Newsletter 06 July 2012

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 6 July 2012 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong.”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet

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Editor’s Stuff: Pizza doesn’t have to be “junk food”!
The biggest global food story of the week has to be about pizza! Arguably the most desirable eat in the expansive realm of “junk foods” … but does pizza have to be a “junk food”? Two Britons, appropriately named MacLean and Lean of Glasgow, Scotland, have come up with an idea for making it healthier.

This tweet on the topic by healthy-food analyst and marketing genius, Julian Mellentin of New Nutrition Business, says it all: “Massive global media coverage for a small start-up. The reason? They created a true health innovation. Original.”

SA features in PLoS Medicine Series on Big Food

Don’t think the pressures on so-called “Big Food” is only an American thing! The PLoS Medicine series of articles on Big Food, published over the past three weeks, has put a heavyweight hand on this hot issue – and includes an essay on Big Food in South Africa and the displacement of traditional diets by the incursion of multinational food companies.

Happy Birthday, Aubrey Parsons!
SA’s best-known and best-loved food-flavour-fragrance scientist, Aubrey Parsons, celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday. Still working like a demon, this respected servant of the SA food-pharma industries never ceases to amaze for his unflagging energy, huge intellect and zest for life.

I am sure that all readers join me in wishing him a very Happy Birthday! Vivé Aubrey!

Enjoy this week’s read!


Brenda Neall: publisher & editor

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! FOODStuff SA is a hub for food industry careers: find a job, or advertise any openings! Click here!

Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments

Did you know that Joburg Market – formerly Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market – is the biggest, by volume, in the world? And that about 10 000 people on average visit every day? Check out the frenzy here….

Compared to its worldwide expansion, McDonald’s has had a slow start in South Africa. But under the ownership of Cyril Ramaphosa, it wants to double in the next four years. The Daily Maverick meets MD, Greg Solomon…

Tiger Brands buys into Nigerian flour business
SA’s largest food producer‚ Tiger Brands‚ has confirmed the acquisition of 63,35% of West African manufacturer Dangote’s flour and pasta operation. Last year‚ it bought 100% of Deli Foods Nigeria‚ a biscuit maker‚ for R296.3m. It also paid R421.1m for a 49% stake in UAC Foods Nigeria‚ a manufacturer of branded food products.
Italy’s Guala Closures has announced the acquisition of the Metal Closures division of MCG Industries for an undisclosed amount, part of a strategy to boost its presence in the fast-growing sub-Saharan African market. Metal Closures is a leading manufacturer of aluminum closures in South Africa for the wine, spirits, beverage, water and food sectors.
Food in Flux: food security in SA
A BDFM video investigation into the state of food insecurity in South Africa and the coping mechanisms employed by the poor to withstand increasing food price hikes. A harsh reality check…
Rainbow and Astral: Hit by lost pricing power
Strong brands and a growing market are key factors for a successful company. Poultry industry players Astral and Rainbow offer both but have long lacked another attribute that could make them great investments: pricing power.

I&J, one of SA’s leading South African fishing companies, has further demonstrated its commitment to the environment by signing a landmark participation agreement with the WWF-SA Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (WWF-SASSI).

The latest addition to the McCain potato range is the limited edition McCain Crispy Bites, tasty, bite-size chips designed for dipping and sharing and ideal for entertaining.
Parmalat presto offers an exciting new and convenient way to enjoy a healthy delicious yoghurt snack anytime, anywhere.
Last week’s top headline: The spout pouch stars in Boland Pulp’s fruity show
FMCG companies worldwide are thinking outside the can, jar and the bottle and looking with more interest at resealable spout pouches. This change is evident on South African shelves, too, and leading the charge in the food arena is Boland Pulp.

International News & Stuff
Codex, the UN food standards body has agreed on new regulations – including the maximum level of melamine in liquid milk formula for babies – to protect the health of consumers across the world. Other measures adopted include new food safety standards on seafood, melons, dried figs and food labelling.
The long battle between Procter & Gamble and Unilever is intensifying in the developing world. Both firms are trying to “straddle the pyramid” by offering products in each category aimed at three different sorts of consumer: high-end ones; the rapidly emerging middle class; and those at the bottom, who may never have brought any branded product before.
The American food industry is gathered last week in Las Vegas for the 2012 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo. A keenly-awaited part of the events is the IFT Food Expo Innovation Awards – the 2012 winners: Advantix Systems, Ampac, Ecolab, and Glanbia Nutritionals.

