Long Russian Mayonnaise; Short Japanese Mayo

by Johnny Debacle

Mayonnaise. That’s what’s on every one’s minds these days, the schmegmatic fatty spread du jour. We have gotten hundreds of letters from readers (but surprisingly no e-mails) asking how to play mayo, in a world of volatile changes in prices for such commodities as corn, oil and even molybdenum. Rest assured, we do not disagree with you that it is a good question to ask.

The industry as a whole is difficult to forecast, but an investor can take advantage of specific trends vis a vis one another, vice versa, etc. The two we would focus on would be Russian Mayo vs Japanese Mayo.

Russians consume 7lbs of mayo per year; Japanese only 3.5lbs. While this may indicate that there it’s more likely for Japanese mayo demand to increase relative to Russian mayo several data-points point otherwise.

  • Japanese are smaller than Russian by approximately 7% units of measure.
  • Japanese have a much lower incidence of alcoholism and a significantly lower consumption of alcohol; mayo, like all fatty disgusting foods, is a complementary good to alcohol (per the Taco Bell corollary). With what is going on, Russian booze consumption is likely to diverge even further from Japanese levels.
  • Japanese levels of mayo consumption peaked in 2001, north of 4lbs per capita, declining nearly 15% in only 6 years. This trend is likely to continue as nothing in Japan is well liked for more than 6 years, except for tentacle rape anime, Louis Vitton and xenophobic racism.
  • Mayo margarita’s seem to be a classic indication that they are at best, at the tail end of the mayo mania stage.

While Japanese mayo is tastier, the Russian mayo machine is built for industrial production and its advertising geared around mass consumption. To wit, an Exile.ru piece on Russian love for mayo had this to say:

It shows a fresh salad of beautiful, bright tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs, all glistening after a rinse, and then: the mayonnaise comes cascading down in sensual slow motion. And we’re not talking a dollop of mayo here, folks. Aesthetically, the ad borrowed from a typical American breakfast cereal commercial, only instead of milk splashing down onto Honey Smacks, about a gallon of mayo gets squeezed onto the doomed veggies. And that’s when the announcer proudly tells us how Moscow is famous for its mayonnaise.

We went in search of the answer to why everything from nachos and pizza to borsch and pelmeni (often acting as a substitute for smetana) comes with the emulsified treat. You may have noticed at your local Perekrostik supermarket that most mayo here doesn’t come in re-sealable containers. That’s not an oversight or the result of Soviet central planning – it’s because mayo, like vodka, isn’t meant to be put away after opening. They sell it in 250g plastic bags, which just so happens to be the recommended dose of mayo for most Russian salads on popular cooking websites like gotovim.ru.

Recommendation: Long Russian mayo, short Japanese mayo. Also due to our age, we cannot 100% rule out that mayonnaise is actually the basis for the movie The Stuff, and as such, poses the possibility that it is an “insidious white glop that [was] discovered by miners[,] has a highly addictive taste [, is] sold to general public in pint containers like ice cream [and] is actually alive and gradually takes over the brain, mutating those who eat it into bizarre zombie-like creatures.” Consider yourself warned.

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  1. blahblahblah
    September 25th, 2007 | 8:58 am

    I disagree with your investment thesis but I am extremely impressed that you have seen “The Stuff” – and it’s that type of contrarian habit that I will open an account with your firm.

  2. Condiment Carry Trade
    September 25th, 2007 | 11:52 am

    Can your firm facilitate the leveraging against USD denominated condiment assets to buy, say, ruble denominated mayo derivatives as proposed?