Origin of Names and Packs

Provita

JML Baumann had the largest bread factory in Durban, with 56% of the trade.  He decided (1935) that he would like to make an above-average brown loaf, for which he would charge an extra penny per loaf.  His son, William Baumann, believed that this particular type of bread should be given a specific name and he chose “Provita”, using the Latin “pro” meaning “for” and “vita” meaning “life”, as shown on the picture.  Two types of “Provita” loaf were made:  one with a coarse texture and one with a fine texture, referred to as “Provita Coarse” and “Provita Fine”.  It proved to be a very popular loaf and outsold the normal brown bread.

It was then decided (1941) to produce a biscuit with similar ingredients and this was registered as “Provita Crispbread”.  Baumann’s Biscuits in Cape Town were automatically given permission to make “Provita” biscuits, but they made theirs in a slab form with serrations down so that it could be broken into five pieces, each of a similar size to the Bakers’ “Provita”.  The recipe was slightly different.

It was one of the top-selling biscuit lines and competitors did their best to copy it, using such names as “Supervita” (Weston’s), “Vitaplus” (3-Rings) and EtaVita (Enterprise), but their attempts attracted very little sales and they were soon dropped by the manufacturer.  Originally the biscuit pack was a suitably printed, ordinary brown paper bag with a cellophane lining, but was later changed to the form seen above.

The Analytical Chemists, Harding and Kloot, provided the following analysis for “Provita Crispbread” (1941):

Moisture  ...............................   4.03 %
Ash  .......................................    2.12 %
Protein  .................................   11.73 %
Total Carbohydrate  ..............   72.55 %
Fibre  ......................................    1.60 %
Oil .........................................     7.97 %

Calorific Value  .....................   1 906 Calaries per lb.

There were 78 biscuits per lb = 24½ calories per biscuit.