News: Nutella threatens marmalade   Leave a comment

In an article which barely concealed its gleeful tone, a recent article in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica (13 Jan 2011, p.18) noted that marmalade, the traditional British breakfast spread, was losing ground fast to both Italian Nutella and, even worse, to American brands of peanut butter. In calendar year 2010, 2.5 million jars fewer of the sugary-but-bitter spread made with Seville oranges were sold in the United Kingdom than in 2009. The article quoted Xanthe Clayr of the Daily Telegraph, who called the drop in marmalade sales a “tragedy,” and who said that something must be done as marmalade “is one of the best culinary traditions of our country.” Over half of the consumers of marmalade are over 65 years old, and in addition to the an image problem, a rise in the price of honey has hurt marmalade sales. What’s worse, coffee (pushed by American chains and Italian brands in the supermarkets) has surpassed tea as the hot beverage of choice on British mornings, spaghetti often outsells sausage and beans, and wine is rapidly catching up to beer.

Though the Repubblica doesn’t mention this, Britain shouldn’t feel like it stands alone, even though its “traditional foods” are threatened. Culinary philologists all over the world will likely form brigades to help Britannia purge its food of foreign influences like…Seville oranges. And Indian curry. And Chinese tea.   ZN

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Posted January 14, 2011 by zachmon in Uncategorized

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