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Jamie Oliver, squeezed shoppers, and meat-free Thursdays

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By Tara Kimura, CBCNews.ca

CBC Arts has posted a fantastic Q&A with celebrated chef Jamie Oliver. Some of the excellent questions submitted by CBCNews.ca readers included: if you had the power to eliminate one "food" from the marketplace, what would it be? What do you make of the rise of the gastropub? And, what is your most often used herb/spice other than salt and pepper? Read Oliver's answers to these and other questions here.

On our consumer site, we take a look at the effect crowded shelves have on consumer behaviour. Researcher Juliet Zhu theorizes that when shopping in a crowded store, consumers seek out variety.

"When consumers are confined, either through a narrow aisle or crowding, they feel like their freedom is being constrained," Zhu said. "One such demonstration is choosing more varied options, such as different flavoured yogurt or candies, as opposed to the typical flavour they always choose."

Also this week, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association released a study suggesting re-usable bags may pose health risks. WWF spokesman Steven Price responded, noting consumers could eliminate the threat by washing the bags.

"It's a valid point, but I don't think we need to go back to disposing billions of plastic bags across Canada," Price told the Canadian Press. "We need to take care of the objectives, which is to be safe and healthy, so let's wash the bags."

Finally, the city of Ghent in Belgium has proclaimed Thursdays to be meat-free days.

City councillor Tom Balthazar, said "There's nothing compulsory. We just want to be a city that promotes sustainable and healthy living."

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