Feelgood green film is huge hit in France

Melanie Laurent ... message of hope
Updated 15 June 2016
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Feelgood green film is huge hit in France

PARIS: When the French actress Melanie Laurent read a now famous 2012 paper by leading scientists warning that the Earth’s climate was reaching a tipping point from which it may never recover, she sat down and wept.
“I was pregnant, and I was so shocked I spent the whole day crying,” she said, wondering what kind of world she was bringing her child into.
But instead of succumbing to fatalism, Laurent — best known for her role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” — went looking for the positive.
With study after study confirming the dire warnings by experts about the state of the biosphere, Laurent and her friend Cyril Dion felt people needed hope.
“Demain” (Tomorrow), their feelgood film about how the world can change for the better — and the inspirational farm, energy and educational pioneers who are pointing the way — has had cinema audiences on their feet.
More than a million people have so far flocked to see it in France alone, where it won the Cesar — or “French Oscar” — for the best documentary of the year.
The film shows how new French peramculture techniques can make small organic microfarms 10 times more productive than industrial farming — and all without the aid of a single piece of petrol-driven machinery.
It highlights how major cities like San Francisco are recycling and composting 80 percent of domestic waste — and making money from it — while Copenhagen aims to run on renewable energy alone within less than a decade.
Dion, an environmentalist, said he was overawed by the enthusiasm that has greeted the crowd-funded film in France, Belgium and Switzerland, receiving standing ovations wherever it showed.
“People say that it has given them back hope and enthusiasm to do lots of things... that things can be done,” he said.


Jar wars: the Italian plot to weaken Nutella

Updated 21 November 2018
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Jar wars: the Italian plot to weaken Nutella

  • Nutella, invented by family-owned firm Ferrero, is a favorite among sweet-toothed youngsters at home and abroad
  • Barilla is preparing to launch a chocolate spread next year in a major challenge to Nutella

MILAN: Chocolate spread Nutella has long had pride of place on supermarket shelves but faces imminent attack from an Italian rival usually found in the pasta section.
Italy’s Barilla, known internationally for its spaghetti and maccheroni packaged in blue boxes, is preparing to launch a chocolate spread next year in a major challenge to the brand that became a global phenomenon in the 1980s, sources said.
Nutella, invented by family-owned firm Ferrero, is a favorite among sweet-toothed youngsters at home and abroad and generates annual sales of more than €2 billion ($2.3 billion).
With 54 percent of the global market for chocolate spreads, Nutella is the leader and faces virtually no major competition as a mass-marketed brand.
Cokokrem of Turkey’s Yildiz Holding is the second most popular spread with a share of only 2 percent, according to market research provider Euromonitor International.
But two sources familiar with Barilla’s plan say its new spread, Crema Pan di Stelle, seeks to exploit a perceived weakness of Nutella: its use of palm oil.
The ingredient has drawn a consumer backlash due to health and environmental concerns. Ferrero launched an ad campaign in 2016 to defend its use of palm oil, saying it was safe when refined at controlled temperatures and that the company only bought oil from sustainable palm plantations.
Barilla decided to mount a challenge to Nutella after sensing that Ferrero was starting to encroach on the pasta-maker’s lesser-known biscuit business, one of the sources said.
Industry sources said Ferrero will launch a Nutella-filled biscuit next year, seen as a direct challenge to Barilla’s own chocolate cookie brand, Baiocchi.
Ferrero declined to comment on the new biscuit.
To take on Nutella, Barilla has prepared a recipe that contains sunflower oil, 10 percent less sugar, Italian-only hazelnuts and cocoa from sustainable farms, one source said.
Barilla, also a family-owned firm, has presented its spread to buyers at major supermarket chains and could launch it as soon as January in Italy, the sources said.
Still, it faces a tough challenge.
One industry expert said it could cost several million euros just to secure a spot on the same supermarket shelves as Nutella, which commands a premium eye-level position.
“Crema Pan di Stelle will increase competition for Nutella in Italy thanks to the considerable brand awareness it has among domestic customers, but Barilla will find it difficult to take the challenge abroad,” said Marco Eccheli, director at the Italian unit of consulting firm AlixPartners.
Contacted for a comment Barilla said it would answer questions about new products in coming weeks.
The name Crema Pan di Stelle is taken from another of Barilla’s successful biscuits brands, Pan di Stelle or ‘bread of the stars’ which is sold mainly in Italy.
“It will contain crumbles of Pan di Stelle cookies to make it taste crunchy,” the source said.