Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Would you, should you eat a budget sausage?

Given that it’s British Sausage Week and Bonfire Night tonight you’d expect a few offers on sausages this week but few can be as cheap as the 88p that Tesco is charging for its discount brand Tulip.

Curious to see what you get for an 11p sausage I bought a pack of eight. According to the ingredients just 56% of the sausage is pork (compared to about 70-80% for mid-range sausages and 85% plus for premium ranges). The rest is accounted for by pork rind, and pork fat, water and rusk together with a whole load of additives including stablisers which are presumably needed to keep the whole soggy mixture together.

There’s a fair amount of salt (1.2g per 100g) plus a surprising amount of sugar (4.2g per 100g)which presumably accounted for the fact they browned so easily (see picture). Two sausages alone would account for over a third of the recommended 3g daily salt intake for a 4-6 year old.

When I fried them an alarming amount of fat also leached out of them - I spooned off about 7 tablespoons, but it has to be said the flavour wasn’t at all bad. They were a bit pappy and soft but I’ve eaten a lot worse in my time. You can see why they would appeal to a family on a really tight budget (not to mention the students who patronise that particular Tesco store).

I don’t know whether to feel pleased or sorry that they are not made from British pork but ‘EU’ pork which could come from anywhere from Holland to Romania. I doubt if British farmers could afford to do them for that price but given the financial plight they’re in I’m sorry that Tesco is willing to undercut them in this way. I'm pretty sure the 11p sausage doesn’t pay for fair wages or high standards of animal welfare.

6 comments:

notSupermum said...

No, I draw the line at economy sausage I'm afraid. I prefer to go sausageless if I can't afford a decent quality. If possible I buy Germany sausages as they have to have 90% meat by law, so no rubbish added.

Fiona Beckett said...

And bratwurst are delicious . . .

Greenlady said...

Most of the time, I would go with the " If I can't get a decent sausage I would rather eat a veggie sausage than a budget banger " school of thought. I use Sosmix sometimes because it is inexpensive and very very flexible. And I certainly would not advocate living on cheap sausages.

But sometimes I do get a craving for the pink, pappy, over-peppered things, around 2-3 times a year, and I am happy to go buy them on those occasions. Let us not forget, sausages have always been made from oddments and trimmings from the main pork butchery supplemented by whatever cereal products are to hand, and nitrates in the form of potassium nitrate aka saltpetre has been used as a preservative for meat for centuries. So, 11p bangers, keep them to an occasional use, keep on buying as good quality a meat as you can in any respect, and keep on supporting British farmers - but no, I wouldn't totally dismiss them.

Fiona Beckett said...

Very thoughtful response, greenlady. Good point about historic composition of sausages. And they were, as I pointed out, perfectly palatable. What I feel uneasy about is how they got there - a bit like the battery chickens, Jamie and Hugh were campaigning about earlier this year.

Greenlady said...

I totally support the Chickenout campaign. I also support better conditions for all animals reared to end up on my plate, believe that its better to eat a little decent meat less often than vast quantities of crud day in day out, and trying to change people's attitudes about eating bog standard quality meat. But even Hugh commented ( I think in his " Meat " book, if not then one of the others ) that even bog standard bacon has its place every now and then and he occasionally eats it - usually from the catering unit when filming somewhere on location ! Hope that makes you feel better :)

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with pork meat from Romania? If you have these prejudices, you should taste traditional Romanian food and then we're talking.

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