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September 2013

Research that proves the South Australian developed low GI Carisma potato is a world first breakthrough will be presented at an international nutrition conference in Spain in late September.

The Carisma potato was developed using natural breeding processes by Virginia market gardener Frank Mitolo and Australia's Glycemic Index (GI) Foundation.

The GI Foundation's Chief Scientific Officer Dr Alan Barclay says Carisma is the first potato to be internationally certified low GI and is widely available to consumers.

"We have undertaken exhaustive testing using the ISO testing standard and we are satisfied that Carisma is unique," Dr Barclay said. "Its Glycemic index of 55 is between 30% and 50% less than other mainstream potato varieties such as Desiree (74), Russet Burbank (82) and Bintje (94).

"But its other big advantage is its commercial availability. Coles has made it a convenient choice for consumers, and that means it will play a more important role in assisting in the management of diabetes and heart disease."

PhD candidate and GI researcher Kai Lin Ek, who works in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney will present a paper at the International Congress of Nutrition in Granada in September, about the ground breaking research on Australia's own low GI potato.


"Our research showed that Carisma not only ranked well alongside other potatoes it is also comparable with other low GI foods," Ms Ek said.

"Potatoes tend to get bad press as they are generally classified as a high GI carbohydrate but our research has discovered that Carisma has half the blood glucose response compared to other potato varieties.

"It has a similar GI to pastas all of which are usually classified as low GI foods.

"Plus potatoes have a higher "satiety index" so you actually need to eat less than other carbohydrates, to feel full."

Dr Barclay said that consumer understanding of the connection between low GI foods and health is growing.

"The evidence shows that a low GI diet helps people lose more body fat than regular diets and it is more effective in sustaining a healthy weight," he said.

"This will prevent Type 2 diabetes (and for those with diabetes it will lower their risk of complications) and it will also reduce the risk of heart disease.

"The dietary challenge is that every culture has a staple carbohydrate - Asians like rice, Mediterranean cultures enjoy pasta and gnocchi, people from Anglo Saxon backgrounds have been brought up on potatoes – and with the exception of pasta, most of these carbohydrates have a relatively high GI.

"The Glycemic Index Foundation (GIF) is a not-for-profit charity supported by The University of Sydney and JDRF (Australia). GIF is committed to providing Australians with information and tools to improve their health through scientifically-backed low GI healthy eating principles. One of the goals of the Glycemic Index Foundation is to discover and develop alternatives to mainstream carbohydrates, so that people make lasting changes."

Since its inception in 2001 the Foundation has helped in the development and/or marketing of low GI bread, low GI breakfast cereals, low GI sugar (Logicane), low GI rice (Sunrice) and low GI pasta (Vetta). The Carisma potato came out of a collaborative search for an innovative potato grower who could meet the potential demand.

"We have been fortunate to work with the Mitolo family," Dr Barclay said. "The family has been growing vegetables for several generations and after more than a dozen tests we were convinced that Carisma was going to be a world first.

"Fortunately they are large growers so they could expand production fairly quickly."

Managing Director of the Mitolo Group, Frank Mitolo, said Carisma was naturally bred using a process where positive characteristics were selected and combined.

"We thought this new variety had less starch but was still a good all purpose potato for boiling, roasting and mashing," he said.

"The tests confirmed that we had something special and it then took a few years to build up the volumes so we could distribute it to a major supermarket chain.

"The partnership with Coles has been excellent. They can see the benefits of having a low GI alternative positioned alongside other potatoes and we have invested in the packaging to make it easy for the consumer to choose."

According to the research there is only one tip consumers need to remember - don't overcook Carismas.

"Any carbohydrate has a higher GI if it is overcooked," Kai Lin Ek said. "If rice is mushy or pasta is not al dente you just increase the starch digestibility. Boiling for about nine minutes is the ideal cooking time to enjoy the health benefits and flavours of Carisma."

