Once again, the people of the UK have spent an astronomical amount on food for the Christmas period. Following the trends of previous years, Christmas food costs continue to rise. Studies show that Brits spent a whopping £4.24 billion on food and drink for the festive season in 2018, which is a staggering £1 billion more than food and drink spending for the previous year.
Food is a significant part of the cost of Christmas for most people. Experian broke down these figures further by identifying how people spent their money and which regions of the United Kingdom spent the most and least on Christmas groceries.
The Highs and Lows of the Cost of Christmas
Leicester came out top as the biggest spenders on groceries for Christmas. People from this city were even willing to spend over £20 on a decent cheese board for the holiday period. At the other end of the scale, Bradford and Wakefield were the most budget-conscious cities and the cost of Christmas was much lower in these cities. The people of Bradford spent less on chocolate than people from any other city in the UK.
The Cost of Christmas Drinks
The people of Leicester were also the biggest spenders when it came to filling up their drinks cabinets. The average person in Leicester spent £65.19 on alcoholic beverages, with a fairly even split between their expenditure on wines and spirits. To the other extreme, those who live in Cardiff spent an average of a mere £43.68.
Of all the celebrity chefs and television personalities that feature on cooking shows, Gordon Ramsay is undoubtedly my favourite. I love his no-nonsense approach, his clear understanding of the restaurant business and his straight talking. Although he is known for his foul mouth, he also shows his softer and more caring side in may of his shows. I find him fascinating to watch and I am addicted to anything in which he appears. Here are 10 facts about Gordon Ramsay.
- He was born in Renfrewshire in Scotland. This surprises many people as they associate this chef with England.
- He had a career in football before injuring himself and switching career paths.
- His first head chef position was at La Tante Claire in Chelsea, England.
- In 1998, he opened his first restaurant called Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
- Ramsay was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2006 honour’s list.
- He was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013.
- Ramsay married Cayetana ‘Tana’ Elizabeth Hutchence in 1996. The couple has four children together; Megan, Holly, Jack, and Matilda.
- He fell 26 feet off a cliff while filming in Iceland’s Westman Islands. Fortunately, he landed in the water and was unharmed.
- He caused controversy in 2009 when it was discovered that one of his restaurants, the Foxtrot Oscar in Chelsea, was using pre-prepared food.
- Ramsay currently owns 10 restaurants in England, eight in North America, four in France, two in Italy, one in Ireland, and eight further restaurants in various locations across the globe.
When I was at school (some time ago now) the school dinners were dreadful. We were served tasteless slop and there are many foods that I still will not eat based on my experiences at school; custard is one of them. I just came across this amazing video on a social media site that shows how Japanese school dinners are served and wanted to share it straight away. I truly believe that schools from across the globe should follow the lead of the Japanese based on this video content.
First, the children plan their school meals and then study the nutritional value of the meals and the cultural significance of the dishes. Next, they take turns to serve the meals to their peers. Many of the meals are made from produce grown on the school farm. Therefore, the meals are made from fresh seasonal produce, are healthy and delicious. The video shows some of the meals they eat and also mentions that the Japanese have one of the lowest childhood obesity rates in the world and that their school meals are one of the reasons for this.
At the end of meal time, the children thank their servers and clean the dining hall. They consider their dinnertime to be part of their education rather than a break from their education. They are taught to have respect, manners, and pride in their school. I was particularly interested in this as I worked for many years in the Learning Support Faculty of a secondary school. I volunteered to do dinner duties. This involved supervising the dining hall. From my own experiences in the UK, the school children did not show the same level of pride in their school and were generally unwilling to tidy away after themselves.
Take a look at the video below and feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
More people than ever are deciding to follow a vegan diet. While for some, this is for ethical reasons, others are choosing to follow a plant-based diet as they believe it is beneficial to their health. There are also others who follow a temporary vegan diet as a way of cleansing their systems and those who continue to eat meat but are including more vegan dishes in their diet. This trend is also being followed by the food industry with vegan eating establishments popping up all over the world.
