|Issue 59: 16 October 2009|
|Thursday, 15 October 2009|
"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."
"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."
Food bites . . . the food nannies
Steve Chapman, www.reason.com
Editor'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!
UK: 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
Functional 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.
Coasters detect drinks spiked with date-rape drugs
Well, 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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Gail 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
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
It'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
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
The 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.
"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.
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
Irene 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
This 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
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
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
Coca-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
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
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
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
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
With 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
Despite 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
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
A 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
The 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
Increased 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
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.
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
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