Issue 59: 16 October 2009
Thursday, 15 October 2009
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"Part of understanding the creative urge is understanding that it's primal. Wanting to change the world is not a noble calling, it's a primal calling."
Hugh Macleod
 

Food bites . . . the food nannies

Image"Obese people and public-health scolds have one thing in common: a compulsion to keep behaving in a way that does not produce helpful results. The obese tend to keep eating too much and exercising too little regardless of what others say. Disciples of maternal government persist in meddling in individual choices whether it works or not."
 Steve Chapman, www.reason.com

 


ImageEditor's Stuff - Beating fake flakes

 

The wealth of stuff that's written about the food industry every week is a constant source of amazement and inspiration. And just when you think you've heard and seen it all, new ideas, concepts, innovation and ingenuity jump up to surprise.

 

Here are my three best stories of the week... Enjoy the read!

 

ImageUK: Kellogg plan to beat ‘fake flakes’

Kellogg in the UK is reportedly developing a hi-tech method to stamp out imitation cereals - by branding Corn Flakes with the company logo. The new technology enables the firm - which makes 67 million boxes of Corn Flakes every year - to burn the famous signature onto individual flakes using lasers. Kellogg plans to produce a number one-off trial batches of the branded flakes to test the system. Read more


Aspirin may have a new anti-thrombotic rival

ImageFunctional ingredients firm Provexis has published the results of a new study providing further clinical evidence that its anti-thrombotic food ingredient could rival aspirin – without any side-effects.

Fruitflow is a tomato extract claimed to reduce the risk of blood clots, which can trigger heart attacks and strokes. It also has a significant advantage over many other ‘functional’ ingredients in that it has secured a coveted positive opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for its health claims.

Provexis is in talks with several big brands about incorporating Fruitflow into dietary supplements and functional foods and drinks, including Coca-Cola. It is also in discussions with a “major dairy brand owner” about using Fruitflow in other products after a tie-up with Unilever on spreads ground to a halt, says chief executive Stephen Moon. Read more


Coasters detect drinks spiked with date-rape drugs

ImageWell, this is depressing: enough people are putting date rape drugs into the drinks of unsuspecting women that an entire preventative industry had grown around the phenomenon. Drink Safe Texas is a company that produces coasters and test strips that will let you know if your drink has been spiked with either GHB or ketamine. The company also sells alcotops, plastic seals for bottles. Read more


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SA Food Industry News

 

Unilever SA boss names worst fear: an L-shaped future

ImageGail Klintworth, the chairman of Unilever South Africa, has warned her staff to prepare for the worst. Although talk of green shoots is peppering just about every conversation and press release on the economy, the group globally is expecting an L-shaped recovery, meaning that getting back to where we were before the bust is going to take a very long time. Read more

 

ImageToo much milk and no honey in land of the dairy giants

Tough trading conditions in the dairy industry have compelled producers Clover and Parmalat to review their business models, with Clover reportedly retrenching nearly 90 workers. The retrenchment of a further 300 to 500 workers at Clover is said to be planned. Read more

 

Peppadew: The next big flavour in the US?

ImageUS flavour company, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, is touting Peppadew, the sweet and spicy South African pepper, and ‘the next big flavour’, following signing an exclusive license agreement for Peppadew, .

Peppadew is marketed in the US by Strohmeyer & Arpe, and Bell’s agreement with the company means that it is the only flavour company able to use the Peppadew name. The pepper has an unusual combination of sweetness and spice and, although it is currently most commonly eaten as part of savoury dishes, Bell is targeting sweet applications too.

Bell’s director of marketing Michael Natale told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “Peppadew is a very interesting pepper...It’s very unlike anything you have tasted before. It’s about bringing sweet and spicy together.”

He said that this trend for combinations of sweetness and spice was started by the chocolate industry, and Bell is looking to include the Peppadew flavour in bakery, confectionery and ice creams, as well as beverages and savory applications like sauces. Read more

Novel olive oil packaging from Olives Go Wild

ImageOlives Go Wild is an olive oil and olive business venture set up by Linda Costa (of the famed Cape olive family) and Sandra van Schaik (a strategic marketing expert) to support and actively participate SA's young and dynamic olive industry. The duo have most recently launched a novel packaging concept, Vacufresh, a unique way of protecting oil from the negative effects of air contact. Read more

Getting fresher – the new 5-a-Day website!

