Look at retailers not producers

August 3, 2011

Federated Farmers and Fonterra are both pleased that the Commerce Commission has decided it has no basis for a price control inquiry into milk.

However, it’s not ruling out a further inquiry  into how Fonterra sets the price it pays farmers and what it charges other processors.

Sue Chetwin from Consumer is calling for a milk commissioner and  Labour and Green MPs want the Commerce select committee to launch another inquiry.

If they’re doing that, should look at the whole supply chain.

The Commerce Commission report said there was enough retail competition between  two major supermarket chains, dairies, service stations and other retailers.

I’m not so sure about that. Almost everything is more expensive at dairies, service stations and other small retailers. Those are the places you go for emergency supplies, not normal grocery shopping.

That leaves the supermarket duopoly.

It is difficult comparing prices here with those overseas because of the exchange rate and different taxes, but our observation at restaurants and supermarket during our recent trip to the USA and Canada was that food there seemed to be cheaper than it is here.

Some prices in a Walmart in Canada were: beef mince $9.50/kg; T bone $16.22; sirloin $11.10; stir fry $15.06; roast beef $12.06; bacon $10.44; pork tenderloin $10.96; pork chops $8.80.

I don’t have local comparison for these, but a  New Zealand boneless leg  lamb was selling for $14.92/kg  at Walmart, I saw it priced at $29.99/kg at a New World  here yesterday.

A frozen leg of New Zealand lamb was $13.62/kg.

It looked good but beside it were Walmart’s own brand of frozen loin chops selling for $20/kg. The bag was full of ice and had they been a tenth the price we might have contemplated buying them for dog meat.

Eggs were $2.98/dozen; skim milk cost $1.38/litre, full cream milk was $2.77/litre..

Cheddar cheese cost $13.43/kg which, taking the exchange rate into account, wouldn’t be much different form here.

The only thing that was far more expensive – and to our admittedly biased taste buds, not nearly as nice – was ice cream. A small cone cost $5.

Prices recorded at one supermarket and the gut reaction from purchases at other supermarkets and restaurants aren’t much to build a case on.

But our overwhelming impression was that food was cheaper and we wondered how much that had to do with greater competition between supermarkets there in contrast to the duopoly which operates here.

If there’s to be an investigation into food prices it needs to be a thorough one which includes retailers not just producers and processors.


Lines from Larkin and Nabokov

September 8, 2010

This week’s Tuesday’s Poem post is: The Poet as absent-minded neuroscientist: The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin & Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov.

The commentary by Auckland-based novelist, poet and playwright Zireaux,  who chose the excerpts for this week’s post, is illuminating.

As always there are other poems to be found by following the links in the side bar.

Among them:

I was moved by Story Teller Vine, Rega by Melissa Shook.

Helen Lowe’s Outback expressed what we saw on a recent visit to Australia’s Top End.

Ode to Tomatoes by Pablo Neruda (translated by Margaret Sayers Peden) is a mouth watering offering from Belinda Hollyer. You can read it in Spanish here.

Sarah at The Red Room chose another of Neruda’s poems – September 8th (in Spanish here).

My Grandmother’s Love Letters by Hart Crane was Elizabeth Welsh’s choice.

Clare Beynon celebrates Eggs.

Mary McCallum manages to mix and make sense of a breast scan, a mouse trap and an earthquake in Victory.

Harvey McQueen sings  A Song Of Spring.

 Tim Jones walks Down George Street In The Rain.

While on poetry – Beattie’s Book Blog has September Quake by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman.


Sure as eggs it’s good news for chook farmers – Updated

February 12, 2009

 Brtitish researchers have good news  for poultry farmers:

A paper to be published soon in the British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin has found that cholesterol in eggs has only a small and clinically insignificant effect on blood cholesterol. While people with high blood cholesterol are at increased risk of heart disease, only a third of the cholesterol in the body is attributed to diet.

 

Other factors linked to high cholesterol levels are smoking, being overweight and lack of exercise, and the main culprit from food is saturated fat, not cholesterol found in eggs.

. . .  The study concludes that health chiefs and GPs should demolish the myths about eggs and heart disease and communicate a message that there is no need to limit the number eaten as long as they are part of a healthy low saturated fat diet.

A pity that rules out mixing them with cream and cheese in a quiche to help the dairy industry too.

UPDATE: Macdoctor has an eggcellent post  on this, I especially like his rules of data interpretation.


Melamine in Chinese eggs

October 27, 2008

Excessive levels of melamine have been found in eggs from China for sale in Hong Kong.

It is thought the melamine comes from feed given to the hens.


%d bloggers like this: