The supermarket Waitrose has played a blinder. It has announced that it is to ban the sale of high caffeine energy drinks to children under the age of 16. Why? Because, in their own words, they are a ‘responsible retailer’ just ‘being proactive’.
Genius. They have managed to gain masses of media exposure, and universal approval, by doing absolutely nothing. Because since when did kids queue up in Waitrose to buy their caffeine-sugar fix? According to statistics (mine), on average just one child a week goes to a Waitrose store to purchase a can of Red Bull, or something of that ilk. And even then, usually by mistake, having wandered straight past the Pound Shop.
That one child probably has rotten teeth, too. Children in England and Wales are consuming so much sugar that they are having their teeth removed on a scale never seen before. Every day, 170 children undergo multiple teeth extraction under general anaesthetic. According to NHS statistics, 42,911 children under 18 had teeth removed in 2016-17. The British Dental Association slammed these stats as a “badge of dishonour” for government ministers who are supposed to do something about the situation. In the meantime, canny (geddit?) fans of Irn Bru are stockpiling their favourite Scottish soft fizz, before the tax on sugary soft drinks comes into effect in April. And of course the Waitrose ban.
You have to worry about the future of kids. Those same children with their rotten teeth will probably grow up to be the first to sample the wildly euphemistic ‘clean meat’, currently being grown in labs and funded by venture capitalists. An Israeli company called SuperMeat has created lab-grown “clean” chicken. This grotesque concoction is driven by a commitment to investing in more sustainable food systems, SuperMeat said, without a trace of irony. How does it work? Chicken cells are cultured in a petri dish in a lab so that they multiply and eventually form themselves into little drumsticks and nuggets. The philanthropic venture capitalists behind this scheme say that this will improve your health no end, and no animal will have to suffer. Plus the environment will thank you for it. Brace yourselves: the future’s orange.
Meanwhile, Marks and Spencer have had to ditch their own, less scientific, version of fake meat. Their now infamous ‘cauliflower steak’ has been removed from store shelves. It wasn’t one of their brightest ideas. For two quid, you got two slices of cauliflower drizzled with oil and wrapped in plastic. It was vegan, so totally on trend. Twitter trend, as it turned out: the wags had a field day with this one. When is a steak not a steak? Even vegans weren’t going to have the wool pulled over their eyes with this blatant scam. AYCE is not aware how many venture capitalists invested in this opportunity before it got laughed out of town.
No wonder then that some people are turning their backs on the madness of modernity and embracing their inner wild child. Those of you with your finger on the fashion pulse are already au fait with the latest trend: raw water. Why bother with all that high-tech equipment and vast sums of investment money when all you have to do is hold a bottle to a stream before selling it at a premium. It’s an American West Coast thing, obvs. It’s sold as a “ high-dollar commodity” to the mugs in the “water conscious movement”, who sound like they need to wise up if they want to survive in this world. Drinking raw water is like participating in an extreme sport. There is no guarantee of survival. In an ideal world, of course, we’d all be drinking raw water from babbling brooks, and communing with the earth sprites while we’re about it. But millions of us live together in densely packed mega-cities that favour the spread of disease, and what better medium for a deadly contagion than untreated water. Thankfully, at $27 a glass, it’s unlikely that the madness will spread too far.
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