Newsletter 12 April 2013

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 12 April 2013 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “The food industry’s obsession with cost reduction as a path to profitability continues to evolve us towards dreadful foods.” Anonymous commentator on Bob Messenger’s Morning Cup newsletter

Sensient Food Colors

Editor’s Stuff: drinktec comes to South Africa!
Yet another sign of the international interest in Africa, and SA as the stepping stone to the continent… This week, Messe München, organisers of Munich’s massive and hugely successful technical trade show for the beverage and liquid food industries, drinktec, and which is held every three years, including 2013, announced it is coming to Jo’burg next year.

“Food & Drink Technology Africa” or ftd Africa, is the title of the new event which will be held on March 18-19, 2014 at the Gallagher Convention Centre. This should prove immensely interesting – I wonder why for only two days? A show of this scope and potential size would surely warrant more exposure time?

This is the second major international food-bev expo that’s coming to the country, with IFEA, the African iteration of London’s International Food Expo, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in September 18-20, 2013. See more at
Who’s the best? An SA food trade magazine has released some hubris-filled claims on an ‘independent objective survey’, unquantified or contextualised, however, proving that, of all the food-packaging-agribusiness magazines, it is the most read, the leading, the most influential, that it ‘reigns supreme in its genre’ and has the most-read newsletter in the industry etc. Phew! I am disapppointed that FOODStuff SA did not feature in the survey on newsletter rankings… I know I’m not a magazine, but it would’ve been fun to know.
Enjoy this week’s read…
  • Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
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Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
By 2019, the amount of salt in your bread will have been decreased by 30%, the salt in a vienna sausage will be down by 13%, and by 12% in a packet of potato crisps – SA’s new salt regulations were signed into law on March 18 by Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi. The public health lobby is thrilled, the food industry is not.
The food industry may be dominated by giants such as Tiger Brands and Premier Foods, but there is still potential for regional independents to expand into true national businesses – to wit the private equity investment in an under-the-radar polony maker in KZN. Polony has replaced pilchards as the staple protein for SA’s mass market.
South Africans are spending almost R5bn each year to feed their cats, dogs and other pets. And pet food manufacturers say they have barely scratched the surface. Only about 20% of SA’s dogs and 35% of its cats are fed the almost 200 brands of pet food available in SA, says Pet Food Industry Association of SA executive director, Barry Hundley.
Hunger and nutritional issues are recognised as a major hurdle in the development of South African society. Yet, while millions of South Africans are suffering the effects of hunger and malnutrition, a newly-published scoping study by the Water Research Commission (WRC), reports that we do not know enough about household food intake which could hamper intervention efforts.
Ongoing advances in vineyard management together with very favourable climatic conditions in the lead-up to the 2013 harvest had produced an absolutely outstanding vintage for the Cape, according to Callie van Niekerk who heads Distell’s winery operations.
Will online take over bricks-and-mortar retail?
South Africa’s online retail market shows an annual growth of 30%, whilst traditional bricks-and-mortar retail only grows an average of 6%. Retail employment figures are on the decline worldwide and clearly indicate the ever-growing importance of the e-tail sphere.
Designed to help those parents challenged to find convenient, cost-effective and fun ways to keep their children occupied, Heinz Foods SA has launched the Today Ready-to-Bake Biscuit Dough range to help parents get their children ‘analogue happy’ ie away from the TV, video-games and PCs, and instead get them involved in the kitchen in an enjoyable way.
A Bill restricting alcohol advertising is likely to be presented to Cabinet next week, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Tuesday night.

 International News & Developments

In what is being described as an astonishing brand reversal, KFC is about to stake its future on a red-hot concept that might have caused Colonel Sanders, himself, to choke: boneless chicken.

SABMiller to lure African drinkers with lower beer price
SABMiller plans to boost beer sales by 7-9 percent a year by slashing prices, using more local grains and cheaper packaging and negotiating better tax terms with governments.
Baby milk rationed in UK over China export fear
Retailers in the UK are rationing sales of some powdered baby milk because of a surge in demand in China. It said the limit was to prevent some individuals from bulk-buying baby milk for “unofficial exports”. Foreign-made baby formula is popular in China since the melamine scandal in 2008 that killed six infants and caused another 300 000 to fall ill.
This brilliant article challenges the prevailing anti-food orthodoxy in the debate over obesity. It’s a well-argued takedown of the food-police approach to the issue, essentially concluding that, “against the current popular discourse, obesity is better understood as an unintended consequence of affluence than as a disease epidemic. It is not going to be eradicated like polio but rather managed more or less well”.

