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Newsletter 4 July 2011

Your Newsletter

 4 July 2011 | Your weekly food industry news and insights….
SmartStuff: “The trouble with life isn’t that there is no answer, it’s that there are so many answers.” Ruth Benedict, American anthropologist

Bidfood Solutions
Editor’s Stuff: The schizophrenic beast that is the food industry!

I found a great bit of commentary this week which really gets to the nub of that infernal food industry gripe and conundrum: lack of consumer/journalistic trust and understanding when it comes to modern food production; and that eternal chasm between the lab/factory and the marketing dept.

Adding to the debate on FoodNavigator-USA and its sister sites, columnist Elaine Watson argues that if the food industry wants journalists and consumers to get real about risk, “chemophobia”, aspartame, artificial colours and “Franken” foods and so on, then it has to get real too.
“Is it any wonder consumers have an irrational suspicion of food science when the media is populated by arts graduates unable to grasp ‘scientific’ material and hell bent on turning the most innocuous story into a full-blown food scare?” she asks. But journalists are only part of the problem, she writes.
“The elephant in the room is one large, schizophrenic beast called the food industry, which, let’s be honest, is sending out some pretty mixed messages.

“While food scientists know we’re all made of ‘chemicals’ and that ‘natural’, ‘local’, ‘organic’ or ‘’minimally processed’ food is not inherently safer, healthier or more sustainable than ‘mass-produced’ food, this is not what their colleagues in marketing are telling us.

“If there is a bandwagon, they will jump on it, regardless of the science. Indeed, if consumers suspect artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and preservatives might be poisoning their kids, this is in no small part because food manufacturers are falling over each other to banish them, regardless of whether they actually believe they are doing any harm.

Slapping ‘no artificial sweeteners’, ‘GM-free’, or ‘no HFCS’ on pack is not consequence-free. The message is clear, that the much-maligned (and legal and exhaustively-tested) substances must be bad for you, or why remove them?

No wonder consumers are confused! And no wonder the food industry shoots itself in the collective foot! Read more on this very pertinent topic.

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
PS Apologies for sending this today and not Friday – I was victim of Vodacom’s meltdown on Thursday, my big news gathering time, that saw my internet connection snuffed out most of the day.

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Kerry Ingredients

 Local Food Industry Stuff
Tough new restrictions on the use of artificial trans-fats will come into effect on August 17, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has said. 
Dairy giant Clover plans to introduce carbonated soft drinks to its stable. CEO Johann Vorster says it’s part of Clover’s plans to grow its beverages business to reduce the group’s dependence on its cyclical dairy products. [This news was announced some weeks ago but missed by FSA – and worth reporting here]
Distell’s “secret” regarding the composition of its Amarula Cream liqueur is out and there is speculation that its image could suffer in the eyes of consumers, reports Fin24. The question is whether Amarula contains marula liquor alone, or whether the popular drink is spirit- or wine-based.
Food Lover’s Market expected to reap ripe returns
Retail group Fruit & Veg City’s expansion plans will focus on its premium brand, Food Lover’s Market, to reap greater benefits from this higher-margin business. 
Nampak Bevcan’s US$160 million beverage can factory (known as Angolata) in the Viana Industrial Zone in Angola’s capital, Luanda, is complete, with the official opening taking place on the 29 June 2011. 
Throughout May and June Denny rolled out a “Soup2Give” initiative in partnership with FoodBank South Africa. The zenith of the campaign was reached on 26 May 2011 when South Africa celebrated the first ever National Soup Day, instituted to mobilise South Africans to enjoy a steaming bowl of soup to embrace the onset of winter, but also to come together and spare a thought for the millions of hungry people in our country.


Food Trends, NPD and Marketing
Durban’s Rudene and Andrew Brown can, without doubt, be credited with shifting muesli out of a hippy-health-shop niche into the mainstream in South Africa. The couple, who founded and sold not one, but two, successful breakfast cereal companies and brands, Nature’s Source and Simply Cereal, have now taken their unflagging entrepreneurial spirit into the healthy snacking arena.
Fruit Pack, a 100% fruit purée snack for children that was launched recently is now available in individual 90g pouches and four-packs (containing four x 90g pouches) per flavour. 
Developing markets have long offered consumers mini sizes, enabling people with little disposable income to buy just enough for the moment. Now more food and beverage brands in the US are giving customers smaller, cheaper options.

