Supermarket fakes reveal murky world of food transparency

UK supermarkets including Tesco are being urged to stop using controversial, fictitios ‘fake farm’ branding methods.

Tesco has been peddling its foods as if supplied by a boutique family run enterprise called Woodside Farm — deliberately encouraging consumers to believe its meat is sourced from small-scale family owned producers. Woodside farm does not exist.

Woodside Farm is an own label brand designed to sound romantically English and rural, another called Boswell Farm supplies fruit, not from England as the name suggests, but imported from the continent.

Fictitiously cosy

Aldi‘s imagination is equally colourful selling produce under the name of Wood Farm, Lidl sells as if supplied by a Birchwood Farm and M&S from Lochmuir and Oakham. All are fictitious.

Mitty marketing

The National Farmers Union and The Soil Association have both condemned the dubious branding practice and describe the farms as ‘misleading to consumers and insulting to farmers’. Others less diplonatic say Tesco is simply lying.

Telling porkies

Richard Baugh of the real Woodside Farm in Nottinghamshire, raises quality free-range pigs for his own pork sold under his farm name through his farm shop and website. But since Tesco replaced its Tesco Value brand with a fictitious ‘Woodside Farms‘ brand, he says he faces daily confusion from customers.

Bogus branding

The demand for consumers to know where their food comes from continues. Meanwhile more honest and transparent brands are fighting back.

Salty Girl Seafood is a California-based company that includes codes on its seafood that not only provide details on the species of fish, where it was caught and how, but also the name of the fisherman and his or her boat.

And that has an important knock-on effect. The more interested chefs and consumers join in the journey that a fish takes to their plate, the less the industry will be able to get away with its own fishy stories.

Octane offers gastro wilderness expeditions and, employing Octane’s Eight* methods of sourcing wild food for the pot, we eat the world’s best food, ocean fresh**

*Octane’s Eight is our philosophy. We believe our travelling guests, being closest to the world’s wildest fresh foods, might quite like to eat the world’s wildest fresh foods. 1. We line fish, 2. we lobster pot, 3. we spear fish, 4. we sea forage, 5. we land forage, 6. we stalk, 7. we seed the sea, 8. we seed the land

**The term fresh fish is of course relative. On the high-street, at supermarkets and in city restaurants fresh fish really means days old so, when patiently waiting for your number to be called at the fish-counter, be ready to ask where your fish is from and how many days ago it was likely caught. Supermarkets invent terms to suit their needs and, as a discerning consumer, it really is your right to challenge nonsense. At Octane we have therefore made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean fresh. Simply put, it means caught and eaten same-day.

See ocean fresh in practice with the post ‘Drive–by calamari’ – ocean fresh calamari caught, cooked and served in under an hour

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