Newsletter 7 December 2012

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 7 December 2012 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “Do not listen to those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious.”  Og Mandino

Sensient Food Colors

Editor’s Stuff: Yet another fishy tale!
Fish mislabelling has been in the headlines again, with Cape Town scientist, Dr Donna Cawthorn, highlighting the issue at this week’s Seafood Symposium, hosted by the Marine Stewardship Council and WWF-SA’s Sassi (Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative), in Durban.

Consumers, she said, are often taken for a ride when buying fish, with about 20 percent of species being mislabelled – sometimes deliberately and sometimes with serious health and environmental implications.

While her research has found the problem to be worst in KZN – and read more here – there have been reams of media coverage lately over the fact that snoek, one of the Western Cape’s best-known delicacies, is not so “local-‘n-lekker” at all. More than half the snoek found in some of our retail chains is imported from New Zealand! 


Changing tack, here’s a good-news story apt for this festive and over-indulgent time of year: American research finds cancer food scares don’t stand up to scrutiny with most culprit ingredients showing little or no increased risk of disease.
Enjoy this week’s newsletter! 

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
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Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
Mars Africa has come up with an innovative green packaging solution for its Royco instant soup range, eliminating foil and effecting a 25% reduction in its packaging carbon footprint and substantial energy savings.
Cheers to the beer
SAB looks to have triumphed in its battle with brandhouse, which began in 2007 when Heineken, a brandhouse shareholder, terminated SAB’s licence to brew Amstel. Amstel was then SA’s top premium beer and had a 9% market share. SAB’s premium-brand weapon, Castle Lite, is now bigger than all brandhouse beer brands combined, while SAB’s total market share stands at just under 90%.
Strike empties fruit and veg shelves
While farmers are counting millions of rands in losses incurred during the farmworkers’ strike in Western Cape, the effects of the protests could soon hit consumers. At least one major South African retailer has admitted it is battling to get fresh fruit and vegetables from farms to replenish its stock.
Du Toitskloof’s Chenin Blanc has been named the best boxed white wine at the third annual Spit or Swallow Box Wine Awards held in Cape Town on November 29. The cellar’s Pinotage Merlot Ruby Cabernet took the Best Red Box Wine award in 2010.
Every food entrepreneur involved in exporting temperature-sensitive products surely shares this challenge: the cost of exporting ‘less than container loads (LCLs)’. Paul Walters of KZN’s Wedgewood Nougat – more on Wedegewood below – is starting a project to try and get small food manufacturers to work together towards consolidating refrigerated containers into key global markets. Here’s his call for interest.
Last week’s top headlines:
Wedgewood takes nougat from confectionery to energy food

Wedgewood Nougat, crafted in the verdant hills of the KZN Midlands, is a taste treat beloved of many fans here and abroad. Now, in a brilliant twist of marketing, the company has reinvented its confectionery as an energy food for athletes. Introducing Wedgewood Race Food.

     International News & Developments
    When ConAgra ponied up about $5-billion for St Louis-based Ralcorp recently, the Omaha-based conglomerate did something that food companies have been doing for a while: It got a lot bigger, to become one of the largest food companies in the world.
    Tesco has declared its exit from the US by putting up its £1bn investment strategy of Fresh & Easy stores concept for sale, after continuous losses in the US business mounted to £850m over a period of five years.
    Now is not necessarily the best time for a CEO to write a memoir. This is not to say that Neville Isdell (with strong SA links) should have spent his time doing something other than write Inside Coca-Cola: A CEO’s Life Story of Building the World’s Most Popular Brand…. [but the book] has the opportunity to be something rare in 2012: a corporate narrative that affirms human potential instead of human greed.
    The EU’s food safety agency has definitively rejected a bombshell French report linking genetically modified corn to cancer, saying it failed to meet “acceptable scientific standards”.

     Food Trends and Marketing
    Phil Lempert is one of America’s leading consumer trend-watchers and analysts. Here are his top trends for 2013 – the first five here, the remainder still to follow…
    Trend spotting 2013: Protein rocks! Why muscle is a hot new issue, and the rise of the ‘aware’ shopper
    Muscle and protein will be hot trends across every age group in 2013 as more US shoppers look to maintain lean muscle mass and stay healthy and active as they age, predict trend spotters. 
    JWTIntelligence has released its eighth annual forecast of key trends that will shape or significantly impact consumer mind-set and behaviour in the near future. In this year’s report, new technology continues to take centre stage, with major shifts tied to warp-speed developments in mobile, social and data technologies.
    “Food has moved from physical necessity to the epicentre of constant attention through media, public opinion, and status,” write the researchers behind Food Thinking, a study of emerging food culture in European countries. “It has taken over the Western world, past the point of hype or trend and become a social obsession. Suddenly, everything is about food!”
    Chia Pets or the ‘the pottery that grows’ have long been popular in America. Mixing chia seeds and water on the outside of an animal-shaped terra-cotta figurine produces a plant resembling green hair almost overnight. Now, chia is having a second life as a nutritional ‘it’ item.
    Brewing cocoa is one of the newest health beverages to hit the market, even though it is centuries old. Brewing cocoa is said to offer tremendous health benefits and a great tasting alternative to traditional tea and coffee.

