Newsletter 11 November 2011

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 11 November 2011 | Your weekly food industry news and insights….
SmartStuff:   “I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.”  Woodrow Wilson, US President

Bidfood Solutions
Editor’s Stuff: New study stirs up the salt debate – again!
THE COMMON WISDOM is that excess salt in processed foods is a contemporary health monster, and that we all need to eat less of it. But for all the talk about the growing menace of sodium in packaged foods, experts aren’t even sure that we’re eating more salt today than we used to.
When it comes to salt, despite all the research and debate, there are no rights or wrongs. Yet. That’s the beauty of the salt debate: there has been so little reliable evidence that you can imagine just about any outcome. But is this scenario about to change?

A new review just published in the American Journal of Hypertension and the Cochrane Library journal suggests the blood pressure gains of a reduced salt diet are minimal, at least for the general population – and the body seems to fight back against the changes.

In an analysis that will further fuel the row over the health effects of salt, the researchers say their work adds to growing evidence suggesting officials should re-evaluate policies advising everyone to eat less salt.

“I can’t really see, if you look at the total evidence, that there is any reason to believe there is a net benefit of decreasing sodium intake in the general population,” said Niels Graudal of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, who led the review.

Now, will our health minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, have a close look at this before he moves on his promises to legislate sodium levels in packaged food in SA?

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor

 There are several interesting new job opportunities posted up on FOODStuff SA’s Jobs pages this week: food safety auditors, key accounts, technical sales, and processing managers… Click here!

Kerry Ingredients

 Local Food Industry News

Adding grist to the ‘ban alcohol advertising’ mill comes a report in The Times that the average South African drinks a bakkie-load of booze a year, or 20.1 litres of pure alcohol, according to research by the Central Drug Authority.

The battle for the biggest slice of South Africa’s R220-billion food retail market is hotting up, with the Shoprite Group and Massmart in front and Pick n Pay, Woolies Food and Spar on the periphery. This analysis from the Mail & Guardian….

Almost 22 tons of imported Irish cheddar cheese was destroyed last week because it was contaminated with E coli bacteria, the Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO) reports.

With their quirky and stylish designs, and superior contents, Sonnendal Dairy’s new yoghurt and fruit juices, currently in launch phase, will add some eye and mouth-catching zip to SA’s dairy shelves.

Pioneer Foods announced earlier this year that it intended upping its share of SA’s biscuit market – and the first stage of its plans are now evident in the form of a new Moir’s biscuit range. At the same time it has dropped its Kwality biscuit brand as intended.

Toby Schechter, founder and MD of Scheckter’s Organic Beverages, former racing driver and son of South Africa’s famous Jody Scheckter, has launched Scheckter’s OrganicEnergy, described as the first 100% organic and vegetarian-certified energy drink in South Africa.
Pioneer Food’s Ceres beverage range has undergone and extensive brand and packaging overhaul – and used the Anuga expo in Cologne in October to show it off to its substantial international market.
Agrana expands production in SA
Agrana will start production in Jo’burg with an annual volume of some 4 000 tons of fruit preparations and syrups. Initially, these products will primarily supply the local market, albeit with a view to also supplying neighbouring countries in the future.


 Food-Bev Marketing, Trends and NPD

UK upmarket retailer Waitrose has introduced cold pasteurised fruit juice – the exclusive launch is only the second in the country that utilises high-pressure processing (HPP).

Kraft is entering the energy drinks market with the roll-out next month of a caffeinated version of its MiO “water enhancer”. The world’s second-biggest food company is to take on Red Bull and others with its MiO Energy, with caffeine equivalent of 12 to 18 cups of coffee contained in each bottle. Flavours will include ‘Black Cherry’ and ‘Thunder Punch’.

Water snobbery seems to be slowing to a trickle, according to a new market report out of America which has found that tap water is the one of the fastest growing beverages ordered at US restaurants. 

Bacon cupcakes, bacon candy, bacon hot sauce, bacon coffee, bacon jerky, chocolate covered bacon strips… bacon, it appears, is one ingredient that the American consumer cannot do without. It’s been around since the beginning of time, but never been applied to so many food products as today.