One such example of this is plant-based chef Matthew Kenney (pictured left) who has recently opened a vegan restaurant called ‘Alibi’ in the Ovolo Hotel in Sydney. Although many traditional Australian dishes are based on steak or seafood, the chef believes that his food can compete with these dishes and has described it as sexier. In fact, the famous chef believes that vegan lifestyles will become even more the norm in the future.
‘Alibi’ has a diverse menu that serves dishes including tacos, burgers, pizza, and lasagne. These dishes would usually contain meat and cheese, but Matthew Kenney has redesigned these meals so they are completely plant-based. He has even found a way to recreate cheese using ingredients including cashew nuts and sunflower seeds.
The trend towards plant-based diets is also obvious in the number of celebrities who have now become vegan. Will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas (pictured right) announced in January that he had made the transition to veganism. He has credited following a vegan diet with his dramatic weight loss and improved health.
Currently in the UK, foods are sold with ‘display until’ and ‘best before end’ labels. These are intended to advise consumers about when foods are no longer safe to eat. However, this system is not without fault. First, if foods are stored incorrectly, they may be unsafe to eat before the specified date. Second, many people rely on the dates provided on the labels and throw food away that is perfectly safe. This results in a lot of food wastage in the UK. There are now new plans to trail an entirely different system.
A high-tech food label has been designed that turns bumpy if a food is no longer safe to eat. Dairy products company Arla is trialling this new label. Their cheese, cream, and milk will have this new label to help consumers to definitively know if food is no longer safe.
The labels contain a gelatine-based gel that reacts to the temperature outside and the packaged food. The conditions cause a molecular breakdown and the labels are designed to deteriorate at the same rate as the food.
The main aim of these labels is to prevent waste. The current labelling system errs on the side of caution and the new labels will provide a more accurate date for which the products are no longer safe. The new label is being backed by food waste campaigners as an effective solution to this problem.
I am always looking for interesting food news stories to post on this blog and this week I have found one of the best yet. According to The Independent, bulk-food retailer Costco is now selling an apocalypse package. For the price of £4,330, approximately $5,999, you can feed your family for a year in the event of a major catastrophe.
If you are a single person and you are worried about the cost of buying such a large package, there is an alternative option for single people. The mega-pack for singe people comes at the price of just £721, or $999, for a year’s supply of food.
These packs contain everything you need to eat a balanced and nutritious diet for a year as they contain a range of dried products, including fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins. The variety included in the packs also means you will not tire of eating the same foods every day.
To many, an apocalypse seems like a wild idea that is only seen in sci-fi movies. However, there is an endless list of potential catastrophes that could take place that could lead to a situation where people need such packs and more people than ever are taking this possibility seriously.
While there are no signs of anyone needing one of these packs right now, it is good to know that Costco is giving people the option of preparing for a worst-case scenario.
Obesity is increasingly becoming an issue in the UK and in other parts of the world. Being overweight can have a huge impact on health and can potentially lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The obesity crisis is also putting a huge strain on the NHS. For this reason, top health officials are now saying that Brits need to go on a diet.
Last year, the government launched a sugar reduction programme that targeted nine different food groups that are considered unhealthy. This has led to the sugar drinks levy which will come into force in April 2018.
New measures put in place to reduce the number of unhealthy foods that Brits eat will specifically target 13 different food groups and will include processed meat, ready meals, takeaways, and pizzas. The aim is to cut the average calorie consumption of the British by 20% by 2024.
As part of this healthy eating campaign, the food industry is also being urged by the government to use healthier ingredients to help the public reduce their calorie intake.
A spokesperson for Public Health England has said that Britain needs to go on a diet as both adults and children are consuming too many calories and this is the cause of the high rate of obesity in the UK.
These recent measures are part of an ongoing governmental campaign in the UK to improve the overall health of UK citizens and reduce the strain on the NHS. Strategies used so far have included raising awareness of healthy eating through marketing materials and via direct advice from healthcare workers. Children are also being targeted with healthy eating programmes in schools.