Newsletter 9 September 2011

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 09 September 2011 | Your weekly food industry news and insights….
SmartStuff:   “Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.” Dave Barry, American columnist

Bidfood Solutions
Editor’s Stuff: Nanny nation, here we come!
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has declared war on just about everything that affects your health: trans fats, salt levels in food, mothers who don’t breastfeed, the bad attitude of doctors and nurses. As he proudly told a World Health Organisation conference this week, “If saving our people earns us a title of being a nanny [state], I very much welcome that title”.
At the same event, he reiterated his intention to wage a war against alcohol advertising, which has drawn a deluge of both support and criticism, depending on which side of the fence you stand: social responsibility versus noble but misguided and with serious economic fallout. Read more: Alcohol advertising ban ‘not if, but when’ says health minister Aaron Motsoaledi

I love these Twitter messages in response from irreverent radio host and Idols judge, Gareth Cliff: “Does Aaron Motsoaledi really think banning the advertising of alcohol will help? Sex seems popular despite a paucity of billboards…”. This was followed by “I’ve never seen a billboard advertising cocaine either…”

There was, however, some good news on drinking this week with a new study showing that, for older women, one alcoholic beverage a day may help keep the doctor away. Read more: One drink a day may lead to one long life

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor

This weekend marks two big events… the tenth anniversary of 9/11; most people remember where they were at the time and many local food industry folk will recall their shock and horror during the 2001 SAAFoST congress in Durban. And, oh, yes, happy RWC 2011!

 FOODStuff SA is a hub for food industry recruitment… Click here!

Kerry Ingredients

 Local Food Industry News

Recent shareholder meetings at Tiger Brands and AVI have revealed some interesting insights from their respective CEOs. Tiger boss, Peter Matlare, has said that while SA’s competitive landscape will change with Walmart’s entry, it’s counting on its own efficiency and the strength of its brands to survive and prosper.

South Africa’s reputation as a producer of premium olive oils has been glossed up yet again at the 2011 olive oil awards just staged by SA Olive. At the annual award ceremony in Paarl, six extra virgin olive oils from the 2011 vintage were heralded as SA’s top achievers.

Dairy farmers in SA could soon be extinct, with almost two-thirds having already deserted the industry over a little more than a decade as their margins have shrunk.

Another new story in Woolworths’ Good Business Journey: the group is tapping into an underground water supply to meet some of its daily water needs at its Cape Town headquarters.


In a fast-paced world, snacking has become a lifestyle for young and old alike. For busy parents, selecting tasty and nutritious treats for kids is no mean feat – a task, and trend, that Pioneer Foods hopes it will help solve, and leverage, with its launch of a Safari-branded fruit confectionery snack.


Pioneer Foods has launched its Weet-Bix cereal, said to be SA’s top cereal, in new bite-size format.



 Food Trends, NPD and Marketing

Innova Market Insights reports that confectionery was the leading food and drinks sector in terms of global launch activity in the first half of 2011.

A new energy category has emerged, along with piles of celebrity-endorsed fanfare, in the US: Sheets Energy Strips – novel dissolvable strips delivering an instant hit of caffeine and B vitamins. The entrepreneur behind the product believes the category could be worth $1bn in the next three-to-five years.

Early feedback from trials of Pepsi Next – PepsiCo’s third attempt to create a successful mid-calorie cola – has been “very favourable”, says the company. The drink, which contains 60% fewer calories than regular Pepsi (60 cals in a 12oz can), follows two abortive attempts by Pepsi to appeal to customers that like the taste of full sugar colas but want to cut calories.


Twinings has tweaked the flavour profile of its famed Earl Grey tea – a move that has erupted a mountain of protest among tea tipplers.

Food ingredient manufacturers and suppliers are constantly under pressure to find the best ways to keep up with changing consumer trends – which starts with knowing what the trends are and how they play out in the local market. Sharon Bolel of ingredient supplier Sharon Bolel Chemical Marketing (SBCM) believes that technology is a vital factor in the success of this ongoing goal.

