Tuesday, March 10, 2009

FUIC me.

I love living in Melbourne, I really truly do.

It's frenetic, interesting, grotty-but-gritty, chock-full of culture, cuisines, crazies, carers and cars and top notch reading materials. It provides great opportunities for those who seek them, transport to anywhere, festivals, noise, traffic, shops, laughs and food to eat and food for thought. Alright? Good: it's now firmly established that Melbourne is a great place to live, work, love, lounge, loaf and sleep.

But..... and this is a really, really big BUT.

BUT, Big M Iced Coffee is an insult and an abomination to this fair city. It is an insult to describe this sickly syrup as 'iced coffee' when it is often found alongside its far-superior South Australian step-cousin (by marriage only), the magnificent Farmers Union Iced Coffee.

How have these gentle, supportive, open-minded Victorians put up with such a below-average beverage for so long?
What does the 'M' stand for, Mediocre?
Muck? Mud? Mess? Malignant? Malformed? Menial? Mirthless? Misleading?

Oh there's so many other words, but I've lost interest in looking in the dictionary after 'mi' because the truth is there: Big M is a mind-numbing mistake manufactured in a midden making mawkish manure now monikered as Big M. Yes, you heard me. Big M.

I even tried it blindfolded to compare it with FUIC and that Rush stuff but when (as discovered later) the Big M was tasted, I couldn't even tell what flavour it was, it was that ordinary. It might as well have been full fat milk with some brickies' spit in it for all that it resembled a decent, well-made and tasty iced coffee.

The irony is that National Foods make them both. I'm assuming that one side of their factory is assigned to staff who've had their salivary glands, taste buds and brains forcibly removed with the dairy's teat suction cups before being shoved like dag-infested sheep into the dank and dark recesses of the factory to use the sour milk slops, septic tank overflow and cow-poo residue to somehow slosh together and pour into Big M cartons.

The other half, on the other hand, are enjoying a pre-work massage, receiving a hearty handshake and an individual message of congratulations by the CEO before walking into the cool and sun-lit work space that is being entertained by a world-class string quartet as they commence their magic work. Like the Oompah Loompahs, what they do is a strict secret, but does involve taking the creme-de-la-creme of Australia's finest milk, some coffee and their mysterious blend of other ingredients together, saying a revered blessing over the drink before gently and respectfully pouring it into Farmers Union Iced Coffee cartons for the delectation of intelligent, talented and good looking iced coffee drinkers everywhere.

Apart from solving the mystery of Mr P, I also intend on confronting the schizophrenic minds at National Foods to find out why Big M is still being shamelessly flung all over Victoria when they should instead be putting all of their efforts towards furthering the FUIC cause instead. Stay tuned dear reader, justice for iced coffee lovers everywhere will one day occur.


River said...

National Foods make them both? Well, then, obviously FUIC is the lovely fresh stuff that's packaged during the day and Big M is the scraped out sludge left in the machines and pipes overnight. (Just kidding, National Foods) It's just like any other major company which uses top quality elements for it's top quality expensive goods (think electrical) and cheaper components for it's lower range (cheaper) items. Really it boils down to what you as a consumer have grown up with and gotten used to. People raised on Big M may always prefer it over FUIC. Me, personally, I couldn't drink either one.

Miles McClagan said...

You know I'm not happy...

That's all I can say!

Anonymous said...

You're crazy!

However, last I knew, National Foods DO have their product development labs in Melbourne (somewhere). They moved them their from Adelaide (!) about 10 years ago.

No doubt you can make an appointment to Mr Wonka and lay it on the table. Perhaps the Vics just like and have grown acclimatised to crap. Like the scandal years ago of New Coke, you need to be careful messing with a formula that works even if some customers think its awful.

(Todays word verification: unthnorm.... those guys at google really do have fun)

Baino said...

Yeh we have it here too as well as Moove which is just as sickly and sweet. Try Dare Double Espresso . .serious iced coffee. Weird isn't it in a city that prides itself on it's Barista's talents!

Anonymous said...

I think perhaps Baino has it - Melbournians have such great espresso coffee that they're not interested in the milk variety. Although that can't explain why lattes are so popular...

Word Ver: fateo - oral sex between elephants?

