The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
"Added Value" is a marketing term used in the food industry - it is the way the supermarket giants manage to get YOU to part with more and more of your hard earned cash each week. You might of course be misled into believing the person getting the added value is you - you would be wrong! That added value all goes towards additional profits for these companies at your expense.
I am not saying of course that "Added Value" is necessarily a bad thing, in some ways it has made our lives easier. But I do believe it is in our best interests to know how the whole thing works so that we can made reasonable judgements and consider the facts when we go shopping because it can help us to SAVE a little cash and perhaps, at the same time, eat a little healthier.
****A word of warning this is a long review but as it is my 100th review I wanted to get this off my chest!****
What exactly is "Added Value" ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As I said at the start of this peice it is marketing term. Basically we all have to eat to live and although the population may be increasing slightly there is only so much food we can eat. If supermarkets are to be proftable they need to grow their business each year. They do this in a number of ways:
Buying out competitors
Closing down the competition
Persuading us to pay more for the food that we eat
I shall ignore the first two for the purposes of this review and concentrate on the last one.
How are they going to persuade us to pay more for food given that their competitors will be trying to undercut them anyway to attract our trade?
The answer is to employ the tactic of "Added Value" to them - this means selling us a product that we think is better (and thus worth more money) but which actually doesn't cost them much to produce. In other words they "Add Value" to the product in our minds and "Add Profit" to the product in theirs.
To give you a very simple example - take a bag of washed new potatoes that you might see in a supermarket for say 99p, take a third of them, pop them in a little plastic tray with a knob of butter and a little chopped parsley and sell it as 'ready to cook new potatoes' at £1.49. Given that you can produce three of these from your 99p bag of potatoes you stand to make about £3.50 profit just for the cost of a little extra packaging and a bit of butter - not bad? Certainly you can see the added value from the supermarket's point of view. M&S have been doing this for years and one by one the others have followed.
Personally I don't understand it at all - why would anyone pay three times the price for something that is so very easy to prepare? The cooking time is still the same, all you need is your own dish and knob of butter!
How widespread is it? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Well if you think about it I suspect you already know the answer to that one. I gave but one example but everywhere you look you can see countless more. In fact it applies all around the supermarket because believe me all the manufacturers and suppliers are busy doing the same.
Try the household cleaning shelves - not content with selling us a good all round cleaning product they want us to believe that we need something different in the bathroom, in the kitchen, around the house etc etc. Each one is better than their previous incarnation almost every one has a claim emblazoned on the front - 'New' and 'Improved' are the simplest claims then you get to 'Express Power' and other wonder products.
It isn't just cleaning - what about the laundry products and the washing up liquids? Can someone please tell me why we need dozens of different 'flavours' of washing up liquid? After all we don't eat the stuff, we use it to wash the 'food' off our plates not impregnate them with a different flavour.
I could go on and on but I won't - I rather think you will have the general idea by now.
It is good for us? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
OK - do we actually all need the choice they now provide us with - is this added value benefitting us as well? To a certain extent I think we do. As a child growing up we didn't have supermarkets, all our shopping was done at the corner shop in the next street. Corner shops worked then as there just wasn't the choice in the shops that we have now. Breakfast cereal was just Kellog's cornflakes, if you didn't like them you could have porridge. Rice Krispies when they came out were a huge advance! It wasn't long before we got 'Sugar Frosties' and added value was born - you no longer needed to sprinkle the sugar on your cornflakes, Kellogs had already done it for you!
Speaking personally I love the additional choice we have nowadays even if it means I actually have to walk miles around the supermarket to find the ones I specifically want. However what I don't like is being conned or served substandard food and having it presented like it is better than something I could make myself. It isn't - it might be more convenient occasionally when I am pressured for time (even though half the time it isn't actually quicker) or when I am trying to cater away from home and haven't got all my kitchen utensils to hand but it certainly isn't better.
I resent paying through the nose though for simple things, but it does occur to me that, as the supermarket shelves are now groaning with things I can't see the need for, someone somewhere must be buying the stuff because more and more of the basic things I like seem to be disappearing!
Just with a quick glance this morning I spotted mashed potato in the chiller cabinet - just a small dish of it about the same quantity as you could get from a single large potato. It cost 98p and WHOLE BAG of potatoes cost £1.48 so why do it? Someone, somewhere must have convinced whole swathes of the population that making mashed potato is difficult? Perhaps, although I find that hard to believe in a nation that watches more cookery programmes than ever. However it would seem that same nation actually cooks proper meals from raw materials far less that it ever has!
