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Horsemeat, food quality and safety standards: live webchat with Sainsbury's brand director Judith Batchelar, TODAY, 9.30-10.30am

(90 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 07-Mar-13 13:36:50

We're welcoming the Director of Sainsbury's Brand Judith Batchelar for a webchat on Tuesday, 12 March, 9:30am-10:30am.

Judith is responsible for Sainsbury's food quality and safety standards, as well as its development work with British farmers and new product development.

She has worked in the food and drink industry for 29 years, is a biochemist and registered nutritionist.

While no horsemeat has been found in any of Sainsbury's products, Judith will be able to discuss the issue and tell you what to look for on labels and packaging to work out where food has come from, as well as giving advice on how you can balance value for money and ethical sourcing.

Do post your question in advance on this thread, or join us live on Tuesday 12 March, 9:30am-10:30am.

Many thanks

Kveta Thu 07-Mar-13 15:49:28

ooh, I have a question about fromage frais (of all things!)

Sainsburys used to do a kids range of fromage frais which came in pots or pouches, and had no added sugar - so they were brilliant for weaning as well as for older kids, and only £1 for 6 pots, so not a rip off unlike some brands. then they stopped making them some time last year, and now have sugary fromage frais, with bits in it (we tried a jelly one, which was utterly grim) - why did you stop making the sugar free ones?! they were fantastic!

(and if I'm allowed a second question, where did you get the recipe for the butter bean and sour cream dip with chimchurri (?), it is INCREDIBLE, and I am scared you'll stop making it before I figure out the recipe!)

I'm not sure that is the level of question you'll be after, but I am a loyal Sainsburys shopper, and generally love the store, and the fromage frais issue has niggled me for a while. grin

gazzalw Thu 07-Mar-13 18:04:10

Hi Judith

Up until about a few years ago Sainbury's used to do quite a wide-range of healthy children's snack options etc.... I haven't really noticed that these are available any more. Why? We used to love them as they appeared to have less sugar, salt and additives in them. Particularly liked the snacks such as the little bags of dried apple.

And a plea for salt-free crisp options too (without the blue sachet of salt) for children.

Also, I am sure you are also aware of this, but parents are constantly searching for nutritious new products particularly for lunch boxes. There are no end of options to buy in Sainsbury's but parents may find that these so-called lunch-box products do not fit the 'healthy eating' criteria imposed by many schools these days!

Thanks.

aristocat Thu 07-Mar-13 19:01:32

Hello

I also have a query about a product that disappeared - it was called Sugocasa and was similar to Passata (but much nicer)
It had a brilliant flavour and made an amazing pasta sauce. Lots of chunky bits and a great texture.

This happened a few years ago and I still miss it. Chopped tomatoes just don't do it and I have had to make do with Passata since.

Why do good products get removed? No replacement was introduced sad.

dreamingofsun Thu 07-Mar-13 20:23:26

how do i ensure sausages are made of good quality meat and not just the poor quality pieces that you would never normally even consider buying?

Shakey1500 Thu 07-Mar-13 20:26:59

Agree with more ideas for lunchboxes.

My question is- what are your views on today's (07/03/13) news regarding processed meats and long term health risks? Pretty staggering statistics I thought.

GreatGooglyMoogly Thu 07-Mar-13 20:56:52

I am staggered by the number of products that now contain some kind of fructose syrup instead of/ as well as sugar. I assume this is because sugar is so expensive? What are your views on this and could we please have some product options without it in? I am happy to pay more!

More generally, I want to buy food with ingredients I recognise as food in them not things that sound like a chemistry lesson - please could we have more of these options?

I just wanted to say a big thank you for carrying an excellent range of products or people with allergies/intolerances.
We are gluten & dairy free in this house and Sainsburys is definitely our supermarket of choice.

for not or. *sigh

Jcee Thu 07-Mar-13 21:56:18

I've found the horsemeat scandal fascinating from the perspective of how complex our food chain has become and the numbers of producers and suppliers involved and complicated production logistics often over a wide geographic area in the quest for bigger profits.

I'm not surprised everyone has lost track of it all and we are where we are. I now feel that we (society) are in a rubbish place with regard to our relationship with food, how it's produced and what we should expect from producers and suppliers.

With your long experience in the sector, do you agree? where do we go from here and who should be leading the way?

I'm not sure a mea culpa from some in the sector with a commitment to doing better is enough - it'll all come down to profits in the end so ultimately there'll be no change <cynical>

aristocat I'd forgotten all about sugocasa - I loved that too!

Shakey1500 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:11:50

Jcee It makes me feel cynical as well. Not just that a mea culpa and we'll do better, but also that any admissions aren't just a whacking great marketing ploy.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 07-Mar-13 22:23:44

What can you put into a food product without it appearing on the ingredients list at all?

jackstini Thu 07-Mar-13 23:02:06

I want to know when a supermarket is going to brave enough to sell different food as a cheaper option
I am quite happy to eat horse meat if it is labelled as such; especially as it's lower in fat and could be cheaper. Who will be first to do it?

Also happy to buy the odd shaped vegetables that seem to get thrown away in this country angry and am sure I am not alone
This could be a huge opportunity to sell food that would otherwise go to waste and save your customers money too

Why are so many things listed as "low sugar" only to read the ingredients and find out that they are full of sweetener chemicals instead. Can't we just have less sugar but use real sugar so the item is just a less sweet?

What exactly are "natural flavours" when they are listed as such in the ingredients.

Why can't I buy free range/organic/British ham at my local Sainsburys hypermarket (Oldbury).

Why do Sainsbury's sell organic apples imported from New Zealand??

I really like that when I buy pre-packaged British veg it gives the area/name of the farm it has come from.

