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 9 March 2012 | Your weekly food industry news and insights...                                                                 
SmartStuff:   "Never get angry. Never make a threat. Reason with people."  Mario Puzo, American writer
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Editor's Stuff: New capacity to unlock SA's bio bounty!

Biggest news on the local food front this week was Nestlé's announcement that it's entering into a new research partnership with the CSIR, a collaboration aimed at discovering new bioactive ingredients with health benefits.

This has to be a welcome move in boosting our national scientific and research capacity, with the ultimate aim of beneficiating our fantastic bio-heritage that is laden with economic and health potential. And we can rest assured that, thanks to the Biodiversity Act, no big foreign national can take control of the commercial potential of indigenous plants.

Perhaps my most interesting story of the week is that wine experts are different from us mere imbibers; that their palates are genetically wired to truly discern those flowery descriptors that leave us bewildered or feeling stupid. They can actually taste "toasty, oaky, round, supple, minty, flinty, minerally, liquorice" and so on, whereas you or I may sip the same wine and only be able come up with, well, something as profound as, "This wine tastes great!"

A study has found that specialist oenophiles have a much more acute sense of taste than the rest of us – and it may even be in the genes. And thus the findings raise this question: just how useful are their judgements for ordinary wine lovers?
 
STOP PRESS: Court rejects government objection in Walmart merger
The Competition Appeal Court has dismissed an application by three ministers who sought to review and set aside the Competition Tribunal's approval of the Walmart-Massmart merger.
 
Enjoy this week's read!
 
Brenda Neall: publisher & editor

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  Local News and Developments
Thanks to SA's sports science fundi, Prof Tim Noakes, the benefits of low-carb eating are much in the news. In reaction, perhaps, Potato SA, representative body of the potato industry, appears to be on a fight-back mission for carbs and proclaims that, for the first time in over a decade, the true nutritional values of South African potatoes have been unearthed.
There is a new water source that is pure and does not draw from the precious and ever-scarcer water resources of South Africa – enough water to ensure safe drinking water for each and every South African and it is all around us – the air. And it is being realised by innovative water dehumidifying technology developed by a Durban company.
Lunch Bar, South Africa’s favourite chocolate bar just got a whole lot nuttier with the Kraft Foods' launch of a new limited-edition Nutastic Lunch Bar. Packed with extra peanut punch, Lunch Bar Nutastic follows 2010’s successful launch of extra-chocolate Lunch Bar Choc Max.
Hooch goes Lite
Hooch Fox, in the Ceres Beverage stable, has just launched new Hooch LITE, claimed as the first light alcoholic fruit beverage range in three delicious fruit flavours.



 Food Trends, Marketing and Innovation
Chocolate milk, to allow it or not, is a hot topic for schools in America. In reaction, chocolate milk producers are turning their attention away from school kids and focusing on millions of adult athletes.
While a challenging economic climate has resulted in rather flat sales for many alcohol sectors in the UK, new research from Mintel reveals that there is one sector which has put some fizz into the consumer marketplace and is ripe for further development - cider.
The Hartman Group recently hosted a webinar entitled Looking Ahead: Ingredient Trends. This took an in-depth look at how cultural shifts in health and wellness impact ingredients in many of today’s and tomorrow’s foods and beverages. It attempts to give a better understanding on what shapes consumer perceptions of "healthy food", and shows what’s trending in and what’s trending out. It's now available as a PowerPoint download, FREE, and is, as usual from this impressive company, full of outstanding insights and beautifully presented information.
Campbell Soup and Heinz are among US packaged food companies leading the charge to alternative containers - thinking outside the bottle and can and increasingly partial to pouches.
 
US: McDonald's to kids: Eat fruit, drink milk, visit Arches
McDonald's will today unveil new kids advertising, fulfilling a pledge to include a nutritional or physical activity message in all communication with children starting in 2012. 
While it has only been available in this country since 1999, the most celebrated cookie in the world has to be Kraft Foods' Oreo - and this week, on March 6 2012, it turned 100! Known as "milk's favorite cookie," these creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies are considered the best-selling cookie brand of the 21st century, making $1.5 billion in worldwide revenues.
US: Social media redefining the relationship with food
How Americans learn to cook, select recipes, plan their meals, purchase their food and share their culinary secrets with others has dramatically changed, according to a new study.

Senior nutrition has become the key driver of innovation in the food and health market with consumers over 50 already making up the most important group of buyers for most health brands.

