Jamie Oliver

forum: Campaigns and Community

Subscribe to forums RSS

#1 Tue 07 May 13 8:51am

Jonathon Harris

Member
Member since Tue 07 May 13

Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

I am new to this forum.

I am posting this topic in response to an article titled "Appetite for change" featuring jamie oliver that appeared in U on Sunday. An Australian publication insert of the Queensland Sunday Mail. The article featured a brief overview of Jamie's ministry of food project including his potential aims and possible outcomes.

What took my interest and gave me inspiration to start this post is the line, "Oliver wants to tax the added sugar hidden in so many everyday products".

I am a barista at a well established coffee shop in Brisbane, Australia. Every morning I serve the population 16oz cappuccino coffee's while adhering to requests to add 4 sugars as well as highly concentrated flavour syrups such as caramel, vanilla etc etc. I am a coffee enthusiast and under no circumstance do I believe sugar belongs in a well made cup of coffee.

To put into perspective the figures:

4 teaspoons of sugar equates to 32 grams (approx 8 grams/tsp)
1x 30ml recommended serve of Monin Vanilla Syrup equates to 25 grams of sugar (Monin syrups are industry standard & commonly used)

Already, this coffee contains approximately 57 grams of sugar.

The Question I ask this community is, "How many of you would believe the standard coffee people order contains as much sugar as a 600ml bottle of coca cola" The difference being that this coffee is consumed everyday by the oblivious customer, where as coca cola already has a name, shamed by sugar content.

From my experience of working 30 hours per week in a coffee shop for the last few years, I can support the information that at least 30% of my cliental are purchasing these high sugar content concoctions.

In the article described earlier, it made mention to Jamie Oliver wishing for the government to put a sugar tax on certain beverages in an effort to reduce obesity rates. He used coca cola as an example.

I believe that although coca cola is a definite cause to the problem, however, high sugar content coffee orders are a much more legitimate cause.

Coffee is an everyday ritual for most 9am - 5pm, 7 day a week, working individuals. This demographic is likely to consume one of the said beverages daily. Most people know of the sugar content affiliated with coca cola and therefore already feel discouraged to consume the beverage in consecutive doses. However, the sugar they place in their morning coffee is a controllable dose that many people wilfully abuse.

The purpose of this post is to inform Jamie that espresso coffee from an establishment is a beverage where consumers can control the sugar content. A choice where majority of people choose the unhealthy option.

If Jamie wants to successfully educate people about beverage sugar content, he should start with coffee and work towards an alternative recipe for coca cola like beverages. Coffee is controlled by the people ordering it, not by huge multi-national corporations.

My vision is to see the population in my city understanding that coffee made properly does not need sugar. As a barista, I refuse to stir the customers sugar into their coffee. I have never had a complaint about a coffee not being sweet enough and I know for a fact that the sugar sits on the bottom of their take away cup every day.

I want this community to provide feedback to the above subject matter and to advise me on any actions I can take to improve  coffee education on my customers.

Jamie's ministry of food project is a reality and hopefully could also be a bright, healthy future.

    Likes (0)

#2 Tue 07 May 13 1:37pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

There is no doubt that sugar consumption is one of the leading factors of obesity, the situation is out of control.  However, trying to convince people that "proper coffee doesn't need sugar" is not the way to go about it.  People do not like to be told that they are wrong, that their likes are inappropriate and that their sense of taste is unacceptable.  You'll get nowhere by insulting people.

Instead, people need to be given the facts.  Just like on a cigarette box you will find words like "Smoking leads to cancer" and other unsavory facts you can advertise the sugar and calorie content.  Here in NY it is mandatory to post the caloric count of all food and beverages on the menu.  When you look at the menu for starbucks they'll say just how many calories you are adding with those syrups. 

There was an unsuccessful legal move by the mayor of NYC to ban sugary drinks over 16oz.  New Yorkers were up in arms about it, the store owners were livid and it did not pass.  People do not like to be told what to do, they do not want laws imposed on their rights.  I find that the educational route is a much better one.  If I ordered a 16oz coffee with full fat cream, syrup and 4 sugars in it I'm not stupid, I know what I'm buying.  But if you wrote on my cup 568 calories it'd stop me dead in my tracks before putting it on my lips  exclaim

    Likes (0)

#3 Tue 07 May 13 1:46pm

Jonathon Harris

Member
Member since Tue 07 May 13

Re: Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

I didn't write this with the intent of insulting the people that order such coffees.

I have found from talking to my customers that there is a common misconception that if a cup of coffee is not nice, sugar is needed.

