Will DuPont Change the Monkey Business in the Beverage Business?

The time is due for another 8RD+ lecture, and of course FRAGILITY is one of the topics here. But more than anything, I am trying to unveil the secrets of the forgotten links between BEVERAGE industry, SUGAR industry, PLASTIC industry, and PETROLEUM industry. Companies like DuPont (NYSE: DD) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) have both their parts to play here. Mark my words: we are entering a new epoch in the ladders of INDUSTRIAL revolution, and it is not the digital revolution or the fourth INDUSTRIAL revolution that everybody is talking about even at Davos. DuPont’s latest invention can even have repercussions on health curses like diabetes and obesity. If you didn’t know what polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF) PLASTIC is, you will know the chemical formula and all after reading this article.

The claim about digitalization and speed as a bliss is common but unrealistic. Anybody who is on the move during rush hours knows perfectly well that the world is not moving any faster than during the Reagan administration during the 1980s when cans of both Coca-Cola and Pepsi (NYSE: PEP) were orbiting in space during the space shuttle mission STS-51F onboard Challenger. Challenger was actually crashed later on mission STS-51L and the whole shuttle program was terminated in 2011. Though Coca-Cola and Pepsi are no longer available in space, they have quite a firm grip here on earth, and one reason for that is the PLASTIC industry.

The 1970s were a game changer in the world economy and people’s health development. The overall deregulation period started with the famous Cannon-Kennedy-Pearson Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, but for the purpose of this article three events trumped that. The first was the invention of light blow molded polyethyle terephthalate PET bottles, courtesy of DuPont and a man named Nathaniel Wyeth. It was Coca-Cola’s arch nemesis Pepsi that first introduced the huge 64-ounce (2 liter) PLASTIC bottle in 1977, in the same year that Department of Energy became a new Cabinet post in U. S. and Coca-Cola preferring Jimmy Carter became President of the United States.

The second important moment was the product of Democrat Senator George McGovern who introduced the new nutritional guidelines advocating the use of more carbohydrates. This was the same Democrat who lost to Republican Richard Nixon with electoral votes 520-17 in the 1972 Presidential Election. Following some intense lobbying SUGAR also was given clearance of all negative health implications, and when you add this to the third event that the high-cube 9 ft 6 in tall containers were standardised in addition to the old smaller ones, shipping large amounts of sugary water became more profitable than ever before. Full cream milk was deemed detrimental to your health – because it had shorter shelf life. Instead of deregulation nutrition entered the age of regulation, and with horrendous results.

In this age of speed we actually eat food and drink BEVERAGE that is older than ever in human history. The rise of mega-corporations has been possible only due to extensions of product shelf life and easier transportation. DuPont and Malcolm McLean has paved the way for companies like J. B. Hunt Trucking (NASDAQ: JBHT) and Maersk Line (shipping company listed in Denmark). But before I go to the finer details of BEVERAGE industry and different types of sugar, I first introduce my own version of industrial epochs more thoroughly. The customer is the often forgotten player in the equation.

From Chains to Rings

Some elementary kindergarten chemistry is needed to fully appreciate the change from fossil fueled TECHNOLOGICAL revolution to the evolving SUSTAINABLE revolution. To start from the beginning, let’s first concentrate what was the start of the first INDUSTRIAL revolution, often attributed to James Watt and his steam engine patent number 913 in 1769.

Many economic historians talk only about individual machines like Spinning Jenny, but the first INDUSTRIAL revolution was first and foremost a step towards non-renewable energy in the form of aromatic ring structures – coal to be precise. The products on the markets, however, were mainly renewable ring structures made out of glucose sugar units – a 6-ring pyranose sugar: cellulose in the form of wood and cotton; and edible starch in the form of vegetables. Potatoes – also a source of vitamin C – were a big hit long before breakfast cereals by Kellogg (NYSE: K).

