When I buy food that is wrapped in plastic in the supermarket I have been in the past known to carefully check the back for the small print and by that I mean is to find out what the heck is in the bag. If the ingredients have long names I tend to avoid them, this usually means additives that I’d rather not have them in my body. I then look at the calories and see if there is an alternative choice between what I am holding and what else is on the shelf. Of course I check the price too. Lately I don’t bother. It’s not because I don’t care any more it’s because I tend to buy the same things. I definitely need to change my menu.
I have the app Chemical Maze that I use when shopping for a new item. It lets me know what certain ingredients really are. Whether they are good, okay or bad for my health. There are so many imported foods where the regulations are different and what is acceptable in one country is not in another. Small print often states made from local and imported ingredients which is not helpful at all. It might just as well write made from ingredients from Earth. It doesn’t help in anyway. Do they think we are that stupid? I think they do. Do they think they are being clever? I do. I do not agree with it at all.
Health Star Food Labelling Systems
A new voluntary health star food labelling system is going to be rolled out in New Zealand along the same system as Australia. A health star rating will be written on packaging. Note the word voluntary though. With the health star rating it will state how healthy a product is clearly. (Appliances have an energy rating system and the food rating looks similar.) I imagine that healthy food will display it proudly and unhealthy food will chose not to be involved. This I suppose is a clear way to navigate the supermarket aisles. The customer is not stupid. We know that eating an apple is better for us than eating a bag of chips. We really do know that. We make poor choices that is all. The fewer the poor choices the healthier we eat.
Citywide Food Hygiene Grading Systems
Auckland citywide has the excellent grade system for food hygiene here. This covers butchers, fish shops, delicatessens, bakeries, restaurants, fast food stores, anywhere that food is handled. This is supposed to be displayed in a easily viewed location, preferably in the front window. This is not always the case. You are entitled to ask what a premise’s rating is. Cleanliness in the food service industry should be the first condition for good food. Again this is not always the case. I commend Auckland and Dunedin cities for having the rating system. I wish other cities in New Zealand would do the same.
Dunedin’s food hygiene rating search is here.
When you go to a cafe or restaurant they don’t have to write on the menu where their ingredients come from. Some proudly display where fresh produce come from. In season is the best. That is the only way people ate before refrigeration and low cost airline freight. They don’t have to tell you what ingredients are in the food either. Unless its a peanut, egg or other food allergy then really they don’t have to state. So all that careful checking at the supermarket for your health goes out the window when you step into a food court, cafe or restaurant. Nuts, isn’t it. Excuse the pun. You can always ask the waiter/waitress and they will ask the chef if they don’t know. Sometimes it’s up to us to hint to the owner that we would like to know the answers to these questions. The more people that ask, the better. Dining in or out is supposed to be a fun experience. If we learn something, it’s a bonus. We do have to eat daily and if we can enjoy mixing up the flavours all the better.
One more point to add and that is the Entertainment Book. For those of you unfamiliar with this book/app it is a grouping of dining and other entertainment establishments that give a discount to you for dining or using their services. The purchase of the annual Entertainment book/app runs from June each year. With each purchase of the book/app a portion goes to a charity. The book/app is city specific and can be found in Australia and New Zealand. The app is out just this year so you don’t have to clip a coupon you can just redeem electronically. Got to love technology! The thing I like about this book/app is that it suggests trying a new dining location, it allows you to eat where you might not normally and it helps you to get to know your city better. I would recommend this to anyone who is new to a city an expat returning, a local or even if you are on holiday with your family. The savings are definitely worth it. It covers fine dining to fast food, movies to accommodation and much more.
*I do not receive any reward for mentioning Chemical Maze nor do I work for the Auckland or Dunedin councils the Ministry of Primary industries, or the Entertainment Book.