ImageIt's colourful, fresh and packed with goodness. Like the vegetables and fruit it’s all about, the newly revamped 5-a-Day website offers a medley of valuable information. “I’m thrilled with the new look website. It encapsulates all that 5-a-Day is – fun, colourful, healthy, crisp and clear – offering a gratifying mix of content that is easy to navigate," says Jane Badham, dietitian and CEO for the 5-a-Day for Better Health Trust. “Consumers, dietitians, the food industry and the media will find everything they need to know about vegetables and fruit for better health, from growing to preparing, to great recipes for consumers who are striving to get their 5-a-Day fill." Read more

 

ImageFood Innovation Programme for Western Cape SMMEs

News comes this week of another excellent opportunity for food processing SMMEs in the Western Cape - this time to have their products and processes evaluated and improved with the help of technical experts. The programme is being run by the Agrifood Technology Station of CPUT on behalf of the Provincial Government Western Cape (Department of Economic Development & Tourism). Read more


Food Industry News


Anuga: See the top innovations!

AnugalogoThe world's greatest food fair took place in Cologne this week, with many thousands of visitors traipsing the vast halls of KoelnMesse for Anuga. A total of 6,522 suppliers from 97 countries presented their  products to approximately 153,500 buyers and visitors from more than 180 countries.

 

Anugacatalogue "Taste the future" is Anuga's innovation showcase, highlighting new products, innovative trends and future-oriented concepts in ten categories and selected by a jury of trade journalists. A total of about 350 companies with almost 900 ideas took part in the competition. You can see all the finalist products in the "Taste09" brochure.

Coke CEO Muhtar Kent: Coke didn't make America fat

ImagePolicy makers should stop demonising an industry that directly employs more than 220,000 people in the US, says Coke CE Muhtar Kent, in response to the increasing number of public-health advocates backing the idea of heavy taxes on some routine foods and beverages. The taxes, the advocates acknowledge, are intended to limit consumption of targeted foods and help you to accept the diet that they have determined is best. In cities and states across America — and even at the federal level — this idea is getting increased attention despite its regressive nature and inherent illogic. Read more

ImageShould Americans banish the burger?

Hamburgers are an American passion. And millions of Americans consume burgers, and other forms of meat, every day without consequences. But ground beef contaminated with E coli bacteria has sickened, paralyzed and even killed some people who ate it.

On Monday night's "Larry King Live," a wide range of guests joined an in-depth and spirited debate to answer this question: Should meat, and most specifically hamburgers, be a part of the American diet? Read more

 

Kraft's kosher queen will boost Cadbury

ImageIrene Rosenfeld is as far from the traditional image of the all-powerful, all-conquering American boardroom tycoon that you can imagine. Yet, as chairman and chief executive officer of Kraft — the food company with revenues of $42bn and 98,000 employees — she is just one of 12 women CEOs running a top 500 US corporation. Forbes magazine has listed her among the ten most powerful women in the world for two years running ...

 

Until recently, when Kraft launched an audacious £10.2bn bid for confectionary giant Cadbury, she was a relatively unknown in Britain. She is petite, dark haired, articulate and fearsomely analytical ... Rosenfeld rose to the top in the competitive American world of consumer goods because she actually believes in brands, in what they represent and in their intrinsic value. It is this which attracted her to Cadbury, resulting in the first substantial transatlantic bid of the post-credit crisis era. Read more

UK: Indulgence is back at the checkouts

ImageThis year was meant to mark the start of a tough new era of austerity: frivolity would now be frowned on and frugal would be the new cool. The near-collapse of the banks and the plunge into recession was about to make us reassess our values and habits, and a new breed of consumer would emerge who shunned conspicuous consumption, hated waste and preferred baking their own bread to banging a ready meal into the microwave.

But according to Tesco and Sainsbury's, that new era is over. It lasted about as long as the clampdown on bankers' bonuses. Shoppers have stopped trading down to cheaper food at discount stores and are once again spending on life's little luxuries. Read more

 

ImageIndia regulator approves first GM vegetable

Indian regulators approved on Wednesday the introduction of genetically modified aubergines, potentially making them the first transgenic vegetable to be grown on local farms. The aubergine is resistant to a devastating natural pest known as the shoot borer. Some 40% of India's huge current brinjal crop is destroyed by pests. Read more

 

ImagePepsiCo and Anheuser in landmark pact

An unusual deal between PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch, the US subsidiary of the world’s largest brewer, has highlighted a developing global alliance that could eventually threaten Coca-Cola’s position as the world’s largest beverage company by sales. The two companies say that they have agreed to work together to cut costs by combining their purchasing of items such as office supplies and computers. Read more

 