The second INDUSTRIAL revolution – which I call TECHNOLOGICAL revolution – shifted the non-renewable energy source from ring-structured coal towards straight-chain structures distilled from crude oil. Oil is essentially plant material from algae, only stewed in high pressure for millions of years which has broken the ring structures of the plants.

It was the diesel engine – now in everybody’s mind thanks to Volkswagen’s  Diesel Deception – that made seafaring and trucking business a goldmine, and the fuel used in aviation is also rather similar to diesel. But it wasn’t only the energy that evolved towards straight-chain structures – the products and the whole society were beginning to be linear. The most abundant plastic waste in seas and rivers is polyethene PE – the archetypal straight-chain plastic discovered at Imperial Chemical Industries (LSE: ICI) in 1933 by Eric Fawcett and Reginald Gibson.

The societal part of the TECHNOLOGICAL revolution brought about disruption of family concept, alienation, globalization, line organizations, wage slaves, and international trade agreements like Transatlantic Tarde and Investment Partnership TTIP. The world was beginning to look the same everywhere, and humans were not always needed to keep things rolling. After all, the concept we generally call work, is often done by the sun, wind, machines, enzymes or bacteria.

But now, according to my own calculations – the 8RD+ timeline – we are finally entering the SUSTAINABLE revolution – back to renewable energy and ring-structured products and ring-structured society. In light of this progress the commotion in European Union is a drift back to nation states with bigger autonomy – rings in intricate patterns instead of chains of sameness like polyethene.

The notion of basic income is also linked to SUSTAINABLE revolution. After all, in the business world we have been talking about fixed costs and variable costs since the time of Josiah Wedgwood. The idea that only human wage work is important is quite ludicrous in a world relying so heavily on petroleum – a substance produced as a product of hundreds of millions of years of tectonic plate movement.

A key notion for the purpose of this BEVERAGE article is the role of the customers in the SUGAR markets: how long will people believe the McGovern styled dietary guidelines which gave a free pass for sugars – especially fructose, a 5-ring furanose sugar – to enter our diet.

The Dupont invention of polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF) plastic is a fine example of game changing plant-based SUSTAINABLE packaging. But for the untrained eye it might be a stretch to find the link to obesity problems and BEVERAGE industry, although from the name of the plastic you might guess it is made out of fructose. Therefore we need a quick brief in market logic and lessons about shelf life.

Robinson Good is Seductive

In the classic 1967 Mike Nichols movie “The Graduate” a young college student falls rather unwillingly for an older woman, the famous Mrs. Robinson. In business terminology, the film is about extended shelf life. At the end of the movie the leading character switches Mrs. Robinson to eloping with her daughter – a fresh product – and leaves the scene in public transportation. There is something similar going on right now in the business world, and the movie also features the unforgettable quote “There’s a great future in the plastics.”

As much as we all like market economy, there is an inherent flaw in it, and that is it requires markets. Selling something is always nice, but to get to repurchase it is demanded that the products doesn’t work as well as they could be working. Therefore a ROBINSON GOOD is a product where advertised vehemence meets PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE.

To make markets bigger the extended shelf life is often attached to PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE. When we hear the term PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE we often think about things like light-bulb conspiracy and printers that suddenly stop working, but unfortunately the term applies to humans as well. The nation just isn’t what it used to be. We have type 2 diabetes, obesity, and eyesight problems – to name just a few of the modern curses. And what is even worse, we are told that this is normal. Professor Leif Groop announced in major newspapers in March 2014 that “diabetes will be a normal characteristic of man in the future.” So why limit the use of carbohydrates and sugars – all that sweet with long shelf life. A slab of meat on the table will not stay as fresh as a bottle of Pepsi and a bowl of cereals.

