British Forced To Eat Livers, Tongues


The recession has forced cost-conscious U.K. residents to turn to eating offal or the oft-unused parts of animals, including livers, kidneys, tongues, and tripe. Given England’s history of mad cow disease, we’re a bit surprised that they’re willing to be so adventurous. So, be careful, because the only thing worse than being poor is having mad cow disease.

Time: Tough economic times have Britons eating their hearts out and swallowing their tongues. Not literally, of course. But offal — or “variety meats,” as the food category is euphemistically called in the U.K. — is experiencing a surge in popularity, with sales up 67% over the past five years.

Retail and food experts say that worry over the high cost of prime meat cuts and the economic downturn have more shoppers checking out supermarket offal offerings. But the return to eating innards was under way even before this year’s financial crisis, as celebrity chefs and restaurateurs have encouraged a return to cooking organs such as liver and kidneys, which once enjoyed a central place in British cooking.

At ASDA, Britain’s second largest supermarket chain and a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, offal sales were up 20% last month compared to November 2007. Sainsbury’s, the country’s third largest supermarket chain, is selling 48% more pig livers, 22% more chicken livers and 8% more pig kidneys than it was last year. Overall, sales of offal in the U.K. are expected to reach more than $62 million this year, according to industry analysts Mintel.