Documentaries on the television are becoming ever more popular with the public as they get more interested in what is happening in the world, particularly if it is something that causes general concern like for instance a large and well known company deceiving its customers. People like to expand their knowledge and documentaries are the ideal thing for doing that without having to get out of your armchair.

I looked up ‘documentary’ in the dictionary. This is what it quoted:

“ A work, such as a film or television program, presenting political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner and often consisting of actual news films or interviews accompanied by narration. “

The Question

‘Write a review of a TV programme. Include the subject matter, the style of the programme, the degree of balance shown, whether it was interesting and informative.’

I decided to watch a documentary on supermarkets and whether they really stick to what they claim. The documentary is one of the most popular show, it’s called ‘Panorama’. This was shown on Monday 23rd November. I was on BBC1 10:00pm and titled ‘Are you being served?’

I will try and provide in this essay an able observation and discussion along with a conclusion at the end about that documentary.


The documentary talked about how the big supermarkets have grown over the years squashing their smaller competitors.
Out of town small businesses cannot keep up with the food selection and availability of the big supermarkets. There are 3,200 supermarkets in Britain alone. All of which are open on Sunday and most of them are even open for 24 hours a day. There is just no way a small business can keep up with that. Often the small businesses are run by a family and they have other matters that they need to contend to so they cannot possibly open for those hours.

Panorama interviewed a couple of people. I was particularly interested to see their side. They said that they prefer to shop at a supermarket because there is much more selection and it is all under one roof. They do not have to go around to many specialist stores to get their goods, it is convenient. One woman admitted that she never looked at the price in the supermarkets. It did not matter.
I designed an interview and handed around to just five people who go shopping for food regularly. The interview along with the results and evaluation are included in the project.

It seems that supermarkets can get away with charging what they like for their goods. A vegetable and fruit store owner talked to the Panorama interviewer about his business and sales since a new Safeways store opened down the road. He said that his purchases have plummeted. Many of the locals used to come to him for their vegetables and fruit but they do not anymore. The manager commented that they sell more types of vegetable/fruit than any supermarket, but that just doesn’t interest the customer anymore.
Panorama decided to conduct a price check on bananas. They bought a bunch from the greengrocer and the following big supermarket chain stores: Safeways, Tescos, Sainsbury’s, and Asda. They were all more expensive that the greengrocers, Sainsbury’s was twice more expensive!

These big supermarkets are not only effecting the smaller outlets, but the suppliers as well. Panorama talked to some a pig farmer and about his life supplying for the pork factories which go to the supermarkets. They said that they are completely trapped. They are not getting a profit and they are actually losing money. Panorama asked why, and they replied that it is because the Pork Factory that they supply to continuously demand a drop in the sale price of their pigs. The pork factory threaten that if the pig farmers protest against this then the factory would take its business elsewhere, so it leaves the farmers with no choice.

The pork factory was asked for a interview by Panorama, they refused but sent out a statement describing that they have to keep demanding a price cut because the supermarkets that they supply to also threaten to quit business with the factory unless they drop their sale prices. So it all comes down to the supermarkets bullying their suppliers.

Another example