There is an update, a correction, and some reader reaction to Michele Alperin’s February 15 cover story about Muuna, the company that is trying to revive the cottage cheese business and claw back dairy aisle territory from its rival, yogurt.
First, the correction. The article stated that Muuna CEO Gerard Meyer had hired a salesman with 20 years of experience, who had worked at Bed Bath and Beyond to work for Muuna. In fact, Meyer had hired the salesman at SodaStream, the company where he worked before joining Muuna. For Muuna, he hired someone from the opposing team — a guy who had had spent 20 years selling yogurt to grocery stores. Meyer also started out as a consultant for Muuna, but not for SodaStream, as was stated in the article.
Meyer also wrote in with an update on his company’s progress:
“We are now in 3,000 stores and should be in 4,000 within a few months as we are entering in late March into Ahold (Stop & Shop and Giant) so that will give us distribution from Richmond, VA, to Maine. Our next steps will be to continue into additional regions of the country.
We even recently just ran a TV spot in some markets of the Northeast on the Super Bowl and a spot in some markets of the Northeast on the Grammys.
I certainly intend to do with Muuna what I did with SodaStream which is to disrupt a category and launch a new brand in the USA. I built SodaStream to $200 million in the USA and I intend for us to build Muuna even bigger!
Over 90 percent of new food and beverage products fail but we have high hopes of success and so far the signs are positive.
Lastly, two readers weighed in on Muuna-brand cottage cheese, wondering what exactly is in the stuff:
#b#To the Editor: Check the Label#/b#
I don’t think anywhere in Michele Alperin’s excellent story about Muuna cottage cheese she mentions the actual ingredients.
Here’s the info I found on line:
Ingredients: cultured skim milk, skim milk, peaches, water, fructose, cream, milk protein concentrate, corn starch, salt, natural flavor, sodium lactate, potassium sorbate (preservative), carob bean gum, annatto extract (color), xanthan gum, lactic acid, vitamin A palmitate, enzymes.
The only cottage cheese I can find on store shelves that is purely dairy with no additives is Daisy. Quite good. I used to buy Friendship, but they changed from pure dairy to add chemical preservatives.
I think your readers need to see this information. Of course, those who care will look for it when it’s in their hand at the store.
Marion Nestle, nutrition professor at NYU, said in a Princeton talk several years ago that bread should have only three ingredients: flour, yeast and salt. In my experience locally, only the baguettes at McCaffreys fit that. I think she’d agree with me that cottage cheese should have milk and cream only.
I have always loved cottage cheese (plain, of course). In fact, when I was pregnant with my second child I ate half `a cantaloupe filled with cottage cheese virtually every day of my pregnancy. That was my one and only craving.
But I gave up eating cottage cheese years ago because of the unconscionable amount of salt. I kept reading the article hoping that issue would come up, especially since the owner touts its other nutritional qualities.
I did some quick research. One 150 gram container of Muuna contains 520 mg of sodium. (That’s 21 percent of the recommended daily amount. But the RDA is, in my opinion, way too generous anyway.) And 150 grams is not considered a full serving of cottage cheese; one cup (225 grams) is. So it’s really more of a snack.
I compared Muuna’s 150-gram container, which contains 520 mg sodium, to Breakstone 2% Low Fat Small Curd. One of Breakstone’s 113-gram servings contains 340 mg sodium — an equivalent serving of Muuna would have 390 mg of sodium..
I am so disappointed!
Pat Tanner is a food writer and frequent contributor to U.S. 1. She blogs at www.dinewithpat.com.
#b#Teach the Full History#/b#
In recognition of Black History Month, Not in Our Town, a Princeton racial justice organization (www.niotprinceton.org), is urging the public to support New Jersey’s Amistad Commission and to advocate for a curriculum that gives a full and true history of the United States.
To teach our children anything but the full reality of the history of this country is to rob them of the chance for an integrated and collaborative future. Until we can acknowledge and face the Black contributions to the successes and White contributions to the failures of our nation’s history, we will not be able to escape American society’s continuing systemic racism.
The 2002 enactment of the Amistad Bill was a heartening first step in this direction. The law requires that all New Jersey schools teach African American history on a regular basis throughout the year. While this is an important step, we know that the lag between legislation and implementation can be long and its impact devastating, particularly concerning the rights of African Americans. From the arrival of the first enslaved African through Jim Crow through the terrorism of lynching to current efforts to roll back voting rights, our nation has a history of revoking, delaying, and minimizing the rights owed to our brothers and sisters of color. An education that denies the realities of White oppression and the contributions of people of color is a continuation of this trend.
When our students are exposed only to White history and literature, the implications are dire. Students of color are robbed of their inheritance of historical and cultural heroes and heroines. The few examples in the average curriculum of Black achievement, resistance, and intelligence forces these children to find these historical role models outside of the classroom. There are many robust institutions and practices within communities of color hard at work dispelling the myths foisted on these children, but this happens despite our education, not because of it. We must ask ourselves what lessons we are teaching our children when they must seek empowerment outside the school system.
Another impact for White children is that they are left largely ignorant of the history of systemic oppression of people of color, the history of resistance to this oppression, and the history of White supremacy. This leaves them woefully inept at identifying all three, and liable to perpetuating this oppression.
We of Not In Our Town Princeton encourage you to take action this month in whatever capacity you can to ensure our schools are living up to these ideals.
If you are a parent, talk to your school’s teachers and PTA about how representative the school’s curriculum is.
If you are a student, tell the adults in your life what you imagine learning about American history could look and feel like if it were genuinely representative. If you are a teacher, talk to your colleagues or visit the Amistad Commission’s interactive curriculum website for ideas for lesson plans.
If you are a citizen, talk to your elected officials about how schools are being monitored and evaluated. We all can and must ensure that our children receive their fundamental right of a representative education.
Simona Brickers, Linda Oppenheim, Roberto Schiraldi, John Steele
Not in Our Town (Princeton)