Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bread and BlueBand

Some of you may remember BlueBand, the Unilever brand of margarine. It was popular in the UK in the days before people cared about both taste and nutrition, when all that mattered was filling the stomach. Blue Band is a margarine that is so 'natural' it does not even need to be refrigerated. With a consistency roughly similar to wax it is arguably even more tasteless and useless than other such spreads as Flora and "I can't believe its not artificial!".

Whilst it has disappeared from the shelves in the UK it is stil very strong over here in Africa, advising parents that the vitamins and fats help their children to grow, it does not state whether outwards or upwards however! The advertising campaigns would be amusing were they not so scary, like a less evil version of Nestles babymilk campaign. The strongest advertising campaign runs with the slogan "Theres no B without BB". They even advertise in schools, through 'storytelling' sessions in class about Captain BlueBand. These became so popular there is now a BlueBand computer game. Really, this is not a joke!

BlueBand is present in every small village across most of East and Southern Africa and they even sell it in small sachets so you can still use it on the road! It is so much a part of the diet here that menus even use the brand name as a description, for example instead of writing 'chapati/bread and butter' you will see 'chapati/bread and BlueBand". Sad.

What is even sadder is that after a while we have actually gotten used to the taste. Many of you will know that at home I only eat proper best butter and silver top (full fat) milk. If I was worried about my weight I am sure there would be a hundred other things that I was eating or drinking that have more an effect than the difference between proper butter and some tasteless spread. As for milk, if I have to use semi-skimmed in tea or coffee then I end up using twice as much, which defeats the object! So I am quite disgusted when I find myself slathering thick wads of BlueBand over my scone!

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