Letter: Those salad days of wilted lettuce

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a director of a company that has supplied prepared salads to retailers since the 1970s, I was staggered by Bryan Appleyard's cynical and patronising article 'Not by overpriced salad alone' (15 March). Far from being 'overpriced' and a 'culinary debauch', they, and other prepared foods, offer consumers quality and choice that simply did not exist before the development of the multiple-food retailer. Mr Appleyard may be nostalgic for the cute High Street greengrocer of his youth, but most of us remember how we were offered, Eastern European-style, a choice of one type of lettuce, usually slightly wilted.

Mr Appleyard complains that we have become richer and lazier. What he omits to mention is that more and more women go to work these days. Perhaps he thinks that once home, they should slave for hours in the kitchen, preparing homemade salmon en croute, after making their contribution to the cost of the family mortgage.

His description of the behaviour of the food retailers is simply incorrect. Most do not wait three months to pay their suppliers, and it is simply ridiculous to claim that they 'plunder their (suppliers') innovations for the benefit of their own brand labels'.

For all their faults and mistakes, the much-maligned superstores have made a major contribution to the improvement of food in Britain over the last three decades, whatever the merits or otherwise of Tesco's chicken kiev.

Yours faithfully,

HENRY TINSLEY

West Deeping, Lincolnshire

15 March

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