    ‘Conscientious consumption’ survives recession

    Social scientists say one of the biggest imprints of the Great Recession on twentysomethings will be on their spending habits, which will drive marketing and retailing for decades. Younger Americans who came of age in the recession are civic-minded bargain hunters, developing lifetime habits similar to those of their great-grandparents. 
    Diageo files ‘pourable slush’ patents for RTD cocktails
    Diageo has filed patents in a range of nations detailing a formulation process for alcoholic cocktails, sold in bottles at ambient temperatures then frozen by consumers to form a ready-to-serve pourable slush.
    Last week’s top headline: Ten crucial consumer trends for 2013
    2013 will be the perfect storm of necessity and opportunity, says in this free trend briefing: some economies will do OK(-ish), others will be shaky, but whatever market or industry you’re in, those who understand and cater to changing consumer needs, desires and expectations will forever have plenty of opportunity to profit.

     Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

    Bag-in-box wines are more likely than their bottled counterparts to develop unpleasant flavours, aromas and colours when stored at warm temperatures, a new study has found. It emphasises the importance of storing these popular, economical vintages at cool temperatures [Universally ignored in hot South African bottle stores! Ed].
    Manufacturing the Big Chill
    As frozen foods get more sophisticated, so do their manufacturing processes. Refrigerated and frozen food manufacturers are finding new solutions to challenges both old and new.
    NASA food science: We’re 20 years away from foods with extended shelf-lives
    The quest to have food to survive a five-year mission to Mars is at least two decades away, but ‘we’ll get there’, says Dr Michele Perchonok, advanced food technology project scientist at NASA in Houston. 
    Acrylamide: A scandal in the making- comment
    Acrylamide is a recognised carcinogen that we’ve known is in our food at dangerous levels for a decade. Today, the food industry has tools to mitigate it, but uptake is slow. Industry, beware. This is how scandals are made.
    An American company has developed a technique that it says can make bread stay mould-free for 60 days. The bread is zapped in a sophisticated microwave array which kills the spores that cause the problem.
    Scientists create ‘coconut-flavoured’ pineapple
    Researchers in Australia have created a new “piña colada” pineapple that tastes like a
    What’s the next big sweetener to hit the market? Key contender is a fruit of the herbaceous perennial vine Siraitia grosvenorii, native to southern China and northern Thailand, and called by several names, including luo han guo, Buddha fruit or, more recently, monk fruit.

    Philipp Saumweber is creating a miracle in the barren Australian outback. He appears to have pulled off the ultimate something-from-nothing agricultural feat – using the sun to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses as required, and thence cheaply grow high-quality, pesticide-free vegetables year-round in commercial quantities.

     Health and Nutrition Stuff
    Researchers at Oxford University have developed a drink that reportedly raises the ketone levels in the body, creating a boost of energy that may help treat diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
    Scientists could soon be able to predict whether teenage boys are likely to become heavy
    drinkers by looking at whether they carry a particular variant of a gene linked to thrill-
    seeking behaviour, a study suggests.
    Last week’s top headline: Vegetables make the meal
    Veggies are wonderful food and we all want to eat more of them…. now new research from Cornell University has explored the impact that adding a vegetable to the plate has on perceptions of both the meal and the person who prepared it. It’s a loving feeling!

    Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
    The Obol is a clever design of bowl that seeks to elevate the breakfast of champions and the dinner of students to a higher level.
    First came planking, swiftly followed by Batmanning and owling. Now British students are ‘milking’ – pouring milk over themselves in public places.

     Food bites…2012: The importance of traceability

    “The increasing demands for food product safety for consumers, major supermarkets and regulatory authorities can only help food businesses focus on the need for an improved ability to track and trace products up and down their supply chains. 

    Traceability is an important part of an organisation’s product recall management plan. Where we see companies struggle with recalls is often in those first critical stages of investigating incidents and making the decision to recall.

    Not having effective traceability processes and people trained in using them can often lead to delays in actioning a product recall. This is one of the leading causes of incidents escalating into a crisis.
    Steve Hather, MD of the RQA Product Risk Institute, read more

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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]