1991all Fri 08-Mar-13 13:43:26

What's so special about Sainsburys that they escaped the horse meat scandal?
Or was it just luck?

mrscog Fri 08-Mar-13 18:58:25

I'm still thinking of a question but I'd like to back up Kveta's point about yoghurts for babies. I want to be able to buy yoghurts with no sugar or sweeteners, just sweetened with fruit. Rachel's organic do some but they're too expensive - they don't need to be organic, it's the sugar I don't like.

ClaraOswinOswald Fri 08-Mar-13 19:40:07

What are Sainsbury's doing to help combat the huge food waste issue we have in the UK? When so much fruit and veg doesn't even reach the shelves it makes me think the consumer is not the only one wasting vast quantities of food.

I'd be happy to buy wonky cucumbers, carrots etc. knowing I was cutting down on waste.

tuffie Fri 08-Mar-13 22:20:03

Why do Sainsbury's still source so many products from outside the UK ?
Surely it is in Sainsbury's interests to support UK farmers and manufacturers as in the long run this will strengthen the UK economy which will in turn mean people have more money to buy more products from them.
Surely it is in Sainsbury's long term interest to help create a strong UK economy ?

I'm with Kveta and mrscog on the sugar free fromage frais question. We used to buy these every week as did most of my local mum friends and we've all been wondering why they were removed and replaced with a sugary version!

redwellybluewelly Sat 09-Mar-13 19:22:11

Two questions

We buy oatley calcium enriched for our dairy and soy allergic daughter, however she doesn't always drink the large carton without it going off. I'd love to have packs of two or three smaller cartons available, could you talk to the supplier? I know this is possible with rice milk but we can't give her that as she is too young.

Please could you stock dairy/soy free pea protein yogurts.

Why can't foods have the distance they have travelled shown on the label somehow? With many fresh foods it would be nice to know how far they have travelled from a carbon footprint perspective.

As someone said up thread have sainsburys just been lucky re the horsemeat scandal?

And lastly, offering money off or saving vouchers for two weeks not a week would persuade me to shop at sainsburys more, lost count of how many times I've missed money off by a day. Or give the option of extra points on nectar card rather than "heres 23p off your shop next time" - tjis annoys me.

dublindee Mon 11-Mar-13 13:05:14

What are your thoughts on the lack of clarity in good labelling? The fact that some items are labelled as MSG free yet have yeast extract or whey protein, soy protein or glutamic acid?

Surely clarity in labelling and stricter food controls would mean a more educated consumer and safer food for us all!

http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html

Thanks!

dublindee Mon 11-Mar-13 13:06:11

*food - not good - grrrr at my iPhone!

SwearyBear Mon 11-Mar-13 15:23:46

I feel misled on a number of food issues - particularly the origin of products. It concerns me that conditions, welfare and feed might be sub-standard. especially when middlemen are involved. E.g. chickens from Malaysia and Brazil which become legally British following de-skinning at a British depot after shipping. Sold with Union Jack branding.

I am wondering if you can provide a percentage of meat sold by Sainsbury's that is born, raised and slaughtered in the UK - not just able to say its British because it underwent some form of processing in the UK (after import).

I think this issue requires some leadership that Sainsbury's could bring.

Furball Mon 11-Mar-13 16:10:22

I'm glad to see Sainsburys have switched to British chicken in all it's ready meals - fresh and frozen.

I was always put off buying it when it was labelled

This chicken is from either Brazil or Holland

or sometimes

This chicken is from either Thailand or the EU

It wasn't appealing in the slightest

and doubling the amount of british food you sell is also a big tick from me. smile

LoganMummy Mon 11-Mar-13 16:31:59

Will Sainsbury be introducing smart food labels that colour change as the food goes off? Seems a good idea to stop wastage.

turningvioletviolet Mon 11-Mar-13 20:02:05

Just popped in to say that I worked with Judith many moons ago in the biscuit department at M & S. She very kindly sent me a Cranks veggie cookbook when I was on mat leave with my son (who's now 16!) which still sits on my book shelf. Anyway just thought I'd wave hello now. Happy memories of shortbread, chocolate teacakes and high fibre digestives.

Nikced Mon 11-Mar-13 21:34:25

ItsAllGoingToBeFine good question, I'd like to know too. Also SwearyBear.

With Chickens/eggs I know to buy organic/free range. Is there something that does the same for pork/beef etc? We are all veggies except Ds who does like bacon, I always get bacon that says 'from British/UK pigs, produced/processed in Britain/UK. Does this mean animal welfare has been ok?

Yy with the voucher thing, I didn't realise your 'saving money' vouchers had a 'use by' date! I had a few saved up and they were all out of date, really wasn't happy! Might as well go to the shop that was cheaper at the time rather than not have a saving. Short dates not clear in your adverts or by your staff - until the one that scoffed at me when the vouchers didn't work!-

MotherSouperior Mon 11-Mar-13 21:37:33

I also wanted to congratulate Sainsbury's for its allergy ranges, which have been a godsend to us.

And I'd like to second SwearyBear's question. I found the horsemeat scandal an eyeopener - not only in terms of the horrific media guffaws of 'What did you expect in economy food?' but also as I'd always assumed supermarkets had their own quality assurance departments.

Could Judith please tell us about Sainsbury's QA department & procedures? I hope it's not left to the supplier to do it, as this has clearly been open to abuse (in beef, of all things, which surely after the BSE scandal should have been the best monitored of the lot hmm)

Thanks very much.

<decides against mentioning the simple joy I get from seeing the Sainsbury's apostrophe. As that's too petty for words...blush>

Merguez Mon 11-Mar-13 21:38:41

My local Sainsbury's is a medium-size store in a rural town. Why did you stop selling organic whole chickens there?