Coke pours attention on social media
The Facebook page for Coca-Cola has 35 million fans, making it the 16th most popular, a sign that the company’s focus on social media is paying off. The brand also has 400,000 Twitter followers, and its YouTube videos have been viewed 33.5 million times.
Key points in fostering the “Apple” in a food company
Rank and file company employees of a food company may say “We’re not Apple Computer! We can’t generate the innovative ideas that Apple does – we’re doomed to the status quo!” So not everyone can be an Apple but every company can develop and encourage a “Culture of Innovation”…

 Food Science, Ingredients and Health

Consumers navigating the aisles of their local supermarket are routinely confronted with food labels shouting what is not in the product: fat, sugar, gluten. This article takes a look at some of the precisely tailored combination of other ingredients is called upon to replace them, at how ingredient suppliers are playing a big role in helping customers balance health claims, good taste, and consumers’ desire for “natural” foods. It is an intriguing look into the world of the food scientist.

POM Wonderful, best known for massively popularising pomegranate in the US, has entered the functional ingredient market with the introduction of POMx, an all-natural, concentrated source of polyphenol antioxidants from pomegranates.

We find it on chairs, stuck under desks, on pavements or stuck to our shoes. Chewing gum is sticky – and it does not degrade easily. Now Professor Elke Arendt of University College Cork, Ireland, has developed a novel process for creating biodegradable chewing gum. She is looking for companies who might be interested in commercialising the product.

Fruitful study
The term ‘super fruit’ is so overused it’s nearly lost its meaning. The popular definition has tended to focus on nutrition and health. But some processors are using the term to highlight fruit that has strong technical uses in manufacturing.
Fungi, ever more popular with consumers due to their culinary versatility, remain woefully underappreciated as a health food and functional ingredient source. Euromonitor International analyst, Emily Woon, takes a look at their superfood potential, arguing that fungi could be a potent source of functional ingredients.
The link between diabetes and dementia
Two of the most worrisome trends in healthcare — the soaring rates of Type 2 diabetes and dementia — share several key biological processes. And scientists are beginning to think that is more than just a coincidence.

 Verni Superflor

 International Stories
Starbucks to open US juice bars in 2012
Starbucks Corp plans to start a chain of juice bars starting next year in its biggest-ever expansion beyond coffee. The world’s largest coffee chain, which has made no secret of its ambitions to expand beyond its staple business, has bought juice company Evolution Fresh for $30 million. CEO Howard Schultz hopes it will give the company a meaningful foothold in the estimated $50 billion health food market.
Nestlé invests CHF 10 million to build its first factory in Angola
In its latest move to develop business in Africa, Nestlé is investing CHF 10 million to build its first factory in Angola. The factory, located in the Angolan capital Luanda, will be a ‘finishing centre’ for packing and repacking products such as Nido milk powder and Nescafé coffee.

Savannah Fine Chemicals

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

Last year there was chaos at Waitrose checkouts when his Christmas puddings containing a whole candied orange sold out in weeks. Now Heston Blumenthal, the celebrity chef, has come up with another upmarket Christmas gimmick aiming to replicate the pudding’s success: a mince pie that smells of Christmas trees.

Miami company, ArKay Beverages, has launched what it claims as the first alcohol-free whisky to the world. ArKay will be available in stores worldwide on December 1st. Not everyone is happy…

Food bites… Why is gluten like BPA?

“It’s important that those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance avoid gluten. But it’s not necessarily important that anyone else avoid glutens. Nevertheless, “gluten-free” seems to be the latest in a line of label claims that attract consumers seeking more healthful foods, like “organic”, even if the facts don’t always point that way.
Consumers may perceive foods without gluten to be attractive as just ‘generally good-for-you’, or perhaps consumers concerned about major allergens (and remember, gluten is not one of them) think gluten-free foods are somehow better protected against allergen content. In short, “gluten-free” is an “f word”. “Fad”.
Food companies are responding, adding label claims about lack of gluten content and redesigning products… So why is gluten like BPA? Because both substances are victims of perception, not science. Industry and government representatives can often be heard to say that their decisions are guided by science. But perception, reputation, feelings in the marketplace — these are the trump cards.”
Eric Greenberg, American Attorney-at-Law, writing on Packworld. Read more

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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 is published and edited by Brenda Neall.

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