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Newsletter 11 September 2013

Your Newsletter

11 September 2013
 Your weekly food industry news
and insights…
SmartStuff:   “The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.”   Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari

Editor’s Stuff: Big Idea! Watch consumers use your products!
Starting off… congratulations to Symrise South Africa, the local arm of the giant German flavour multinational, on the official opening of a new customer innovation centre at its Isando, Jo’burg, premises.

A big vote of confidence in SA and southern Africa’s potential, the world-class centre will operate as an R&D hub for Symrise’s team of flavourists and product developers, and as a platform for interaction with customers to explore and trial its many flavour solutions and technologies.

As I was driving home from the Symrise opening party, I fortuitously heard an interview that greatly piqued my interest; Bruce Whitfield of 702/Cape Talk’s Money Show in animated discussion with innovation specialist, Gavin Symanowitz, about … Fizz Pops … of all things!

But the crux of their chat was about irritating packaging, and product dis-function in general, with Beacon’s ubiquitous sucker top of Gavin’s bugbear list. To him it seems apparent that, in many instances, manufacturers give scant bother to checking out how their products shape up in real life usage – otherwise why would they put such darned irksome things on the market? Interesting, and provocative, stuff!

So I contacted Gavin – and he gave me the okay to publish a great article he’s written on the topic. It has already drawn some attention – Tiger Brands, owner of Fizz Pops, has been in touch to get in touch with him! Do read…
One of the simplest and most effective ways to innovate is to go out and observe your customers using your product in their own environment, advises Dr Gavin Symanowitz, an actuary and founder of, and who is frequently driven crazy by Fizz Pops! And he has sound advice for all makers and users of food-beverage-any packaging…

Enjoy this week’s read.
FOODStuff SA is a hub for food-bev industry recruitment:
look for a job or advertise your company’s positions! Click here

Sensient Food Colors

  Local News and Developments
Paarl-based consumer brands giant, Pioneer Food Group, has chosen an interesting time to propose an unbundling and separate listing for its Quantum Foods division – which houses a sizeable poultry business; eggs (Nulaid)‚ chicken products (Tydstroom), animal feed (Nova) and commercial laying hens.
The fight for the umqombothi (sorghum beer) market has turned dirty as Daigeo’s sorghum beer arm, United National Breweries (UNB), has lodged a complaint of “uncompetitive conduct” against beer behemoth SABMiller at the Competition Commission.
UK retailer, Tesco, has announced that the world’s largest avocado, five to six times the size of the usual variety – AND grown in South Africa – is on sale at its stores across Britain.
Sweet Temptations Toffees, well known as the creators of flavoured handmade soft toffees in stylish striped wrappings, has been crowned winner of the Best New Business in Africa category of the 6th Africa SMME Awards. Businesses from all over Africa and Mauritius took part in this competition hosted by the Africagrowth Institute.
Global brewing giant SABMiller (SAB) has announced some good news, that former CE, Graham Mackay, resumed his duties as non-executive chairman on Thursday, 5 September 2013, following a medical leave of absence granted by the board in May.
Banning full colour pictures of old whisky is one thing. Limiting people from making their own choices is quite another, argues Stephen Grootes.
Swift Silliker, leading name in micro testing, has launched a chemistry testing lab and service, a valuable new offering to the food-beverage industries. 

QPro International

 International Developments

Google is calling the next version of its mobile operating system Android KitKat. The news comes as a surprise as the firm had previously indicated version 4.4 of the operating system would be Key Lime Pie – but the decision to brand the software with the name of Nestlé’s famous chocolate bar is likely to be seen as a marketing coup for the Swiss food-bev giant.
With 800-million hungry mouths to feed, India’s government has to do something. Its answer to the country’s malnutrition problem is a mammoth food subsidy package that guarantees cheap food for the poor and a hefty bill for the exchequer. This won’t solve the problem, but, like the ANC with its social welfare carrots, it should keep the ruling party in power.
Japan’s Suntory drinks group will take ownership of two iconic British beverage brands, Lucozade and Ribena, buying them from GlaxoSmithKline for about £1.5bn.
China waiting in the wings to buy more US food companies
It’s obvious why foreign entities would be interested in purchasing American food companies: they’ve created the gold standard for global food production and food safety. So it’s no surprise Chinese food giant, Shuanghui International, recently bought [provisionally] Smithfield Foods, America’s — and the world’s — largest pork producer.
Africa: Cold comfort farming
If potential were edible, Africa would have the best-fed people on earth. The vast continent has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, most of it unfarmed. The land already under cultivation, mostly by small farmers, could produce far more… With the right know-how and inputs, Africa’s farmers could double productivity. Yet Africa’s huge potential clashes with a brutal reality…
After all that… Dairy giant Fonterra’s products at the centre of a global contamination scare this month did not contain a bacteria that could cause botulism, and posed no food safety threat.