US: Coca-Cola unveils sleek, new 90-calorie mini can

ImageCoca-Cola today introduced a new 90-calorie sleek mini can to give consumers a better way to manage their calories. "As the world's largest beverage company, we take seriously the need to help consumers balance calories consumed with calories expended," says Sandy Douglas, president, Coca-Cola North America. "The Coca-Cola mini can innovation reinforces the company's support for healthy, active lifestyles." Read more

 

ImageAlmonds are number one nut, says Mintel

According to the Mintel Global New Products Database, almonds became the number one nut in new food products introduced worldwide in 2008, with 160 more new product introductions than peanuts and 423 more than hazelnuts. Read more

 

 

ImageYoghurt group unfazed by mass probiotics rejection

The European Food Safety Authority’s mass rejection of probiotic dossiers is not the disaster it appears if ‘technical’ obstacles can be overcome, according to a group that represents the biggest yoghurt players in the world. Read more

 

ImageFour tips for collaborating with another company

To innovate outside your company's traditional areas of expertise, try forming a strategic partnership with a company in a noncompeting industry, advises this article. Executives from companies such as Coca-Cola and Unilever explain how they spurred growth by creating partnerships with other companies, creating common goals and establishing trust to increase collaboration. Read more

 

ImageTop Spanish ham costs 1,500 euros a leg

Legs of Spain's top Jamon Iberico now come with their own DNA certificate to prove they are the purest as well as the world's most expensive hams. Read more


Food Science & Technology Stuff


The 10 riskiest foods really aren’t

ImageWith a fundamental interest in public advocacy, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) last week reported on the top ten riskiest foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and thus excluding meat and poultry. The 10 ‘featured’ foods, many popular and healthy staples of the Western diet, according to the report, accounted for nearly 40% of all foodborne illness outbreaks from 1990 to 2006.

 

CSPI’s list in descending order: leafy greens, eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts and berries. There is now a media frenzy now surrounding these foods which is unfortunate. This information has already and will cause great confusion to the general population. Read more For the CSPI’s Full Study, click here

 

ImageTate & Lyle to launch starch called Creamiz

Tate & Lyle has announced the European launch of an innovative new starch for use in dairy and convenience foods. The starch, named Creamiz, will help manufacturers reduce fat content by up to 30%, while maintaining mouthfeel and texture. Read more

 

 

From farm to fork: letting shoppers trace their food back to the field

ImageDespite its preoccupation with hygiene, America’s dirty secret is that it is one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to eat. Every year 76m Americans become ill because they have consumed contaminated food — a staggering 26,000 cases per 100,000 population. In Britain, where people consume far fewer hamburgers, generally eat out less often and buy nowhere near as many ready-meals, there are 3,400 cases of food poisoning per 100,000 population annually.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sweeping new powers to oversee food production. A bill introduced in the House of Representatives by John Dingell, a Democratic congressmen from Michigan, was passed in July, though it has yet to be taken up by the Senate. But with the White House, the food industry and the FDA behind it, the bill could be law before the end of the year.

 

If it is, then companies selling food in America will have to adopt a tracking system that can identify the farmer, the field, the picker, the packer, the shipper, the wholesaler and the shop — all within two business days of a case of food poisoning being reported. Read more

ImageTrehalose offers novel solution to soggy mash

Adding trehalose to mashed potato could stop shepherd’s pies and other prepared foods from forming pools of water as they defrost, enabling some products currently supplied chilled to be frozen. Read more

 

Tips to effectively defrost raw materials for further processing

ImageA good percentage of the meat used for further processing comes into plants as frozen blocks. Much of the quality of this meat is affected by the way it was frozen. However, during its tempering or thawing, meat quality can also be affected, which can often result in lower-quality products.

When meat is being defrosted, ice crystals inside muscle fibers start to melt and drip from the meat. Also, microbial reactivation begins. Therefore it is extremely important that the meat comes from reliable sources, and that it is handled with care to keep microbial loads at minimum. (Registration required) Read more


Food Marketing Stuff


Capitalising on the power of pop culture

ImageDuring times of recession, history has shown that pop culture brands will often thrive ... The biggest brands in the world (Coca-Cola, American Express, Nike, etc) align themselves with the biggest pop culture icons and events. Why?

By “hijacking” the powerful, “bigger than life” persona that radiates from a pop star, a monster movie, a rock band, a superstar athlete, a TV show, an awesome event, etc, these brands form powerful connections with consumers and in turn can become pop culture icons themselves. It’s a halo effect of sorts ..... Coca-Cola isn’t popular because it sells a sweet, carbonated beverage in a can. Coke sells a feeling. Read more

Why it's time to do away with the brand manager

ImageManaging a brand has always been a slightly odd concept, given that consumers are the real arbiters of brand meaning, and it's become increasingly outmoded in today's two-way world. That's why a new report is going to recommend changing the name "brand manager" to "brand advocate," and fundamentally changing marketer organisations in response to the onset of the digital age .....

