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Newsletter 19 September 2014

19 September 2014
We hunt down the latest food-drinks news
and trends so you don’t have to!

Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”  Victor Hugo

Editor’s Stuff: Anything but sweet!


The pressure never lets up in the food-drinks industry when it comes to sweetness. Sugar is poison, fructose is toxic, aspartame causes everything from headache to cancer… and so the scare stories go on and on and on. What a double bind: people crave sweetness, but every means of providing it is being villified!

Making headlines this week is a provocative new study that even has sceptical me relooking what I put in my tea and coffee. 

The new study suggests that artificial sweeteners can cause glucose intolerance in mice, and perhaps in humans, by altering gut bacteria. Although artificial sweeteners – among the world’s most widely used food additives – are approved by most food regulation agencies as safe for humans, the researchers who led the work suggest that their use should be reassessed.

“The most shocking result is that the use of sweeteners aimed at preventing diabetes might actually be contributing to and possibly driving the epidemic that it aims to prevent,” says Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

The methodology has been questioned by industry, but the mainstream coverage will still mean more negative implications for suppliers.

New question mark on artificial sweeteners’ role in blood sugar control


Hope you enjoy this week’s read…. your clicks are vital and much appreciated!

Brenda Neall:


FOODStuff SA is a hub for food-bev industry recruitment!
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  Now on FOODStuff SA!

Nestlé South Africa announces new MD and five-year investment plan

Nestlé South Africa has announced a new five-year, R2-billion investment plan in the country and the appointment of Ian Donald (left) as the company’s new chairman and MD.

Read more...Muted economy sours Clover’s earnings

Dairy products group Clover, which is trading under a cautionary announcement (possible buyout of Quality Beverages), sees opportunities for consolidation in the sector as SA’s weak consumer environment offers limited growth opportunities.

Read more...Another new-old fast food player: Pizza Hut to return to SA

The Pizza Hut fast food chain is returning to South Africa after an absence of six years, but this time it will have a different focus.

Read more...Woolworths aims to further reduce any GM products

Woolworths has announced plans to reduce the current number of products containing ingredients derived from GM crop sources in its private label foods by 50 percent over the next year – in keeping with a prior commitment on GM ingredients.

Read more...South Africa’s best olive oils for 2014

Several of South Africa’s leading olive oil producers were recently honoured with gold medals at the annual SA Olive Awards (28 August). A challenging harvest saw fewer entrants this year.

Read more...US: Big Food opens up on chemicals in food

American food companies are trying to preempt the federal government’s push to make chemicals in food – how it’s determined that an ingredient is “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS – more transparent.

Read more...The bacteria in bees give honey its healing properties

While the medicinal properties of honey have been extensively studied, the question as to how honey becomes so effective has not been fully answered. It now appears that lactic acid bacteria in bees give honey its antimicrobial properties.

Read more...Nutella spurs global rush to grow hazelnuts

Nutella, the indulgent chocolate-hazelnut spread, turns 50 this year, and it’s come a long way – from a wartime make-do in Italy to a global favourite today. Its popularity has seen interest in hazelnuts soar…

Read more...Why the US chills its eggs and most of the world doesn’t

The difference in the approach to eggs boils down to two things: how to deal with salmonella, and how much energy those in the supply chain are willing to use in the name of safe eggs.

Read more...Turbocharging photosynthesis to feed the world

A faster enzyme for turning CO2 into sugar is a key step toward much higher crop yields. Why does this matter? Yields of wheat are increasing at 1 percent per year—half the rate of increase needed to keep the world fed. New progress has been reported in this quest…

Read more...UK: Heinz launches stevia-sweetened ketchup

In a move to woo the health-conscious, Heinz UK has launched a stevia-sweetened variant of its flagship ketchup. It has half the sugar content of the conventional sauce.

Read more...OPINION: Marketing genius of organic foods unwrapped

If marketing is the art of persuading consumers to buy things, then the initial promoters of “organic” foods – all amateurs with little or no marketing experience – have taught advertising and sales promotion experts a thing or three. [Some astute commentary by Keith Bryer. Ed]

Read more...Cereal killers – five trends revolutionising the American breakfast

Breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day, but in the US, the battle over what to eat and where has never been greater. According to a new report from Rabobank, consumers are increasingly overlooking the cereal bowl in favour of other options. Five key trends are behind this American breakfast revolution.

Read more...Debunking some food allergy myths

Given the life-threatening nature of food allergies, one would think that the stakes are too high for myths and pseudoscience. Unfortunately, this is not the case and confusion surrounding these conditions abounds. SA’s allergy experts, FACTS (Food & Allergy Consulting & Testing Services), lays out the facts on some common myths.

Read more...Study: Comfort food is a myth

New research finds that, contrary to popular belief, such foods don’t have any special ability to improve our moods.

  In case you missed it: Last week FOODStuff SA! 

Barentz opens an office in South Africa

Barentz International, a global player in food ingredients, has announced that it’s opening up shop in South Africa.

Rhodes Food Group set for R600m JSE listing
Rhodes Food Group, the mainly Cape-based manufacturer of canned produce, cheese, processed meat and ready meals, plans to raise R600-million in a main-board JSE listing.

Sour blow for Botswana as Mondelez closes chewing gum plant
In a rationalisation move that was inevitable, Mondelez International says it will close its chewing gum plant in Botswana in December and move production to Poland.