We also have these heavily industry funded health organizations like American Heart Association (AHA), Heart Foundation of Australia, and Sydänliitto in Finland just to name a few. These associations sell – for a proper fee – logos like “Heart Check” for the industry to be used in packaging. But times are changing: Canada’s similar “Health Check” program was disbanded in June 2014 because of the dubious nature of the official health claims. Carbohydrates and sugars are not so healthy the officials tell you.

To understand the effect of shelf life on company valuation, let’s compare the current Market Cap values of a soda company and a dairy company. Whereas Coca-Cola has M-Cap USD 195 Billion, in the same ball park as a drug company Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) with USD 184 Billion, the largest milk producer in the U.S. is Dean Foods (NYSE: DF) with a tiny M-Cap of less than USD 2 Billion.

The FRAGILITY factor in BEVERAGE industry comes from the power marketing tactics and lobbying, not from the individual products. It is not likely that all the people suddenly start thinking Coca-Cola – on the market since 1886 – or Glaceau Vitaminwater – the invention of Darius Bikoff – or Monster energy drink – the brain child Mark Hall – as terribly bad tasting and repulsive to drink, but the response to advertised health claims if proven false can be sudden. Olympic Games, for example, can be considered as just a vehicle of advertising products with long shelf life. Coca-Cola has been the official sponsor in the games since 1928 in Amsterdam, including controversial events like 1936 Berlin Nazi-Olympics and 1980 Moscow Boycott-Olympics. The memorable ads in the 1930s declared “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Getrank – Coca-Cola.” The link to Moscow Olympics is also revealing: when Pepsi opened first bottling plant in Soviet Union in May 1974, the IOC election with 39 votes chose Moscow as the 1980 Olympic Games venue in October 1974. Moscow was not the favorite in the pre-election, but Coca-Cola did’t want to lose to Pepsi in Soviet Union.

The Volkswagen Diesel deception – where the stock prices fell 38 percent in two days – should have taught us that fraud has a tendency to be unveiled. In the words of Abraham Lincoln – lawyer turned Republican president. “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Actually he sounded a bit like Donald Trump. Therefore the next chapter will unravel some myths that the SUGAR industry has so fiercely lobbied – remember that Marco Rubio has Fanjul SUGAR money behind him. And just like Senator McGovern – the father of the dietary guidelines – was a Democrat, many of the guidelines and laws affecting your health has come from Democrats.

20160309_133231-1

Mythbusters and Commercial Myths

Like Nassim Taleb has often remarked :”FRAGILITY does not like the idea of change.” Therefore to keep the level of sales as expected, some myths need to be nurtured, and what better ally for the BEVERAGE industry to have than the medical community – the men in white coats. Former CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson has often remarked that what we see in mainstream media about health and food is nothing short of brainwashing.

Three medical myths in particular have rocketed the BEVERAGE industry to massive sales. According to Australian market research company IBISWorld, the global milk and cream manufacturing is USD 329 billion industry, global soft drink and bottled water manufacturing is USD 256 billion industry, global beer manufacturing is USD 135 billion industry, and global wine manufacturing is USD 85 billion industry. All this adds up to USD 805 billion, which means that in the eyes of market economy keeping people hydrated is almost as important as people taking their drugs – in the name of preventive medicine – a USD 1.0 trillion industry.

The first medical myth is that people are not capable of valuating themselves how much to drink, and must drink daily 8 portions of 8 ounce (0.25 liter) drinks – a massive 64 ounces (2 liter) a day irrespective how they feel about thirst. For some miraculous reason there were no drinking guidelines prior to sports drink Gatorade entering the market in late 1960s. If anything, in the world of sports over-drinking was rigorously forbidden. The appearance of plastic bottles in the 1970s made the voices of drinking more than one thinks is needed even louder. This 8 times 8 myth is slowly beginning to be buried as it should be, and in 2015 the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine finally admitted that “only drink when thirsty to avoid health problems.” The same goes for the non-athletes as well, which was admitted early this year 2016.

