The Times has run with and interview with Nicholas Stern (this story is now behind the paywall placed on The Times website) on the dietary options that may be considered in terms of climate change. Sir Nicholas is reportedly concerned over the use of resources needed for meat production. I’m sure that this has been completely thought through but I have my doubts.

The Times article

The UK’s agricultural land is dominated by grassland. Over 70% is grass. And the best use for this is ruminant production (using the land to farm grazing animals): milk, beef and lamb. If we don’t factor these into the debate we ignore compromising arguments on land use. Without, for example, uplands being grazed by livestock the landscape of the Lake District will change potentially effecting the tourism appeal. Moreover, with a Goverment target to increase farmland birds, removal of grazing animals will affect ground nesting species.

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Posted by Chris on 27 October 2009


The rise in healthy eating has increased demand for salads, especially prepared bag salads.

People’s tastes change and plant breeders have developed new varieties that meet both customer taste and processing attributes.

Here are some films showing the trial plots of what will be the salad grown commercially in the next few years. As you can see the variety of colours and shapes is impressive.

Breeders have developed strains that have no heart. When harvested the leaves are easily separated to be used with minimum waste in bagged salads.

Posted by Chris on 07 October 2009


Bean sprouts are exactly that: mung beans that are grown for their sprouts. These are widely used in Asian cuisine and in salads.

Their growth is remarkable – from a couple of centimetres to a heap that has to be harvested by hand. These films track the process.

Posted by Chris on 07 October 2009

Asda has been recognised for our work on palm oil sourcing with WWF placing us in the top 10 of European companies. It’s great that a lot of hard work with other organisations, suppliers and colleagues has been shown to be helping on this crucially important issue. We need to find a solution to sourcing a very useful product, that gives employment opportunities for some of the poorest in South-East Asia but doesn’t contribute to the destruction of incredibly valuable natural habitats and maintains these areas as carbon sinks.

Asda is committed to using palm oil produced to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm standards.

I thought you might like to read the WWF press release. You can also download the scorecard itself, which contains a lot of really useful background too.

The WWF assessment is encouraging but we haven’t yet completed this work – it’s a huge step forward!

Posted by Chris on 28 October 2009


Just returned from supplier visit. Taking the opportunity to look round the free range egg units. Given the late summer/early autumn weather the flocks look really well.

The films show some of the units and the pop holes that the hens use to access the range.

The regulations on free range have just changed and we are able to increase the number of birds on a given area. This particular farm had not had to use this ability as the birds’ range area is vast.

Posted by Chris on 07 October 2009