Issue 103: 08 October 2010


“You may never know what results come from your action.
But if you do nothing, there will be no result.

Mahatma Gandhi

Food bites… So is Nestlé going to be transformed into a drugs company?

Image“This is very important, strategically speaking, because in our eyes it is going to be a major dimension in our society… It’s actually a new industry that’s in the making and is crystallising into a well-defined business opportunity. The productivity of society is linked with health. We don’t feel it so much in our society because we’re a relatively healthy society. But if you go into Africa, you see whole countries suffer because of malnourishment.

Then on the other side of the equation. there are the healthcare costs that are exploding. If you add it all up, there’s an increasing business opportunity to help society to give meaningful solutions and build a healthier society that’s more productive.”

Nestle CEO, Paul Bulcke, commenting on the recent launch of the group’s new health science businesses, at the nexus between food and pharmaceuticals. Read more

Editor’s Stuff – SA strikes gold at SIAL!


Tens of thousands of food industrialists of every ilk from across the globe, many South Africans among them, will be heading to Paris next weekend for the biennial SIAL expo, one of the world’s biggest foodbev trade shows, and second only in size to Germany’s Anuga.

ImageSIAL dedicates much space and focus to innovation, and an anticipated aspect of the event is the 2010 SIAL d’Or Awards, widely regarded as the “Oscars” of the food industry. These were announced last week, for products in nine categories, as well as to national winners.The good news is that South Africa features in the top nine!

So, congratulations to Dynamic Commodities, the PE-based company that’s primarily in exports and thus largely unknown here, on winning yet another major accolade for its Bits o’ Juice, cryogenically frozen citrus pods that make a novel flavouring condiment and which scooped top honours in the Sweet Frozen Foods Category and also won the South African country prize.


Bits of JuiceDC’s directors were on stage in Cape Town just a few weeks ago to take home a Global Food Award at IUFoST 2010, and by my reckoning, this wonderfully innovative product looks well placed to take the prize of prizes, the Global SIAL d’Or, that will be declared at the official awards ceremony held during the exhibition.

Whatever the case, you can be sure that DC’s big win will add massive kudos and visitor interest to the whole SA pavilion at SIAL and enhance our reputation as country with a food industry that is innovative, creative and world class. Great stuff, indeed! Read more on Bits o’ Juice here and you can review all the winners on the SIAL website here.

The Ig Nobel Awards for Economics

The real Nobels were announced with fanfare this week, but last week’s parody prizes, the “Igs”, are often more interesting – they’re awarded to scientists whose work makes people laugh first and think later. I love the painful sarcasm in the Economics Prize awarded jointly to the executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, AIG and Magnetar for “creating and promoting new ways to invest money – ways that maximise financial gain and minimise financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof.” Read more

SA’s new labelling regulations: There’s a great deal of concern about the new regulations and their impending ‘due date’ in March 2011. I have set up a new page on the website, as a useful resource and home to several articles, comments, insights and advice on R146. Click here


Enjoy this week’s read!


Email Brenda Neall: [email protected]

Publisher & Editor


FOOD INDUSTRY JOBS ADVERTISED THIS WEEK! Tongaat Hulett is looking for technical sales staff – equity employment opportunities!
 See jobs
here and here.

Afrikaans translation: To translate this page, go to, and simply paste the URL into the page translator module. The translation is by no means perfect, but is a help if you want to read in your home language.

Local Food Industry Stuff


Danone CEO officially launches Danone Southern Africa

ImageFranck Riboud, CEO of Groupe Danone, the world’s biggest yoghurt maker, was in Jo’burg last week for the official launch of Danone Southern Africa. Late last year, Clover SA announced it would sell its 45% stake in 12-year-old Clover Danone — a local joint venture with Danone — to the multinational company for just more than R1bn.

The company already has a strong base in countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Egypt and is now expanding in the sub-Saharan region. Apart from SA — where, as of August, it had 47% of the yoghurt market by value and 43% by volume — Danone sells products in Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. In the next year it plans to enter Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. It does not produce in each country. It shelved plans to build a plant in Maputo because of a lack of infrastructure and reliable basic services. In those markets, it imports long-life products made in SA. Business Day. Read more


ImageLooking at Clover’s possible JSE listing

With a turnover of R6bn, Clover Industries’ possible listing could add a welcome dimension to the JSE’s food sector. Once a farmers’ co-operative, the company, whose brands include Elite, Tropika, Super-M, Inkomazi and Ultra Mel, underwent a capital restructuring earlier this year to promote growth. The sale of its stake in joint venture Danone Clover to its French partner provided it with R1,08bn with which to fund the changes. Business Day. Read more


Food producers face loss of market with Wal-Mart deal

ImageA potential deal between US retail giant Wal-Mart and local mass retailer Massmart could reduce prices of basic goods for South Africans, but analysts argue that the deal could adversely affect food producers in the retail value chain. FastMoving. Read more


