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BBC Home > World Service > Documentaries
The Foods that Make Billions
15 December, 2010 - 12:00 GMT

In the series The Food that Make Billions, Louise Hidalgo looks at how branding and marketing turn relatively cheap commodities into high value products.
Bottled Water
Duration: 23 minutes22 mins
In the bottled water industry, terms such as "nature in a bottle" and "healthy hydration" have helped to create a whole new market.
People in the business say that clever words alone cannot create a demand without willing consumers.
What those consumers are demanding is choice, convenience and packaging.
However for many, the bottled water industry represents excess and inequality - billions of people do not have access to clean water.
It is a billion dollar industry, but what are the costs?
First broadcast 15 December, 2010
Breakfast Cereal
Duration: 23 minutes22 mins
By sitting down to a bowl of cereal at breakfast, you're contributing to the biggest success story of the modern food industry.
A bland and characterless commodity - grain - is turned into breakfast cereal, and suddenly it is a product that you've had a relationship with since childhood.
Inside the cereal box is one of the most sophisticated combinations of invention, processing and advertising that modern business has ever seen.
The alchemy of the success lies in a combination of free gifts, building a relationship with the consumer and making it a habit.
Understand breakfast cereals and you'll understand the modern food business.
First broadcast 22 December, 2010
Yoghurt
Duration: 23 minutes22 mins
Since the 1960s yoghurt has been branded as a dessert, a snack and a health food.
Then came research about how food can provide long-term health benefits.
In response, the food industry provided "daily dose" yoghurts which claim to reduce cholestrol and promote a healthy digestive system.
It is this constant ability to reinvent itself that is behind its success.
What are the challenges that lie ahead?
To be broadcast from 29 December, 2010.
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