Yesterday, Rivella AG released a yellow version of their milk serum drink that is based on tofu serum instead of milk serum. One consequence of this change is that the drink contains no lactose.
If you’ve grown up in Switzerland, you probably know the bitter-sweet taste of Rivella from your childhood. Several cultures have produced drinks based on milk serum, but the Swiss are the only ones crazy enough to make it one of their national culinary treasures. So you would think that making a similarly tasting drink available to lactose intolerant people and vegans would be a noble act by Rivella AG, wouldn’t you?
Catering to the vegans and the lactose intolerant is just a pretense. Rivella AG wants more. They want the Chinese market and are using the Swiss launch as a test bed.
Over 95% of Chinese are lactose intolerant. There has been no significant dairy industry in China in the last several thousand years, so an adult Chinese does not need the lactase enzyme. While there are few cows, there is a lot more tofu production, and this is what Rivella wants. A byproduct of tofu production is tofu serum, just like milk serum is a byproduct of cheese production. Where there’s a lot of tofu, there’s a lot of serum to make Rivella Yellow with. And there’s a lot of tofu in China.
By sticking a few hundred thousand Swiss francs into the development of a Rivella based on tofu serum, Rivella AG can build production centers in China and attack that market on its very own soil in a frantic attempt to cash in on the new Chinese middle class.
The irony of it all is that in some time, Rivella could probably sell their traditional milk serum based “Rivella red” in China instead. There are more greedy Swiss companies at work conquering China than just Rivella AG. If the current trend continues, lobbying by Swiss dairy companies in China will have made all the Chinese lactose tolerant and many Swiss bovine sperm salespeople rich.
The Swiss are already exporting cows to China, and articles written about it don’t even mention lactose intolerance. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is telling its people that milk is healthy.
Yep, sure is healthy to have nonstop diarrhea.
Thanks to Alex’s comment for pointing out Rivella’s huge marketing campaign.