Rebecca Armstrong: Supermarket snacks: be careful what you wish for

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The Independent Online

When i was just a twinkle in its creator's eye, its sister paper The Independent moved offices from east London to west. Staff left behind a windswept waterfront and a long walk to buy lunch in favour of shops! Cafes! Restaurants! Marks & Spencer! All seconds away, which is great, although our wallets now take regular thrashings. But no one's ever content, right? So there is the occasional gentle whinge about what isn't perfect: mainly that the nearest branches of two old favourites, sandwich bar Eat and sushi chain Itsu, are too far away. (Oh, and that our diamond shoes are too tight).

Now, though, there's nothing to be horribly ungrateful for, as from next month, Itsu is launching its products in Sainsbury's Locals and Waitroses (Waitri?) across the country. We'll all be able to crunch through dark-chocolate rice cakes, wasabi peas and yoghurt-covered edamame beans (well, I won't be going anywhere near the latter – they sound like the snack of the devil). While the chain's sushi and salads have yet to be part of this supermarket sweep, here's hoping the fish follows swiftly on the evil edamame's heels.

However, I do wonder if a little bit of the fun (as well as the moaning) will be taken out of office life now we can get our undeserving mitts on what we want, when we want it. It was the same when Pizza Express started selling its salad dressing in bottles. One of the main draws of Pizza Express pre-bottled dressing, was the salads, with their tasty sauce. I used to ask for an extra pot on the side, like the greed bucket I am. When it went on sale in my local supermarket I gorged on it – one bottle would barely last two salads. Then it rolled out its dough balls in chiller-cabinet form. I came, I gorged, I sickened. Now the dressing and the doughballs hold no mystery for me. I don't visit Pizza Express with the ardour I once did. I know I can get its best bits anytime I want, and the magic's gone. Obviously, for folk who don't go as hell for leather with their ersatz Italian foodstuffs as I do, being able to enjoy them cheaply at home rather than in a restuarant is probably a boon. I've simply ruined it for myself.

It's a case of be careful what you wish for. Having access to what you fancy to eat, whenever you want to it is an amazing luxury, but it's one that I can't always be trusted with. Neither can most people, if our soaraway obesity rates (one in four British women are obese) are anything to go by. So while Itsu's snacks are pretty healthy, I'm going to try to treat them as treats so I don't spoil something else I enjoy. Because that would be something to whinge about.