And why is the only organic milk available in plastic bottles, I prefer a tetrapak?

Why do you sell organic sausages and bacon but not organic ham?

Woofers Mon 11-Mar-13 22:11:38

Following on from the horse meat scandal - where do your chickens come from? There is no indication on your pies / easy cook / Kiev / soup?

We won't buy any chicken unless we know its free range as we don't agree that having 6 chickens on a space no bigger than an a4 page. And worse still, I won't eat chicken, or any meat from another country, not when we have so much in this country, nor do we know the standards of their abattoirs.

Many thanks

AGiddyKipperInOneHand Tue 12-Mar-13 08:07:27

Please tell me whether it is possible for a murderer to hide a body by cutting it up and feeding it to farmed pigs (it's been used in a number of crime dramas and books) and, following on from that, is it possible for the same pigs to become meat for humans, sold in supermarkets? (And before anyone scoffs, consider the number of missing persons.)

notcitrus Tue 12-Mar-13 09:12:07

What control do you have over your suppliers to ensure what meat or products are what they say, if they are sourcing from other countries particularly outside the EU?

Also why have you recently added dextrose, ie sugar, to all your oven chips? They used to be simple potato with sunflower oil.

I've also had problems with some packaging recently, particularly your liquid stain remover in the dark pink bottle - it's so flimsy that you squirt it all over just by picking up the bottle.

However please pass on compliments to the staff at Streatham Common who are an exceptionally friendly and helpful bunch.

TheMancunianWay Tue 12-Mar-13 09:28:22

I think the issue here is more about labelling than the actual content - if its not 100% beef don't label it as such. It's being lied to that consumers object to more. How confident are you that Sainsbury's will be able to guarantee their products are beef when they are labelled beef and don't contain a percentage of pork, for example?

TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 12-Mar-13 09:30:43

Hi everyone - we're here at Sainsbury's HQ and Judith is here to answer your questions so we'll get started!

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 09:32:40

Hello everyone, really pleased to be here! Thank you for joining me on this webchat. Thank you for posting your questions - I'll aim to answer as many as possible in the next hour.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 09:38:20

TheMancunianWay

I think the issue here is more about labelling than the actual content - if its not 100% beef don't label it as such. It's being lied to that consumers object to more. How confident are you that Sainsbury's will be able to guarantee their products are beef when they are labelled beef and don't contain a percentage of pork, for example?

We go to great lengths to ensure that what it says on the packet is what is in the packet. That includes working with our suppliers and in turn their suppliers, having full traceability of the end to end supply chain right back to farm. Finally, testing finished product for DNA, food safety, country of origin and whether a product has been previously frozen. Both our fresh and frozen beef burgers are made from British beef.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 09:38:48

Jcee

I've found the horsemeat scandal fascinating from the perspective of how complex our food chain has become and the numbers of producers and suppliers involved and complicated production logistics often over a wide geographic area in the quest for bigger profits.

I'm not surprised everyone has lost track of it all and we are where we are. I now feel that we (society) are in a rubbish place with regard to our relationship with food, how it's produced and what we should expect from producers and suppliers.

With your long experience in the sector, do you agree? where do we go from here and who should be leading the way?

I'm not sure a mea culpa from some in the sector with a commitment to doing better is enough - it'll all come down to profits in the end so ultimately there'll be no change <cynical>

aristocat I'd forgotten all about sugocasa - I loved that too!

If the horsemeat scandal means more consumers ask questions about
where their food comes from I think that’s a good thing. We should care
about where our food comes from.

Sainsbury’s buys a lot of meat from British farmers. I don’t just mean the traditional cuts of meat but all of the chicken, pork and beef in our fresh ready meals, pies and sandwiches, quiches and soups are 100% British with the exception of continental meats. Some things such as Parma ham have to come from Parma.

You asked about where we go from here. In 2011 Sainsbury’s announced an
ambitious target to double the amount of British food it sells by 2020.

We work closely with over 2,500 farmers who are part of Sainsbury’s dedicated Farmer Development Groups and have invested over £40 million in
developing these relationships to achieve this goal.

We are a business but we don’t make decisions just based on price. We don’t think that makes good business sense. For example we have recently announced that we are extending our agreement with the milk farmers who supply us. Under the agreement we reward them for their outstanding animal welfare and environmental standards by paying them according to the cost of production rather than open market prices.

Chineye Tue 12-Mar-13 09:39:03

Hi Judith, I'd like to know about Sainsbury's testing regime, i.e what do they test for, what percentage of their annual purchase do they test, how often do they test, do they carry out testing at their suppliers premises, are they 100% confident of their supply chain?

bebee Tue 12-Mar-13 09:39:06

Do you think the UK public would ever accept horsemeat as a food - if it was killed and prepared properly - ie they knew what they were getting?

aliceb4 Tue 12-Mar-13 09:40:41

Hi Judith, as it says in the op no horsemeat has been found in any of Sainsbury's products as yet. Do you think there's a good reason for that? Are you practices better than your rivals or is everyone broadly operating similarly and you've just been lucky so far?

bizageza Tue 12-Mar-13 09:45:26

How do companies actually test products? Can the process be trusted? Is there an independent body doing it on a regular basis or are we relying on the supermarkets or suppliers to tell us? I can't actually remember how the scandal started - who first found the horse meat?

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 09:45:44

notcitrus

What control do you have over your suppliers to ensure what meat or products are what they say, if they are sourcing from other countries particularly outside the EU?

Also why have you recently added dextrose, ie sugar, to all your oven chips? They used to be simple potato with sunflower oil.

