Radio Cumbria, after hearing about my dismay at the tie-up between Slow Food UK and the supermarket chain, Booths, invited me to share my thoughts with the listeners to their Breakfast Show this morning and to my surprise they asked Slow Food’s Chief Executive, Catherine Gazzoli to discuss the subject with me. Catherine is the feisty, dynamic, bundle of energy who has done so much to transform the fortunes of Slow Food since she took up the reigns (see my posting of February 4th).
She explained that 25% of Booth’s food products are now locally supplied and that they are at the vanguard among supermarkets in supporting local suppliers. Catherine lives in London, after moving from America and from that perspective I can fully understand why she is so impressed with what Booths offers. But Booths is a supermarket who can only survive by competing with Tesco’s and Morrisons which means that the great bulk of what they sell is junk which does not, by any stretch of the imagination meet the Slow Food criteria of Good, Clean and Fair. And in Cumbria, unlike in London or America, there are still lots and lots of independent butchers, greengrocers, bakers, farm shops and farmer’s markets which undoubtedly do supply food which is wholly Good Clean and Fair. Which is why, to all those independent traders, the news of the tie-in with Booths must have come as a slap in the face.