Issue 87: 11 June 2010

“People always call it luck when you’ve acted more sensibly than they have.”

Anne Tyler, American author


Food bites… The food safety imperative

Image“Consumers have a right to expect safe, high-quality food. . . The thing to remember about food safety is that it is not a competitive advantage; it’s a point of entry. Everybody in the food industry, whether it’s a restaurant, grocery store, or manufacturer, has to provide safe, quality food.” 
Joan Menke-Schaenzer, chief global quality officer at ConAgra 


EBNditor’s Stuff – Simba taps into REAL South African flavours!


It’s here! Today there’s little else to think about than the Soccer World Cup and the palpable, all-pervading ‘gees’, excitement, passion and expectation that underpins the nation AND the world. It’s brilliant, it’s profoundly moving and I don’t think SA will ever be the same again.


In my trawling of the web in search of pertinent stories, I’ve been totally taken aback at the volume of World Cup stuff out there in the wider world. The whole globe is focused on us! With South Africa THE flavour of the day, it was inspiring to get news this week of a brilliant ‘open innovation’ marketing initiative by Simba to uncover truly South African flavours, and then actually launch four of them in time for the Soccer and to strut our characteristic and tasty stuff to masses of foreign visitors.


ImageOpen innovation has been adopted by several global food giants, including Kraft, General Mills and Procter & Gamble. At the core of this strategy is the understanding that great ideas can come from various and sometimes unexpected sources. Simba’s “What’s Your Lekker Flavour?” competition received a staggering 187 000 plus entries and some very original and exciting flavour suggestions. The four finalists are (tsjoe, does it get more local than this!): Walkie Talkie Chicken, Vetkoek & Polony, Snoek & Atchar and Masala Steak Gatbsy.

The public can now vote for their favourite flavour, with the winning flavourist receiving fame and fortune in the form of R200 000 in cash, and 1% of sales of the winning flavour. This could mean that the winner will receive up to R500 000 per year for as long as the flavour is on sale. In all, a fabulous way to engage with consumers and to tap into open innovation. Great stuff, Simba! And the flavour houses that could come up with such complex taste combinations! Read more

 IUFoST 2010 logo


See the Full Congress
Programme here

ImageA special report on South Africa, from the influential Economist

Without diminishing today’s momentous kick-off, we have to face reality again in four week’s time. South Africa’s in the limelight in the latest issue of The Economist and it makes for some interesting reading. Since embracing full democracy 16 years ago, South Africa has made huge strides. But, says Diana Geddes, the magazine’s local correspondent who has been here for 18 months, not everything has changed for the better. Geddes has developed a view on South Africa that’s unapologetically bleak. Do we need to hear it? I think that we do. Read more


ImageOKAY! Now here are six-and-a-half billion reasons to be cheerful!

Never has catastrophe seemed so mundane. The end, we are told, is always approaching. No sooner has one super-resilient-flesh-eating-virus been forgotten than an imminent ecological collapse or a new strain of influenza takes it place. All of which makes Matt Ridley – journalist, businessman and author of several books on genetics and biology – such a refreshing person to talk to. And it is his optimism. . .Given today’s readiness to imagine the apocalypse, especially in environmental terms, being an optimist is a very unfashionable position to take. Read more


Have a brilliant World Cup!


Email Brenda Neall, editor and publisher: [email protected]


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Local Food Industry Stuff


Image“How to comply” guide to the new labelling regulations

Stumped by the new labelling regulations? This useful article published on The Food Safety Network is an ideal starting point, written in plain English, that outlines the gist of the regulations. It is designed to address some of the main concerns expressed by manufacturers. The Food Safety Network. Read more


SunOpta soy in SA    

ImageSunOpta, a US-based multinational provider of value-added soy-based ingredients, has begun operations in SA as SunOpta Africa. In October 2009, SunOpta Africa entered into a strategic alliance with Potchefstroom-based Specialised Protein Products (SPP) that has since resulted in the trebling of production at the SPP factory – mainly due to growing export sales by SunOpta. The agreement appointed SunOpta Africa as the sales and marketing arm of SPP’s soy-based products.