I've also had problems with some packaging recently, particularly your liquid stain remover in the dark pink bottle - it's so flimsy that you squirt it all over just by picking up the bottle.

However please pass on compliments to the staff at Streatham Common who are an exceptionally friendly and helpful bunch.

Every single Sainsbury's product has a very detailed product specification, which articulates in detail the source of every ingredient, including country of origin, the testing required of that product, which will include food safety testing, country of origin testing, nutritional testing. The specification also includes the labelling, packaging, recycling and shelf-life and storage guidelines. In fact there's not much it doesn't include!

However, this is not just a paperwork exercise. We visit and audit suppliers and sometimes they don't know we're coming. We test product independently as well in our own laboratory. And we require supplier to share their test results. The important point in all of this, is that whereever we source from, we source to the same high standards.

I'll come back to you on the dextrose question and your comments on the packaging.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 09:46:24

jackstini

I want to know when a supermarket is going to brave enough to sell different food as a cheaper option
I am quite happy to eat horse meat if it is labelled as such; especially as it's lower in fat and could be cheaper. Who will be first to do it?

Also happy to buy the odd shaped vegetables that seem to get thrown away in this country angry and am sure I am not alone
This could be a huge opportunity to sell food that would otherwise go to waste and save your customers money too

You definitely aren’t alone. In these stretched times more and more people are looking for cheaper alternatives and we are doing our best to help. We don’t have any plans to start selling horsemeat but we are more focused than ever on providing ways for our customers to make the most of their food shop. For example, through our most recent ‘Make Your Roast Go Further’ campaign we’re giving information on how to create two additional family meals from every Sunday roasting joint.

We have also responded to one of the worst growing seasons farmers have
experienced in decades by changing our approach to ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables
allowing food that would previously have been wasted to be sold.

None of Sainsbury’s food waste goes to landfill. Instead we donate any surplus food to charities and any waste not fit for consumption, goes to anaerobic digestion to generate renewable energy.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 12-Mar-13 09:47:27

Hello Judith. I've no doubt whatsoever that you'll ignore this post or at the very least claim that the issue I'm raising is not your area or similar, but I'm going to make my point anyway.

Some time ago I moved to a great town. In the heart of the town centre is a Sainsbury's. It is small and scruffy and the intention of Sainsburys was to expoand the store. Sainsburys set about buying up properties within the town centre with the intention of knocking them down eventually and building a superstore. However, the local people objected on the basis that the store would be too big at which point (and I say this as an observer, not somebody who was ever directly involved with the protest) Sainsbury's threw their toys out of the pram and have basically let the town cetntre rot. The place is like a ghost town and it's an absolute disgrace. No doubt it will serve as a warning to any other twon which dares to object to Sainsbury's. What your company has done is disgustig and it shows the contempt supermarkets such as yours have for local comminities.

I will not shop at Sainsbury's because of their behaviour. Good luck with your lovely touchy, feely webchat but everybody should be aware that Sainsbury's have been happy to see an entire community rot because that's what suits them.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 09:48:56

1991all

What's so special about Sainsburys that they escaped the horse meat scandal?
Or was it just luck?

We aren’t being complacent but I don’t think it is down to luck. This issue has
highlighted the importance of having a detailed knowledge of and involvement in your supply chain. This is something that's part of Sainsbury's 144 year heritage.

We have one of the most extensive quality control programmes in the industry
and we apply the same checks right across our products - from basics to Taste the Difference.   We have used DNA testing for over a decade, as well as checks on country of origin, announced and unannounced audits of suppliers and independent product testing to ensure that what it says on the label is what you are buying.

This is not just about our quality control measures.  Our entire supply chain,
from farm to store, is built around long-term sustainable relationships. 

We work closely with over 2,500 farmers who are part of Sainsbury’s
dedicated Farmer Development Groups and have invested over £40 million in
developing these relationships, as part of our commitment to double our sales
of British food by 2020.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 09:50:44

bebee

Do you think the UK public would ever accept horsemeat as a food - if it was killed and prepared properly - ie they knew what they were getting?

It is perfectly legal to sell horse meat in the UK as long as you are licenced to do so. Historically there hasn't been a huge demand for horse meat, but in a similar fashion, venison hasn't been that popular in recent years, but is starting to become more commonplace. So who knows? smile

JediGirl21 Tue 12-Mar-13 09:51:57

Are Sainsbury's worried about
The Tesco Haiku Approach
i.e. "we're really listening now"?

Or are you confident that what you're doing* is enough?

what *are you doing btw?
Thanks

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 09:53:52

GreatGooglyMoogly

I am staggered by the number of products that now contain some kind of fructose syrup instead of/ as well as sugar. I assume this is because sugar is so expensive? What are your views on this and could we please have some product options without it in? I am happy to pay more!

More generally, I want to buy food with ingredients I recognise as food in them not things that sound like a chemistry lesson - please could we have more of these options?

We have done a lot of work on this. Where fructose syrup is used in Sainsbury’s products, it is listed as glucose-fructose syrup.

Glucose-fructose syrup is used in a variety of Sainsbury’s products to provide
sweetness, either alone or in combination with table sugar.

At present, most leading scientists and nutrition experts agree that, in terms of health, the effects of consuming glucose-fructose syrup are the same as that of regular sugar, particularly in relation to dental health. In relation to obesity, both table sugar and glucose-fructose syrup provide 4kcal per gram consumed. The guideline daily amount for sugar, including sugar consumed as Glucose-fructose syrup, is 90g for adults.

motherofallmuddles Tue 12-Mar-13 09:55:23

I'm with the other O/Ps the vouchers are so annoying esp when they could simply be added to my nectar card.
What I don't understand is how the horsemeat could have ever entered into the food chain in the first place. Surely this signals an awful lack of awareness as to where the meat is coming from or a total lack of concern by the Supermarkets.
So how can you guarantee 100% that Sainsbury's is horsefree and more importantly what do you think should be done in the future to ensure we can trust the Supermarkets on our high streets.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:00:11

Woofers

Following on from the horse meat scandal - where do your chickens come from? There is no indication on your pies / easy cook / Kiev / soup?

