Newsletter 08 June 2012

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 8 June 2012 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
 Harper Lee, in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

Bidfood Solutions
Editor’s Stuff: A shining SA food industry success story!
This week two American stories have bagged an extraordinary amount of coverage, namely Disney’s decision to stop advertising anything it deems ‘junk food’ on its several kid-focused TV channels, and NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg’s proposed big-soda ban for the city ie to banish certain sales of those bigger than 16oz or 448ml.
The howling and yowling from both sides in these controversial issues has been deafening – and while not directly affecting SA, it would be wise to mark these developments and the bigger trends and pressures they reflect.
Now to bring your attention to two SA-focused posts on FOODStuff SA, namely the wonderful food industry success story that is At Source Handmade Foods and which is celebrating ten years in business.
Evolving from what was a primarily an agricultural enterprise, it is now one of the three largest processors, packers and distributors of dried tree fruit in South Africa, is the largest supplier of retailers’ house brands of dried fruit, and boasts Marks & Spencer on its ever-expanding list of international retail customers. Congratulations to Handri Conradie and his team!
And now, pause for thought… What’s it like living on R117 a week?

Half the world’s population live on $2 a day or less – what’s it like in a South African context to live on R17/day or R117 for a week, as many of our fellow citizens do?

A few months ago, well-known dietitian, nutrition consultant and food labelling expert, Jane Badham, took part in the “Living on $2 Day Challenge”, a project of Sight and Life, the global nutrition think-tank and humanitarian initiative which is committed to fighting micronutrient malnutrition. 

Most of us would struggle to live on R117/day… do have a look at Jane’s experience and her carefully-considered, meagre menus – and be happy, very happy!
Feedback…..Beefing about mince

Contrary to what top consumer journalist, Wendy Knowler, reported in this article published last week, mince and the fat it contains is regulated in SA.

Thanks to Nigel Sunley, one of SA’s top food science consultants for putting us right: “Unfortunately the usually highly knowledgeable Ms Knowler has got it wrong this time. Section 52(14) of R146 specifically requires a maximum of 10% fat for lean mince and a maximum of 5% fat for extra lean mince. Scary, though, that the SA Meat Industry Company did not know this!”

Enjoy this week’s read!


Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
Food Industry Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! Click here!

Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments

What the youth think about brands today can help make or break it for those brands tomorrow….. Not surprisingly, and for the second consecutive year, BlackBerry not only took home the Coolest Cell Phone Award and the Coolest Hi-Tech Gadget Award but also the Coolest Brand Overall Award in the 2012 Sunday Times Generation Next Brand Survey Awards. What about the food and drink categories?

Banning alcohol advertising will stop people drinking. Right? It will cure alcoholics and families. Right? Wrong. Its effects are negligible, it promotes job losses and it entrenches monopolies. [This great opinion piece is by Justin McCarthy, writing for the Daily Maverick…]
Poultry producer, Astral Foods, has sold its 50% stake in its non-core bakery business, East Balt SA, for R96m to Fedoha Proprietary. “The bakery is what we call an opportunistic acquisition,” says Astral CEO Chris Schutte (left). “It didn’t form part (of us) then, and didn’t form part of our integration.
It would be expected that sweets – with their very low price points – to have weathered the recession storm well. However, consumers seem to be cutting back on these little luxuries in favour of saving up for more expensive treats like speciality chocolate.
Africa’s got the goods for Nampak
An early SA entrant into markets to the country’s north, Nampak is reaping the rewards from its operations in 12 African countries. Beer giant SABMiller’s success in Africa plays a key role in Nampak’s fortunes. 
The gateway to Africa?
South Africa’s business pre-eminence is being challengedIt did indeed once serve as a landing slot for investors wary of venturing into shakier African countries to the north. But in the past couple of decades the continent as a whole has become a lot more peaceful, democratic and stable. As a result, investment has been pouring in—and often bypassing South Africa. Insights from The Economist.

With their quirky design and superior contents, new yoghurt and fruit juice ranges launched recently by Sonnendal Diaries have added new zip to our dairy shelves – and they taste as good as they look.

International News & Stuff

The children’s entertainment giant Disney has unveiled new guidelines that will ban the advertising of junk food on its television channels. The initiative comes just a week after the mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg announced plans to ban the sale of large soft drinks at restaurants and fast food outlets in the city.

After drawing howls of outrage, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has offered a full-throated defense of his proposed ban on large-size sugary sodas, calling criticism of the proposal “ridiculous” and saying his city is again leading the way in taking on critical health issues.