Due to time constraints of the busy customer ordering take away coffee. They will usually order their coffee with sugar to minimise the gamble of receiving an 'undrinkable coffee'

With the improvement of coffee supplies through organisations such as cup of excellence, unique taste characteristics are able to be extracted from the bean. By the sounds of it you are quite capable in regards to coffee knowledge and understand this.

If there is a way to make people appreciate the fine art of a coffee extraction whilst minimising obesity rates, I would like to find it.

*edit*

I also think that to write on a customers cup "568 calories" to be a much more insulting/pretentious way of saying "hey, your going to get diabetes dude.." It would be like telling a customer that they simply do not bother to account for their actions through numerical sum.

Last edited by Jonathon Harris (Tue 07 May 13 1:49pm)

    Likes (0)

#4 Tue 07 May 13 2:51pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

Jonathon Harris wrote:

I have found from talking to my customers that there is a common misconception that if a cup of coffee is not nice, sugar is needed.

...

I also think that to write on a customers cup "568 calories" to be a much more insulting/pretentious way of saying "hey, your going to get diabetes dude.." It would be like telling a customer that they simply do not bother to account for their actions through numerical sum.

Well then these are 2 very differing views - you are from the other side of the world so this is not surprising.  I have never in my entire life heard of someone putting sugar in their coffee because it doesn't taste good.  In my experience you either drink coffee with sugar or you do not, and whether it's good or bad doesn't make a difference.  I would never put sugar in my coffee because it makes it sweet, if it's a bad cup of coffee I dump it and go elsewhere.  Likewise, the people that come to your shop every single day for a cup of coffee would presumably know by now whether or not the coffee you make is good or bad, it's not comprehensible that it would differ from day to day so much so that they people would arbitrarily put sugar in their coffee "just in case it's bad."  That makes NO SENSE.  People either drink their coffee with or without sugar, good or bad, end of story.  It's their sugar habit that needs to be changed, they do not need to be schooled on proper coffee making, that's your job not theirs. 

In regards to stating how many calories are in your cup, like I said - that's the law here in NY, you can disagree with it if you want but it doesn't change the law.  Do you know how many times I've been out to dinner and have been deterred by the caloric amount written on the menu?  Many many times.  That's what has worked here, that's what people respond to here, I'm only relaying facts to you, you asked for ideas and here it is.  When I buy a venti latte with hazelnut syrup from a coffee shop here it is made clear to me how many calories are in it.... therefore I do not buy it, it's simple and it works.

    Likes (0)

#5 Tue 07 May 13 3:26pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

Welcome to the forum Jonathon Harris  big_smile

I have to agree that coffee is best without the addition of those flavoring syrups that get added to the drink.
I have only tried the flavoured coffee once, as a small free sample cup that was being gven out in the street outside a well known coffee shop on a cold December day , the warmth of the drink was apperciated, but after just a cuple of sips I had to throw it away as it was just so very sweet  , I could not drink it .
However , many of the people who tried the free sample were going into the well known coffee shop to buy a full sized drink.

I did raise the subject of the sweetness with the person who was giving out the free samples and they were suprised , they didnt know what to say , except ' Most people love it'.

When we think of the 'hidden calories ' from sugars in things like drinks , we automatically think that fizzy drinks must be the culprit , but your so right , we should also be thinking about these flavoring syrups that go into coffee as well.

koukouvagia ... when I look at a menu I look at the dish and what is in it , I dont think that if I was out for a treat I would be detered by the amount of callories that were also  written on the menu .
I can see the point of the calories being written on the menu but I know that many people dont even begin to think about what is in the food that they eat , they only  think about if its tasty or not.
I think that some of the burger chains here display the calorific content of the food that they sell , but I have never noticed this detering the consumers.
This is not a critisiam of the system in New York , but just an observation of what happens here.

    Likes (0)

#6 Tue 07 May 13 10:50pm

Jonathon Harris

Member
Member since Tue 07 May 13

Re: Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

I'm going to presume that Mummza is Australian. I thank you for your support in the situation I face. Just this morning I served a mother and her two young primary school students one 12oz caramel latte and two large chocolate milkshakes. The mother also ordered 2 butterscotch muffins and a slice of Vegemite toast.

After taking the order.. I knew this was the daily breakfast.

This mother is a regular customer and I have taken this order many times over the last few years. The dietary choices of one generation will sift through to the next and along with it obesity rates and early fatality.

Now koukouvagia, your opinions on this subject have been a very welcomed education experience for me. I have yet to travel to your country and experience the cultures of your city. Would you please explain some of the culture associated with coffee in your city?

