I have recently been catching up on Inside the Factory: How our favourite foods are made on BBC iPlayer. Each episode focuses on a different product (bread, chocolate, and milk) and shows how it can take as little as 24 hours from some of the ingredients arriving at the factory to the product arriving on supermarket shelves. There’s also a bit of a history lesson in each one. It’s really interesting because as well as showing us how food is mass produced, it also blew a few myths out of the water for me about mass produced food.
The first episode was all about how big factories make your everyday loaf of bread. I was expecting to be horrified by the processes but actually it was impressive how they manage to make them on such a large scale so quickly, keeping to some of the original methods – obviously you can’t skip proving! In the history section they talked about how before official guidelines, people would add all sorts of strange things to bread like sawdust.
The second episode was about chocolate. I wasn’t that interested in how they make millions of KitKats, but the history part was fascinating. The chocolates we enjoy most in the UK like Cadbury’s Dairy Milk are the same as when they were first introduced in the 1930s. And chocolate in different countries is designed for those people’s tastebuds, which is why American chocolate tastes weird to my British tastebuds, but Dairy Milk tastes amazing.
The final episode was about milk. I LOVE milk. My sister loves milk. We can both drink glasses of milk instead of a cup of tea or a glass of water. I don’t know what my parents did to us as kids but we both love the stuff. But it’s only in Europe that the majority of the population can digest lactose as adults, and in China about 90% of the population are lactose intolerant. I guess it’s hard to buy a pint of milk in China, then? I hadn’t really thought much about how milk gets to my fridge so it was an eye opener to see how that happens, as well as looking at the history.
I like watching food programmes like this – you’re pretty lucky that I don’t write about every one I watch!