The Real Happy Meal

— 4 Apr 2018 by Hugh Thomas and Matt Carter

Real Happy Main

As a wise man named Willy once said, all is fair in love and war. Unfortunately, the same can’t generally be said of food – he did well to leave that part out.

A lot of people don’t know much about what happens behind mainstream food outlets. Then again, most don’t want to know.

But that’s changing. Not begrudging the extra couple of quid, more of us are buying into a fairer food system. A system where farmers and producers get a fairer cut of the deal; where livestock is raised on their natural diet in open fields free of suffering; where the emphasis is on better and kinder ­– not cheaper.

Looking to food on the street, Gourmet Goat are leading by example in that department. They’re in the business of rescuing billy goats – unwanted products of the dairy industry ­– otherwise slaughtered at birth, to be lovingly reared and ultimately sold for their meat.

Ethical and sustainable sourcing is something Boxpark newcomers Black Bear Burger know a bit about too. Having grown up on a cattle farm in Devonshire, the founders know the only way to get a beef patty rich in flavour is to graze cows organically on open pasture, and age their meat for 28 days.

But those other meat masters – Chicago Rib Shack. What about them? Their pork can be traced back to Eastbrook Farm in Wiltshire, where pigs are raised on the ethics of owner Helen Browning, who wants to continually ‘champion a better life for these intelligent creatures.’ That means giving them plenty of their own space, negating the need for antibiotics almost entirely, and keeping them on a diet of cereals, protein and whey. Sounds better than most my breakfasts.

Oh and then there’s Pieminister, who’ve been doing this ethical sourcing lark since 2003. Big supporters of the Farms Not Factories initiative, they’ve only got three animal welfare awards from Compassion in World Farming. Which is like the Oscars but for food ethics. How’s that for a fair deal?