 Food Trends

Call them “Mexipops”: Mexican-style light lagers, served in clear glass bottles with a slice of lime. Just recently, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, coughed up $20bn to buy the remaining half of Mexican firm Grupo Modelo, which makes Modelo and Corona Extra, the best-selling Mexican beer in the US. Other big brewers seem to have spotted a trend.

US: Chicken wings take flight
Once a lowbrow bar staple, chicken wings are finding their way into upscale restaurants, ethnic cuisine, even vegetarian menus. Wings are driving scorching sales … Their presence on menus has increased 19% since 2009, according to market research firm Mintel.

Turning away from a meat-heavy diet is no longer a minority activity, something that socks-and-cruelty-free-sandal-wearing, wishy-washy tofu-loving student activists do. This is a trend embracing all of us. Enter the Vegivore. The term, coined 18 months ago by New York magazine, describes a new kind of eating…

Launching a food product in today’s highly competitive market takes a large degree of commitment, hard work and the right team to execute a successful launch. Many variables come into play: here are seven basic tips that are essential to the success of any food product launch.

World’s first paper wine bottle to hit UK supermarket shelves by end of 2012
UK packaging company GreenBottle has signed a deal with a major wine supplier to produce the world’s first paper wine ‘bottle’ for supermarket sale this year, and claims there is wider global interest within the beverage industry.

Last week’s top headline: A tighter squeeze on sinful foods
In the western world, food marketers are getting pushed into an ever tighter corner as anxiety about the obesity epidemic rises. Governments are ramping up the pressure, with new regulations and taxes. This report by JWT Intelligence.

Food Science, Sustainability and Safety Stuff

There is increasing alarm over the dangers of antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA – left). Now researchers have discovered a new antiobiotic-free method of killing bacteria including MRSA … and it’s based on semiconductor technology.

Nestlé is using zero gravity research to develop its understanding of the foam technology used in its products. The study could help its scientists create better air bubbles in chocolate, coffee, dairy and pet food.

BPA in packaging: Defying the pressure
The search continues for alternatives to BPA that meet cost, performance, availability and safety needs. what’s missing, it seems, is any sense of urgency.

The history of BPA
It’s well documented that BPA was first synthesized by chemists in 1891, however, the first mention of BPA was made in a German scientific paper in 1905. It wasn’t made relevant until the 1950s when the thriving plastic industry underwent a technology revolution with the introduction of new materials, design techniques, and processes.
Global warming, believed by many to be a religion rather than science, seems to have fallen off the public radar, perhaps eclipsed by the obesity pandemic. But the subject got some notable coverage this week at the annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany, (where young scientists from around the world are invited to mix, mingle and learn from Nobel laureates) in a presentation by Dr Ivar Giaever, Nobel prize winner for physics in 1973.

A vocal dissenter from the alleged “consensus” regarding man-made climate fears, his lecture is fascinating, enlightening and funny…

The IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) in American used its annual meeting and food expo in Las Vegas to launch a new public education campaign called ”A World Without Food Science” that aims to generate greater awareness of the vital role food science plays – and tell it in a powerful visual way.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff

As many countries confront the growing epidemic of obesity, a team of University of Colorado obesity researchers concludes that a new battle plan is needed – one that replaces the emphasis on widespread food restriction and weight loss with an emphasis on helping people achieve “energy balance” at a healthy body weight.

A new paper in the SA Medical Journal argues the public health case for a total ban on alcohol advertising in this country. It says that the public health burden from hazardous and harmful use of alcohol in South Africa warrants drastic action.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

Interesting food item for the history buffs… On the centenary of their death on their ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, new research has shown that Captain Scott and other members of his team were effectively killed by their woefully inadequate diet.

 Food bites… How radical sustainability can save your business!

“… our marketplace is defined by Radical Sustainability, meaning expectations for transparency, sustainability, and social impact have never been higher – or more important for long-term, enduring customer relationships and business success.

“Leadership for this new age requires a fundamental shift in our entire business paradigm. We need to look at and understand whole systems, not just single-purpose cause marketing programs. And to win, we’ll need to deliver on three naked truths: true transparency, true cost accounting, and true consumer relationships.

“… In the end, the naked truth is that we’re ready for a new paradigm that’s designed to transcend the inherent conflict between a growing economy and the limits of our planet’s natural resources. If that means moving from resource scarcity and consumer compromises to regeneration, resilience, and ever-expanding creativity and community, getting naked is starting to look pretty good.”
Raphael Bemporad and Jeffrey Hollender


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Brenda NeallPublished 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, intelligent… fast, fresh and full of additives!
FOODStuff SA, stuff about FMCG food-bev manufacture from farm gate to retail shelf, is published and edited by Brenda Neall. You can contact her at: [email protected]