That might get you a few unwanted hits...

Kath Lockett said...

River, all technical explanations aside, Big M is utter bilge water. End of story.

Miles you must try FUIC, you will like it, I promise. Come on my son - move from the 1990s memories of Blue Moon and embrace the joy that is FUIC.

Ashleigh, I am mighty tempted to have 'unthnorm' printed on a t-shirt

I've tried 'Dare double espresso' Baino and it's a distant second to FUIC, unfortunately. Still way ahead of mucky muck muckity M though.

lc, 'fateo' is one word I'll *never* put on a t-shirt. Asking for too many rude comments!

Cinema Minima said...

I lament the demise of caramel flavoured milk.

Melbournians have grown up with Big M and I think once upon a time it was the only flavoured milk available, so its become one of those iconic Aussie brands, you know, the brands that profits go to an American company. Can you get Big M in SA?

And I don't want to give you nightmares Kath but I recall there being an enormous, 5 storey high carton of Big M in Flemington at the Showgrounds. Nothing a box of matches and a can of petrol can't fix though.

Some of those coffee franchise places do a good ice coffee though, I reckon, in my unqualified opinion.

Hungry Hungry Hypocrite said...

I'll bring a pallet or two with me when I move over to Melbs soon. And why was my word verification "Chipp"? Chips don't go with FUIC!
I take it you're familiar with Coca-Cola's attempts to de-throne FUIC in SA?

Anonymous said...

Wow! I am surprised they are made by the same factory.

Another proof to Rob that even if something comes from te same factory, they don't all taste the same - we were discussing about tinned tuna.

Big M comes in other artificial flavours too, not just iced coffee, which I loved. Never tried the iced coffee though as I am allergic to caffiene. Maybe there is no coffee in there to start with.

Is there a price difference between Big M and FUIC?

word verification "arouse"
no is it "arousne"

delamare said...

Whew - that post has been brewing for some time Kath. Glad you've managed to hold it together long enough even to write about Big M, and it looks as if you had to go as far as buying a carton (all in the name of science, I know).

For the record, I'm with you. I love an iced coffee in summer, but I am fussy fussy fussy. Mostly I like it home made (and that's a post in itself!), but if I have to buy one, you've definitely converted me to FUIC. I think I tried a Big M some years ago, and didn't like it all.

And you have influenced the next generation too; Miss Mucks asks for it whenever we're in the chilled section of the supermarket. That's cause she loved it when we visited you!

myninjacockle said...

'call me a crazy
call me a softy
but i'm coming home
for a paul's iced coffee'

that is an ad i had to put up with for years living in territory mining towns (like imparja tv wasn't punishment enough) knowing there was no FUIC to be had.

sometimes i still wake up sobbing

Unknown said...

It's good to see that while you can take the girl out of South Australia, you can't take the South Australia out of the girl! FUIC is the one and only.
I'm so glad I still get to read your posts as I'm missing you terribly!

Kath Lockett said...

MATP - thank god that Big M monolith was gone before I moved into the area *shudder*

HHH - sure did. Released some iced coffee (and relatively high fat) crap under 'Goulburn Valley.' They should stick to tinned fruit because I don't think too many South Aussies had any time for them.

Drb there'd be so little coffee (which is normally powder and generally only about a teaspoon) in FUIC or the others that I reckon you could live on the edge and give one a try. Go on I dare you!

You poor bastard, Myninja. When we were in Darwin, FUIC had finally made it up there, so Paul's was thankfully abandoned.

Catherine - right back atcha mate!

Unknown said...

Just popped in for a read, and came across this blog entry. Apart from nodding like an idiot at your post and laughing to myself, I confess I am a FUIC fan myself (yes, I'm South Aussie living in Melbourne). I too wonder at the lack of taste in the Big M carton. We, from Adelaide don't drink fizzy drinks. We drink milk. We're tough. And we still drink Milk.

I know why. Because it's FABULOUS! And there simply is no comparison.

Kath Lockett said...

Thank you, dear Kymmie.
You know, I did actually get into contact with a nice block at National Foods, but then they went through a restructure, blah blah blah-dee-blah and he never got back to me.
I might have to rev this baby up again and give it another try!