Wal-Mart may start price war in SA

South African retailers will have to up their game if global retail giant Wal-Mart Stores succeeds in setting up shop in the country. But local consumers may look forward to lower prices. FastMovingRead more


ImagePnP profit slump hits shares

SA’s second-largest food retailer Pick n Pay Stores expects half-year profit to decline by as much as 25%, due to tough competition and losses related to the sale of its Australian unit. FastMoving. Read more


ProCert certification arrives in SA

ImageWith food safety, quality and certification top of the agenda for all food manufacturers, there will be much interest in the arrival of ProCert on our shores, the highly-regarded Swiss-based organisation that provides certification and training solutions globally through a network of strategic partners. ProCert is SAS (Swiss Accreditation System) accredited for management systems, products and services.

Its partner of choice in South Africa is Western Cape-based Progress Excellence, with whom it has been collaborating for some time in the development and delivery of food safety training courses, not only in South Africa but also in West/Central Africa, mostly for Nestlé. FOODStuff SA. Read more


ImageNew liquid stocks from Ina Paarman

Uncanny that two liquid stocks should hit our shelves this year. NoMU did it earlier with its stylish Fonds, and now that diva foodie of Cape Town, Ina Paarman has done it. Paarman Foods’ new range of three liquid stock concentrates is a gourmet solution for serious home cooks who enjoy adding a professional touch to their cooking. FOODStuff SA. Read more


ImageJacobs Night and Day busts myths about decaffeinated doffee

Many people have questions about decaffeinated coffee. Is it healthy? Does it go through a chemical process? Is it bad to drink decaffeinated coffee when pregnant? The Jacobs team in SA explains how its decaf coffee is produced. FastMoving. Read more


ImageNitrogen trial for Woolworths refrigerated trucks

Woolworths is trialling refrigeration technology that revolutionises the transport of perishable goods on trucks. The solution, ecoFridge refrigeration, is fundamentally different from the widely used mechanical systems. FastMoving. Read more


Make way, Prozac, for a dose of the succulent that gives Namaqualanders their laid-back air

ImageFrazzled Americans from Hollywood to Manhattan will soon be chilling under the influence of a new tranquilliser – tried and tested by the dirt-poor goatherds of remote Namaqualand. The San inhabitants of the Northern Cape have known for centuries that they can get high by chewing the indigenous succulent Sceletium tortuosum.

ImageNow local company HGH Pharmaceuticals has signed an agreement with US-based firm PL Thomas to market a sedative derived from the plant, patented as Zembrin. Sunday Times. Read more


Sceletium is the herbal ingredient that promised to deliver the same fix as cigarettes in the zany ‘Liquid Smoking’ drink launched in late 2008 Dutch/SA resident entrepreneur, Martin Hartman, based on a formula devised by SA’s Afriplex, and which garnered many international media headlines. To read more on Sceletium, click here


Food Industry News


Irene Rosenfeld vs Warren Buffett: A winner emerges

ImageBuffett’s open criticisms may have been Rosenfeld’s biggest challenge. In short: He called the Cadbury deal “dumb;” she went ahead… Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of $40 billion snack-food company Kraft, jumps to the coveted No 2 spot on this year’s “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list, up from her No 6 position last year. She comes in just behind Michelle Obama (No 1) and ahead of both Oprah Winfrey (No 3) and top competitor PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi (No 6). It’s been quite the year for this Mac & Cheese lover. After receiving a $26.3 million compensation package in 2009, closing a $19-billion purchase of British candy-and-gum-maker Cadbury in February, and publicly brawling with Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett last spring, she collected 3,304 total press mentions. Forbes. Read more

ImageGREECE: Unilever to buy EVGA ice-cream brands

Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever is to buy the ice-cream brands of Greek business EVGA, an acquisition that will give the business market leadership in the European country. For all of Unilever’s recent moves in home and personal care, the company also suggests it remains aware of the potential of its food business and is weeding out the parts that can no longer provide the growth it needs – while planting seeds for future expansion. Read more


POM ads tout sexual benefits of pomegranate

ImagePOM Wonderful, which just got spanked by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive health claims in advertising its pomegranate juice, is about to whistle a different tune for the product in its first national TV campaign: sexual enhancement. This week, the leading seller of pomegranate products in the US began airing three sensual TV spots, including one that suggests Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, introduced the pomegranate to the island of Cyprus as an aphrodisiac. USA Today. Read more


ImageIs a coffee shortage pending?