Curvy new Cadbury Dairy Milk bars: another stealth price rise?
Cadbury Dairy Milk bars have a new shape – with rectangular blocks giving way to a curves. Is this another way to achieve a stealth price rise?

Cargill to buy ADM’s chocolate business for $440-million
Cargill, the largest privately held US company, has agreed to acquire Archer-Daniels-Midland’s chocolate business for about $440-million.

US: McDonald’s Happy Meals losing their appeal
McDee’s has already admitted it has a problem with millennials, who want food that is healthier and fresher than much of what it offers. It looks as if it also has a problem with kids, too.

There’s no such thing as ‘plain old vanilla’
Vanilla has become a metaphor for “plain” but nothing could be further from the truth. Vanilla is one of the most complex spices around, with some 250 different flavour and aroma compounds.

Listeria kills 15 Danes: Why the bacterium is so hard to fight
Now research from University of Southern Denmark has uncovered exactly how cunning Listeria is and why it is so hard to fight.

Our everyday GM foods: chicken, almonds, tomatoes, grapefruit etc
For the health-conscious, the prevailing wisdom is that ‘natural’ food is the best food. However, one scientific fact is inescapable: basically none of our dietary staples are natural.

Low-carb diets better for weight loss, heart health: major new study
People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet.

Eating, not sugar, is addictive – finds new study
A new study finds that we are not addicted to sugar or to chocolate in the way we can be addicted to drugs, but we can get hooked on eating itself.

The joy of cooking? Yeah right!
“…The main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it is a burden. It’s expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway…” 

Now on DRINKStuff SA!

Read more...SABMiller Namibia begins operations at its new brewery

SABMiller’s first Namibian brewery has produced its inaugural brew, with bottles of Carling Black Label rolling off the packaging line. SABMiller Namibia previously imported all its beer from SA.

Read more...More swirling SABMiller-AB InBev takeover rumours

Rumours of mergers are swirl around the brewing industry again as the biggest three players jostle for market share. SABMiller shares leapt by more than 12% on Monday [by R94bn to R1.08-trillion on the JSE] on reports that the brewer might prove the target of a £75bn takeover bid by AB InBev.

Read more...SAB reimages Castle Draught

SAB has relaunched its Castle Draught, under a new brand name, the 1895 Draught, and which is targeted at the rapidly premiumising and urbanising South African beer consumer.

Read more...Move over hot chocolate, here comes Peanut Hottie!

It’s been a long time since hot beverages had some real innovation, and a new British concept that’s starting to make waves is Peanut Hottie, a peanut butter hot drink.

Read more...Fruitree enters the squash market

Fruitree, a popular, mostly nectar, juice brand in Pioneer Foods’ Groceries Division has introduced a new two-litre Orange Squash to its existing range of juices.

 Savannah Fine Chemicals

 In case you missed it: Last week on DRINKStuff SA!
SAB joins the craft beer party!
SAB has dabbled with craft beer in the past, but is now intent to be a part of SA’s hugely-popular craft beer craze. It will be launching a specialty beer brand, No 3 Fransen Street.

Castle Lite gets a dash of lime
There’s a new addition to the Castle Lite family – Castle Lite Lime – a new style of flavoured beer extending SAB’s offering to the beer drinking market.

Castle Lite launches its new 12-pack Ice Core, a portable multi-pack innovation
With summer on its way, SAB has introduced an innovative packaging idea to keep Castle Lite beers extra cold and extra convenient: the ingenious 12-pack Ice Core.

New re-sealable 330ml PET from Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola South African has launched a new and convenient ‘My Size’ re-sealable 330ml PET bottle for its key CSD brands, Coca-Cola, Fanta Orange, Sprite and Stoney.

UK: Coca-Cola agrees to traffic-light labelling on drinks
Coca-Cola has agreed to put traffic light-style labels on its drinks sold in the UK to help tackle the growing obesity crisis.
Nespresso opens its coffee machines to knockoffs
Nespresso has bowed to pressure from French competition authorities and agreed to open up to knockoff capsules from competitors around the world.
What’s bubbling in beverages?
Sparkling waters, natural sodas, ethnic drinks, and teas are well poised for strong growth as consumers continue to turn away from carbonated soft drinks…
Coffee: cold-brew is the hot new thing
Keeping pace with coffee trends can be an exhausting business. The latest excitement in the UK, and elsewhere, is all about cold-brew.

 In this month’s NewsWrap!
  • SA retailers strive to adapt as customers struggle
  • Banting: Meet the man behind the diet
  • How nutrition labels screw the consumer
  • Tetra Pak: Five global emerging packaging trends
  • Chia + garbanzo beans = neat egg replacement
  • FMCG marketers wade warily into e-commerce but the potential is huge
  • Food Babe’s ingredient attacks draw ‘quackmail’ backlash
  • UK: Tesco rolls out pink-fleshed Surprize apple
  • Japan gets black Burger King burger, complete with black cheese
  • Ditching the ‘diet’: Americans want to shed pounds, but they’re tiring of traditional weight loss regimes
 See all 2014 food trend reports here! And beverage here!

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!
We hunt down the latest SA and global food-drinks news and trends so you don’t have to!

FOODStuff SA and DRINKStuff SA are published and edited by Brenda Neall. For editorial and advertising matters, contact her at:

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