The American consumer is changeable. He wants X. No, he wants Y. Never mind, he wants Z. We used to quiz him with focus groups and mall intercepts. But these days, he’s not sure. It’s not that he won’t tell us. It’s just that he can’t… [This article discusses the phenomenon in the US that is the food truck and the lessons it offers on today’s consumers – the focus is America but the insights are global. Ed]
Innovation isn’t a supernatural event, a preordained occurrence that only happens to certain people. And great innovators don’t go from zero-to-great in a heartbeat. More often than not, they stand on the shoulders of giants, see things a little bit differently, or benefit from timing, opportunity, or luck.
American technology entrepreneur, Jonathan Kaplan, has started The Melt, a food concept that he intends to make into a billion-dollar fast-food chain, and attracted the backing of one of the US’s top technology venture capitalists, Sequoia Capital. The Melt’s offer combines grilled cheese sandwiches (toasted cheese sarmies in SA parlance) served with soup – hearty, healthy, affordable fare. So why are technology entrepreneurs and investors interested in fast food?

 Verni Superflor

 International Stories

Almost no week goes by without a new headline about obesity. A new series of research papers published in medical journal The Lancet argues that the global obesity epidemic needs a fresh approach – including government intervention.

Want a Big Mac? That’ll be 490 calories… As of Sept 7, McDonald’s has voluntarilly replaced menu boards in all its 1 200 UK restaurants in compliance with the government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, so that they display the calorific value of each product it offers, including condiments.

Kraft invests in Bournville, defends global split
Kraft has confirmed that it has chosen Cadbury’s site in Bournville as the site of a new chocolate centre to “drive new product development and new technologies” for chocolate brands.
Kerry Ingredients & Flavours is launching a high-profile global advertising and PR campaign, themed ‘no one sees taste like Kerry’, to highlight the company’s unique perspective on delivering good taste in food and beverage products – at a time of great need by the industry.

Savannah Fine Chemicals

 Food Science, Safety, Sustainability and Ingredients

A nanopore membrane creates faster, surer cultures for everything from hospital diagnostics to food safety and water-quality checks.

Confectionery giants head global move to natural
Confectionery giants such as Nestlé, Haribo and Cadbury have been at the forefront of efforts to move away from artificial additives, as the general industry makes a shift to natural food products, according to Leatherhead Food Research.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
The urge to eat too much is wired into our heads, in several complicated and overlapping ways. Tackling obesity may require bypassing the stomach and short-circuiting our brains. [A compelling and informed look at past and latest research into obesity. Ed]

Scientists were surprised at how fast bacteria developed resistance to antibiotic drugs when they were developed less than a century ago. Now, scientists at McMaster University in Ontario have found that antibiotic resistance has been around for at least 30 000 years.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

This Chilli Factory in Australia has recently launched a hot new product: sauce made from the hottest chilli in the world. The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T registers 1,463,700 Scoville heat units, well beyond the Infinity Chilli, the reputed world’s-spiciest pepper announced just last year, and nearly 300 times as hot as the hottest jalapeño.

After Life: The Science of Decay is a forthcoming documentary on the UK’s BBC Four that promises to “explore the grotesque nature of decomposition”. The key scene is a family barbeque…

A pie chart about Tupperware…

Food bites… Why do marketers sometimes feel the need to change the taste and flavour of iconic brands?

“Coca-Cola once famously (or infamously, depending on your perspective) tried it with original Coke and the subsequent uprising against “New Coke” stretched from coast to coast and forced the soft drink giant to quell the resistance by committing to the original recipe via Classic Coke. Today, New Coke is a footnote in history.
   There is something similar taking place in the UK today, as Twinings is changing the original flavour of its Earl Grey tea. On this side of the Atlantic, it’s no big deal. Like who cares? But over there, it’s as if the queen shed the gown and pomp and circumstance for a public romp on the beach in a hot-pink two-piece…
   Frankly, I don’t give a damn what Twinings does to Earl Grey, but then I’m not British. But I see all the signs of a rebellion similar to the one Coca-Cola created with New Coke. What Twinings should do is just leave the original flavour of Earl Grey Tea alone. Coca-Cola’s experience with New Coke ought to be a lesson for all: Quit screwing with icons!”
Bob Messenger, editor The Morning Cup, foremost US food industry observer

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Published 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!


Brenda NeallFOODStuff SA is published and edited by Brenda Neall.

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