Actually, the idea that most food was local 100 years ago [Celebrate Big Food, in yesterday’s Forum] is a long way from the truth. In 1900 both J Sainsbury and Lipton stores carried a huge range of imported food from the Empire and the Continent. Egyptian quails, Bordeaux pigeons as well as French, Dutch and Austrian eggs were some of the goods displayed in Sainsbury as early as 1894. And early refrigeration of boats meant meat and dairy produce could be shipped from Argentina, North America, Denmark and Holland. Even fruit and vegetables were beginning to appear in cans. There was little protectionism or “quotas” to limit the trade in food in those days. As a result, arguably Sainsbury’s and Lipton’s carried a bigger variety of food from around the world a century ago than we find today.