Coffee pundits are fretting about a coffee “shortage”, which has led to a 35% price spike over the past four months on the NY ICE Coffee Futures Exchange. We’re hearing dire predictions of doom and gloom, an “end to coffee as we know it.” Leave it to mainstream media and hedge funds to create a mountain out of a molehill… Huffington Post. Read more


UK: Premier Foods puts Quorn up for sale

ImagePremier Foods, the company behind Hovis bread, Mr Kipling cakes and Branston pickle, is in talks to sell its meat-free business, including Quorn, the company said … Quorn was invented in 1985 by a joint venture between Rank Hovis McDougall and Imperial Chemical Industries amid growing demand from vegetarians for meat alternatives. The Guardian. Read more

Food Trends, NPD and Marketing

ImageUK: A new purple potato – ideal for health and Halloween

The Purple Majesty, a new potato varietal with a deep purple skin and flesh and which contains nine to 10 times more antioxidants than standard potatoes has goes on sale in the UK at retailer, Sainsbury’s. The juices run even darker than a beetroot and once cooked they produce an alarmingly dark blue-purple mash or chip. The Telegraph. Read more


Vinegar or salt on chips? How about vinegar salt

ImageHow do you give your fish and chips a vinegar kick without them going soggy? An American has cracked the conundrum: vinegar-flavoured salt. Malt Salt combines salt and vinegar in a fine white powder, meaning fish and chip lovers will never have to suffer from the disappointment of picking their way through fries made limp by liquid vinegar. The salt was developed by J&D’s, a small company based in America famous for its mind-boggling array of bacon-flavoured products. It has the alarming motto: “Everything should taste like bacon.” The Telegraph. Read more


ImagePleasure trumps green in the chip world

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay, the makers of SunChips, has pulled the world’s first fully biodegradable bag (all flavours except Original) as it works to find a better solution that is more pleasurable to your ears. The biodegradable crisp packet has been abandoned in favour of traditional bags because consumers complained, loudly, that it was too noisy – and it has become a major item of chatter on the social networks. The Independent. Read more


COMMENT: “Discouraging news for those who believe that someday Americans might adopt carbon standards, downsize their cars and stop living in 5,000-square-foot houses. They won’t even buy a biodegradable chip bag if it makes crinkly sounds.”

From a blog by Jay Hancock at the Baltimore Sun, read more


ImageMarks & Spencer opts for innovative ring-pull closure system

Check out this ingenious new packaging for M&S – Bapco’s patented ring-pull that’s being unveiled in the UK for the first time with Marks & Spencer, following multiple successes in the US and Canada over the past two years. more

Bisphenol A on the brink?

ImageTo BPA or not to BPA? While the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) backed the continued use of bisphenol A last week, the real question is whether the verdict was a full-blown reprieve for the controversial chemical or merely a stay of execution.

Failing consumer confidence, vociferous and credible scientific opposition as well as moves by some industry players to begin its phase-out all suggest the days of the chemical used in food packaging and polycarbonate baby bottles could be numbered. FoodNavigator. Read more


US: Seven marketing claims that have taken heat

ImageIn recent years, dozens of companies have gotten heat from government watchdog agencies because of inflated or unsupported claims of health benefits. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission sued POM Wonderful, accusing the company of deceptively advertising its pomegranate juice and POMx supplements. The company’s claims of “super health powers” capable of treating or preventing prostate cancer and other conditions are “false and unsubstantiated,” according to the FTC. Days later, the Food and Drug Administration  sent warning letters to three mouthwash makers… USNews. Read more

Food Industry Focus: Gum


ImageEU: Sugar-free chewing gum reduces tooth decay

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved a health claim for xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol-based sugar-free chewing gum that it reduces the risk of tooth decay. The application was submitted by leading gum manufacturer, Wrigley, under Article 14 of the health claims process, the category which refers to disease risk reduction. ConfectioneryNews. Read more


ImageGum is the new delivery system for benefits

American chewing gum manufacturers will introduce new products to capture larger shares of a $24-billion worldwide market, industry-watchers say. One new product will contain vitamin C, and another can change flavour as it’s chewed. Newcomers include Kraft Foods’ Stride Shift, which changes flavour, and Trident Vitality, which will contain vitamin C when it is released next year; Wrigley’s Extra Dessert Delights offers flavours such as chocolate mint chip, and key lime pie. Read more


Image“Revolutionary Removable” chewing gum launches in US

British company, Revolymer has just launched its new brand, Rev7, a high quality confectionery chewing gum, said to have an excellent taste and long lasting flavour, to US consumers and attendees at the National Association of Convenience Store Show (NACS). For the first time, the product is also removable and degradable, making it the world’s first commercially available environmentally-friendly gum. PR Newswire. Read more


Kraft invests $14m in gum and candy R&D in Europe

Kraft Foods has held an ‘opening ceremony’ to inaugurate the recently completed European Kraft Foods Gum and Candy Research & Development (R&D) Center in Eysins, Switzerland. The facility will focus on innovation and new product development for many confectionery brands, including the world’s leading gum brand Trident and the world’s leading candy brand Halls, as well as other brands such as Bassetts, Carambar, The Natural Confectionary Co, Trebor and V6. Read more

