Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: the downside to delivery and the rising rates of obesity-related cancer

The news, reviews and trends from June 1-2, including Lidl’s new chicken welfare labels and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s anti-plastic series.

3 June 2019
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Food news

Google searches for way into delivery market

Two weeks ago, Google unveiled its ‘Order Online’ button in America and India, the goal being to gobble up a slice of the burgeoning food delivery market. In response, The Sunday Times explores the effects delivery apps are having on restaurants, from undermining already slim profit margins to stealing away customer relationships.


Obesity-related cancer becomes a weightier issue

By 2035, the NHS will be treating more than 40,000 cases of cancer linked to excess weight, according to the head of the health body, Simon Stevens. The Telegraph notes that if the current eating trends continue, by 2043 obesity will overtake smoking as the leading preventable cause of cancer in women.


GM salmon going on sale in the US

Salmon is set to become the first approved GM food to go on sale in America. Scientists have found a way to splice the DNA of an eel-like fish called the ocean pout and the growth hormone from a large species of ocean salmon together, according to The Times, allowing the fish to grow twice as quickly and with a quarter of the feed compared to wild salmon. Canada already sells the GM salmon, which are produced by Aquabounty Technologies.


Mondelez mulls sale of Philadelphia cheese

Mondelez is considering the sale of its grocery and cheese brands in Europe, including Philadelphia cheese. The Telegraph reports that the conglomerate wants to turn its attention to the faster-growing categories in its portfolio, like chocolate and biscuits – the business also owns Cadbury’s and Oreo.

image credit: Getty Images

Staff set to sue Jamie’s Italian

Up to 60 Scottish employees of Jamie’s Italian are planning to sue for £100,000 of wages they claim they are owed, reports The Mirror. The staff also allege £10,000 of fresh food was dumped in the bin after the chain went into administration two weeks ago.


Pecking at Lidl labels for chicken

Lidl’s new chicken labels, launched on Friday, have been criticised by animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming for not telling consumers the “unvarnished truth.” The Times reports that the scheme, which consists of five different labels detailing whether the chicken sold on shelves is free range, organic or indoor, has been accused of not explaining accurately what some of the terms actually mean. For instance, Lidl says its ‘British indoor’ label indicates that chickens live in “comfortable housing,” but Compassion in World Farming claims that “in reality they are crammed in at 17 chickens per square metre.”


Food trends

Durian dilemma

Are we ready for the durian? It’s a question Food Spark has asked before, as the pungent fruit continues to be embraced by modern Asian consumers as a flavouring in everything from pizza to McFlurry. While Australia tends to be quicker to pick up on Asian trends, The Guardian isn’t sure that the flavour is ready to break out globally.

image credit: Getty Images

Fish facts

The Telegraph dives into the facts behind fish, advising consumers that while fresh or frozen doesn’t make a great deal of difference to nutrition, mercury levels and microplastics in wild salmon might mean farmed salmon is in fact the safer option. The article also notes that the UK’s top fish exports include salmon, mackerel and herring.


Food interviews

Raymond Blanc, Michelin-starred chef

Pulses are Raymond Blanc’s pick for most underrated ingredient, as he speaks to The Sunday Times about the importance of veganism and his admiration for Sabrina Ghayour’s cookbook Bazaar.


Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, TV chef

In the ongoing crusade against plastic, The Times speaks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall about his upcoming TV show, War on Plastic, scheduled to debut on BBC1 on June 10. The four-part series will be co-hosted by Anita Rani and will look at plastic manufacturers, retailers and the government and what they intend to do to curb packaging pollution.


Food reviews

The Soak, London SW1W 0RP

“Inconsistent doesn’t quite cover it,” writes Jay Rayner of this Grosvenor Hotel restaurant, which is named for its use of fermenting and pickling. Hitting the mark are dishes like the diced cured venison topped with cured egg yolk and peppery nasturtium petals, and “a silky cauliflower soup, bobbing with gnocchi flavoured with Comté cheese.” Failing to impress are recipes like the cider-pickled eggs with hazelnuts and chicory, described as “a grim reminder of 1970s pub food when a boiled egg salad was considered class,” while “hot and sour pickled prawns with a lime and carrot salad reads beautifully,” but turns out to be “a dull plate of crunchy, rubbery things.”

Salted Scottish cod
image credit: The Soak

The Sea, the Sea, London SW1X 0AW

“Covering every single fishy base,” Marina O’Loughlin enthusiastically praises the latest effort from Portuguese chef Leandro Carreira. Among the highlights are “sashimi-sliced cod, silken and tender, with skeins of slender raw potato noodles” and monkfish liver (“foie gras of the sea”) with sorrel and yuzu, served with “Japanese rice sandwiched in crisp nori sheets, like flattened onigiri.”

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