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Anders Bekeken

An Inconvenient Sandwich: The Throwaway Economics of Takeaway Food by nef

Geschreven op 29-8-2010 - Erik van Erne. Geplaatst in Afval, Gezondheid Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

NEFnef is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being and they aim to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environmental and social issues. Working in partnership and put people and the planet first.

It’s lunchtime or early evening. The local eateries are filling up with customers in search of rolls, chips, pies, burgers, kebabs, curries, tacos, noodles. Mass refuelling from small, high-street outlets. It’s an everyday habit, as typically British as it is ethnically diverse. It powerfully defines the way we live and what we expect as consumers: a tasty, affordable, convenient, reliable, quick bite to eat.

Our appetite for this kind of food is exploding. We spend something over £10 billion a year on sandwiches, chips, burgers and the like, much of it in the independent cafés, greasy spoons and takeaways that are a fixture on high streets all over Britain. Yet despite its reach, this part of the food system is largely unscrutinised. Questions about health and sustainability, which increasingly rain down upon the supermarkets and the big fast-food chains, are seldom posed.

But there are good reasons why we should be much more interested in this kind of unchained, localised, casual catering. A lot of the food it sells is bad for us, but we seem to love it. The outlets are often friendly, neighbourhood places, providing jobs and livelihoods, but the work can be precarious, badly paid, and in extreme cases illegal. Then again, because the outlets are under threat from the same homogenising pressures that led to cloned high streets and identikit supermarkets, what you see (fresh, local, individualised) is often the opposite of what you actually get. Above all, price rules: whatever the pressure might be for the food to be ‘better’, we don’t want to pay any more for it – and if it cost more, a lot of people wouldn’t be able to afford it. So these outlets epitomise some of the contradictions at the heart of our ideas about sustainability. Efforts to protect the environment, safeguard health, and promote justice are systematically undermined by the dynamics of today’s market economy.

In other words, your local sandwich shop or Chinese takeaway is a microcosm of what is troubling about the wider economy. It is more or less impossible for these outlets to source food that is healthy, fairly produced, and environmentally benign, to employ their workers in socially just conditions, and to sell at prices that people can afford or are prepared to pay. Why is it so difficult? This is the story we tell here. Read more at An Inconvenient Sandwich (PDF) Source: Greenbizz 

See also:  NYC Artist Sally Davies Photography A McDonald’s Happy Meal For 137 Days

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