Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Short the French: "Mon dieu. The French “Nutella tax.”"

From Food Politics:
Not to worry.  This is just a proposal.

A French Senator wants the country to impose a 300% increase in the tax on palm oil imports, thereby raising the price of products containing it—like Nutella, the chocolate-hazelnut spread beloved by European children (and adults).

Of course they love it.  The first ingredient is sugar.
But the second ingredient is palm oil, high in saturated fats.  Palm oil production, again alas, is strongly linked to deforestation and other environmental problems in Malasia and Indonesia.
The proposed tax distresses Malasian palm oil producers:
The action…to propose onerous new burdens on palm oil producers, is irresponsible, badly-informed and ignores the primary source of saturated fats in the French diet [referring to trans fats].
The proposed tax also distresses the makers of Nutella, as well it should.  Most Nutella eaters probably think they are eating hazelnuts and chocolate.  It must come as an unpleasant surprise to learn that the first two ingredients are sugar and palm oil.

At a meeting in Boston this week, Joe O’Toole, the president of Lucullus, a French specialty food company, brought me the November 16 edition of Le Figaro.  He knew I’d want to see the two-page ad defending Nutella’s use of palm oil....MORE
See also "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me":
...SAGAL: Here is your next limerick.
KASELL: It sounds like a plan by Cruella, worse than measles and mumps and rubella. My hazelnut spread will be priced past my head. They are raising the tax on?
CREE: Nutella.
SAGAL: Yes, Nutella. A new French tax on fattening palm oil products is quadrupling the price of a jar of Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut spread. We all know that it is pure and good and should be a basic human right like air or water.
SAGAL: They're treating Nutella the way we Americans treat cigarettes. The next thing they're taxing it to make it more expensive to keep people away from it. The next thing you know they'll be Surgeon General warnings on the package: "May cause happiness in pregnant women."
SAGAL: "Do not eat with bananas unless you want something awesome."...
-transcript Nov. 17, 2012