Caroline Raffray, SunOpta Africa’s business development director, who has set up an office in Durban, says the soymilk powders and liquid soy-base that the factory produces will be marketed to food, dairy and beverage processors in SA “as quality ingredients to create new products and reduce costs when compared to using imported soy protein ingredients”. Food & Beverage Reporter. Read more  


Great insights into the soy market from New Nutrition Business in this week’s newsletter!

‘Rooibos robbery’ rumours fly, but Nestlé keeps mum

ImageRooibos and honeybush, stalwarts of tea time on the platteland stoep, could be on the verge of taking the health and beauty spas of Europe by storm in a new range of products from corporate giant Nestlé. But Nestlé has thrown a veil of secrecy over its plans, which have sparked international allegations that the Swiss-based company committed biopiracy in South Africa.


Two non-profit groups, Berne Declaration in Switzerland and Cape Town-based Natural Justice, last month accused Nestlé of “rooibos robbery”, saying it had obtained the herbs for research without complying with South Africa’s Biodiversity Act. Business Times. Read more


ImageSBCM adds renowned natural food ingredients to portfolio

Sharon Bolel Chemical Marketing (SBCM) has expanded its product range to include those of Natraceutical’s Ingredients Division, which merged with Naturex at the end of 2009. Included are renowned Obipektin and Overseal ingredients. FOODStuff SA. Read more


Zulu Blonde turning heads

ImageWhile South Africa’s national football team struggles to convince, visitors to the eastern KwaZulu-Natal can soothe their frustrations during the tournament with a glass or two of Zulu Blonde. “It’s a light beer, malty, a little fruity and with low alcohol,” said 62-year-old Graham Chennels who knocked up his creation in a makeshift brewery at the bottom of the garden in the family’s hotel in the town of Eshowe.


Orders began flooding in after Zulu Blonde won the top prize at an international beer festival held in Britain in March. Read more


ImageIUFoST 2010: A programme not to be missed!

The IUFoST 2010 congress Scientific Programme is now almost finalised – and a skeleton has been fleshed out to develop a programme with great body and muscle! It is truly world-class as befits a world-class congress. FOODStuff SA. Read more


ImageBottled Water Conference at Africa Big Seven trade show

The South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) will present the first ever bottled water conference at Africa’s Big Seven Food and Beverage trade Expo (AB7) in late July 2010. FOODStuff SA. Read more


ImageLusitania and Fish on Line hook up for sustainability

Lusitania Food Products, leaders in food distribution, has recently partnered with Fish on Line, as a preferred supplier of top quality fish and seafood. FOODStuff SA. Read more


Food Trends, Marketing and NPD

Three lessons food marketers can learn from BP

ImageThe tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico offers a management lesson to food marketers on how not to deal with a crisis. Specifically, I refer to the obesity epidemic. Here’s what I mean. First, there’s the blame game. No one is taking responsibility for the Gulf disaster. BP points its fingers at Transocean who throws a hot potato to Halliburton who points back to BP as having ultimate responsibility. A similar dynamic persists in the obesity debate. Activists blame corporations for spewing excessive fuel on the consuming public; food corporations counter that they offer healthy options and decry that regulators are unfairly trying to tax them; and all the while consumers continue to chomp away at anything put in front of them. Mother Jones. Read more

How Mars built a business in customised candy

Image“There is little reason for an individual to have a computer in their home,” Ken Olsen, the president and founder of the Digital Equipment, famously said in 1977. As Olsen’s quote suggests, predicting demand for new, innovative products and services can be difficult, in part because many of the traditional methods of market testing — using historical data to forecast sales, for instance, or asking customers in a focus group to compare a new product with an existing, competing one — aren’t well-suited to the innovation process.


