Leading article: Poultry sum

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That a south London butcher is selling chickens at £30 apiece will shock, and even appal, many people. The foodie tendency gone mad, they will say. An offence to anyone outside of the super-rich.

By normal standards, £30 is indeed a lot to pay for a staple of the Sunday lunch table. But "normal standards" are the problem. In the 1950s, food accounted for 33 per cent of the weekly expenditure of British households. That figure is now 15 per cent. We expect cheap food like we expect cheap T-shirts.

A couple of years ago, the "real-food" campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall highlighted the wrongness of a supermarket chicken that costs £2.99, with all that this price means for the quality of the product and the quality of the life the bird has endured. But the urge to scrimp on food purchases persists

A reordering of priorities is required. If we truly care about the taste and nutritional value of what we eat, not to mention standards of animal welfare, we must accept that these things come at a price. Not necessarily as high as £30 for a chicken, but a great deal more than £2.99.

We should not live to eat, but nor should we just eat to live, and if paying more helps us to appreciate just how good a roast chicken can be, then so be it.

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