Diggings 21 May 2020: COVID – 19 roundup 4#

Another week of writings about the future of dining. But for me the story that stands out is the lead article on migrant workers in Australia. I also was very taken with the article on India’s Mother Earth cafes growing and serving up Indigenous crops and the possibility of plastics made from plants that will revolutionise drink bottles.

We feed you

We feed you – stories from four migrant workers – you know, the one’s on visas who got nothing whatsoever from the Federal income support during COV-19, the ones who do the work that Morrison’s quiet Australians won’t do, yes, the ones without whom our fresh veg and fruit, our meat, does not get to our tables. The Federal government passed the Modern Slavery Act in 2018 – it’s done bugger all for these workers.


Prince Charles urges locals to pick crops ‘for Britain’

Prince Charles is urging the public to join a national effort to help farmers bring in the harvest, comparing the need to pick fruit and vegetables with World War II-era programs that fed the nation.

The heir to the British throne offered his support to a government initiative to bring UK workers and farmers together to ensure crops are not left to rot in the fields. Until now, Britain has been almost entirely dependent on foreign workers, largely from Romania and Bulgaria, to pick its fruit and vegetables.


Is this the end of the 7.30pm reservation?

Anyone wedded to the standard Aussie restaurant reservation of 7.30pm, and then all night to slowly make your way through three courses and a few drinks, may need to rethink the way they dine out. Most restaurants are juggling the 10-person limit by aiming for multiple nightly seatings in an effort to compensate for the drop in numbers.


Many restaurants won’t make it through Covid-19. Those that do should reinvent the industry

Without exploiting employees or folding your business, I think the solution is that we all have to be realistic about what is achievable in our venues, and forget about the pressures of online reviews and ratings systems. I’ve already attached all of our restaurant awards to the ankles of the influencers that have haunted my business and tossed them overboard – they have only served as dead weights in this sea of uncertainty. The fear of negative online ratings, guide scores and reviews leads to unnecessary overstaffing, and in turn less profit.


Deliveroo data reveals Australia’s lockdown eating habits


  • Fish and chips has seen a 597% increase in orders, solidifying the British classic as the nation’s dish of choice during lockdown
  • Ice cream orders have risen by 139%, with Aussies ordering sweet treats now more than ever
  • Australian’s are ordering dinner earlier than before. Orders have shifted from 7:06 pm to 6:23 pm


Here’s how to stay safe while buying groceries amid the coronavirus pandemic

No, you do not need to sanitize your food when you get home, and trying to do so can actually be dangerous. Chemicals and soaps are not labeled for use on food. This means we do not know if they are safe or even effective when directly applied to food.


Millions of US farm animals to be culled by suffocation, drowning and shooting

More than 10 million hens are estimated to have been culled due to Covid-19 elated slaughterhouse shutdowns. The majority will have been smothered by a water-based foam, similar to fire-fighting foam, a method that animal welfare groups are calling “inhumane”. The pork industry has warned that more than 10 million pigs could be culled by September for the same reason. The techniques used to cull pigs include gassing, shooting, anaesthetic overdose, or “blunt force trauma”.


India’s Mother Earth Cafés Shine a Spotlight on Indigenous Crops

In her café, Mujai chops up jailer, a foraged leafy vegetable she will cook with dried fish and yam stems; scoops jama, a dish made with sweet potato and fermented fish, and stirs wangpanai bad dohnud sniang, a warm stew of mushrooms and pork liver. The Khasi palate leans towards sour, sweet, and bitter tastes, punctuated by nutty rice, rich meat, and the pungent dried fish that accentuates most dishes. “It’s never boring,” Mujai says. “I always think of new ways to use what we have.” Behind her stovetop, her door opens to the garden, where she grows mustard leaves, bitter brinjal, or eggplant, tree tomatoes, and chilies. She also rears her own chickens and pigs, and keeps a shed where she grows mushrooms to sell on the side.


Supermarkets claim to have our health at heart. But their marketing tactics push junk foods

 Supermarkets like to portray themselves as having the health of the community at heart. And in the middle of a pandemic, we’re all grateful supermarkets are still open and, for the most part, the shelves are well stocked. But our new report, published today, finds our supermarkets are overwhelmingly pushing junk foods on us rather than healthy foods. They have more promotional displays and more special offers for the least healthy food options, and they tempt us to buy unhealthy products at checkouts.


Crunchtime for peanut butter as battle heads to High Court

The Full Court of the Federal Court recently upheld a trial judgement from last year that confirmed Bega’s right to use the well-known trade dress on its peanut butter products. But Bega told the ASX on Wednesday Kraft Heinz, a well-known maker of the popular product, had signalled its plan to challenge this decision.


The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year

The plans, devised by renewable chemicals company Avantium, have already won the support of beer-maker Carlsberg, which hopes to sell its pilsner in a cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic.



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