Politically correct food on the menu in Britain

From foie gras produced without making birds suffer to "sustainable" fish, British retailers and restaurants are fast embracing politically correct food, helped by celebrity-fuelled pressure.

Faux (false) gras is the ethical answer to the foodstuff which has been the bane of campaigners for decades for the way it's produced: force-feeding ducks or geese to create engorged livers that yield the creamy pate.

Waitrose, House of Fraser and Tesco are among a growing number of major British retailers who are now refusing to stock real foie gras after protest campaigns.

Even Selfridges, one of the main attractions for discerning shoppers on London's Oxford Street, decided in November to take foie gras off its shelves after a protest fronted by former James Bond actor Roger Moore.

"It's torture in a tin," said Moore, who appeared on pre-Christmas posters urging Selfridges to halt its sale, stating: "Force-feeding birds is not Yule, it's cruel."

The foie gras ban has even gained the royal seal of approval after Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, ordered it off menus for royal functions.

Waitrose developed the faux gras version - produced without force-feeding the birds - and calls it an "ethical alternative to traditional foie gras".

A darker colour than the real thing, faux gras is made from about 50 percent liver from free-range poultry blended with goose or duck fat.

Two years after its launch, Waitrose customers appear to be increasingly happy to substitute faux gras for the real thing at Christmas and New Year.

"Faux gras is still one of our most popular festive foods," said a Waitrose spokeswoman, who added that sales of the new product surged by almost 60 percent in 2009.

Such is the popularity of the new, more "ethical" version of the product that lawmakers have backed a motion calling for restaurants to adopt the new version and ditch the real foie gras.

"It is only a matter of time before foie gras is relegated to the history books where it belongs," said Sam Glover of lobby group PETA (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

While the day that five-star establishments abandon such foods seems some way off, restaurants in England do seem to be turning towards "green" alternatives.

Acorn House, in the King's Cross district of London, claims to be the "first truly eco-friendly" restaurant in the capital.

The duck it serves comes from birds raised in a "positive" way, without cages and without antibiotics added to their food; its food deliveries are made in vehicles using biofuel, 80 percent of its waste is recycled and its roof is a herb garden.

"Acorn House is set to alter the image of the restaurant industry as well as transform the way in which people eat out," is the bold claim of its co-founder Arthus Potts.

While most restaurants are not adopting such a radical approach, many are trying to adopt a more ethical approach to their food.

French celebrity chef Raymond Blanc, the holder of two Michelin stars at his renowned restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons near Oxford, has embraced a campaign to use fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

This label guarantees that the fish has been obtained from sustainable stocks.

"By supporting MSC, I am ensuring that, as a chef, I am helping to ensure that fish stocks will be replenished for generations to come," said Blanc, a well-known face in his adopted country thanks to regular TV appearances.

There are 14 MSC-certified restaurants in Britain and although the number remains relatively low, the non-profit organisation argues that its campaign is putting pressure on other restaurants to change their ways.

The main target of the protesters is Nobu, the global chain of chic Japanese restaurants which have the financial backing of Hollywood star Robert De Niro and a strong following among the rich and famous.

Nobu's Michelin-starred London branch is refusing to remove bluefin tuna, an endangered species, from its menu.

Supermodel Elle Macpherson, actress Sienna Miller and comedian Stephen Fry all added their names to a petition protesting against the restaurant's use of the endangered fish.

The restaurant responded by adding an asterisk next to the dish on its menu, directing diners to a footnote saying: "Bluefin tuna is an environmentally threatened species. Please ask your server for an alternative."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: MI Developer

    £35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...

    Recruitment Genius: Fitness Manager

    £20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Manager

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...

    Recruitment Genius: Learning Team Administrator

    £17500 - £20500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for a great te...

    Day In a Page

    Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

    Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
    General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

    All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

    The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
    How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

    How Etsy became a crafty little earner

    The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
    Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

    King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

    Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

    The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
    Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

    Don't fear the artichoke

    Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
    11 best men's socks

    11 best men's socks

    Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
    Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

    Paul Scholes column

    Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
    Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
    London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

    Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

    Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

    Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
    Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

    Khorasan is back in Syria

    America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
    General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

    On the campaign trail with Ukip

    Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
    Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

    Expect a rush on men's tights

    Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
    Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

    In the driving seat: Peter Kay

    Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road