Food Industry Focus: Stevia


Cargill claims extensive interest in Truvia ahead of expected EU approval

ImageFood ingredients giant Cargill says there is “extensive” European interest in its natural stevia-based sweetener Truvia Rebiana, ahead of anticipated approval from the EU Commission for use of steviol glycosides as food ingredients. Cargill plans to sell the zero-calorie sweetener (which is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar) to EU consumers with a carrier as a tabletop sweetener; it says it is also partnering food firms to develop specific ingredients in products as baked snacks and yoghurts; beverages, however, are leading the way. FoodNavigator. Read more


Cargill to invest ‘millions’ in Truvia advertising campaign

Cargill announced today that it will launch a new multi-million dollar multimedia advertising campaign for its Truvia(TM) natural no-calorie sweetener, which it claims to be the third largest brand in the U.S. sugar substitute category. Flex News. Read more


ImageTwo global stevia trade associations launched this week

 Suppliers and stakeholders in the stevia industry are organising to maintain standards and pursue scientific enquiry into the use of stevia sweeteners. But two trade organisations have been announced this week, with very different membership criteria and ostensibly different aims. FoodNavigator. Read more


Innova: Is luo han guo the next hot natural sweetener after stevia?

ImageAs the sweetener stevia finally moves into the EU food market via France, interest is already turning to new quarters and suggestions of a rival in the natural sweetener stakes have focused interest on luo han guo (Siraitia grosvenori/Momordia grosvenori), or monk fruit, a Chinese fruit 300 times sweeter than sugar and in use in China as a natural sweetener for hundreds of years. FOODStuff SA. Read more

Health and Nutrition Stuff

USDA tries to make food pyramid more relevant

ImageEvery five years the federal government updates its dietary guidelines for Americans. This year, with most Americans overweight or obese and at risk of high blood pressure, policymakers are working to reinvent the familiar food pyramid and develop advice that is simple and blunt enough to help turn the tide … What the guidelines will say when they are unveiled in December is still under wraps. But the interagency committee is searching for new ways to communicate lessons about healthful eating and is working to make the food pyramid “more meaningful and engaging,”… Washington Post. Read more


Why fat thighs are not as bad as a fat abdomen

ImageUsing ice cream, candy bars and energy drinks to help volunteers gain weight, Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered the mechanisms of how body fat grows. Increased abdominal fat seems to heighten risk for metabolic disease, while fat expansion in the lower body — as in the thighs — seems to lower the risk. The findings appear in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). ScienceDaily. Read more

Food Science Stuff


Food science and food myths: James Bond may have been onto something

ImageThe question of why James Bond prefers his vodka martinis shaken rather than stirred has taxed researchers for some time. Most connoisseurs now agree that a stirred martini is superior to Bond’s shaken one. So why was a man of impeccable taste drinking the wrong kind?

This article explains some of the conundrums around food and drink: best before dates, why that second glass of bubbly is less fizzy than the first, why do banana skins go brown in the fridge, etc. The Telegraph. Read more


ImageEverything you needed to know about microbiological testing of your products

A series of informative articles written by Tracey Botes, newly-appointed GM of The Food Safety Network, and previously founder/owner with the late Prof Alex von Holy of Consulting Microbiology Laboratories, that is now owned by Microchem. Here is the list of articles currently online:

1. Good Laboratory Selection Practices

2. Conversations in microbiology

3. “Who do I test for?”

4. Reading and understanding a lab report

5. Back to Basics – Interpreting the Laboratory Report

6. Meetings with microbes – Staphylococcus aureus

Read more


Global demand for MSG and nucleotides continues to grow, says Ajinomoto

ImageDuring Ajinomoto’s fiscal 2009 (which ended 31 March 2010), the company saw global demand for monosodium glutamate (MSG) amount to approximately 2.16 million tons. According to recent company estimates, Ajinomoto managed to maintain a leading share of this market with approximately 30%. Over the past 3 years, the market has grown at an average annual rate of approximately 3-4%. It is expected to continue its expansion at the same rate, said the firm. Flex News. Read more


ImageHousehold water rinse gets produce cleanest?

Scientists have found some effective household measures that can eliminate germs and pesticides. The simplest? Rinsing with tap water… NY Times. Read more

Weird, whacky and wonderful stuff!

ImageThe 2010 Ig Nobel awards

Presented last week and trumping the real Nobels by a week, the American parody of the Nobels, the Ig Nobels are arguably the highlight of the scientific calendar; honouring achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think — and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology. Researchers from across the world were honoured at Harvard University for achievements that included proof that swearing relieves pain, a means of collecting whale snot with a remote-controlled helicopter and the first documented case of fellatio in fruit bats. The Guardian. Read more

That’s all the stuff for this week, folks!