LRQA South Africa

 Marketing, Trends, Innovation and NPD
With the one possible exception of an apple in the Garden of Eden, ingesting more fruits is seen universally as a wonderful idea. One of the reasons is the benefits of fibre – from fruits, vegetables, grains or other sources.
Just when you finally learned how to correctly pronounce quinoa (keen-wa), another new grain comes along with an odd sounding name, touting its health benefits. We’re talking about freekeh (freak-eh). What is it?
Fresh-brewed soup! Campbell Soup and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters have joined forces to create a whole new beverage-snacking category – soup in a K-Cup or coffee capsule. Yes, really.
Japan is renowned for extraordinary-to-strange NPD, with Coca-Cola there announcing a new first among its scores of beverage selections: a heated carbonated drink.
Rooibos on the march in the US… Rooibee Red Tea says the US’s first bottled rooibos red tea brand expects a significant sales lift this year after enjoying 330% growth from 2010-2012.
Thanks to growing consumer awareness about the vulnerable state of the global environment and food supply, environmentally-conscious eating is a trend destined to increase in urgency, according to ‘Eco-Eating Culinary Trend Mapping Report’ by market research publisher, Packaged Facts.

Kerry Citrus

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients

The history of artificial sweeteners is a history of public neuroses, bad science, paranoid distrust of corporations and regulatory failure. It plays to our fear of what we don’t understand, absurd risk-aversion on the part of regulators and the political effectiveness of legislating popular prejudices. [A must read! Ed]

The next generation of food and beverage production facilities will be sanitary, flexible, more pleasant to work in and self-sustaining.
Understanding flavour: Who will win the race to be the sixth basic taste?
The perception of flavours relies on a complex mixture of signals from all of our senses, but receptors on our tongue can only recognise five ‘tastes’ … right?
In case you missed it: Why does food taste so delicious?
Taste is not what you think. Every schoolchild learns that it is one of the five senses, a partner of smell and sight and touch, a consequence of food flitting over taste buds that send important signals—sweet or bitter, nutrient or poison?—to the brain. Were it so simple.

 Health and Nutrition
Human gut bacterial could be playing a decisive role in determining overweight or obesity, according to a remarkable study involving lab mice fed with bacterial gut ‘fauna’ from fat and thin people. The researchers suggest that it may be an important step toward developing new personalised probiotic and food-based obesity therapies.
Exercise is a miracle drug
“If there were a miracle drug that helped patients avoid heart disease, strokes and some cancers, would you prescribe it?” doctors in America were asked. The doctors said “yes”. They were then asked why they did not prescribe exercise.
   The ‘Exercise is Medicine’ movement encourages doctors to write a script with the words: physical activity. It originated in the US and has now reached South Africa.
The epigenetics of fat
Exercise is the closest thing medicine has to a panacea… and works its magic in many ways, improving the power and efficiency of the heart, boosting certain neurotransmitters, and stimulating cells’ garbage-disposal machinery. Now Swedish researchers have discovered another effect: it alters the way genes work in the tissue that stores fat.
Iodised salt is so commonplace in the world today that we mostly never give the additive a second thought. But new research finds that humble iodine has played a substantial role in cognitive improvements seen across the American population in the 20th century.
Reducing micronutrient deficiency with biofortification
New evidence suggests that selective breeding of staple food crops could be a key strategy in the fight against malnutrition.

In case you missed it: Salt intake controlled by brain, not diet

A new study led by scientists affiliated with the UC Davis, adds further credence to the growing scientific notion that concern about the amount of salt we consume may be misplaced. 

What makes you fat: too many calories, or the wrong carbohydrates?

Rigorously controlled studies may soon give us a definitive answer about what causes obesity — excessive calories or the wrong carbohydrates. 

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
While most of us take the lifting of a spoon to our mouth for granted, it can be a major challenge for people with Parkinson’s Disease or other neurodegenerative conditions such as essential tremor, a disorder characterised by shaking hands (among other things). These conditions can make eating nearly impossible — but with those people in mind, engineers at San Francisco’s Lift Labs created the Liftware Spoon.
Siemens has used the 2013 IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin this week to unveil a new advance in consumer refrigeration – using a vacuum to keep food fresher, longer.

 Food bites…2013: The evils of ‘Big Food’

“THE modern food industry is a testament to human ingenuity and progress. A combination of agricultural productivity, industrial efficiency and applied science provides most of the world’s population with an abundant choice of fresh and tasty food. Food companies conduct extensive market research to try to discover what customers find good to eat, where “good” means both “healthy” and “tasty”.
   “Chemistry, financial and operations wizards then figure out ways to produce what the studies found, at prices that customers are willing to pay. And then, and then (cue ominous music), the evil bastards give us what we want.
   “Except, as we all know, Big Food includes companies like Monsanto, and companies like Monsanto kill people for sport. Their preferred sporting event is to poison cute little children while their mothers are watching. And how do they do this? By lacing food with “synthetic chemicals created in a laboratory”, of course….”
South African environmental journalist, Ivo Vegter, writing in The Daily Maverick
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Totally Food Events
Brenda NeallPublished weekly as part of and, 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!
FOODStuff SA and DRINKStuff SA, websites with reams of pertinent and interesting stuff about FMCG food-beverage manufacture from farm gate to retail shelf, are published and edited by Brenda Neall. You can contact her at:

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