The second medical myth is that drinking sugary drinks often enough helps you keep your blood sugar steady – and to avoid diabetes and hypoglycemia. Basically the myth says that your endocrine organs like pancreas or liver have no role to play in your health, but that you are the sole organizer in your bodily functions, and food and drinks should be administered to your mouth every 3 to 4 hours. It is a mystery how our ancestors could even survive before this myth was taken into practice, but luckily for us it is only a myth and with zero scientific background. The rule of VARIABILITY is the right guide here, as explained in my last article “Rock Steady but Fragile: Will Biohacking Sting Big Pharma to Death?” In reality eating and drinking almost non-stop only keeps your insulin levels too high, which is the real cause of problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes. In true life patients’ insulin levels are never measured so that this little secret would not be revealed, but the research community has known this for decades. Advocating sugary drinks is a clever way to boost BEVERAGE sales also in the respect that sugary drinks don’t quench thirst. Only drinking something like water, milk, or beer will actually quench the thirst.

This self-adjusting nature of our bodily functions is something that the official truth really tries to keep a secret. In South Africa the famous sports physician Timothy Noakes was called a “mampara” – an idiot – in the local press when he in his later years had the audacity to switch to high-fat low-carbohydrate (HFLC) diet instead of the official eat and drink more carbohydrates policy. Even tougher faith was what happened to a once famous TV-doctor Antti Heikkilä in Finland, as he had to move to another country, to Hamburg, Germany. Saying that diabetics should not eat and drink so much carbohyrates – the items with the longest shelf life – but instead opt for more fat and protein – the items with short shelf life – was just too much. In United States few doctors like Robert Lustig are finally getting through their message about HFLC, and we have fine examples like Olympic medalist Björn Ferry from Sweden that HFLC diet can be applied in the world of sports too.

The third medical myth is the advantages of using fructose – a 5-ring furanose sugar – in our diet. Of course the health benefits of fructose seem to get bigger as the production methods of high-fructose corn syrup becomes cheaper. Money and health seem to go hand in hand, and companies like Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE: ADM), DuPont and Tate&Lyle (LSE: TATE) have quite respectable revenues as the lords of fructose markets. The main claim for fame for fructose should actually sound alarming if you think about it more closely. The doctors say that fructose doesn’t spike up your blood glucose levels nor your insulin response. Fructose is said to keep your blood glucose steady – the concept that FRAGILITY loves so much. But because glucose and fructose “are not the same ting” as Fat Tony – a character of Nassim Taleb’s book “Antifragile” – would have said, this claim is obviously true, but it doesn’t make fructose healthy. Glucose can be converted to fructose, but fructose cannot be converted to glucose. The reason that glucose from non-edible parts of plants can be made to something sweet is the financial logic here, but the DuPont invention of using fructose to make plastic can now change the voices. I could cite hundreds of academic studies showing what is wrong with eating fructose, but instead I use reverse engineering in the next two chapters two show who use and who doesn’t use fructose in the real commercial world. The strictly business minded reader can easily skip the following two chapters and jump to “How Fragile We Are?” Just follow the money!

20160309_134617-1

Marathon Man Rehydrated

In order to fully understand the idea of keeping people hydrated, let’s go back to the 1950s, but this time to the world of sports, not to the world of movies. In 1954 the British Commonwealth Empire Games were held in Vancouver, Canada. The town lies at the west coast near the U.S. border and Seattle. It is more famous of the rains than of those sunny days. In that light it was a small miracle that only 38 percent of those who started the marathon running race in August 7, 1954 made it to the finish might sound surprising.

But it was a hot autumn day, and people collapsed in the 82 degrees Fahrenheit temperature (28 degrees Celsius). I have seen some ambulance requiring falls at the Stockholm marathon held annually in Sweden, but the Vancouver 1954 race was different in that also the betting office favorites faultered. Stan Fox allegedly ran into a lamp post, but still it was Jim Peters who got all the ill fame and opprobrium.