The GI Foundation provides a guide to the GI of more than 150 foods available in Australia.   Visit www.gisymbol.com.au

Low GI diet gets a tick

July 2012

A new US study challenges the common belief that all calories are created equal.  In fact, researchers found that diets that reduce the surge in blood sugar after a meal - either low GI or very-low carbohydrate diets - might be better than a low-fat diet to keep the weight off.

Among the benefits, researchers said that a low GI diet is easier to stick to compared to low-carb and low-fat diets, as there’s no need to cut out entire groups of foods. The study also suggests that a low GI diet more effectively burns energy at a higher rate after weight loss than common approaches.

Just another reason to enjoy all natural Carisma Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Australia’s only certified low GI potato.

Source: Boston Children’s Hospital

Baby Carisma arrives, naturally.

December 2011

New season Baby Carisma potatoes are here just in time for your favourite summer salads and the fast-approaching holiday season.

Still big on that ‘melt in the mouth’ flavour, Baby Carisma potatoes are smaller for quick, even cooking. They’re perfect for a light and easy summer salad, boiled or baked as a delicious, healthy side dish.

Naturally low GI, these fresh little babies will make a great addition to your family’s menu. Now available in a 750g pillow pack from your favourite Coles supermarket in South Australia and Victoria, watch out for Baby Carisma’s arrival in your local area soon.

PS Special thanks to our local farmers for a speedy, all natural delivery.

Carisma earns The Mitolo Group another Innovation Award

November 2011

Frank MitoloAs the world’s first officially certified low GI potato, it’s no wonder Carisma recently earned The Mitolo Group the Innovation Award under the 2011
South Australian of the Year Awards.
As Australia’s leading potato and onion packing company, The Mitolo Group grows, processes and distributes more than 70,000 tonnes of onions and potatoes – including Carisma – every year. 
Innovation has long been a key focus and The Mitolo Group has achieved many successes in this area, including producing the world’s first olive oil refill pack. However, Carisma is perhaps the best example of the company’s focus on innovation.
“The potato industry has not experienced significant innovation for decades – making the launch of Carisma a once-in-a generation innovation,” said Sales and Marketing Director Frank Mitolo.
“Carisma is a delicious low GI spud with a range of important health benefits but, best of all, it’s naturally grown and farmed and is a naturally low GI potato.
“Our team was very excited about the award – they have put a lot of work into bringing Carisma to market over the last four or five years so it’s a great acknowledgment of their efforts.” 

Celebrity cook-off with Carisma!

August 2011

Carisma potatoes proved a recipe for good fun and great taste on the opening night of the recent Produce Market Association national conference in Brisbane sponsored by Coles.

Mitolo Group’s Marketing Manager, Frank Mitolo, teamed up with MasterChef Australia 2010 contender and food researcher, Jimmy Seervai, for a celebrity cook-off featuring our Carisma potatoes. They pitted their culinary skills against Jimmy’s MasterChef co-contestants bar manager Courtney Roulston, and graphic designer, Skye Craig.

Guests tasted the delicious dishes to choose the winner. Sadly, team Carisma lost to Courtney leaving Frank to wonder whether it was her charisma that won the day!

Carisma – not developed by scientists

July 2011

An article in the July 2011 edition of Women’s Health (‘Spuds are Buds’, page 25) tells how research from the University of California has found you can eat potatoes and still lose weight.    

We’re all for this news of course – particularly with the availability of Carisma now, which has the added benefit of being low GI.

But the article went on to say that “Aussie scientists have developed the Carisma potato” and we’d just like to correct this statement.

“Carisma wasn’t developed by scientists – it’s naturally grown and farmed and has a naturally low GI; something we discovered after we already interested in this potato because of its great taste and appearance,” said Frank Mitolo, Director of The Mitolo Group.

“It’s now grown by some of the best potato farmers across the country and we can assure Australians that it is a delicious, natural potato that hasn’t been genetically modified in any way.”

Healthy fries. Yes – we said healthy!

July 2011

We all know that fries are naughty but nice, but what if you could actually make them healthy?

