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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!


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


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?

tak1ngchances Thu 07-Mar-13 21:32:05

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.

tak1ngchances Thu 07-Mar-13 21:32:29

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

worldgonecrazy Fri 08-Mar-13 09:17:07

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 ?

SingSongMummy Fri 08-Mar-13 23:15:38

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!


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.

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