Jim Peters made it to the stadium 17 minutes ahead of his nearest rival – Scotland’s young contender Joe McGhee – just in order to play a staggering dance going one step forward and two steps backward before finally collapsing. Peters was so dehydrated and out of this world that even watching him could make one sick. Despite his quarter of an hour lead Peters could not finish the race, and was taken to a hospital. He never ran a marathon race again.

The Vancouver marathon was only the second time Jim Peters failed to finish a marathon. The first time was in Helsinki, Finland during the 1952 Olympic Games. The Olympic Marathon was eventually won by Czech runner Emil Zatopek – then at Olympic Record time 2:23:03 – who took the time in the press conference to attribute his success to Czech beer Pilsner Urquell. No wonder he ran so fast, though I prefer another Czech beer Velkopopovich Kozel Dark myself. The 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games were also one of those numerous cases when Coca-Cola entered the country first time as a byproduct of the Olympics.

Those with any military background may better understand Zatopek’s pace in Helsinki when converted to Cooper’s 12 minute running test result: a quite respectable 3,540 meters. In comparison, Joe McGhee’s winning time in Vancouver 1954 was 2:39:36, translated to Cooper’s test only 3,170 meters. Lasse Viren, who came fifth at the Olympic Marathon in Montreal, Canada in 1976, had a time 2:13:11 – translated to Cooper’s test 3,800 meters – and Lasse Viren ran his marathon the following day after he had won 5,000 meters Olympic gold medal. The mention of Lasse Viren is here mainly because of the style of his celebration – he was the guy who raised his Tiger Onitsuka running shoes up in the air after winning the 10,000 meters race – and almost got himself disqualified for this. I don’t see how advertising shoes is any worse than advertising beer like Emil Zatopek. Both beer – a thousands of years old BEVERAGE innovation – and shoes are essential parts of life.

But let’s go back to the resuscitation problem. At the stadium at Vancouver Jim Peters was given 7 ounces (o.2 liter) of sugary drink – maybe even Canada Dry Ginger Beer, now produced by Doctor Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS). In the hospital Peters found himself attached to an intravenous dripping system, and was given half a gallon (1.8 liter) of 0.9% saline with 5% glucose sugar. This is basically Locke’s solution, but for some reason almost no-one uses that term, although Frank Spiller Locke once carried important research both in Leipzig and London and should be recognized accordingly.

In the old days there was this lab geek in every hospital that mixed the SUGAR and salt in the IV-solutions in the basement, but this industry too was changed by the appearance of PLASTIC age. The lowered transportation costs made the scaling and branding benefits possible, and made companies like Baxter (NYSE: BAX) major operatives in the field of blood. As early as in 1933 – already before the PLASTIC era – Baxter had a full line of five different IV-solutions.

At this point the odd reader or two might ponder what the heck IV-therapy and BEVERAGE industry have in common, but this is really a key revelation. Why should you drink something you know for sure is not going in your body through your blood circulation. Shouldn’t you drink what you know is beneficial? Is fructose an integral part of IV-therapy?

We know that IV-fluids are useful because they are used in resuscitation and they are also categorized as doping substances, a fact most Finnish readers remember all too well. At the 2001 Lahti Cross Country Skiing World Championship Games as much as six Finnish skiers get caught, including four national icons Virpi Kuitunen, Harri Kirvesniemi, Mika Myllylä and Jari Isometsä. The solution in question was HES-solution manufactured by B. Braun containing starch form of glucose known as hydroxy-ethyl-starch. You can think of it like mashed potatoes diluted in water. No fructose is involved.