The report, due out next week from Forrester, finally puts the onus on marketers to change their structures -- a welcome conclusion for media owners and agencies who keep hearing how they should change, but often complain that their clients have done little to shift their organisations to cope with an increasingly complex world of media fragmentation and rising retailer and consumer power. Read more

 Health and Nutrition Stuff

 

The folly of menu labelling regulations

ImageThe health police would have it that presenting nutrition information on restaurant menus empowers consumers and influences food choices.... Let people know that a McDonald's Angus Deluxe is larded with enough calories to sustain a family of four for a month, the thinking went, and they'll gravitate to something more slimming.

 

But the early evidence suggests that people don't choose high-calorie fast foods because they don't know any better. They choose them because they like them, and they don't really care if others disapprove. That's the implication of a new study in the journal Health Affairs conducted by researchers at New York University and Yale University. Read more

 

Red meat again linked to cancer risk: Study

ImageIncreased intakes of red meat may increase the risk of prostate cancer, with the meat’s heme iron content one of the possible culprits. Writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from the National Cancer Institute report that high intake of red meat may increase the risk of prostate cancer by 12%. Furthermore, red meat may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer by 30% . . . Read more

 

ImageHormones...The facts may surprise you!

Hormones are a necessary part of life and their use in the production of our food significantly reduces the carbon footprint associated with a steak or glass of milk.
 
So before you pay the extra money for hormone-free (which really there aren't such products), make sure you know the facts. See more here  See this fact sheet on hormones.

 


Sustainability


Here's another phoney war: the one on climate change

ImageThe phrase "publishing sensation" is standard hyperbole from marketing men anxious to push book sales. Sometimes, however, a book comes along which justifies the term. One such is Freakonomics, which since its publication in 2005 has sold well over 3 million copies.

Now its authors are launching the follow up to Freakonomics – but this time it is conventional left-liberal thought which will be outraged by their assertions. A clue is given in the work's full title, Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. Yes, the authors have this time addressed their dispassionate intellectual blowtorch to the conventional wisdom about climate change, its causes and remedies. [Very thought-provoking stuff by The Independent's Dominic Lawson. Ed] Read more

Barriers to trade in food sustain hunger

ImageWhen food does not cross borders, hunger does. Politicians and experts are meeting in Rome this week at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to discuss “how to feed the world in 2050”, building up to World Food Day tomorrow. But famine looms right now in Kenya, Ethiopia and their neighbours, as many governments continue to reject the FAO’s recipe for success: free trade in food. Read more

Hunger by numbers: How we are losing the battle against worldwide malnutrition

ImageThe worldwide economic slump has helped bring down food prices from their peaks of 2007, but not by enough to stop the spread of hunger.

A new report by the World Food Programme says that undernourishment is still on the rise, and that there has been no progress towards the Millennium Development Goals on hunger, or the target of hunger reduction set by last year's World Food Summit in Rome. How many calories do people get to eat each day around the world? What percentage of the population are underfed? These are the latest figures. . . Read more

ImageCage-free transition has major cost/environmental consequences  

If the US commercial egg industry were to transition to entirely cage-free production, there would be potentially disastrous economic and environmental consequences.  Such a transition would increase the cost of eggs for consumers 25% or more, would increase the cost of eggs for government nutrition programs $169 million per year and could increase egg imports from virtually zero now to 7 billion eggs per year, according to a new study commissioned by the United Egg Producers (UEP) and conducted by Promar International, an economic consulting firm in Washington, DC.
 
The transition would also increase egg production's carbon footprint as hens housed in cage-free production systems eat 15-25% more feed and produce fewer and smaller eggs. Read more

 

ImageUK: How will a 'zero waste' strategy work?

British households will have to collect and separate everything that can be recycled burned or left to rot under government plans to cut the amount of waste going to landfill. But how will the new system work? Read more

 


Miscellany


ImageThe Craz-E Burger: heart stopping but delicious

It has been called everything from “an act of culinary patriotism” to a “sign of the Apocalypse”. The Craz-E Burger is the latest food fad sweeping America. The recipe is simple: take one burger dripping in its own fat, garnish with two juicy strips of streaky bacon and a generous wedge of melted, oozing cheese. Then stick the lot inside a glazed and buttered doughnut.

You are left with a gut-busting, 1,500-calorie mountain of sugar and fat that makes a Big Mac look like a health snack. Read more


That's it for this week, folks!

 
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