We won't buy any chicken unless we know its free range as we don't agree that having 6 chickens on a space no bigger than an a4 page. And worse still, I won't eat chicken, or any meat from another country, not when we have so much in this country, nor do we know the standards of their abattoirs.

Many thanks

All of our fresh chicken is British and has been for last 10 years and in addition, our frozen chicken has been British for over 6 years. The chicken in our fresh ready meals, sandwiches, soups and pies is also British. Our country of origin labelling should state this clearly on the pack, on the front with a union flag and the words chicken, and on the back of pack next to the ingredients list. I will check out the examples you've just given.

We are the biggest retailer in the world of RSPCA Freedom Food higher welfare chicken and we do offer standard free range and organic chickens. However we do have something quite unique in our Woodland chickens, which can be both free range and organic, in that we plant trees around the chicken houses to encourage the chickens to range and roam and generally display natural chicken behaviours. Indeed, independent academic research has shown that these Woodland chickens have better welfare outcomes than conventional free range or organic birds. Today you can buy in Sainsbury's a very special Woodland bird, the Norfolk Black Chicken, which is a cross between a continental black feathered and legged bird and a more traditional big-breasted British bird. You can easily spot it in our stores by its black legs but I have to say, I now buy it all the time because it's absolutely delicious! Our farmer, Mark Gorton, won the recent Poultry Farmer of the year Award.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:05:51

motherofallmuddles

I'm with the other O/Ps the vouchers are so annoying esp when they could simply be added to my nectar card.
What I don't understand is how the horsemeat could have ever entered into the food chain in the first place. Surely this signals an awful lack of awareness as to where the meat is coming from or a total lack of concern by the Supermarkets.
So how can you guarantee 100% that Sainsbury's is horsefree and more importantly what do you think should be done in the future to ensure we can trust the Supermarkets on our high streets.

To your question on horse meat - the first point to make is that this issue is now a formal police investigation because criminal activity has led to horse meat being sold as beef in the supply chain. The second point is that most of the positive findings on horse meat have been in the food service sector, not in supermarkets. However, although at Sainsbury's we have not found horse meat in our products, we are well aware that customers' trust in the food industry in general has suffered. We are not complacent about this - as I have said in my answer to 1991all.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:10:01

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes

Hello Judith. I've no doubt whatsoever that you'll ignore this post or at the very least claim that the issue I'm raising is not your area or similar, but I'm going to make my point anyway.

Some time ago I moved to a great town. In the heart of the town centre is a Sainsbury's. It is small and scruffy and the intention of Sainsburys was to expoand the store. Sainsburys set about buying up properties within the town centre with the intention of knocking them down eventually and building a superstore. However, the local people objected on the basis that the store would be too big at which point (and I say this as an observer, not somebody who was ever directly involved with the protest) Sainsbury's threw their toys out of the pram and have basically let the town cetntre rot. The place is like a ghost town and it's an absolute disgrace. No doubt it will serve as a warning to any other twon which dares to object to Sainsbury's. What your company has done is disgustig and it shows the contempt supermarkets such as yours have for local comminities.

I will not shop at Sainsbury's because of their behaviour. Good luck with your lovely touchy, feely webchat but everybody should be aware that Sainsbury's have been happy to see an entire community rot because that's what suits them.

Hello

Sorry to hear you feel this way. Could you let me know which Sainsbury’s store you are referring to? I would like to come back to you about this. Our aim is always to have a positive impact - in both the communities that our stores serve and the communities from which we source products.

Giggi Tue 12-Mar-13 10:10:07

Just being nosey really but wondered if there had been any shifts in what people are buying in Sainsbury's since the scandal started... more chicken? Fish? Veggie? Will the beef farmers suffer economically - or do you think they will be OK as folks will still buy pure beef just not processed foods?

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 12-Mar-13 10:10:53

Crosby.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:13:27

bizageza

How do companies actually test products? Can the process be trusted? Is there an independent body doing it on a regular basis or are we relying on the supermarkets or suppliers to tell us? I can't actually remember how the scandal started - who first found the horse meat?

The Irish Food Safety Authority (IFSA) were the first to find horse meat in a number of products produced in Ireland and sold in Ireland and the UK. The IFSA is an independent body working on behalf of government to test products for authenticity, provenance, food safety and contamination. In addition all suppliers, brand owners and retailers will have their own bespoke testing and auditing programmes.

My response to notcitrus goes into more detail about how we test our products at Sainsbury's.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:14:06

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes

Crosby.

thank you - we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:18:10

Giggi

Just being nosey really but wondered if there had been any shifts in what people are buying in Sainsbury's since the scandal started... more chicken? Fish? Veggie? Will the beef farmers suffer economically - or do you think they will be OK as folks will still buy pure beef just not processed foods?

We have seen some people buying more chicken and fish rather than beef but it's too soon to know if this will be a long term trend.

British beef farmers will always have a market for their beef because it is acknowledged to be produced to the highest standards. For example Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef is in demand the world over.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 12-Mar-13 10:18:35

www.crosbyherald.co.uk/news/crosby-news/2013/01/10/mp-bill-esterson-promises-to-get-sainsbury-s-store-back-on-village-agenda-68459-32576094/

It's wonderful that you care so much for the welfare of your chickens. How about starting to care for an entire community made up of wondeful people who deserve a lot more from a company like Sainsburys hmm

sonnyandluca Tue 12-Mar-13 10:19:00

Not sure if this is your area of responsibility but wouldn't it help with reducing food wastage if you went back to selling loose potatoes rather than in huge 1.5KG bags?

