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Whatever happened to the treat? April 14, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This is quite a shift in food consumption patterns. But I’ve noted this in the last five to ten years in particular:

Families in Ireland spend significantly more on junk food than on fruit and vegetables a damning new report into family shopping habits has revealed.
The report, jointly published by Safefood, the HSE and Healthy Ireland, warns the empty calories found in processed food are leading to dangerously high levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
It indicates that 19 per cent of the average weekly food shop goes on highly processed “treat” foods like crisps, chocolates and sweets.

And this too…

“These foods which are full of empty calories are now a staple in our weekly shop,” said Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, director of human health and nutrition at Safefood.
“We accept them as the norm in our children’s daily diet and they are not seen as a real treat any more.”

The health implications are disastrous for many. The nature of expectations and so on likewise. No one is immune. I’ve mentioned before that while I’m not overly fond of chocolate and eat that rarely, and similarly with cakes, I do like crisps, though almost always now I’ll only eat low-fat or baked ones.

But there’s a deeper thought that Dr. Foley-Nolan references.

The idea of the ‘treat’, that is the food that is only rarely consumed – perhaps once a month or so, appears to have vanished for many many people. And that I think is a pity, because it undermines the very concept – something that is enjoyed not because it is there all the time but because it is rarely there.

There’s a similar dynamic around Easter eggs and so on. I’m astounded by the number of eggs children receive. Far too many for personal consumption over a day or two. But this is also about capitalism, consumption, production. Take a look around any supermarket and assess just how large the space afforded for sweets and chocolate and crisps these days.

In a way, and we see this across our society – the concept of treats, that which has value because it is infrequent, is sidelined by ‘services’. Want to see a film, a tv show, listen to a song, whatever, it’s almost all there with relatively little effort. But also, potentially, devaluing that which is there. And there’s the contradiction in terms of what is promoted – those endless mobile adverts where the unique and ephemeral (or the increasingly banal and frequent, if one is being sceptical) is reified in terms of taking photographs or simply being at gigs or at events.


1. dublinstreams - April 14, 2018

I always wonder if Leo and co think that work is defining purpose in life have we not reached at point where all this consumption is getting the way of people being healthy enough to work productively and they might need to regulate junk food.


2. CL - April 14, 2018

‘“The sugar-sweetened drinks tax is designed to help tackle growing levels of obesity,”

“From 6 April, the UK’s tax on sugary drinks will see shoppers asked to pay 18p or 24p more a litre, depending on just how much has been added to their drinks….
This is happening because sugar and alcohol are associated with problems that impose a substantial cost on society.”

“Low-income adults consume twice the percentage of their daily calories from sugar drinks compared to higher-income individuals (8.8 versus 4.4 percent,respectively).”


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