Trials are underway in the Mitolo Group test kitchen using a fryer with a difference, the Tefal Actifry. A healthy alternative to traditional deep fryers, the Actifry is able to cook a kilogram of chips using just one spoonful of oil. Early results (using ollo olive oil, of course) show that the low GI content of Carisma remains completely intact during the cooking process. This means that the combination of an alternative cooking method, quality olive oil and a low GI potato may be a match made in heaven for chip lovers.

Stay tuned.

The fabulous aroma of hot chips, usually a forbidden treat, may soon be permanently on the menu!

Carisma – innovation unearthed

June 2011

Did you know that the unique, low GI Carisma potato was an exciting combination samon_infield.jpg
of skill, good luck - and an old fashioned ‘eureka!’ moment?

Pinnaroo Farms Manager, Simon Samon, based in the Mallee, has an impressive 26 year history of growing experience – quite simply, he knows potatoes!

Simon was the first person to notice that there was something very special about Carisma. Even before it was identified as low GI, Simon began to see an unusual pattern during the testing process. This potato variety used less water and fertilizer, displayed different starch content and grew a very hardy plant that stood its ground against heat and wind. Upon further testing, Carisma’s unique low GI properties
were revealed - and the rest is history!

Carisma in demand

May 2011

Carisma spuds continue to fly off the shelves in Coles supermarkets across the country. Unfortunately, as a result of flooding and poor weather, some supermarkets are running low on stock. We’re doing everything we can to make more spuds available and should have a delicious, fresh new crop ready to come out of the ground in June/July.  Keep an eye out for them in your local Coles.

Carisma wins national award

April 2011

When Australia’s first and only certified low GI potato became available on Coles supermarket shelves last year, it represented the biggest development the potato industry had experienced in decades.

Since then, Carisma has been putting spuds back on the menu for thousands of health conscious Australians across the country – one of many reasons why it has just been recognised with an award from the national vegetable and potato growers industry.

The 2011 AUSVEG National Excellence Awards were held in Brisbane on Saturday, April 16 with Carisma taking out the Innovative Marketing Category.

“Consumers have been telling us how great this spud is since the day it became available in Coles,” said Frank Mitolo, Director of The Mitolo Group. “It’s really pleasing to have this feedback reaffirmed by the industry.

“We know that healthy, low GI diets have a range of benefits. These include more sustainable weight loss, improvement in the management of diabetes and possibly even reducing the risk of heart disease.”

However, in addition to offering a healthy and tasty solution for consumers, Frank believes Carisma was recognised with the award because of the significant flow-on benefits it is generating for the potato industry more broadly.

“For some time now, potatoes have been off the menu for many health-conscious Australians,” Frank said.

“The introduction of Carisma is changing this and it is now an important icon for our industry, helping to remind people about the taste and versatility of the humble spud.

“What’s more, as far as we are aware, Carisma is the world’s first certified low GI potato – reinforcing Australia’s position as a global pioneer and leader in horticulture.”

Win the battle of the bulge with low GI carbohydrates

March 2011

Accredited Practising Dietitian Tanya Lewis shares her views on the popular decision to ban carbohydrates as a way to assist in weight loss. Click here to read more about how it’s a habit that could have an adverse effect.

The ‘super spud’ – a dietitian’s view

December 2010

Carisma was recently profiled on A Current Affair. Click here to watch the story and hear what a leading dietitian had to say about this ‘super spud’. Dr Alan Barclay from the Glycemic Index Foundation is also featured as well as a chef who’ll tell you how best to cook Carisma to get the most out of it.

Carisma now in South Australia and New South Wales

November 2010

Visit any of our stores in SA, NSW, WA and Victoria today and pick up one of the first bags of new
Coles Carisma – exclusive to Coles Supermarkets – and join the fight against fatigue! Quality food costs less at Coles.

Victoria and Western Australia are the first to taste the Carisma potato!

November 2010

Visit any of our stores in Victoria and Western Australia today and pick up one of the first bags of new Coles Carisma – exclusive to Coles Supermarkets. Join the fight against fatigue! Quality food costs less at Coles.

Coles Low Gi