I don't want potatoes every night of the week but what choice do we have when you insist on selling by the sack load?

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:19:04

turningvioletviolet

Just popped in to say that I worked with Judith many moons ago in the biscuit department at M & S. She very kindly sent me a Cranks veggie cookbook when I was on mat leave with my son (who's now 16!) which still sits on my book shelf. Anyway just thought I'd wave hello now. Happy memories of shortbread, chocolate teacakes and high fibre digestives.

Hello! Can't believe it's 16 years ago and my twins are now 22! Hope all is well with you and that the Cranks cookbook makes it off the shelf from time to time. thanks

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:20:34

sonnyandluca

Not sure if this is your area of responsibility but wouldn't it help with reducing food wastage if you went back to selling loose potatoes rather than in huge 1.5KG bags?

I don't want potatoes every night of the week but what choice do we have when you insist on selling by the sack load?

Thank you for the feedback, can you let me know which store you shop in as we do sell loose potatoes as well as a variety of bag sizes. It may well be that your local store doesn't have the whole selection.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:22:44

Kveta

ooh, I have a question about fromage frais (of all things!)

Sainsburys used to do a kids range of fromage frais which came in pots or pouches, and had no added sugar - so they were brilliant for weaning as well as for older kids, and only £1 for 6 pots, so not a rip off unlike some brands. then they stopped making them some time last year, and now have sugary fromage frais, with bits in it (we tried a jelly one, which was utterly grim) - why did you stop making the sugar free ones?! they were fantastic!

(and if I'm allowed a second question, where did you get the recipe for the butter bean and sour cream dip with chimchurri (?), it is INCREDIBLE, and I am scared you'll stop making it before I figure out the recipe!)

I'm not sure that is the level of question you'll be after, but I am a loyal Sainsburys shopper, and generally love the store, and the fromage frais issue has niggled me for a while. grin

Hello

Sorry to hear that we disappointed you when we stopped stocking those fromage frais desserts. It’s useful to know how you feel. We are looking at this range at the moment.

I am glad you love our butter bean dip. I love it too. No plans to stop selling it. I hope you are having fun working out the recipe. It is the Chimichurri topping that makes it for me!

Judith

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:24:09

gazzalw

Hi Judith

Up until about a few years ago Sainbury's used to do quite a wide-range of healthy children's snack options etc.... I haven't really noticed that these are available any more. Why? We used to love them as they appeared to have less sugar, salt and additives in them. Particularly liked the snacks such as the little bags of dried apple.

And a plea for salt-free crisp options too (without the blue sachet of salt) for children.

Also, I am sure you are also aware of this, but parents are constantly searching for nutritious new products particularly for lunch boxes. There are no end of options to buy in Sainsbury's but parents may find that these so-called lunch-box products do not fit the 'healthy eating' criteria imposed by many schools these days!

Thanks.

Hello

Yes having healthy children’s snacks and lunch options really helps cut down on the amount of fatty and sugary foods we give our children.

We are still selling our range of healthy children’s snack options. I am sorry you cannot find these in your store. Sainsbury’s does stock YU, Bear and Fruitbowl products so you could look out for these too.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:25:20

tak1ngchances

I just wanted to say a big thank you for carrying an excellent range of products or people with allergies/intolerances.
We are gluten & dairy free in this house and Sainsburys is definitely our supermarket of choice.

Thank you. It’s always lovely to hear that people are pleased with what we offer.

Mikk Tue 12-Mar-13 10:26:24

Intrigued by the New product development bit of your job description. How do you decide what products to develop and can we suggest some e.g. can you make a toddler pill - everything they need for the day in one easy to swallow sweetie so we can all just relax when they eat nothing but chocolate buttons for a week? Or a zero calorie <yet tasty> chocolate bar (for adults)? Can I have a job at Sainsbury's coming up with new products? how many new products do you come up with in a year?

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:27:13

LoganMummy

Will Sainsbury be introducing smart food labels that colour change as the food goes off? Seems a good idea to stop wastage.

We are always looking at ways to help our customers to waste less food. For example we've recently changed all of our freezing guidelines to say 'freeze up until use by date' instead of 'freeze on day of purchase'. We are also in the process of changing all our date-code labels to either 'best before' or 'use by' as we know customers were confused by 'display until' dates.

New technology such as smart labels gives us a real opportunity to move this on again and we're at the moment looking at how we can use these developments in areas such as cooked meats.

crocoldile Tue 12-Mar-13 10:28:18

Justgivemefiveminutes-you asked your question,and despite it being written very arsey you got an answer.why don't you wait for a reply instead of coming back with more snide comments.
If you felt that strongly why didn't you protest against it in the first place or contact sainsburys yourself instead of coming on here with your rude tone.

sonnyandluca Tue 12-Mar-13 10:29:36

It may have changed then since we last shopped there but it was the Urmston branch and the choice of loose potato was a generic 'white' potato or baked.

Maybe being a little picky but we used to have a choice of a few different types.

JudithBatchelar Tue 12-Mar-13 10:31:12

Thank you for spending part of your morning with me - I'll be coming back to the questions I was unable to answer in the hour. I hope my responses were helpful and informative. I've really enjoyed chatting with you all!

