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Newsletter 27 May 2011

Your Newsletter

 27 May 2011 | Your weekly food industry news and insights….
  SmartStuff:   “In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.”
Harold S Geneen

Bidfood Solutions
Editor’s Stuff: Red Bull’s billionaire maniac!
THE FIRST LAW OF FOOD IS TASTE… break it, and you’re doomed to failure. People will buy once, and never again if your product isn’t a happy match with their taste buds. However, for every law there are exceptions and one of these is Red Bull, arguably the most notable beverage success story of our generation.
The triumph of Red Bull defies logic in this all-important important regard: it doesn’t taste very good. The amber-coloured elixir’s taste has been likened to “cough medicine in a can” (although I’m told it does grow on you). One early market research report in the UK put it bluntly: “No other new product has ever failed this convincingly.”

Red BullBut Red Bull’s maverick founder, Dietrich Mateschitz says he didn’t care about the taste issue back when he launched the drink, and he doesn’t care about it now. “It’s not just another flavoured sugar water differentiated by colour or taste or flavour,” he says. “It’s an efficiency product. I’m talking about improving endurance, concentration, reaction time, speed, vigilance, and emotional status. Taste is of no importance whatsoever.”

Notoriously secret and little known outside of his native Austria, Mateschitz single-handedly changed the landscape of the beverage industry by creating not just a new brand but a whole new category: the energy drink. Red Bull and its founder are a fascinating tale – and my read of the week is a brilliant article on this elusive, even maniacal, billionaire… Read more here

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor


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Kerry Ingredients

 Local Food Industry Stuff

The 7th Floor, Foodcorp’s hugely stylish and impressive culinary innovation centre in Observatory, Cape Town, is already the stuff of legend in the food industry. Established in 2008, its aim is to uncover and interpret new trends and to cultivate and speed innovation within Foodcorp; to position it as a dynamic and creative food marketing company as opposed to just another food manufacture. This week a large crowd of food industrialists and media gathered there to hear an inspired presentation on current food trends by its manager, Simone Falconer.

PERKAn international Cadbury brand, the PERK bar that has been a hit in India since 1996, has now been launched in South Africa. Cadbury PERK is a twin pack consisting of two crispy wafer chocolate bars “super-charged with glucose for an instant energy hit”.

DairyBelle – the brand – has been very quiet in recent years, but following a recent relaunch, it is likely to become a force with which other big dairy companies in SA will have to reckon. In particular, the new DairyBelle marketing team hope that it will bring   “a special ‘brightness’ to SA dairy consumers”

Swift Micro Laboratories has announced it has signed an exclusive service agreement with George Weston Technologies in Sydney, Australia – meaning it is now able to provide nutritional and chemical analyses to the South African and African market with a turnaround time of only 15 working days.


 International Food Industry News

According to Reuters, cucumbers from Spain have been identified as a source of the deadly E. coli outbreak gripping northern Germany. While reports differ, as many as five people have died from infections with E. coli O104. 140 people have developed acute kidney failure, or Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). Most of the 600 cases reported so far have been centered in the Hamburg area. More deaths are expected.

Nestlé’s health-science unit has agreed to buy Prometheus Laboratories, a maker of treatments for cancer and gastrointestinal illnesses, as the world’s largest food company makes another investment in personalised nutrition.
Rinderpest is declared eradicated
The deadly cattle disease, rinderpest, that has devastated animal herds for centuries no longer exists — making it the first animal illness to be eradicated by humans, the World Organisation on Animal Health said yesterday.

The European Commission (EC) has asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to conduct a wholesale review of the safety of the world’s most widely used sweetener, aspartame.

 Verni Superflor

 Food Trends, Marketing and NPD

Nestlé has announced the launch in Switzerland of its premium BabyNes system, a unique combination of nutrition innovation, high-tech machine technology and after-sales service – very much in line with its fabulously successful Nespresso coffee concept.

Hershey is punching tiny holes in its iconic candy bar. Nestlé is bringing Skinny Cow to the candy aisle. Wrigley is coming out with apple pie gum. Mars is stuffing vitamins and minerals into snack bars. And Jelly Belly is bringing back rotten-egg jelly beans. In a sugary stampede, candy makers big and small are rushing hundreds of new products to market this year hoping the innovations will bring sweet profits.