The intellectual giant behind the concept of IV-therapy was English-born Sydney Ringer, who noticed in the late 1800s how vitally important normal table salt (sodium chloride) and glucose  – a 6-ring pyranose sugar – are. The energy part can also be starch (chains of glucose), lactate (half of glucose), or acetate (in food this comes mostly from saturated fats). To easily differentiate we use names like Ringer-Locke’s, Ringer’s Lactate, or Ringer’s Acetate. For those readers with some sporting experience, an amusing fact is that the chemical giant Cargill – now the biggest private company in America with a revenue of USD 120 Billion in 2015 – launched a program in the Reagan era to make PLASTIC out of lactate. First polylactic acid (PLA) bottles were launched for mineral water in 2005, but the poor gas barrier properties of PLA has kept the use rather minimal. On the other hand, DuPont’s new PTF bottles made out of fructose have even better gas barrier properties than the normal PET bottles.

There are also other electrolytes than sodium in IV-fluids, and calcium is the most important of them. This is also an old discovery, since the famous Perrier mineral waters – now owned by Nestle (PINX: NSRGY) – are known precisely for their calcium content. In 1883 Sydney Ringer confirmed that without calcium the heart simply stops beating. Ringer also found out that adding enough potassium the heart will stop too. That is why potassium is used in lethal punishment as injection, and it is also the reason why PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE is administered to people as food additives: there is no maximum limit in the food industry for using potassium chloride (E508) or potassium citrate (E332). Using potassium chloride has also been the salt of choice for many nurses turned mass murderers – like Orville Lynn Majors and Daniela Poggiali – who between them left a trace of hundreds of dead patients. After reading this you might want to cut down your banana eating.

Fat Geese in Egypt

Now that we have established that fructose is not used in medicine to support vital bodily functions, it is time to find out the real life commercial applications of using fructose. And to do that, let’s go far back in time.

The ancient Egyptians are famous for three things: they invented the 365-day calendar; they build mean stony pyramids for tourists to photograph; and they force-fed geese to get fatty livers to eat (a process called cavage). For my readers the last point is the most important – we have known 4000 years that eating fructose will cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), just as doctor Robert Lustig later explained in his bestseller book “Fat Chance.”

In those ancient times there were two types of figs the faithful servants could shove down the poor geese’s throats in Egypt: mulberry figs and common figs. In times prior to photography, hieroglyphs and stone carvings were used to capture this fine process called cavage. The best hieroglyphs are in northern Egypt in a place called Saqqara.

It should come as no surprise that eating lots of figs can cause diabetes to birds and humans alike, and in 1873 an archaeologist named Georg Ebers made a discovery at a flea market at Luxor. He bought a 110-page medical papyrus dated few thousand years ago where diabetes was mentioned. This paper now goes by the name of Ebers Papyrus.

So the invention of the link between fructose consumption and fatty liver and diabetes goes 4000 years back, but for academics citations this old are of course outdated.

In the early 1950s the link between Coca-Cola consumption and fatty liver disease begin to unravel to a doctor in Kansas, Samuel Zelman. In Topeka Veterans Hospital there was a hospital aide who drank a formidable amount of Coca-Cola daily – a full 20 bottles. In those days the famous contour bottle was smaller than today – only 6.5 ounces (0.2 liter) – but still the volume totaled a gallon (3.8 liter) a day. The amount of sugar in it was 14 ounces (400 grams) and according to traditional calorie count it equaled 1,600 calories. But as I already mentioned the fructose part in the sugar never enters normal blood stream, but instead converts to fat in the liver. So you actually use only 800 calories properly, and the rest 800 calories makes you sick. No wonder Samuel Zelman noticed that the hospital aide had seriously fattened liver.

For the sake of argument you can compare this amount of sugar to alcohol use. If all alcohol would convert to fatty liver – which it doesn’t – you would have to drink 32 ounces (1 liter) of Smirnoff vodka courtesy of Diageo (NYSE: DEO) daily. In practise you would have to drink even more to get as serious injuries as the hospital aide in Kansas.

Doctor Zelman did also a larger study of 20 obese non-alcoholic people, but in those days it took him 18 months to find 20 overly fat people in Kansas. From the 20 obese people 19 had fatty liver diesease NAFLD, and half of those were serious cases. Nowadays you could find 20 fat people from any car park near any supermarket in just a few minutes, and most of them would be buying soda.

