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Archive for October, 2008

People find it easy to believe that PET bottles somehow decompose and leak chemicals into bottled water and express surprise when I defend the fundamental integrity of the PET package, but just not for water…

Here’s a link to an article regarding the recall of c.570,000 bottles of Volvic mineral water earlier this week, found to contain the smell of paint in it, from part of the products imported and sold in Japan.

Two organic compounds included in paint, xylene and naphthalene, were detected in the gas in the bottles examined, with the explanation being given by the importer that “the paint components are likely to have penetrated into the poromeric bottles when the bottles were stored in containers and shipped to Japan.”

This is a perfect example of the leaching properties of plastic, where the oil based polymer has allowed another organic compound to simply pass through it’s walls and contaminate (by affecting the smell) the contents inside.

It’s a powerful example of why we chose the Tetra Pak carton material for Aquapax mineral water. The carton is a package of absolute integrity for water – similar to glass in that respect, but without the horrific carbon footprint incurred by producing and distributing such a heavy container as glass for a fundamentally portable beverage.

A customer of ours was off-shore sailing recently and had his Aquapax below deck in the storage area of his yacht. The bilge pump seals went allowing oily water into the storage areas, contaminating everything in them with an oily film. Our Aquapax water was safe and pure inside its container, proving the package perfectly.

Following on from this, we put some Aquapax units on a carbon soak test in a UKAS accredited laboratory (standing up-right in a tray of diesel) which is a pretty severe test for any product! I’m delighted to report that the water tested from these has proven safe and pure also, without contamination of any form.

The majority of folk still opt for a cheap, ecologically unsustainable and potentially contaminating package option (plastic), or a pretentious, expensive and ecologically damaging option (glass) compared with the guaranteed integrity, clear proven quality and superior ecological credentials of an Aquapax mineral water carton.

Independent truths like this (second link) recall coming out of Japan do keep me motivated though – our time is clearly drawing closer… 🙂

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I read the really positive news article in FoodBev recently about South African wine brand Arniston Bay and how the producer has recently joined our revolution launching a 1 litre version of their wine packaged in a Tetra Pak carton range, among other formats.

Shortly after there was a really grumpy response (also quite emotional and irrational) from Mr David Workman of British Glass, who literally attacked cartons as a package format, referring to the positive press release as a packaging ‘green wash’. This was really quite disturbing for me as a strong advocate of the carton package format – well I would say that wouldn’t I – but more importantly, because I’ve taken the time to research all portable package options for water before I decided on cartons as the most ecologically sensible!

The internet has an unfortunate habit of circulating or syndicating bad news articles – particularly those put out by strong industry bodies like the glass industry, so this is my attempt to even things out a little. I’ve linked hereunder to the measured and wholly professional response to the ranting criticism, as made by Barney Davis, Brand and Business Development Manager at The Company of Wine People.

It’s worth reading, as I have previously made every effort not to attack other beverage formats within my blog, despite the masses of information I could leverage on the propensity for plastic leaching, or how Blackpool promenade is mostly made of glass people thought they were sending for recycling!

It’s great when I find responsible and articulate articles to share which independently up-hold my own well researched position. Do please have a brief read of Barney’s reply if you have the time. You may be surprised to find an article published on glass which actually tells the inconvenient truth for a change.

Do us all a favour, show the article to those in the pretentious minority who insist they are somehow helping the planet by buying bottled water packed in pretentious glass bottles… 🙂

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I had the pleasure of attended the IGD Food Industry Awards yesterday evening, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel off Hyde Park.  It was a well organised affair considering the scale and I was fortunate to be on a table with a great atmosphere, making It a fabulous evening out.

What was quite revealing for me, being relatively new to the corporate side of food and grocery life, was how well the co-op did in virtually every judging category at the awards. They really did sweep the floor of their bigger supermarket rivals and the co-op staff attending the event relished their ongoing success through the evening as the constant nominations and subsequent wins for their efforts continued to flow.

It’s an interesting sign perhaps that the once unfashionable retailer has looked at what it does right and focused on that, rather than trying to reinvent itself as a pretender to something it isn’t and potentially alienating it’s core customer base in the process. I managed to chat briefly with Peter Marks (their Chief Executive) after the show, principally to congratulate him, but also to pop an Aquapax postcard into his pocket.

My Dad once told me to keep an eye out for every opportunity and be bold enough to act on the ones you notice. Let’s hope the card makes its way safely back to the office in Manchester – you never know…

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We finally had to turn the heating on yesterday, which I’m none too proud of, but it’s a fact. There comes a point where sitting in your own living room with 2 jumpers on – and still having cold feet motivates the easy option of flicking the switch. This made me think about how the elderly or frail folk generally deal with their ‘cold bones’ when the media seems to have frightened them into not turning their heating on…

Fear is a terrible thing and I have challenged many in the past to precisely describe what exactly they are ‘frightened’ of when they talk of their fears. The word fear as an acronym for ‘False Expectations Appearing Real’ is something I heard a long time ago and it’s helped me since then, particularly during my time in corporate life, come to terms with my own fears and worries; putting them into the context of what’s the worst that can happen and how bad would that actually be. Try putting your own fear into context sometime and hopefully this definition will work for you too.

I think the reason why I got so cold yesterday was from standing in an open door way doing an in store demo at Planet Organic in Muswell Hill. If you haven’t been to the store yet, it’s a real delight – as indeed are most of the stores where I get to do my customer demos. The front of the shop is the ideal place to stand to engage with shoppers as they enter and leave the store, but there was a bitter wind blowing through off the street and that’s probably why my feet wouldn’t warm up.

In store demo’s are an interesting way of engaging with existing and new customers and it never ceases to amaze me how people are genuinely shocked to encounter the ‘owner’ of a ‘manufacturing’ business talking with them and encouraging their questions. “Why wouldn’t I do this” I asked one customer who had a barrier to accepting the ability of an independent entrepreneur to create, produce and then market a product themselves. It’s quite a sad indication of our times really, that the independent retailer or coffee shop is accepted as common place, while the independent producer is seemingly so rare as to be a fabled breed.

Next week I’m sampling at the Restaurant Show in Earl’s Court (Mon-Wed) followed by Planet Organic in Westbourne Grove on Friday. Come on down and have a taste of our wonderfully pure water in a carton if you get the chance – particularly if you haven’t tried it yet. It would be really nice to meet you. 🙂

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