Nestlé opened a new clinical development unit this week to conduct trials into nutrition for both sick and healthy people, as the food industry comes under pressure to back up health claims for its products with scientific research.

The drinks giant Diageo, owner of Johnnie Walker and Bell’s whisky, is to spend around £1bn on substantially increasing its whisky production to exploit a sharp surge in global demand for Scotch.

Companies are continually challenged to find new ways to meet and anticipate emerging consumer demands, create innovative quality products and win in a fiercely competitive marketplace. Kraft Foods says it has been meeting, and beating, those challenges…

Last week’s top headline: No new name for high-fructose corn syrup
The US FDA has rejected a request from the Corn Refiners Association to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup.

 Food Marketing, Trends and Innovation

Carbs? Calories? Fat? They are so very last decade. Dieters and would-be healthy eaters know the nutrient of the moment being tallied, sought and bought is protein.

Safari has launched a new fruity confectionary range – at home, after dinner or in lunch boxes, they are delicacies guaranteed to indulge any sweet-tooth’s craving.

While it seems aposite to the time of year, Distell has added a new variant to its ready-to drink-cocktail range, Mainstay … on the Beach, which is will be released nationwide this month. 


Diageo is to launch a range of Guinness branded peanuts and cashews as it looks to exploit the growing UK snacks market.

Last week’s top headline: Muesli with a mouseclick: new approaches to successful direct-to-consumer business

Food and beverage companies around the world – from the largest to the smallest – are experimenting with new ways to reach consumers, to bypass supermarkets and keep more margin.

Food Science, Safety and Ingredients Stuff

Cereal companies, maligned for overprocessing, are now using the same techniques to put some nature back in the bowl… this lengthy article is not technical but is rather the challenging viewpoint of Corby Kummer, an American foodie writer and food industry critic, and appears in the prestigous Smithsonian Magazine.

The genius of James L Kraft, the Canadian-born founder of Kraft Foods, lay not in artisanal cheesemaking but in taking a milk-based product and making it long-lasting, consistent in quality and easy to slice. [A fascinating bit of food science/technology history and a development that created a food giant of today… ]

Avure say expansion is due to HPP demand
Avure Technologies will open a factory in the US by the end of the year in response to demand for High Pressure Processing (HPP) equipment. Growing markets for the technology are RTE meat and the raw juice business.
Ingredient insights from Innova

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
Most Americans (52 percent) have concluded that figuring out their income taxes is easier than knowing what they should and shouldn’t eat to be healthier, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2012 Food & Health Survey. 
While consumer concerns about fats appears to be waning, the percentage of Americans blaming sugars for their expanding waistlines has almost doubled since last year, according to IFIC’s 2012 Food & Health Survey.
Research casts doubt on sugary drinks links to high blood pressure
The link between sugary drinks and high blood pressure has been cast into doubt after new research revealed sweet drinks are associated with high blood pressure – regardless of whether they are sweetened with sugar or artificial agents.
Experts have long worried that low-carb, high-protein diets might be harmful to the kidneys. A new study has looked into these safety concerns and has found that this popular weight-loss strategy unharmful for the kidneys of obese individuals without kidney disease.
America is home of the “supersize”, drink and food portions that to non-Americans defy any sense of what is normal or appropriate. Recent research suggests that many people may subconsciously buy giant packages and servings because doing so makes them feel more important.
The progress of nutrition science is challenging the scientific basis of the idea that “low-fat diets are best” and providing evidence for the idea (a heresy to health professionals) that fat is, in fact, good for you.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

To infinity and… that’s it! NASA denies developing nutricosmetic drink
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has refuted claims it developed a wrinkle-reducing fruit drink after it was reported that the AS10 beverage was developed in line with the space agency.

 Food bites… Can bad food witch become good food fairy?

“But maybe the food industry can re-nature products. Maybe it can make the best of the food we care about — whole grains, fibre, and vitamins, minerals and antioxidants — convenient and accessible. Sure, it’s unlikely. But not impossible.
If technology, scale, industrialisation and relentless marketing have been the forces of nutritional evil, maybe they can be the forces of nutritional salvation. The food industry, pretty much everyone recognises, has a lot to answer for. Some forward-looking companies are already beginning to find some of the answers — and more need to follow.”
Corby Kummer, US foodie writer and food industry critic

DSM Quality for Life
QPro International
IIR Food Security Summit 

Swift Micro Labs

Par Excellance
Professional Career Services
The HR Company
ProCert Southern Africa

Progress Excellence
Totally Food Events
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]