermarket packaging solution for “meat touching phobia”.

1st May 2018

Supermarkets have a long history of crazy and excessive packaging. Now Sainsbury’s have taken things up yet another level with “touch-free” packaging for the squeamish. According to Sainsbury’s research, young people hate touching raw meat when they are cooking. The supermarket giant is tackling the phobia by trialing chicken fillets in individual pouches. The packaging hack will allow the customer to get the chicken into a pan without touching it. If the trial proves successful the packaging initiative will also be rolled out across pork and fish.

Supermarkets are packing meat so that it does not even need to be touched to cook it.


Packaging it up – a marketing dichotomy

Supermarkets are desperate to show provenance whilst simultaneously packaging food in a way that removes any context to the way it was farmed. Customer trust has been eroded by a steady stream of food fraud beginning with Tesco’s selling of horse meat burgers in 2013. Glossy marketing for nearly every supermarket reassures with pictures of real farmers and stories of provenance and surprising authenticity. Even Lidl is romancing viewers with tales of their catches on the picturesque Scottish lochs. However in-store supermarkets do their best to dissociate shoppers from the reality of meat even being derived from a farmed animal. The new “touch-free” packaging will distance people further from the source of their food. Not touching the food also reinforces the idea that the less they know, the better.


Fears well founded

Consumers have good reason to be put off handling supermarket meat. Even when the correct species makes it into the pack, a whole litany of food crimes could lurk beneath the wrapper. The 2 Sisters scandal exploded the truth behind industrial-scale chicken farming. The factory was found to be fiddling of chicken kill dates, repackaging older chicken with new, and poor hygiene. Intensively raised chicken faces huge challenges besides these malpractices. A supermarket bird lives only 35 days as compared to 81 for a slow grown chicken. This results in an immature bird with a high amount of  naturally occurring campylobacter in the gut. Meat fears are not limited to chicken. A recent government audit found that 1 in 4 abattoirs supplying supermarkets and high street butchers failed basic hygiene precautions.


Getting closer not further to your food

At Farmdrop we firmly believe shoppers should be brought closer to the source of their food. A reduction of supply chain logistics, packaging and processing. As a next generation of online grocer we are doing everything we can to connect our customers to the stories of the producers and animals that feed them. Animal meat should be a treat that is respected and understood, not put in plastic pouches so that it does not even have to be touched.

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