Grass Roots Urban Butchery G.R.U.B.
GRUB | April 2013

Cost of real food

by GRUB3. April 2013 17:35

I saw a quote from Joel Salatin the other day on facebook. Joel Salatin is a very successful American organic farmer who owns Poly face farms. He is a big advocate for real food and teaches organic farming principles around the world

"When someone drives up to the farm in a BMW and asks why our eggs cost more...well, first I try not to get mad. Frankly any city person who doesn't think I deserve a white-collar salary as a farmer doesn't deserve my special food. Let them eat E coli. But I don't say that. Instead I take him outside and point to his car. Sir, you clearly understand quality and are willing to pay for it. Well, food is no different. You get what you pay for" 

This really struck a chord with me as I have experienced the same thing many times. It is a reflection on our food system more than the anything else. "Food" has become cheap because the majority of it isn't proper food. When people come to buy Real Food however, they are surprised sometimes at the cost because they are so used to buying the cheaper food from fast food outlets and shops and supermarkets that sell imitation food.

Real Food grown by farmers who care about the farm, the animals and the whole process takes a lot longer to grow, costs more to grow and therefore costs more to buy. We at GRUB pay more for our food because we only buy from farmers who care and grow their produce the right way.

We have to compete against other butcher shops who wouldn't have any idea which farm their meat comes from or even care for that matter. However they tell people what they want to hear and the unsuspecting public are not in a position to know better. Then there are the supermarkets that stock meat from factory farms and everyone is learning more and more about them. 

I think it is abut time that People should know how unethical this industry can be and some of the nasty little tricks that some butchers use. The stories I have heard from butchers who have worked for me over the last few years about what happens in other so called reputable butcher shops in Sydney are absolutely terrible. The deceit that these people carry on with is shocking and it makes it harder for people like us who are actually practising what we preach to be competitive.

We don't crumb pork fillet and sell them as veal schnitzel;

We don't buy in a few kg's of organic chicken each week and sell 50kg of "Organic" chicken that week;

We don't use the nasty sausage meals packed with artificial chemical numbers and call them natural sausages;

We don't sell grass fed beef that is actually finished on grain ( beef can be labeled grass fed but still finished on grain for up to 69days!!) ;

We don’t sell Mutton or hogget (older sheep) and sell it as "lamb";

We don’t use any old trim and meat and then add a product called "high bloom" which is a preservative that gives the meat the bloom so it looks red and fresh;

We don’t take advantage of our customers at Christmas time selling them free range ham which is, you guessed it, cheap nasty ham from factory raised pigs or sell any old turkey and label it " Free Range Turkeys".

The poor public would not know because labels and packaging can be re-used to display some of the meat as organic or free range or grass fed when it is not. I am told that this is wide spread.

It hurts when we get comments that we are charging “ Vaucluse” prices because we are not. We apply a realistic and fair mark up for the Real Food that we sell and produce. It’s hard to compete with other butcher shops who pretend they have the same standards as us, when we know they don’t. We use mostly organic and natural ingredients and do everything the right way.

When my wife and I opened this shop we had the vision of creating an honest, reliable, transparent and ethical shop.  Yes we want to make a living but only by keeping those core beliefs and values. We trust that our customers will be grateful over time, for us sticking to our beliefs. We hate the thought that some operators are taking advantage of consumers who are feeding their families food that is not what they think it is. I sleep very well at night knowing that all our customers that shop with us are feeding themselves and their families Real Food and will benefit from the nutritional value in it.

Lets look at sausages

While most of our customers like our sausages, I know some customers say they don’t taste like your traditional sausage. The reason why ours taste a little different is we don’t use a typical sausage meal that comes in a packet.  The meals that most shops use are jam-packed full of chemical preservative and additives. At Grub we use fresh meat with organic herbs and spices and use organic brown rice flour in some of the sausages as a binder.

Listed below are the ingredients that are found in your typical sausage meal, and which GRUB do NOT use.

I have also included some potential health implications from these products

Mineral Salt- Prohibited in food for infants and is derived from a Synthetic source

Preservative -223 -Sodium Metabisulphite  

Potential effects include, allergic Rhinitis (hay fever), Asthma, Hyperactive Children’s Support Group (HACSG) recommends avoidance. Harmful to aquatic organisms, Irritant, Prohibited in foods for infants, Suspected respiratory, kidney & immunotoxicity. 

Effects on the body: Immune System, Kidneys, Respiratory System

Symptoms: Allergic and hyper-sensitive reactions, Asthma, Gastrointestinal ailments, Hayfever, Headache & Migrane, Hyperactivity, Skin ailments (  eczema, dermatitis, itching,hives, rash etc)

Vegetable GUM - 412 - derived from a plant but can cause Asthma, Gastrointestinal Ailments

Colour 160c - safe for most people but people sensitive to asprin, amines or MSG may wish to avoid.

Antioxidant 306- It is derived from plants that may be Genetically Modified and the effects on the body are Nutritional depletion and malabsorption.

Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein- Derived from a plant that may be Genetically modified

Wheat flour -all our sausages are chemical preservative and gluten    free

Salt – we use Himalayan salt

Sugar – there is enough sugar other foods people eat, we don’t need to add it to a snag.

Wheat Gluten – no thanks


So there you have a detailed example of what most shops use in the snags. The marinades they use also have a long list of numbers in it and the products like "egg wash" they use for their crumb products again are packed full of preservatives. Our marinades are hand made or organic and natural and we use real eggs and organic milk for our egg wash. We are currently researching natural preservatives and binders that we may be able to use in some products. However as we do with all things that come into our shop we make sure that it is safe and good for us before we use it and consult with health and medical practitioners to get their professional advise.

This is something I have wanted to share for so long and finally got the guts to do. It also it hurts me to see people who are very conscious of their health and what they feed themselves and their families, thinking they are getting the real thing, but in fact in many instances are not getting Real Food.


Yes this is a little self promotion but we actually walk the talk at GRUB and always will. Remember where ever you go and shop you get what you pay for, ask questions, educate yourself about how food is made, what is in this food you am giving your family. If given the opportunity, talk to farmers who are doing the right thing about how they grow their food. Educating yourself ad your family is the best defense against these problems.