 Food Trends, Innovation and Marketing
American firm, Apptec Health Food, has figured out a way to remove fat and calories from peanuts in such a way that it has launched what it says is the first commercial snack product of its kind, under the brand name, Nachalur Natural.
Kale, or borecole, part of the Brassica family of vegetables, is currently riding high in markets such as the US and the UK, reports Innova Market Insights. A green that helped sustain Britain through the dark years of World War II is making a comeback as a fashionable superfood, with its nutritional benefits and attractive colourful appearance attracting a whole new range of consumers. [Can’t say I’ve ever seen kale on SA shelves? Ed]
The inspiration of US craft beer
Not so very long ago, American beer was a joke. And a weak one at that. Once widely mocked, US craft beer is now popular globally with hipsters and connoisseurs alike. Why is the world buying in to the American brewing revolution? An explosion in independently-run microbreweries producing lovingly-created, strong, pungent, flavour-rich ales has transformed the reputation of the product.
The rise of the coffee pod machines
Pod machines, the ready-meal of coffee, may not make a great brew, and their environmental credentials are poor, but they are consistent which may be why you’ll find them in Michelin-starred kitchens – and in homes everywhere. Can anything stop the march of Nespresso?
A new brand that’s rocketed from zero to £44-million in sales within three years and is helping redefine a category, and an old brand that has found growth by using an approved health claim to connect to one of the biggest consumer needs – these two cases illustrate the way the breakfast category is being redefined and provide key lessons for any company.

 QPro International

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

Already renowned as a healthy treat when enjoyed in moderation, chocolate could become even more salubrious if manufacturers embraced new technology for making “fruit-juice-infused chocolate,” says a UK food scientist.
The American meat industry is rolling out a refresh of the often confusing 40-year-old system used for naming the various cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal. That’s because the system — the Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards, or URMIS — was designed more for the needs of retailers and butchers than for the convenience of shoppers.
Established in 1976, Polyoak Packaging now counts as one of Southern Africa’s leading rigid plastic packaging suppliers for the dairy, food and beverage, and retail sectors. A customer-focused approach combined with leading-edge packaging designs have kept it at the top of its game.
EFSA approves active substances for food contact materials
A number of active substances designed for different applications in food contact materials have been backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Six steps to effective sanitary design for the food plant
Whether you are building a new food manufacturing facility, expanding or upgrading an existing facility or just maintaining your plant, sanitary design of the facility and equipment is one of the most effective food safety strategies the company can employ.
Small and/or less developed businesses are frequently denied access to market opportunities because they lack expertise and resources to meet the food safety requirements of the formal supply chain. This is where the GFSI Global Markets Programme kicks in… Vel Pillay, a world-respected food safety expert and Food Services Manager, LRQA Americas, talks about the programme.
Umami: why the fifth taste is so important
The strong savoury flavour that makes everything from spag bol to Marmite so hard to resist may serve a vital evolutionary purpose. We could even use it to fight malnutrition.
In case you missed it: The chemistry of kibble
The fundamental challenge of the pet food professional is to balance the wants and needs of pets with those of their owners. The two are often at odds. For instance, pet foods come in a variety of flavours because that’s what humans like, and we assume pets like what we like. We’re wrong.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
The high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol in red meat have long been blamed for increasing risk of heart disease. But now, new research points a finger at another culprit in meat that may be more closely tied to this leading killer: the nutrient called l-carnitine.
In a unique natural experiment, researchers have observed how Cuba lost an average of 5kg per head over five years, a scenario that contributed to a halving of the death rate from diabetes and a one third reduction in deaths from heart disease. [Goodness! Who would’ve thought? Ed]
The epigenetic effects of milk
Animal and dairy scientists have discovered that drinking milk at an early age can help mammals throughout their lives. But understanding exactly how milk affects the body is a complicated story of hormones, antibodies and proteins, as well as other cells and compounds researchers have not yet identified.
A guy who’s been bragging about finding a way around eating has generated reams of internet headlines. On his blog, American Rob Rhinehart details his two-month experiment consuming mostly ‘Soylent’, a concoction he invented to provide all the nutrition and none of the hassle of food.
A growing movement seeks to reproduce the hunter-gatherer lifestyle: running barefoot, pondering polygamy, relying on a diet of meat. But even our ancestors never lived this way. And besides, modern humans have evolved.

 Weird, Whacky & Wonderful Stuff
Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday at the age of 87, was one of Britain’s most accomplished, if controversial, politicians and prime ministers. Love her, hate her, there is something that lovers of dairy the world over have to thank her for: Baroness Thatcher, the legend goes, helped invent soft-serve ice cream.
Germany’s Nutella heist – the latest great gastronomic robbery
The theft of £14 000’s worth of the popular spread at the weekend is the most recent in a series of worldwide raids by thieves with a taste for food – and indicative of another fallout of the recession.

Food bites…2013: Domesticating bacteria – the new world of consumer microbiomics

“AN APPRECIATION of the wonderful world of microbes used to begin and end with a jar of live yoghurt, the odd bit of French cheese and probiotic supplements. This is changing fast, for three reasons.
   “First, as some common unfriendly bacteria rapidly evolve resistance to antibiotics, an overreliance on such traditional cures is being questioned.
   “Second, research is challenging the cherished idea that having fewer bugs in the environment is healthy. Indeed, there is growing speculation that an obsession with cleanliness is leading to a steep rise in allergies, asthma and other inflammatory and autoimmune disease.
   “Finally, the notion that ‘infecting’ people with bacteria might be a good thing is entering the popular consciousness.”
Babbage column, The Economist: Read more
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Brenda NeallPublished weekly 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]