Having been away this week I've only just picked up on the debate on ex Blur guitarist Alex James' foray into flavoured cheese. Apparently he's collaborated with Asda in developing a range of cheeses flavoured with tomato ketchup, salad cream and tikka masala paste among others.
I'm not going to rehearse all the arguments here as they've already been well covered by the Guardian Word of Mouth blog and fellow blogger Chris Pople's Cheese and Biscuits. And to be fair I haven't tried the cheeses but it seems to me there's a principle at stake.
Which is why does a (presumably) rich ex-rock star who has already established a reputation for making artisanal cheese need to get into bed with a supermarket? Couldn't he have used his clout, as he initially did, to boost Britain's small cheesemakers?
I imagine the justification is that it encourages kids (and, given the retro nature of the flavours, unhealthy adults) to eat cheese but is it not more about creating a 'value added' product for which Asda can charge more than its basic cheddar?
Even James's own 'Best Ever' cheddar at £10 a kilo is £2.50 a kilo less than his ready sliced Cheddar with Salad Cream 'blankets'. You can buy Cathedral City mature cheddar at Asda at the time of writing for £5.71 a kilo while Asda's own mild cheddar will only set you back a fiver. A whole jar of Asda Smartprice salad cream which you could slather all over your sarnie costs just 50p.
And the free publicity from the controversy must be worth several hundred thousand pounds for the chain.
At least Jamie Oliver in his collaboration with Sainsbury's tried to raise the bar for their customers.
Maybe James has run through his millions. Maybe they all have. Blur has apparently got together to record a new album. But I still doubt, despite his protestations of being 'hugely passionate' about his new range, that he eats Asda cheeses at home.
James hits back at his critics on Asda's blog by labelling them 'food prigs' and 'snooty imposters' so what do you think? Should he be using his influence this way or would you do the same in his place?