Zero-based budgeting is not a new concept. It was developed around five decades ago by Peter Pyhrr, an account manager at semiconductor firm Texas Instruments. After being taken up by US president Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, the method fell into obscurity. Recent years have seen it experience a revival in the food industry. In this series of articles, just-food examines zero-based budgeting and asks if it is a miracle diet for packaged food companies seeking a shapelier margin profile.