We’re all used to seeing the same repetitive products on supermarket shelves, but have you ever wondered why? With such a variety of fresh produce from around the world, why are our options so limited?

Join us in answering some of our most curious questions about the food industry.

Why don’t we eat grass?

Veganism and vegetarianism have become an increasingly popular lifestyle and dietary choices in recent years.

This leaves us pondering about all the plant-based produce available around us and what we haven’t tried yet. It might sound bizarre, but farm animals live off grass and leaves, so why don’t we live off those greens too?

The truth is, grass has no nutritional value and we would get nothing from it. Our bodies struggle to digest and break it down because of the high cellulose levels, it’s low in protein, and it may have also been exposed to pesticides. So before you’re tempted to cultivate your next dinner from the front lawn - we’d suggest you give it a miss!

Why don’t we eat rhubarb leaves?

The Rhubarb craze has taken the world by storm - this versatile vegetable can be found in numerous dishes nowadays, but have you noticed we only use the stalks?

Rhubarb leaves are long and dark green in colour, similar to spinach, but unlike spinach, these leaves aren’t nutrient-rich. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! They contain high doses of oxalic acid, which causes kidney stones to form and even kidney failure. Granted, you would need to eat a lot, and we mean A LOT of rhubarb leaves for these serious and possibly deadly conditions, but we recommend staying away from them even in small doses.

Why don’t we eat more insects?

Let’s face it - insects often get a bad rep. They’re depicted in movies and stories as scary creatures we should stay away from, and they certainly don’t often turn up very often on our dinner plates, but are we missing a trick here? These thoughts appear to be a very western mindset. In many countries and cultures across the world, insects are an important part of one’s diet; being a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals.

With the growth in the world’s population, many scientists believe that insects will soon become an important part of our diet. They are easier and cheaper to maintain and raise. So, what do you think? Are you ready to make some changes to your diet and willing to add a delicious plate of crickets into the mix?! We actually have some insect-based snacks on BoroughBox already - such as Cricket Crackers from Cricke, and Cricket Flour by BioBug.

Why don’t we eat more types of fish?

Salmon, tuna and cod are some of the most popular and in-demand fish in the world. This has caused them to become endangered and has affected their population. The truth is, our planet is 71% water. 71%!!! when shopping for fish, our options are limited and we always fall back on the same go-to options. Why is this?

Fish markets may be filled with a diverse range of, beautifully fresh fish - a real foodie’s paradise, (if not for the smell). The reality is though, we rarely go for the ‘outsider’ options, and we don’t like things that aren’t part of the norm. Reasons we might be intimidated by a new type of fish include not knowing how to cut, cook or season it, or simply because we don’t see it in our supermarkets. Restaurants have discovered that adding the name “salmon” to some certain dishes increases sales or encourages customers to try slightly different types of fish.

We recommend you to be adventurous! Next time you go shopping, explore your local food/fish market and talk to the fishmongers. They will give you tips and tricks to cooking these fish and delicious food combinations - you’ll thank us!

Why don’t we eat other birds such as pigeons?

Many of us love a delicious turkey or pheasant for our Christmas dinner, but what about a bird we see every day? Yes, pigeons. While there are many different types of pigeons, whenever we hear that name, one picture comes to mind. A little black and grey bird we see flying around everywhere in our cities. These birds are perceived in a negative image, but where has this modern view come from?

Pigeons are seen as disease-carrying birds and thus the hate and fear for them began. This, however, is quite an unfair statement. Pigeons are no different to other animals, in terms of their ability to contract viruses In fact, in the 19th century, before pigeons, it was sparrows that had the infamous title of “dirty” and “filthy” birds.

The truth is, pigeons ARE considered a culinary delicacy all around the world! Commonly known as squab, pigeon meat is enjoyed in countries ranging from Italy, France, the United States to many Asian and African countries too. Similar in size to a quail, there is little meat, but the meat is tender, moist and rich. Perhaps, the low amount of meat and western cultures' perception of them being “flying rats” is the reason we don’t see pigeons in restaurants and supermarkets.

Why don’t we eat turkey eggs?

Talking about poultry, we find ourselves asking another question. What about their eggs? 8 million turkeys are eaten in the UK every Christmas, but we have never seen a turkey egg being sold in a shop. Why is this? Well, the answer is quite a simple one. Turkeys lay fewer eggs than chickens. In fact, they lay 3 times fewer eggs when compared to chickens.

Why don’t we eat different types of red meat?

You might remember a scandal regarding a supermarket chain here in the UK a few years ago. Many customers purchase their favourite red meat to later discover it wasn’t quite what it seemed.
While many countries are happy to eat horse meat (France, Germany, Belgium, South America, Japan and China amongst others) it is frowned upon in the United States and the UK, but why is this?

We’ve discovered two main reasons why horse meat is frowned upon.

Economic factors. Horses have more value to workers than cow or pigs. Horses can be used for transportation, carrying weights and helping with machinery in the past decade.

We see them as pets. You may see a pony as “cute” and a cute pet, and we would never eat our pets, right? Yes. We see animals such as cats, dogs and hamsters as pets and would never consider eating them - horses fall under this same category.

Many of us might think horse meat is not an option, but what about goats? We love goat cheese or even ice-cream made from goat milk itself, but goat meat is something we don’t find with ease. This is mostly due to the fact that many western cultures find goat meat too exotic. This and a higher selling price has caused goat meat to be something we don’t see every day.

Why don’t we drink pigs’ milk?

This one is easy. Pigs not only get more agitated and are trickier to hold still, but they also don’t produce as much milk like cows. They eject milk for roughly 15 seconds, where cows can last up to 10 minutes.

Why isn’t “wonky veg” the norm?

A surprising 40% of fresh products from farms is rejected by supermarkets because it’s “too ugly to sell”. 40%! That is a lot of food going to waste. It wasn’t until 2009 that supermarkets could stray from rules set by the “European Commission” where fruit and vegetables had to meet precise standards, including size and appearances. However, the UK fruit and vegetables still have to follow strict rules. We’re big fans of wonky fruit and veg, and champion brands that conquer food waste. You can find out more about this in our other post - How To Be A Food Waste Warrior.

So there you have it, we hope we have answered some of your most burning food questions and have created great conversation starters for your friends and family. If there are more questions you’d like to have answered in a future blog post, feel free to reach out on social and let us know!