This was the dilemma that Dan Michael, then R&D director for Mars’ M&Ms brand, faced in 2000. He and his research team at the advanced R&D lab in Hackettstown, NJ, had an idea: to make customisable M&Ms printed with the word or image of a customer’s choosing. Read more

ImageUS: Coke pays handsomely to dispense Dr Pepper brands

Coca-Cola agreed to pay $715 million to Dr Pepper Snapple Group for permission to distribute Dr Pepper and Diet Dr Pepper in its new Freestyle fountain machines. The drinks will be the only brands not part of Coca-Cola in the new machines. There are less than a 100 of the new high-tech machines operating, but Coke hopes to have 500 in service before the end of the US summer. Wall Street Journal. Read more

The end of colas?

ImageWhile France may have given the world champagne, America returned the favour with its own bubbly beverage – cola. The iconic beverage in America is cola. One of the few nations built on the thirst for this effervescent dark soft drink, other regions of the world are now reaching out for our bubbly passion. And while the global expansion continues to increase, it appears that US consumers are pushing back the bottle, reaching instead for items with healthier ingredients and marketing messages. Supermarket Guru. Read more

ImageThis little piggy. . .

The vast majority of innovations launched each year are “me too’s”. It’s very tempting to drive by the rear view mirror, with your eyes on the competition rather than on the consumer. I blogged a few months ago that companies can be classified either as Rule Makers, Rule Followers, or Rule Breakers. Most companies duke it out amongst themselves as Followers, trying to gain share against the market leader by playing the rules of the market leader.

When I worked at Nestle ice cream, we acted as Rule Maker in launching a new “Slow Churned” technology that dramatically improved the taste of low fat ice cream. Unilever followed quickly with “Double Churned”, based on the same technology. Because Unilever didn’t have the same R&D investment, the Unilever launch was more efficient, even though they weren’t first. Both strategies have their pros and cons.

However, the worst position is to be a timid number three or four. Read more


EXCLUSIVE! New Nutrition Business articles


Soymilk and lessons for new ingredients

ImageWhether you are planning to take a new type of ingredient to market or you are planning to create a new type of consumer product based on new health ingredients, the soy milk market provides one of the very best examples of commercialisation strategy and some of the best pointers for the direction your own strategy should take. It’s a perfect case study of how a new type of ingredient with new health benefits and little familiarity among consumers can create a new category. Read more



ImageDeath knell of the “Intel Inside” dream?

The expression, “We want to create a ‘NutraSweet’ or an ‘Intel Inside’ concept” has in recent years been one of the most-often expressed ambitions of companies commercialising new health ingredients. But it’s also one of the most difficult strategies to execute. The failure rate for business-to-consumer ingredient brand programmes is now running at 95%, according to our own analysis. So what did Intel and NutraSweet do that made them succeed? And what can we learn from these successes – and the recent multiple failures? Read more


Health and Nutrition Stuff


New hope for peanut allergy sufferers thanks to low-allergy nuts

ImagePeanut allergy sufferers could benefit from low-allergy peanuts developed by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists using conventional breeding and nut mixing techniques … Professor Soheila Maleki said that low-allergy peanuts could be produced within the next two to five years. FoodNavigator-USA. Read more


ImageWarning: the nanny state can seriously improve your health

The “nanny state” mostly gets a pasting from critics who dismiss government efforts to make us fitter or slimmer or healthier as unwarranted intrusion into individual’s lives. But this week, the critics get their comeuppance with research showing that nannying works. In the first year after the UK smoking ban was introduced in July 2007, the air in bars, restaurants and offices suddenly became sweeter – and more than 1,000 heart attacks were prevented. Read more


COMMENT: PepsiCo CEO blames obesity on lack of exercise. Really?

ImagePepsiCo CEO and vegetarian Indra Nooyi says obesity “wouldn’t exist” if we all just exercised, Fortune reports. The context of that comment: a discussion of how Nooyi wants to boost sales of the company’s “good-for-you” foods to $30 billion in 2020 from $10 billion now.


