Shoppers' Glossary

see copyright notice. Page created 8-Nov-2000 updated 30-Apr-2019. Use the button groups above to navigate quickly around the site.

This "Concise guide to words and phrases you might encounter when buying goods in British shops" was conceived over a beer or three in a Wivenhoe pub, circa 1998. Much of the politically-incorrect original remains, and I've incorporated the "Recipes for Cynics" that previously appeared as a separate web page. Please don't take any of it seriously...


New-On field trial
Low-fat-Boredom precludes repletion
Delicious-Nausea precludes repletion
Tasty-Contains lots of MSG
Rich in Vitamin C-Contains preservative: L-Ascorbic Acid
No artificial colouring
or flavouring
-More artificial preservatives than usual
No added sugar-Watch out for dodgy sweeteners
As seen on TV-We make a huge profit on this product!
New easy-open
-Wanted: Design Consultant with engineering background
Contents may settle-Packet is only half full
[Half-full muesli
Wholegrain-Make an appointment with your dentist NOW!"
Child-proof cap-Requires Angle Grinder to open
Suitable for Vegans-90% Sawdust
In Oil-Return cargo on supertanker
In Brine-Salvaged cargo
Fair Trade-Obtained in exchange for plastic beads
(Thanks to Graham for the last 6. You are even more cynical than I :)
Whole Milk-Milk
Semi-skimmed Milk-White water
Skimmed Milk-Grey water
Saffron Rice-Rice dyed yellow
Saffron Buns-Buns dyed yellow
Serving Suggestion-We replaced these ingredients with flavourings
30% Extra Free-We're losing out to another brand

Recipe: Prawn Crackers

Take 1kg foam packing chips, some sugar, any old meat or fish stock that has gone slightly off. Dissolve sugar in stock, soak foam chips, dry until crisp. Market carefully, avoiding the savvy "lower" classes, and presto! your product will rapidly achieve cult status.

Prepared Foods

Spicy-Irritating to the mouth and digestive tract
Indian Style-Brown and spicy
Chinese Style-Red and spicy
American Style-Sweet
Country Style-The main ingredient is Potatoes
Tropical-Contains pineapple
Exotic-Contains one or more inappropriate ingredients
Improved Recipe-Now conforms to labelling regulations
Serving Suggestion-We bought this plate in a doll's house furniture sale

Recipe: Lemon Grass Soup

Take 100 gallons of lemonade, one bale of clean bedding straw, some chilli powder. Warm lemonade, stir in straw. Add chilli powder to blur identity of other ingredients. Apportion as starter for several pounds in your trendy new restaurant.


Organic [fruit]-Rotten
Organic [veg]-Unsuitable for vegetarians
Baby-Failed crop of
Petit-Récolte manquée de
New Season-It's spring in Botswana
30% extra free-We need to shift these before they go organic

Meat and Fish

Fresh Grade A-Intensively reared in battery houses
Free Range-Ditto with badly-maintained walls
Poussin-Failed crop of chickens
Corn-fed Chicken-Chicken dyed yellow
Smoked Haddock-Haddock dyed yellow
30% extra free-Sales have plummeted since recent health scare
[giant biscuits and tiny bottle]


Distinctive-Unforgettably subtle
Oak-Vanilla flavouring
Chardonnay-Vanilla flavour white wine
Rioja-Vanilla flavour red wine
New-style Winery-We invented a winemaker with a cool, sexy name to boost sales
Lager-Carbonated water dyed yellow
Cider-Spirit vinegar dyed yellow
Craft Beer-Beer in tiny bottles
30% extra free-Costs us virtually nothing to manufacture
Peach & Susanberry
-Our cheap peach flavouring doesn't taste convincingly like peaches

Recipe: Mellow Red Wine

Take 25 gallons of Ribena, one disused sawmill, one heavy-duty garden sprayer, one dustbin, some surgical spirit. On a very hot day, fill sprayer with Ribena and direct at walls of sawmill. Repeat as necessary to keep everything thoroughly damp. Collect drainings in dustbin in basement. Add surgical spirit to taste. English punters will cheerfully pay ten pounds a bottle, but only if the Ribena was certified organic.


Shampoo-Expensive detergent
Frequent Use Shampoo-Expensive diluted detergent
Shampoo for Greasy Hair-Expensive diluted Swarfega
Conditioner-Expensive diluted grease

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