Savannah Fine Chemicals

Food Science, Safety and Ingredients Stuff
It looks like a cutlet, it's juicy and fibrous like a cutlet, and it even chews with the consistency of a real cutlet - but the ingredients are 100 percent vegetable. Researchers are using a new method to prepare a meat substitute that not only tastes good, but is also environmentally sustainable.
How do organic farmers prevent their crops from being devastated by the same pests—insects, weeds, and fungi—that have bedeviled farmers since the invention of agriculture? The answer is surprisingly simple: organic farmers do use pesticides. Lots of them.
BPA in food packaging: FDA to decide by March 31
In late February, French lawmakers voted to ban the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in all food packaging. It was a gutsy move, putting the health of Europeans ahead of big-business interests. Better still, it may give the US FDA the nudge it needs to likewise vote to keep BPA away from Americans’ food and drinks.

• Campbell Soup to complete BPA phase out before 2015 - source
DuPont champions alternative hydrocolloids as guar replacers
Amid sky-high prices and shortages of guar gum driven by an unprecedented surge in demand, food formulators have renewed focus on finding replacers and DuPont is championing use of alternative hydrocolloids.
Alternating taste intensities could help cut sugar and salt levels: NIZO
The development of foods that contain alternating levels of taste intensity in the mouth could lead to reductions in sugar and salt levels, while retaining the same perception as with the original foodstuffs, say researchers from Dutch research group NIZO.
How Do X-ray systems find foreign bodies?
Food manufacturers are increasingly relying on x-ray systems to detect and reject contaminated products from the production line, but how do x-rays actually find foreign bodies?
   This new white paper from Mettler Toledo explains, in layman's terms, the principles behind x-ray inspection.
Has your food gone rancid?
Consumers may have kitchen full of dangerous products and not know it. Does your cupboard hold a package of unfinished crackers? An old bag of whole grain flour? Some leftover nuts from holiday baking? Or perhaps a bottle of vegetable oil you've been slow to finish? If so, you may be harboring dangerous, rancid foods.

 Verni Superflor

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
There is not enough scientific data to support a link between FDA-approved food colours and the increased incidence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to results of a new meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
American advocacy group, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), is well-known/infamous for alerting the public/overblowing fears about many of the foods we eat. This week it has been creating headlines again, repeating its soda scare - on the chemical in caramel colouring, 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) - but which has been again been refuted by regulators as overblown.
 
FDA officials have issued a warning letter to the makers of the inhalable caffeine product AeroShot, saying they have questions about its safety and concerns about how children and adolescents may use it.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
The overwhelming body of information about food in scientific and popular media makes consumers, even the well informed ones, really confused with no degree of clarity on any issue. While this is understandable, what is alarming is the massive ignorance among children about even the most basic aspects of food, as has just been found by an Australian survey.
The 4am munchies just got a whole lot more convenient in LA, after Sprinkles cupcake shop in Beverly Hills, one of the leading forces behind the gourmet cupcake craze in America, set up the world's first 24-hour cupcake ATM.
Coca-Cola taste test: high fructose corn syrup vs sugar
Nearly 30 years ago, Coca-Cola switched over from sugar to high-fructose corn syrup to sweeten America's beloved carbonated soft drink. With the furore around HFCS, Mexican Coke, sweetened mostly with real sugar, has developed a cult following in the US. Coca-Cola says the difference between the two is not discernable - others disagree, as this taste test showed

 Food bites... The rise and fall of white bread


A Washington Post article commemorating the moment in 2009 when whole wheat bread sales surpassed white for the first time in US history explained this reversal. Growing awareness of the importance of the fibre and nutrients found in whole grains played a role, but so did status aspirations. Today, the article observed, whole wheat bread “signifies the sophistication of your palate, your appreciation for texture and variety…. The grainier you like it, the more refined your sensibilities. The darker it is, the greater your chance for enlightenment.”
 
Industrial white bread has completed its two-hundred-year trajectory from modern marvel to low-class item... It used to be, ‘Oh, you poor thing, you have that nasty brown bread.’ … Now it’s, ‘Oh, you poor thing. You have that nasty white bread.’
From the new book "White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf" which looks at how America came to hate the processed loaves not just
because of health - but because of class, status and race
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Brenda NeallPublished every Friday as part of www.foodstuffsa.co.za, this newsletter is a cherry-picking, agglomerating service for all food and beverage industrialists. It aims to be topical, insightful, provocative, intelligent... fast, fresh and full of additives!
 


 
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