But here’s the rub: it’s not particularly clear that exercise alone is the key to maintaining or losing weight. And here’s a real-world example of why it’s tough to compensate for what we eat via exercise: if a 50-pound kid plays soccer for 45 minutes, she burns up about 120 calories. But a typical post-game snack chosen from Pepsi’s “good for you” brand list – a 15.2-ounce bottle of Dole Strawberry-Kiwi juice and a reduced calorie Quaker granola bar – adds up to 320 calories. Even a 150-pound adult would barely burn off more than she took in under the same circumstances. Wall Street Journal. Read more

Under the microscope: How does caffeine work?

ImageThe earliest recorded caffeine consumers were in China in the 10th century BC, when philosophers believed tea-drinking was “an indispensable ingredient to the elixir of life”. Coffee-quaffing originated in Yemen in the 15th century. The exact amount of caffeine present in a drink depends on its growing conditions and preparation. While tea naturally has more caffeine gramme for gramme than coffee, there is less tea per cubic centimetre of cup, leading to its weaker stimulant properties. The Independent. Read more


Food Science, Microbiology & Food Processing


ImageFive principles to “Good Laboratory Selecting Practice” (GLSP)

Many microbiological testing laboratories reside within and just outside the borders of South Africa, forty-six registered laboratories to be precise. Like our rainbow nation, they vary in size, expertise, geographic location and service level. One could go as far as describing them as THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY!


This informative article, written by Tracey Botes, co-founder of CML Labs, is one of a series on micro practices and advice published by The Food Safety Network. Read more


US: 2009 foodborne illness report shows a mixed picture

ImageThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released preliminary numbers on foodborne illness outbreaks for most common pathogens, and the results are a mixed bag.


The good news: Infections from E coli 0157:57, the most common form of E coli bacteria, are down by 12% and at their lowest level since 2004, actually reaching the government’s health target for 2009. But the infection rates for most common pathogens seem stuck in neutral and, in some cases, have even risen. While Salmonella infections declined by 6.2% in 2009, at 15.19 for every 100,000 people, that number was far short of the government’s goal of only 6.8 infections per 100,000 people. And Vibrio cholerae, a pathogen most commonly found in shellfish, rose by 21%. Read the CDC report


Using soy protein as an extender for emulsified products

ImageThe protein in soy beans is considered one of the most complete vegetable proteins. As an ingredient for meat products, soy protein can enhance sensory characteristics and nutritional properties. Because of this and its relatively low cost, soy protein is the most often used vegetable protein in meat products.


Being a highly functional ingredient, soy protein also offers meat processors the opportunity to create higher-quality reduced-fat, reduced-calorie products. And these days, soy protein varieties have little or no flavor disadvantage. Moreover, the nutritional profile of meat products can be improved, and there is a chance that the higher the soy protein in the product, the lower the concentration of formed heterocyclic amines during cooking (Hwang and Ngadi, 2003). Meating Place. [Registration required] Read more


ImageMilk: Processed to death?

You wouldn’t drop an extra couple ounces of breakfast cereal into each box just to make sure you meet the minimum package weight. You wouldn’t set a filler to give away six extra ounces of milk with every gallon. So why are dairy plants pasteurising milk far in excess of sterilisation requirements, in the process wasting energy and degrading the taste of the finished product?


So asks Warren Taylor, an American process engineer turned self-proclaimed “dairy evangelist” preaching the gospel of minimal processing. Food Processing. Read more


ImageBeef: a more palatable source of omega-3s than fish?

