We could be a little kinder here and declare instead that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is just a confirmation of Feynman’s Contention. That off their specialist subjects experts are just as dumb as the rest of us. But why the hell be kind? Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is an idiot.
Take this from his latest crusade:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]But what they all wanted most was simply to come home with less plastic when they did their regular supermarket shop. But the stores are not making that easy. Not only is loosely sold produce vastly outnumbered by that which is heavily wrapped in plastic, most of the naked stuff is considerably more expensive too. Supermarkets are charging us extra for the privilege of doing the right thing.[/perfectpullquote]
I’m told that Hugh knows how to cook. This ability, or knowledge, does not seem to have spread to knowing much about food, nor the economics of food.
The point about prices being that they are information. We might not like the message contained, sure, but they are still that packaged knowledge about reality. One of the things they tell us being the resources required to do something, produce and deliver some item.
Why are loose veggies more expensive than packaged? Because it uses more resources to get loose veggies to your supermarket shelf than packaged. Sure, there are resources used to do the packaging. But there are resources saved in the food that doesn’t rot:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Removing plastic is great in immediate pollution terms, but if it leads to increased food waste – Morrisons unpackaged cucumbers have a shelf-life of five rather than seven days – many experts would tell you that, in carbon-footprint terms, food waste causes the greater damage.[/perfectpullquote]
Not just carbon footprint terms either. In the total resource use. Because that’s what the prices are telling us, isn’t it?
So, yes, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is an idiot. No, not because he’s being all Green and Gaia friendly but because he’s opening his gob on the subject without having bothered to find out anything about it. Supermarket plastics save the planet, that’s why we use them.
Come on, why the Hell would vast, complicated, rapacious and capitalist organisations use something that cost them more? Quite, the supermarkets use plastics because they are cheaper.