Bónus Lengthens Opening Hours, Gives Mascot Controversial Makeover

As of Friday, Bónus will have longer opening hours. Vísir reports that the extension was announced to customers at the same time that the discount grocery chain unveiled that its mascot, the iconic Bónus pig—an off-kilter, droopy-eyed swine that appeared to be recovering from a hard night out—had undergone a makeover. But while the later shopping hours will undoubtedly be welcomed, not all locals are equally enthused about the popular porker’s facelift.

Bónus CEO Guðmundur Marteinsson says the chain extended its hours in response to calls from consumers. “This is the complaint we receive most often,” he explained. “But we’re cost-conservative and opening hours are part of the cost. But by keeping the opening hours within reasonable limits—we’re not extending them by much—we believe we can implement this without increasing the cost too much. Prices won’t change because of this adjustment.”

Previously, Bónus closed at 6:30 pm. From now on, however, seven Bónus locations will be open until 8:00 pm every day: in the capital area, Smáratorg, Skeifan, Spöngin, Fiskislóð, and Mosfellsbær, as well as Helluhraun in Hafnarfjörður and Langholt in Akureyri. The remaining locations will be open until 7:00 pm. In addition, Bónus will open an hour earlier on Sundays, or 10:00 am.

‘He was always a bit cockeyed’

The original Bónus mascot, via Facebook

Remarking on the controversial mascot transformation, Guðmundur said, “We’ve just streamlined him a little—it isn’t that big a change. We took out one or two lines that it’s always looked like we forgot to erase when he was initially designed,” he continued, pointing to a crinkle on the Bónus pig’s nose and an extra line on his back.

More dramatic, however, is the adjustment of the pig’s left eye. “He was always a bit cockeyed,” Guðmundur said. “But as I see it, this is part of our evolution.”

The brand’s font has also been adjusted, moving from a blocky serif font to a cleaner sans serif.

‘Long live the Bónus pig!’

Change does not always come easy, though, and some locals took to social media to mourn the mascot.

“What kind of sick joke is this?” wrote Hrafn Jónsson on Facebook. “You take one of the most iconic pigs of all time and mess with it? […] What kind of personality-less impostor is this?”

“Why can’t *anything* be left alone in this country?” tweeted @siggiodds. “What is the point/goal? Take the nuance, the history, and the humor away so you’re left with just an empty, generic shell?”

Rex Beckett

The transformation has also already inspired several memes. “Long live the Bónus pig!” proclaimed Rex Beckett on Facebook, screen-capping the messages she sent directly to the company. “I just wanted to say that I am extremely sad about the decision to change the Bónus Piggy’s look,” she wrote. “He was a delightful little weirdo with such a fun personality and his wonky eye made everyone happy. […] Please let us hang onto our old friend.”

Greece Cheesed Off About Icelandic Feta

MS Iceland Dairies will no longer be selling cheese branded as ‘feta,’ following a complaint made to the European Parliament by Greek MP Emmanouil Fragkos, RÚV reports. Greece holds protected designation of origin (PDO) rights to feta, meaning that it is the only country in Europe that can claim to sell this product.

In April, Emmanouil Fragkos made a formal request to the European Parliament that MS Dairies stop branding various cheese products as feta. He noted that feta is a specific, local Greek speciality; to carry the name feta, a cheese must be made from Greek goat or sheep’s milk, grazing along Greek rivers, and that there are already various regulations in place that dictate that similar kinds of cheese produced elsewhere cannot be called ‘feta.’ (Vermouth, champagne, stilton cheese, and prosciutto di Parma are all examples of famous beverages and foodstuffs that have PDO protection.)

PDO is one of the EU’s “quality schemes,” which aim “at protecting the names of specific products to promote their unique characteristics, linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional know-how,” explains the European Commission website. “Recognised as intellectual property, geographical indications play an increasingly important role in trade negotiations between the EU and other countries.” Iceland is not a member of the EU, but it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), which means that it is subject to “the laws of the single market (except for agriculture and fisheries laws).” Indeed, Iceland entered into an agreement with the European Union regarding PDO protections on May 1, 2016, and the European Commission recognized this when responding to Fragkos’ complaint.

MS Dairies sells numerous products branded as feta, including whole blocks of crumbly, white cheese and oil-marinated jars of salty white cheese curds, all of which resemble the Greek speciality. (MS Dairies also sells ‘Greek yoghurt’ but this wasn’t a subject of the official complaint.)

Communications director Sunna Gunnars Marteinsdóttir says that MS intends to change the names of its products promptly. In lieu of feta, the names ‘salatostur’ (‘salad cheese’) and ‘veisluostur’ (‘party/feast cheese’) will be used.

What soft drinks are popular in Iceland? Are there Icelandic soft drink brands?

Ask Iceland Review - Soft Drinks

You will be able to find most international soft drinks in Iceland, like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Red Bull, Sprite, Mountain Dew, 7 Up, Dr Pepper, Burn, and Fanta. Pepsi is one of the most popular drinks, and Icelanders especially like Pepsi Max. Up until 2017, Coca Cola was produced and bottled in Iceland with Icelandic […]

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