Scientists exploring how to improve the fatty acid profile of beef by manipulating the diets of cattle are confident they can deliver meat containing enough healthy fat to make ‘source of omega-3’ nutrition claims on pack. Food Manufacture. Read more  


The science of cake

ImageThere’s nothing quite like sharing generous slices of mouthwatering homemade cake with family or friends. In making a cake you are taking advantage of some magical scientific transformations to create something sugary, delicate and delicious that everyone will love – and love you for. Baking a cake makes you feel better about the world, and understanding the science puts the icing on it. The Guardian. Read more

Food Ingredients


Global food additives market to exceed $33.9bn by 2015

ImageGlobal Industry Analysts (GIA) has released a global report on food additives market that shows that the world market for food additives is projected to exceed $33.9 billion by the year 2015. The factors playing a prominent role in the growth of the food additives market include adoption of sophisticated food processing methods by developing countries, restructuring of food processing companies, and a demand for more complicated food ingredients by processors.


The US and Europe dominate the world food additives market. Americans are particularly conscious of the calorie content, and hence low-calorie, low-fat foods are popular in the United States. This indicates a growing demand for food additives such as fat replacers, artificial sweeteners, and hydrocolloids.


Key factors influencing growth of food additives in Europe include growing health consciousness among Europeans, food safety concerns, and increasing preference for convenience foods. The rising obesity levels and desire for natural food products are factors driving demand for natural additives and fat replacers. If you’ve got R30K looking for a home, you can buy the report here.


ImageDSM wins Frost & Sullivan product differentiation award

DSM Food Specialties has won the 2010 Frost & Sullivan award for Product Differentiation Excellence with its unique solution for acrylamide mitigation — PreventASe. An enzyme preparation, PreventASe mitigates the formation of acrylamide in bread, biscuits, and extruded snacks by as much as 90%. DSM Press Release. Read more


ImageBASF constructs mega plant for mint

Calling it the world’s largest plant for the mint aroma L-Menthol, BASF’s new plant will be located at the firm’s Ludwigshafen site in Germany and is due to go on stream in 2012. L-Menthol is an aroma chemical produced on the basis of citral. It can be used in any food application where a fresh mint flavour or cooling agent is needed in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical markets. Confectionery News. Read more


ImageEuropean salt industry sets out five-year vision

Effective communication with consumers about salt consumption to encourage healthy eating and sustainable production lie at the heart of the European Salt Producer’s Association’s (ESA) wish list for the next five years. Food Navigator. Read more


Cargill gets Novel Foods for Xtend sucromalt

A sucromalt ingredient from Cargill has received Novel Foods approval in Europe, opening up the use of the sweetener in a range of food and beverage products in the bloc.The approval, which follows a safety evaluation of the branded Xtend ingredient, comes a year after the US FDA gave the go-ahead for its use in foods in the US.


Cargill said Xtend sucromalt is a “one-of-a-kind” sweetener as it delivers balanced energy, does not spike insulin levels and is has a low glycemic index. Food Navigator. Read more


ImageCommission publishes acrylamide monitoring recommendations

The European Commission has published precise recommendations for the monitoring of acrylamide levels in food products, as the reduction of levels is patchy across categories. Food Navigator. Read more



OUCH! McDonald’s recalls 12 million ‘Shrek’ glasses

ImageMcDonald’s is recalling about 12 million “Shrek” drinking glasses because federal regulators found they contain the toxic metal cadmium, which poses health risks. The glasses have been sold for $2 apiece at McDonald’s restaurants across the US as a promotional tie-in with the movie “Shrek Forever After.” Purchasers will be advised to keep them away from children and to return them to McDonald’s for a refund. LA Times. Read more

ImageIt’s not rocket science, just Coke and Mentos

Shopping list: 108 2-litre bottles of Coke Zero, 638 Mentos. Just add two mad scientists and you have (most of) the ingredients you need to propel a rocket car.

We don’t know which genius first discovered the Diet Coke and Mentos geyser effect. What we do know is that it made science cool to a whole new generation. If you somehow haven’t seen one of the many Diet Coke and Mentos videos on YouTube, a geyser effect occurs when you drop a Mentos sweet into a Diet Coke bottle. And, unlike some of the crazier videos on the Internet, it’s perfectly safe to try this at home (although probably not in the vicinity of your mom’s Persian carpet). The Daily Maverick. Read more

That’s all the stuff for this week!