Fed with Chris van Tulleken
Fed with Chris van Tulleken
About Fed with Chris van Tulleken
Fed with Chris van Tulleken is a new food podcast, investigating the entangled web of forces that shape what ends up on our plates. In the first series, Planet Chicken, Chris digs into the story of one of the most widely eaten meats on earth - to try to get to the truth of why we eat so much of it, and what that means for the birds, for us, and for the planet.
If there's one thing Chris knows, it's what he should and shouldn't be eating.
He's across the dangers of ultra-processed foods: those nutritionally empty snacks that fill our supermarket shelves and entrance our kids. And at the same time, he's confident he knows what we should be eating: good, old fashioned whole food - recognisable ingredients, no mysterious additives, no harmful rubbish.
Something like a nice wholesome roast chicken, perhaps? In fact, in the van Tulleken household that's a family favourite.
But recently, Chris has been getting asked more questions - by neighbours, people on the street, even government ministers: and he's realised there's a massive gap in his food knowledge.
Sure, he knows what happens in our bodies once that delicious gravy-drenched chicken dinner passes our lips: but what about everything that comes before that? Where it's from, how it was reared, how it was processed? Can he say what toll the process of getting that chicken from farm to plate might've have taken on the animal, the environment, the nutritional content? Because in a world where so much food comes via an industrialised, globalised food system; where we're subtly influenced at every turn by advertising and price tags; and where ALL food choices ultimately come with a cost of some sort - how much do any of us really know or want to know about the consequences of our dinner?
Do YOU know what you're eating? Are you sure? Dr Chris van Tulleken is keen to make good food choices, and buy the best chicken possible for his dinner. High welfare, tasty, and good for the environment, ideally. But it's not as easy as that. How CAN he make good food choices if he has no idea what he's buying? Chris explores what we actually know about the food we buy, and to what extent we can trust what's on a label. He also uncovers the startling truth about two very different ways that we buy chicken - lifting the lid on why sometimes, even the most moral meat shoppers turn a blind eye... Produced by Lucy Taylor and Emily Knight.
We’ve heard about the potential problems around chicken welfare. But how does that square with their impact on the environment? Dr Chris van Tulleken finds out what it takes to produce the most eco-friendly chicken meat possible. And makes a devastating discovery. Welfare concerns, and environmental credentials, often pull in OPPOSITE directions. Does he want to eat the happiest birds, or the ones kindest to the planet? Halfway through his poultry quest, Chris remains massively conflicted: he loves chicken, but some of what he’s discovered makes him question how much he eats it. Will he still be able to look at it the same way as he goes deeper down the rabbit hole? And more importantly, should he keep serving it up to the family? Produced by Emily Knight and Lucy Taylor.
We eat chicken. A LOT of it. We might love the taste, but what about how we're treating those birds? After witnessing first-hand the reality of indoor chicken farming - how most of the chicken we eat is raised - Dr Chris van Tulleken wants to know: are the birds happy enough, or is our method of rearing cheap chicken actually cruel? If so, what’s the ‘happier’ alternative – and do carnivores like Chris care enough to pay the price for that, or does a love of meat ultimately trump ethics? Chris battles with his conscience, and finds the answer hard to stomach. Produced by Lucy Taylor and Emily Knight. Archive audio: - VIVA broiler investigation video (2021) - BBC and Channel 4 news reports on battery cage ban (2012)
So we started farming this bird called chicken, and it spread around the world. But what does it actually TAKE to feed us the amount of chicken we want to consume? 100 years ago this was a scrawny, egg-laying bird, only good for a stew once her eggs ran out – no one ate chicken meat. Fast forward to today and it’s the most consumed protein on the planet. How did we come to eat it in the first place, and what are the consequences of producing chicken meat on the vast, industrial scales we now consume it? Dr Chris van Tulleken uncovers the extraordinary accident of history that birthed a new industry, and changed the way we eat – and think about – meat forever. Produced by Emily Knight and Lucy Taylor.
Dr Chris van Tulleken is on a mission to find out what we’re eating, why, and who or what might be influencing our decisions. And he’s starting his quest to uncover food truths with the most eaten meat in the world, and one of the most numerous animals on our planet: chicken He’s recently been forced to confront a serious gap in his food knowledge - what happens before it gets to our plates - and has decided this, the world’s most popular meat, is an ideal starting point. Chris’ initial investigations reveal the vast scale of modern chicken consumption; and how a once revered jungle fowl was manipulated to become a modern food success story, a fast-growing heavy-breasted beast to feed the masses. Now, he's torn: is this a triumph of human ingenuity – or the creation of a monster? Produced by Lucy Taylor and Emily Knight. Archive audio: 'Chicken of Tomorrow' (1948) from the Prelinger Archive. 'Fanny Cradock Cooks for Christmas' (1975) from the BBC.