Food “additives” are generally an anathema to the informed consumer world, until high-profile chefs reverse them into sexy: the latest to cause a stir is protein-bonding transglutaminases.Turbo Tango

UK soft drinks giant, Britvic, is shaking up the sector by giving its iconic Tango brand a new twist with the launch of Turbo Tango, a groundbreaking soft drinks innovation targeted at teens – it features ‘nitro-fuelled’ aerosol technology, to deliver a foamy blast of orange and a totally new drinking experience.


Recruiting Pamela Anderson to hand out free potato chips and beer may sound like a cheap publicity stunt, but for Britain’s top potato crisp brand, Walkers, it dramatically helped boost sales. 

 Verni Superflor

 Food Science, Safety and Ingredients
This is the International Year of Chemistry – thus it’s appropriate to highlight how, with the help of chemistry, we are eating safer, healthier, and more sustainable food than ever before…
Organic farming must ditch its irrational mistrust of science or risk losing its reputation as being safer and healthier – that’s the word of a man who has worked closely with the organic industry in the UK, Dominic Dyer, writing in New Scientist in the wake of the deadly E coli outbreak in Germany that has been attributed to organically-grown sprouts.
Will we ever access the heart-protecting abilities of red wine without having to drink a glass every day? [What is a day without red wine?!] We soon may be able to, thanks to the synthesis of chemicals derived from resveratrol, the molecule believed to give wine its protective powers. The chemicals have the potential to fight many diseases, including cancer.

Savannah Fine Chemicals

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
Beef bugAdore red meat? You may be put off that next juicy rump by hearing what Nobel winner, Harald zur Hausen, has to say about it. At the recent 61st Lindau meeting of Nobel laureates and top young researchers in Germany, Zur Hausen spoke on his current hypothesis about why beef causes colorectal cancer: it might contain a nasty pathogen that causes the disease but the source hasn’t been discovered yet.
The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes worldwide has more than doubled since 1980, climbing from an estimated 153 million three decades ago to about 347 million in 2008, researchers reported this week. About three million deaths every year are directly attributable to the disease, which is caused by the body’s inability to effectively use insulin secreted by the pancreas. 
British researchers have developed what they say is a “cure” for Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. And all you have to do is starve yourself for eight weeks.
Despite the “considerable efforts” of industry to reduce salt content in food products, a new UK study suggests it is having zero impact on people’s salt intake. The Food Standards Agency in Scotland (FSAS) has published research indicating that there has been no significant change in the amount of salt consumed by people in Scotland since 2006.
Diet soft drinks ‘may be free of calories but not of consequences,’ according to new research from the University of Texas, US, which questions the benefits of drinking low calorie soda. 
In the US, the idea to tax soda won’t go away and it’s on the agenda in several states and cities. For many it’s a no-brainer in advancing the nation’s war on obesity, with advocates pointing to a number of studies in recent years that conclude that sugary drinks have a lot to do with why Americans are getting fatter. Another issue has now come to the fore… 

 Sustainability Stuff
Poverty trapAre there really more than a billion people going to bed hungry each night? The Poverty Action Lab wanted to look at the reality of this UN estimate from 2009. It went to rural villages and urban slums and spoke to poor people and academic experts. “What we’ve found is that the story of hunger, and of poverty more broadly, is far more complex than any one statistic or grand theory; it is a world where those without enough to eat may save up to buy a TV instead, where more money doesn’t necessarily translate into more food, and where making rice cheaper can sometimes even lead people to buy less rice.”
How will packaging be affected by a future marked by explosive population growth and insufficient resources? At an American symposium recently, SPS 2011, or Sustainable Packaging Symposium, Tony Kingsbury, executive-in-residence, Center for Responsible Business, UC Berkeley, and an executive with Dow Chemical, shared some of his packaging-related predictions for a resource-scarce future.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
The psychology behind why we turn to fatty staples like French fries and fried chicken when life gets rough is a complex interplay of memory, history and brain chemistry…

Placentas have been eaten, buried, burned, marched in parades, sung to, dressed in clothing, entombed in pyramids, floated down rivers, and probably a host of other things too strange or mundane to record. In an intriguing article in the edgy journal, meatpaper, journalist, Cynthia Mitchell writes…

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Food bites…Innovating behond consumers’ imaginings

“With the tremendous turbulence and the speed with which industries are changing today, you can’t just sit around and wait. While high levels of profits from existing businesses are a must, companies need to be reinvesting in a consistent fashion to create new businesses, and new products, and to shape the pattern of market evolution. They need to imagine new markets for tomorrow, and to build new core competencies that will give them an advantage in those markets.”
The late CK Prahalad, one of the most influential business thinkers and writers

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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