If you want a really quick and easy mashed potato for one try this: Take large potato (Maris Piper are good for this) prick with a fork and place in microwave on full power for four minutes turning over once halfway through cooking. At the end of the four minutes take it out of the microwave and wrap in foil (shiny side in) and leave for four minutes. The unwrap, pull off the skin (use a knife and fork - it will be very hot) and mash with a fork and a knob of butter if you wish. Simple - mashed potato in minutes with very little mess! Plus you can be cooking your potato whilst you are cooking the rest of your meal.
I hear lots of reasons why people use 'ready meals' which range for 'it is easier when I am cooking for one', 'all the family like different things' or just because 'I am too tired when I get in from work to cook'. I work full time, frequently cook for one and am often too tired to cook from scratch. What I do is batch cook when I do have time and then freeze down my own 'ready meals'. It costs a fraction of the price of a ready meal and that way I know exactly what I am eating and how much goodness there is in there.
Recently I bought some frozen 'steak and kidney' pies from Tesco as a standby for my freezer. I cooked one and ate it, in its defence I should say it was very tasty however the deep brown filling didn't actually contain anything that I could actually identify as either steak or kidney. Today I bought a piece of braising steak and some kidneys I browned it in the frypa , slow cooked for three hours and put in small dishes ready to be topped with pastry and frozen for future consumption (apart from one one I shall have tonight). They will be full of succulent and tender pieces of meat in a rich gravy - a world of difference from the convenience shop bought variety. I do know that Tesco do a Finest range and I would hope that in those the meat would be apparent but to be frank at around £1 each they are way more expensive than the seven pies I prepared today from £2 worth of fresh beef and I still can't say with any certainty exactly what cut of meat went into the Tesco pies.
Whilst we are on the subject of meat - when was it exactly they we gave up the urge to chew meat? The supermarket freezers and the fast food shops are full of minced, reconstituted, preformed products that pass for meat which seem to sell in much greater numbers that the traditional real meat on display. I gave up having food liquidised when I was weaned - why would I want to go back to it now? Quite often these products are made from things that would have been waste products in the past or used for pet food. Now it is shaped and packaged and presented to us to eat - anyone rmember what Jamies Oliver showed us about Turkey Twizzlers?
It goes without saying that it isn't just us humans that seem to have stopped eating real food - we welcome carnivores into our homes as pets and then for some reason spend ages in the supermarket buying 'ready meals' for them which don't actually contain the meat their bodies need to function properly. If you have pets please start reading the labels before you buy the products and throw back the tins of 'real meaty goodness' that aren't something like 80% meat. When my cats started showing dental problems at a young age I suddenly realised that what I was feeding them was the very thing I avoided myself - over processed foods. Now they get only HiLife and a good quality complete feed plus raw meat and their teeth are fine now.
Let's start a revolution! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yes - I mean it. You don't have to totally change the way you eat but why not start asking yourself the question - how hard is it to make food for yourself? You will most certainly find it a great deal cheaper than buying 'added value' stuff all the time.
We are all in great danger of becoming an advertising man's dream come true. We will be if we follow every fashion and believe the claims they write on these packets. I do know that Ciao members are more discerning than most from the reviews that I read but the shops do seem to believe that they have us in the palm of their hands.
I was staggered the other day when the checkout operator commented on how 'healthy' my trolley was because it contained lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (she must not have spotted the sweets, biscuits or the cream cake!). I queried why she mentioned it and she said because she didn't see many like that normally. I checked the next time I went shopping and sure enough I saw more trolleys laden with ready meals, packets and tins than I did with fresh food.
Convenience foods certainly have a place in this modern world of ours but it you want to get more for your money then I suggest you use less 'added value' products and prepare more of your own food.
Thank you for reading if you managed to get this far!
Some really good, sensible and valid points there. Personally I'm guilty of buying ready made meals fairly often. When both parties in a relationship are working long hours, sometimes one can't face the prospect of spending a couple of hours or more preparing a meal from scratch some evenings. Saying that, we do try to cook our own food at least 4 days a week and are trying to increase that number. Mil x (p.s. congrats on your 100th review)
britum2000 30.01.2007 22:54
Joan, I only had an understanding of this phrase in terms of quality in education, teaching and learning. This review has truly broadened my horizons. Thank you. Bri xxx
KELLYLOUJ 30.01.2007 21:04
Great review. I am awful when I see 20% free and bogofs!!