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Newsletter 08 February 2013

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8 February 2013 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.”
Sir Wilfred Grenfell (1865-1940)

Sensient Food Colors

 
Editor’s Stuff: SA’s food labelling regulations – what comes now?
Well, here we are with our new R146 Labelling and Advertising Regulations having been part of our lives since March 1, 2012. No, the sky has not fallen, but an awful lot of work has been done by a great many people and companies to ensure compliance and an awful lot of money has been spent as well.
 
It certainly begs various questions: Was it all worth it? What is the practical impact? What happens next? Nigel Sunley, one of SA’s foremost labelling experts, gives his answers.
 
An excellent update article, republished with kind permission from SAAFoST’s FST magazine, on this most important of topics.
 

Organic food causes autism and diabetes
While people think of “organic” cultivation techniques as natural and safe, there are important points we might consider. Most of the plants used today have only been developed genetically in the last 100 years, and even “heirloom” varieties were bred relatively recently. There have been no long term studies, and plants certainly are known to produce a wide suite of toxic compounds.

 
A world without food science
Do you know that last year there were only 350 food science bachelor graduates in the whole of the US? It’s baffling that so few people choose to enter into a field that is not only fun and interesting but is pretty much GUARANTEED job placement for life.

Enjoy this week’s read!

 

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
 
  FOODStuff SA is a hub for food-bev industry recruitment:
look for a job or advertise your company’s positions!
Click here!
 


Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
 
Holland’s IMCD Group, a leading speciality chemicals and food ingredients company has acquired 100% of the shares of Chemimpo South Africa through its subsidiary IMCD South Africa.
 
The rooibos industry is fighting to protect its intellectual property after a French company applied to register a number of trademarks incorporating the terms “South African Rooibos” and “Rooibos” last year.
Rainbow ventures into Sub-Saharan Africa
Rainbow has said it intends acquiring 49% of Zam Chick, a Zambia-based chicken producer and processor, owned by Zambeef Products. It will pay $14.25m (roughly R126.8m) in cash for the share.
 
A third of all African women are obese. Coloured, white, and Indian women follow closely, with around a quarter being obese. Overall, almost one third of South African women are obese. This is according to the latest South Africa Survey, published recently in Johannesburg by the South African Institute of Race Relations.
 
With little happy news on the Western Cape agricultural front of late, a report to hand from Wines of South Africa (WoSA) says SA’s wine exports hit record highs last year as poor harvests in rival nations boosted demand for the country’s brands.
 
Gone are the days of waiting hours and hours for jelly to set. Woodlands Dairy has launched First Choice Flavoured Jelly, packaged in 500g Tetra Briks, and claimed as a first for South Africa.
Food Lovers Market in Noordhoek, Cape Town, claims it’s the first retailer in South Africa to truly invest towards a zero waste solution by adopting a composting method which breaks down cooked food waste, helping to minimise the strain on overflowing landfills.
 

Last newsletter’s top headline: Propak Africa 2013: In a must-do expo for those involved in food-beverage packaging and processing, one of SA’s most important trade expos, Propak Africa 2013 will again draw the crowds in March. It takes place at the Expo Centre, Nasrec, Jo’burg, 12-15 March.
 
In an exciting development, Specialised Exhibitions is also staging IFEA 2013 for the first time, the African version of one of the UK’s top food trade shows that’s held every two years in London.


 International News & Developments

Horsemeat scandal deepens in Europe
Frozen spaghetti and lasagne meals have been stripped from supermarket as fears over contaminated meat products spread. Tesco and discount chain Aldi revealed they had withdrawn a range of ready meals produced by French food supplier Comigel.
 
In a few months, golden rice – normal rice that has been genetically modified to provide vitamin A to counter blindness and other diseases in children in the developing world – will be given to farmers in the Philippines for planting in paddy fields.
 
Don’t let the name fool you. Coca-Cola’s Simply Orange juice [a premium US brand] is anything but pick, squeeze, and pour. That cold glass of 100 percent liquid sunshine on the breakfast table is the product of a sophisticated industrial juice complex. Satellite imagery, complicated data algorithms, even a juice pipeline are all part of the recipe.
 
Despite pledging to pay millions of pounds in extra tax in Britain, Starbucks faces a battle to restore its reputation over its fiscal stance, with analysts saying the offer is “too little too late”.
Nestlé’s Peter Brabeck: our attitude towards water needs to change
Nestlé chair Peter Brabeck talks about the need to build water stewardship into core business strategy and how a sense of entitlement causes irresponsible use.

Last week’s top headline:
Following Coca-Cola’s recent airing of obesity-themed ads on US television, the obesity police have come out blazing, turning a solvable problem into a needless war.

 Food Trends and Marketing
 
Tracy Foulkes and Paul Raphaely are the culinary-marketing genies behind the fabulous NoMU range of condiments and beverages – and they’ve now extended their brand into publishing, partnering with Penguin Books SA to produce another innovative first for South Africa – the NoMU Recipe Box.
Fruit flavours: back to basics
Superfruits are known for their antioxidant power and health and wellness properties. Exotic names such as mangosteen, acai, goji, noni and camu camu, have grabbed much attention, but analysts say there’s been a resurgence of those familiar superfruits that have been available to consumers all along.
 
