The Artificially Sweetened Mazoe Scandal
A few weeks ago, we reported that Schweppes Zimbabwe, alongside Coca Cola, had issued a statement trying to defend the fact that a new recipe had been nichodemously introduced for the popular Mazoe line of juices. According to Schweppes, the changes had been necessitated by the need to tackle obesity in the country.
This claim was widely derided by Mazoe lovers, who pointed out that it’s very difficult to come across an obese Zimbabwean. There was also the fact that Coca Cola could have handled the scandalous affair better, by producing a new line of products containing the new ingredients.
Indeed, many Zimbas pointed out that they would rather die of obesity than of the cancer that was likely to come out of drinking the new juices. This was based on a WhatsApp driven rumor that the ingredients in the new line of Mazoe were carcinogenic.
Coca Cola Gives In
A few days ago, and amidst reports of a boycott, Coca Cola and Schweppes finally relented. In yet another press statement, the companies announced that they were swallowing their artificial sweeteners, and would, within a few days, reintroduce the much loved versions of Mazoe.
Perhaps in a bid to save face, the companies also announced that they would not do away entirely with the new brand of Mazoe. Instead, they would keep them on the market, along with the old versions. Consumers will then be free to choose which, between the two versions, is the one that they prefer.
An unwise decision
The people at Coca Cola and Schweppes are clearly guilty of watching too much DSTV. Zimbabweans are not obese. If there is any Zimbabwean who is overweight,that’s probably because of eating too much Sadza. It has nothing to do with Mazoe.
And Mazoe products are a national heritage. It’s one of the few things that the country proudly exports across the region, including to South Africa.
Zimbabwe also has a shortage of foreign currency. To waste the little that we have on artificial sweeteners for bad tasting Mazoe products when we have so much sugar in the country would be rather unfair for other sectors of the economy. It’s good, in any case, that our beloved Mazoe is back in its original form!