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 12-Mar-13 10:34:28

I'd literally only just moved to the town when the protests were underway hmm

If you think my comments were snidely or rude, frankly I don't care. I care about a community that's suffering and if you'd care to google the subject you'd see that I have a point hmm

crocoldile Tue 12-Mar-13 10:42:19

Maybe you don't care what others think but your whole tone and approach was rude.You may well be in the right with what you are saying,I dont know and I'm not interested to be honest.
How about having the courtesy to acknowledge the person rather than coming back with another snarky post?
You actually get further in life by being civil and not storming in on the defensive,if I was Judith I wouldn't have bothered replying to you.

openerofjars Tue 12-Mar-13 10:59:27

I don't know if I missed the boat here, but can you stock the full Alpro lactofree range in more stores? I can only get the butter in the big Archer Road store in Sheffield and I can't find the ice cream anywhere now. Thanks!

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 12-Mar-13 11:00:03

Haha. I've got myself a stalker.
Either you are the Marketing Director of Sainsburys or you are an actual mum who'll soon realise Mumsnet isn't the site for you.
As for rude and snide...pot and kettle.
Either way, have yourself a biscuit definitely not a Sainsburys one

crocoldile Tue 12-Mar-13 11:23:52

Lol,a stalker because I called you on your rudeness,oh please!
No I don't work for sainsburys,I don't even shop there!
Thanks for the biscuit btw,very predictable though

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Tue 12-Mar-13 11:45:57

This is where the conversation ends. I refuse to engage with anybody who uses the phrase 'I called you on...'

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 16:51:55

dreamingofsun

how do i ensure sausages are made of good quality meat and not just the poor quality pieces that you would never normally even consider buying?

The key thing to look for in sausages is the amount of meat and where it’s from. This should be declared as a percentage in the ingredients list. You should also check that the ingredients list only contains things you recognise.

In all our sausages we use wholesome meat that you could buy at a butcher.

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 16:54:57

Shakey1500

Agree with more ideas for lunchboxes.

My question is- what are your views on today's (07/03/13) news regarding processed meats and long term health risks? Pretty staggering statistics I thought.

Yes it's very interesting research. It's a reminder that we should eat all things in moderation.

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 16:57:28

ItsAllGoingToBeFine

What can you put into a food product without it appearing on the ingredients list at all?

UK labelling legislation that defines what needs to be included in an ingredients list is some of the most rigorous in the world; and new legislation which needs to be implemented by Dec 2014 will be even more thorough - including country of origin labelling.

Ingredients used in a product need to be listed on pack but there are a few anomalies for example 'natural foods' like yoghurt don’t need to declare the ingredients in the yoghurt itself only the added ingredients like strawberries,or sugar and wines currently don’t need to carry an ingredients list although the EU is looking at this.

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:00:37

ClaraOswinOswald

What are Sainsbury's doing to help combat the huge food waste issue we have in the UK? When so much fruit and veg doesn't even reach the shelves it makes me think the consumer is not the only one wasting vast quantities of food.

I'd be happy to buy wonky cucumbers, carrots etc. knowing I was cutting down on waste.

I agree that cutting down on waste needs to be a priority. None of Sainsbury's food waste goes to landfill. Instead we donate any surplus food to charities and any waste not fit for consumption, goes to anaerobic digestion to generate renewable energy.

We have responded to one of the worst growing seasons farmers have experienced in decades by changing our approach to 'ugly' fruit and vegetables allowing food that would previously have been wasted to be sold.

You might find these websites interesting:

www.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/meal-planning/makeyourroastgofurther/

www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:01:53

tuffie

Why do Sainsbury's still source so many products from outside the UK ?
Surely it is in Sainsbury's interests to support UK farmers and manufacturers as in the long run this will strengthen the UK economy which will in turn mean people have more money to buy more products from them.
Surely it is in Sainsbury's long term interest to help create a strong UK economy ?

I agree that we should support British farmers and growers. We already buy a lot of British food and have ambitious plans to double the amount of British food we sell by 2020.

I gave more detail about our work with British farmers in my earlier answer to Jcee. I hope you saw that.

There is more information on our website –

www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/responsibility/20x20/best-for-british/

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:03:46

ClaraOswinOswald

What are Sainsbury's doing to help combat the huge food waste issue we have in the UK? When so much fruit and veg doesn't even reach the shelves it makes me think the consumer is not the only one wasting vast quantities of food.

I'd be happy to buy wonky cucumbers, carrots etc. knowing I was cutting down on waste.

I agree that cutting down on waste needs to be a priority. None of Sainsbury's food waste goes to landfill. Instead we donate any surplus food to charities and any waste not fit for consumption, goes to anaerobic digestion to generate renewable energy.

We have responded to one of the worst growing seasons farmers have experienced in decades by changing our approach to 'ugly' fruit and vegetables allowing food that would previously have been wasted to be sold.

You might find these websites interesting:

www.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/meal-planning/makeyourroastgofurther/

www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:04:32

SingSongMummy

I'm with Kveta and mrscog on the sugar free fromage frais question. We used to buy these every week as did most of my local mum friends and we've all been wondering why they were removed and replaced with a sugary version!

Thanks for letting me know. I hope you saw my answer to Kveta – we are looking at this range.

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:05:55

redwellybluewelly

Two questions

We buy oatley calcium enriched for our dairy and soy allergic daughter, however she doesn't always drink the large carton without it going off. I'd love to have packs of two or three smaller cartons available, could you talk to the supplier? I know this is possible with rice milk but we can't give her that as she is too young.

Please could you stock dairy/soy free pea protein yogurts.

Why can't foods have the distance they have travelled shown on the label somehow? With many fresh foods it would be nice to know how far they have travelled from a carbon footprint perspective.

As someone said up thread have sainsburys just been lucky re the horsemeat scandal?

