30 Jul 15 UK: Bangers on bomb trend
They have been a favourite on British dining tables and barbecues for generations. But now, it seems, sausages are falling out of favour as shoppers opt for healthier options.
Sales have plunged by more than two billion a year, equivalent to 260.7-million fewer packs being taken off the shelves. That is a drop of more than a quarter compared to 2008, official figures for last year’s sales reveal. Consumers have turned instead to chicken and steak as they become more aware of foods seen as fuelling the obesity epidemic.
The mystery which has traditionally surrounded the ingredients of sausages also seems to have dampened demand. They are often bulked up with cheap fillers, like breadcrumbs or wheat rusk, with an off-putting list of chemicals and preservatives. Health campaigners have also long demonised bangers for having high fat and salt levels.
But until recently, diners have turned a blind eye to this because they loved them in everything from the breakfast fry-up to sandwiches as well as the barbecue. In contrast, sales of beef, especially steak, have soared by £1-billion to £3-billion – or 50 per cent – since 2008.
Demand for fresh chicken has pushed up sales by nearly half since 2012 to £2-billion. The decline of the sausage, most of which are pork, is a major twist in the nation’s culinary history as it is one of our oldest processed foods – they apparently arrived with the Romans.
They have been made in bulk since the 19th century but even then there was doubt about their contents. The Victorians suspected large amounts of horsemeat, dubbing them ‘little bags of mystery’.
During the First World War, food shortages led to a big reduction in meat levels in sausages, which were then packed with scraps, cereal and water. This made them pop and hiss when cooked over open fires in the trenches, giving them the nickname bangers…..