The reason fructose is bad for your liver – and geese’s and ducks’ livers – is that it converts directly to fat in your liver without ever entering your normal blood stream. The fact that we even call fructose a carbohydrate is therefore a kind of misnomer. As an energy source protein is the most versatile of all: it can be used as a construction material in muscles as well as converted to either glucose or fat. The source of energy our muscles actually prefer is saturated fat – the one and the same your doctor tells you to avoid – in a process called beta oxidation where acetate is formed. Liver is the storage space where the excess glucose is supposed to be stored for everyday life, but if the there is too much fat in the liver the handling of the glucose units becomes rather difficult. The fat in your body should be inside your muscles – like marbled beef meat in rib eye stake – not clunks of blobby fat in liver or belly.

20160309_134950-1

How Fragile We Are?

To summarize the expected consumer behavior I predict that health will be a major factor in the future. The search for health will outtrump the official truth. The lesson we have learned – or should have learned – from Jonathan Swift’s political satires is that “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” The DuPont invention of using fructose made from non-edible parts of plants to make plastic obviously means that there is less fructose to be force fed down to people’s throats. There is also less need for oil to be used as plastics, another important factor in the global economy.

In the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010 Coca-Cola launched their PlantBottle with almost 30 percent of plant material, but the benzene ring in PET still came from petroleum. Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi have launched their plans of using all plant-based PET bottles, but this is an elaborate process. The Chinese company Wuhan Kaidi uses plasma heating to get SynGas from plants, and this can be used like petroleum based structures.

In 2004 the United States Department of Energy launched a report titled “Top Value Added Chemicals from Biomass.” It was edited by Gene R. Petersen – still at DOE – and Todd A. Werpy – currently at ADM. To think about the bigger picture you must remember that cellulose and lignin are the most abundant molecular structures of biomass on Earth. We are basically surrounded by glucose – the structural unit in cellulose and also starch – and to a lesser extent benzene – a structural unit in lignin. Therefore it was no surprise that 2,5-furandicarbocylic acid (FDCA) was high on the top 12 molecules list of DOE. If furan-moiety – a five ring structure with four carbon atoms and one oxygen atom – is central here, we remember of course that fructose is the starting point to produce it, and fructose can be made out glucose. The possibilities are endless.

DuPont has been a key player in the petroleum based world, but the acquisition of a fructose factory in Finland in 2011 changed the scenes. The Kotka factory lies near the highway to Russia in Southern Finland, and it was the same factory that in the 1980s sold licences to U.S. to help the high-fructose corn syrup production out of non-edible parts of corn. You might say that Ellen Kullman, the ex-CEO of DuPont was a genius.

So now we finally come to the prediction part of this BEVERAGE article, which was pretty hard for me to keep even relatively short because I know way too much about this stuff. After all, I have been unemployed for fifteen years, so that should tell you something about the power of the health claims. But the prediction part is actually short.

In essence, everything bottled or canned with way too much SUGAR or artificial sweeteners will lose market shares on the BEVERAGE market, as the real scientific health claims for various products will become common knowledge and the war on obesity comes back to the right tracks. So mineral water with added vitamins is better than soda, and beer is better than cider, even if both are manufactured by Boston Beer Company (NYSE: SAM). And the use of plant based plastics will face bigger consumer demand, as the urge to save our planet will rise. This gives us the opportunity to raise taxes on petroleum and use the non-renewable energy sources as little as possible – something the Minnesota-born economist Harold Hotelling was speculating already in 1931. All and all, the biggest losers in this trend seems to be the countries heavily relying their economy in producing oil – as the fall in oil price suggests – but for the rest of us the era of SUGAR lobbying might be ending.

We are only as fragile as we allow ourselves to be!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s