The UK government’s list of key workers helping society to deal with the pandemic was a long one. But it seems to me that some of the people who really keep us going have been overlooked.
For while supermarket staff and delivery drivers have quite rightly achieved hero status, much less attention has been given to where the food they sell or transport actually comes from.
But someone has to produce the raw, unprocessed food ingredients. Then someone else has to turn those ingredients into the kind of processed food products that fill the supermarket shelves. And for months now, they have been coping with unprecedented demand.
There are, of course, varying levels of process and human involvement required to end up with the food we want to eat. Even at a minimal level, primary processing involves cutting, cleaning, packaging and storing raw foods before they reach the consumer.