I can tell you that in my city:

Speciality/Boutique coffee shops hold majority of the business. I am confident to say that chain coffee shops are loosing their market share as customers are starting to realise the quality difference between commodity coffee and speciality coffee

(commodity coffee is commonly sold at major chain shops as well as supermarkets, indicated by the name it is purely a commodity product that can be traded between owners, often it is left in storage for over a year before roasted. Speciality coffee is purchased green direct from the farm and roasted on arrival, from the roasting stage it is then used at a coffee shop 10-16 days after roasting)

The price of coffee where I work in $US (take-away size only)

$3.56 for an 8oz  (1 shot of coffee)
$4.06 for a 12oz  (2 shots of coffee via double grouper head)
$5.59 for a 16oz  (3 shots of coffee through combining above)

Syrups and Soy do cost 50c extra

Sugar/Equal is free

The most popular size is the 12oz followed by the 16oz.

As culturally unacceptable as this generalisation sounds, I think that the Australian population at times is almost shamed by the sugar they consume. It is very very rare that I see a dine in coffee with more than 2 open packets of sugar left on the table and I actually believe that some people order take away coffee to hide the sugar content of their beverage.

    Likes (0)

#7 Wed 08 May 13 3:46pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

mummza wrote:

koukouvagia ... when I look at a menu I look at the dish and what is in it , I dont think that if I was out for a treat I would be detered by the amount of callories that were also  written on the menu .
I can see the point of the calories being written on the menu but I know that many people dont even begin to think about what is in the food that they eat , they only  think about if its tasty or not.
I think that some of the burger chains here display the calorific content of the food that they sell , but I have never noticed this detering the consumers.
This is not a critisiam of the system in New York , but just an observation of what happens here.

Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't a deterrent.  Mostly though it is.  I've been a calorie counter on and off for a number of years, and I know that I can quell hunger and maintain my weight at around 2000 per day.  If I sit down to have a burger and fries I might be spending half my day's calories on just that meal.  But if I look over at the boldly printed (and it IS boldly printed) calorie content of that meal and it says something like 1567 calories I WILL think twice.  It DOES make me feel bad even if I go ahead and order it.  Sometimes it does annoy me that they have to wave that number in front of my face but looking back it has kept me from making poor choices many times.  In my personal experience it has been very difficult to order a meal that is above 1000 calories, even if I'm not dieting.

    Likes (0)

#8 Wed 08 May 13 3:49pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

Jonathon Harris wrote:

Now koukouvagia, your opinions on this subject have been a very welcomed education experience for me. I have yet to travel to your country and experience the cultures of your city. Would you please explain some of the culture associated with coffee in your city?

The coffee culture here is a lot like all fast food culture.  Specialty coffee shops are everywhere, Starbucks rules predominant.  People drink coffee all day long.  I find it to be an unhealthy and over priced obsession.  I'm quite happy with my home brewed american cup of joe with a splash of half n' half.  During the holidays I will indulge in a gingerbread latte or a pumpkin latte but that's only during the fall.

    Likes (0)

#9 Thu 09 May 13 1:50pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

I find that seeing the caloric content and nutrition content (sodium, sugar, fat, etc.) impacts my decisions about food quite a lot.

I worked very briefly as a barista and our drinks were all about the high quality coffee and exacting process of making a good cup, so even our flavored drinks were quite restrained in terms of sugar and syrup content.  I think this type of drink is usually a once-in-a-while treat for many people.  I assume the people who load up the coffee with sugar would be having soda loaded with sugar if the coffee wasn't sweet enough, seriously.  I've never heard of people automatically asking for a lot of sugar because they fear the coffee quality is that poor.  Time to find another coffee shop that uses high quality coffee and a good method.

Since your shop offers high quality, maybe they should advertise - 'Try our coffee without sugar or with less sugar this time and taste the difference quality makes'.  Haha - I must have been an ad agent in another life.

Last edited by MsPablo (Thu 09 May 13 1:52pm)

    Likes (0)

#10 Fri 10 May 13 12:31am

Maree

Forum super champ
From Newcastle, Australia
Member since Sat 10 Mar 07

Re: Ministry of Food, Sugar Tax. High Sugar Content Coffee. Obesity Rates

Hi Jonathon Harris and welcome to the forums wave

I don't take sugar in my coffee and I certainly don't go to places that add syrups. Not so much for the kilojoule content, I just don't like sweet things.

They must do things differently in Queensland (though I was there last month) ... we operate in the metric system (not the Imperial oz etc system) here in NSW and have done for decades smile.


"Cook with love and laughter ..."
    Likes (0)

Powered by PunBB.