And lastly, offering money off or saving vouchers for two weeks not a week would persuade me to shop at sainsburys more, lost count of how many times I've missed money off by a day. Or give the option of extra points on nectar card rather than "heres 23p off your shop next time" - tjis annoys me.

Thanks for suggesting smaller packets of oatley calcium. We have talked to our supplier about this. At the moment they don’t have the right equipment to produce smaller packets but never say never.

We are always looking at new ways of giving information about our products. It's a balance between giving information people want and not putting so much information on the packaging that you cannot find what you want.

Sorry to hear you have missed out on saving some money. Our Brand Match vouchers are valid for two weeks.

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:07:46

SwearyBear

I feel misled on a number of food issues - particularly the origin of products. It concerns me that conditions, welfare and feed might be sub-standard. especially when middlemen are involved. E.g. chickens from Malaysia and Brazil which become legally British following de-skinning at a British depot after shipping. Sold with Union Jack branding.

I am wondering if you can provide a percentage of meat sold by Sainsbury's that is born, raised and slaughtered in the UK - not just able to say its British because it underwent some form of processing in the UK (after import).

I think this issue requires some leadership that Sainsbury's could bring.

We always source products to the same high standards whether they are produced in the UK, or abroad.

The British meat in our products comes from animals born and bred in the UK and btw the same is true of our cheddar cheese which is made from British milk from British cows.

All of our fresh chicken has been British for over ten years and all of our frozen chicken has been British for over six years. All of the chicken in our fresh ready meals, pies, sandwiches, quiches and soups is also 100% British and we have begun using British chicken in our frozen chicken ready meals. We don't source chicken from Malaysia or Brazil.

We are proud to have led the way on country of origin labelling and it's great that EU legislation will also now be making requirements on country of origin labelling.

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:09:01

Furball

I'm glad to see Sainsburys have switched to British chicken in all it's ready meals - fresh and frozen.

I was always put off buying it when it was labelled

This chicken is from either Brazil or Holland

or sometimes

This chicken is from either Thailand or the EU

It wasn't appealing in the slightest

and doubling the amount of british food you sell is also a big tick from me. smile

Hello Furball

I am glad our plans to source more British food please you. All of our whole frozen and fresh chicken has been British for over six years. It's true that all the chicken in our fresh ready meals is also 100% British but we aren't there yet on frozen chicken ready meals and haven't claimed to be. We are working on it though!

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:10:36

Nikced

ItsAllGoingToBeFine good question, I'd like to know too. Also SwearyBear.

With Chickens/eggs I know to buy organic/free range. Is there something that does the same for pork/beef etc? We are all veggies except Ds who does like bacon, I always get bacon that says 'from British/UK pigs, produced/processed in Britain/UK. Does this mean animal welfare has been ok?

Yy with the voucher thing, I didn't realise your 'saving money' vouchers had a 'use by' date! I had a few saved up and they were all out of date, really wasn't happy! Might as well go to the shop that was cheaper at the time rather than not have a saving. Short dates not clear in your adverts or by your staff - until the one that scoffed at me when the vouchers didn't work!-

When our bacon isn't British from British pigs we say so on the front of the packet. We only buy Danish bacon from Danish pigs raised to the same standards as British pigs.

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:11:25

Merguez

My local Sainsbury's is a medium-size store in a rural town. Why did you stop selling organic whole chickens there?

And why is the only organic milk available in plastic bottles, I prefer a tetrapak?

Why do you sell organic sausages and bacon but not organic ham?

Could you let me know which store you shop at and I will come back to you?

JudithBatchelar Wed 13-Mar-13 17:13:51

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes

Hello Judith. I've no doubt whatsoever that you'll ignore this post or at the very least claim that the issue I'm raising is not your area or similar, but I'm going to make my point anyway.

Some time ago I moved to a great town. In the heart of the town centre is a Sainsbury's. It is small and scruffy and the intention of Sainsburys was to expoand the store. Sainsburys set about buying up properties within the town centre with the intention of knocking them down eventually and building a superstore. However, the local people objected on the basis that the store would be too big at which point (and I say this as an observer, not somebody who was ever directly involved with the protest) Sainsbury's threw their toys out of the pram and have basically let the town cetntre rot. The place is like a ghost town and it's an absolute disgrace. No doubt it will serve as a warning to any other twon which dares to object to Sainsbury's. What your company has done is disgustig and it shows the contempt supermarkets such as yours have for local comminities.

I will not shop at Sainsbury's because of their behaviour. Good luck with your lovely touchy, feely webchat but everybody should be aware that Sainsbury's have been happy to see an entire community rot because that's what suits them.

We had genuine intentions to redevelop our store and regenerate the surrounding area back and were disappointed not to be able to secure the opportunity to do this.

We take our responsibilities as a landlord very seriously and in Crosby Village our colleagues actively maintain a working relationship with our tenants. It is not in our interests to leave units vacant and we promote the letting of empty units.

We have plans for some amendments in the near future to the store's entrance lobby, ATM and some equipment on the store's roof, for which a planning application has been submitted. We hope that these changes, although minor, will improve the shopping experience for our customers and make the best of our existing store.

Finally, as part of our commitment to support the communities where we have stores all of our stores and depots take part in our Local Charity of the Year scheme. Last year colleagues volunteered more than 7,000 days and Sainsbury’s raised £28 million for good causes with the funds helping over 1,000 local and national charities and community groups.

KateSMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 13-Mar-13 17:22:21

We now have some more answers from Judith which we're about to post up on the thread. We'll be posting up her final answers tomorrow

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Fri 15-Mar-13 12:03:01

Judith. Thank you for your reply. My fear is that the very minor measures you have outlined witll not be enough to sort of the problems in the town. I think a lot of people within the community agree with me

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