From the UK… Popcorn is becoming a major hit beyond cinemas – with a healthy makeover and mind-blowing new flavours. And now Marks & Spencer, the great barometer of middle-class esteem, has become the first supermarket to launch its own “gourmet range”, which includes such unconventional flavours as curried coconut & black onion seed, chocolate & paprika and salted caramel..

The return to the kitchen that has been seen throughout the US recession has amped up many food and drink segments… and the sauces and marinades market is joining the upward swing. According to latest research from Mintel, the cooking sauces and marinades category gained 20% in US retail sales between 2005 and 2010 and is expected to increase by another 19% by 2015.

Is a little-known fruit named borojo, grown in the rainforest jungles of Central and South America, the next big thing “superfruit” juice thing? One American entrepreneur thinks it is…

Women are a negelected, even ignored, beer-drinking demographic – now Danish brewer Carlsberg is looking to tap into this sector with a stylish new beer.

Savannah Fine Chemicals

 Health and Nutrition Stuff

While moderate amounts of calcium (around 700mg a day) are vital for maintaining healthy bones, there is no need to start increasing calcium intake in order to reduce the risk of fractures or osteoporosis in later life, finds a paper published on the British Medical Journal website this week.

New research from the University of Granada suggests goat milk can be considered natural functional food because it has many nutrients that make it similar to human milk.

Alternative medical treatments rarely work. But the placebo effect they induce sometimes does. This excellent article from The Economist looks at the therapeutic value of the placebo effect, one of the strangest and slipperiest phenomena in medicine.

One in ten kids found to have taste disorder
Ear infections may be to blame for loss of taste in children…

 Food Science, Safety and Ingredients

Retailers like clean labels, and if not clean, they like ‘natural’. Or at least the consumer does, although the man in the street would be hard-pressed to discriminate between natural and artificial. Come to think of it, so would most retailers. However, consumer trends drive the market, so the race to develop effective natural preservatives is on.

Savoury aromas may help to boost salt reduction strategies by masking the tastes of sodium replacers such as potassium chloride, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Science.

As scientists expect drought to become more common due to global warming in coming years, this could impact everything from the price of food to the price of fuel planet-wide. As a result, for the last several years agribusiness giants like Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta have been pursuing genetic modification to enable the corn plant to thrive even without enough rain. And now the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering approving just such a new corn.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

Last year Mark Zuckerberg set out to learn Chinese. Now he’s determined to get in touch with his food, reports Fortune magazine. Pursuing a new “personal challenge,” as he calls it, the only “meat I’m eating is from animals I’ve killed myself,” says the Facebook founder and CEO.

According to the marketing slogan it is a taste that you either love or hate. But Danes will no longer get the chance to make up their own minds on Marmite after the British delicacy was banned under food safety laws.

The Oprah Winfrey Show aired its final original episode Wednesday, signalling not only the end of a popular television show, but the end of a media phenomenon that catapulted obscure businesses to unexpected heights and increased sales beyond their owners’ wildest dreams. Known as “The Oprah Effect”, it was known to turn a struggling company into a commercial success after a single appearance on her show.

It is the name synonymous with Britain’s favourite sauce and one of the best-known brands in the world. But Heinz tomato ketchup has come near the bottom of a national consumer taste test, trounced by cheaper supermarket own brands.

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Food bites… They hypocrisy of food sermons by the rich and famous

“Penny wise and pound foolish” and “Do as I say do, not as I do” are adages that come to mind with the latest spate of media fawning over England’s King-in-Waiting Charles of Windsor and his crusade to save us from ourselves through organic farming, alternative energy, and more thrifty lifestyles…
   To his credit, Charles is reported to have an organic farm on one of his vast estates — which, media sources say, has never turned a profit. But then, when one has millions of dollars in yearly income from royal holdings, one can jolly well grow all the organic parsnips and kale one wishes, and hang the cost.
   It is one thing for Charles and assorted ultra-wealthy entertainment and sports stars for whom the cost of food has no relevance, to espouse salvation through a manure-fertilized, pesticide/GMO-free, windmill-generating world.
   But to preach to the average working family that they should make do with less, while trying to stretch food dollars as best they can as supermarket prices continue skyward, is utter hypocrisy.
Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Blog Read more

Published every Friday as part of, this newsletter is a cherry-picking, agglomerating service for all food and beverage industrialists. It aims to be topical, insightful, provocative… fast, fresh and full of additives!


Brenda NeallFOODStuff SA is published and edited by Brenda Neall.


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