Top 5: Bizarre stories of 2008

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 29th December 2008

A look at the unusual, intriguing and just plain bizarre in the world of food for 2008.

1. Breast milk ice-cream?
If you had told me at the start of the year that I would write a story about a campaign to get cow’s milk replaced by human breast milk I would have raised my eyebrows, perhaps even given a wry smile. And yet, there I was in September doing exactly that.

For those who missed it, animal activists PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), launched a cheeky campaign to get American ice-cream stalwarts, Ben & Jerry’s, to use breast milk instead of cow’s milk. It was based on a Swiss precedent, with a restaurant owner in Switzerland substituting breast milk for 75 per cent of the cow’s milk he uses in his products.

A novel idea, but Ben & Jerry’s were happy to politely decline.

2. Faeces ice-cream.
It is likely that no pub has received as much publicity for a meal they served on NRL Grand Final day as the Coogee Beach Hotel. A family discovered faeces, later discovered to be of human origin, in their ice cream. It made the news Australia-wide and probably showed up the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ ideology. An extensive police and NSW Food Authority investigation failed to discover the culprit and the family and the pub have concluded their mediation. Case closed, but the mystery lingers.

3. Chocolate coin sales rise.
Waitrose, a prominent UK supermarket chain, reported in November that chocolate coin sales had risen a staggering 63 per cent as the credit crunch hit. With chocolate being a comfort food and many seeing their hard earned money disappear, can anyone think of a better way for consumers to treat themselves?

4. ‘Holy’ water.
The success of water brands aligning themselves with religion in the US showed the benefits of differentiation, albeit in a rather unorthodox way. Some were adorned with prayers and religious artwork, while others had gone a step further and had each bottle blessed by a religious minister.

Who said all bottled water was the same?

5. Pensioner-friendly supermarkets.
Companies across Australia are looking for ideas to unlock the potential of the ageing population and pensioner-friendly supermarkets could be one of many good ideas out there. The idea probably does not fit into the bizarre category but it is certainly intriguing. Please click here to find out more.