PepsiCo is bidding for its recently launched Trop50 brand to replicate its US success in the UK to become the market leading low calorie juice brand in the territory. Launched in 2009, it is now a $200m business in the US.
 
The world’s two biggest food and fast-food players are leading the way again. Nestlé and McDonald’s have launched QR codes on their labels and packaging designed to provide customers with smartphone access to information about the nutritional profile and environmental and social impacts of their products.
Last week’s top headlines:
Leatherhead Food Research, a leading UK-based independent research organisation, has identified the key global issues that are likely to have an impact on the food and drink industry in the coming year.
 

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

 

In the past decade, scientists have discovered that mycotoxins on food crops can hide. The toxins are harmful to the crops themselves, so, as a defense strategy, the plants neutralise the mycotoxins by tacking on a sugar or sulfate group to the chemicals. Because of this chemical modification, these masked mycotoxins slip past current detection methods used by food safety inspectors. Also scientists don’t know much about the toxicity of the derivatives.

 
Arla Foods Ingredients has launched an innovative protein solution that enables yoghurt manufacturers to produce Greek-style yoghurts on their existing plant for the first time – with dramatically reduced levels of wastage.
 
Understanding protein as a functional ingredient
Aside from their health benefits for consumers, such as weight management and muscle loss prevention, protein additives also have long been valued by food formulators for their ability to gel, foam, emulsify and form films and dough structure. Research is providing a better understanding of protein functionality and how to best utilise these ingredients even as technical advances are also providing product developers new ingredients with unique capabilities.
 
FarmBots and two-month-old bread: Innovations in food and agriculture
A new generation of entrepreneurs, more comfortable writing algorithms than planting alfalfa, is applying its digital knowhow to make farming more efficient, food safer, and agriculture more sustainable. Here are a few innovative ag-tech companies.
 
While it is perfectly legitimate for our aesthetic preferences regarding technological innovations in food to determine what we eat, they shouldn’t dictate policy – evidence should. And if we have no clear understanding of the evidence, perhaps we should stay out of the policy debate entirely. [Excellent opionion piece from Daily Maverick, SA’s really intelligent daily online newspaper. Ed]
 
A report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that leafy green vegetables are responsible for more foodborne illnesses than any other food. However, meat and poultry cause more deaths.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
 
The growing popularity of energy drinks — and deaths linked to those products — are fostering new concerns about how much caffeine people can safely consume, according to the a comprehensive article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.
 
Increasing the minimum price of alcohol by 10 percent can lead to immediate and significant drops in drink-related deaths and may also have long-term beneficial health effects, according to a new study.
 
Despite having a reputation of being the healthiest and most active generation, baby boomers are actually in worse overall health than their parents, according to a new study by researchers at the West Virginia University School of Medicine.
 
Last week’s top headline: The budget burger deconstructed
The saga of adulterated ‘economy’ burgers in UK and Irish supermarkets has been much in the international food headlines. Now a new angle on the topic, outlining how such ‘budget’ foodstuffs contribute to the obesity blight of poor people in developed and developing nations.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
 
If you plan on cozying up with your loved one on Valentine’s day next week, you might want to ditch the glass of wine during dinner and reach for a cold glass of milk.

 Food bites…2013: A world without food science

“THIS YEAR THERE were 350 students in the entire United States that graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Food Science. It used to baffle me that so few people choose to enter into a field that is not only fun and interesting but is pretty much GUARANTEED job placement for life. But now I believe I have figured out why!
   “When is the last time you saw a food scientist on TV or in the media portrayed in a positive way? When is the last time a food company showed off their great food scientists to the world. When is the last time a food scientist was nationally thanked for making the food supply safe, interesting and delicious?
   “How about never? There is absolutely no mention of food scientists because food manufacturers have decided it makes more sense to let the masses believe that all their food was prepared especially for them by silly rabbits, green giants, doughboys and a hamburger helper ‘hand’. While I can appreciate the need to lure in children and adults via the use of icons, would it hurt if the companies gave the food scientists just a little bit of publicity — if not to thank us for all our hard work but to at least promote the field in general by showing all that we can do? This would only help to generate interest and fill those emptying food science slots.
   “Well, actually it probably would hurt them because companies don’t want the masses to know that their food is *GASP* made by people who wear lab coats and studied science, because making food is an art and a craft not a science, right? Why would anyone want to create food in an organised safe and routine way? Much better to imagine that your cookies are being manufactured in a tree by elves or in aunt Jemima’s probably-not-HACCP-certified kitchen.”
Rachel Zemse, Intrepid Culinologist bloggist: read more

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Brenda NeallPublished every Friday as part of www.foodstuffsa.co.za, 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: brenda@foodstuffsa.co.za

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