Eat up

Seven years ago, supermarket group Albert Heijn made a tremendous song and dance about its move into organic food. But yesterday’s Milieudefensie survey shows the true story.

Albert Heijn, that bastion of Dutch food retailing, has been forced into a rethink by its pointless price war with the other big supermarkets. Organics, on the rise in the smaller chains, are disappearing off its shelves.
So just who is benefiting from this constant slashing of a few cents off a pot of instant spaghetti sauce or factory-farmed chicken drumsticks? Slight movements in market share may please shareholders for a time, but say nothing about long-term policy.
Farmers are being squeezed. If you can buy broccoli for 79 cents a kilo, how much is the farmer who grew it actually get paid? We are all being stuffed with unnecessary sugar and fats. The environment is being hurt too.
The mass production of cheap food means more pollution – be it from the tonnes of liquid manure produced by pigs who never see daylight or from the constant use of fertilisers and pesticides.
And it is absurd to fly in baby lettuce from thousands of miles away, just to save a few cents.
The consumer is only being lulled into a false sense of security by constantly being told how cheap food is. Eventually, we will all pay the price.

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