Issue 19: 12 December 2008
'Life is not about waiting for storms to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.'
Food for thought . . . Organic shrinks back'While a small group of core customers considers organic products a top priority, the growth of recent ears was driven by a far larger group of less committed customers.
Organic products – which some consumers see as being healthier products – are about belief in their value, not about a “benefit you can feel”. Hence in hard times it isn’t surprising that the sector’s sales growth is showing signs of coming to an end as the consumer base shrinks back to a niche of ultra-loyal, committed consumers.'Julian Mellentin, founder of New Nutrition Business,
and global specialist in the business of food, nutrition and health.
Putting 2009 under the crystal ball
Okay, so 2009 is not exactly looking like a hot date! Many of you are no doubt about to escape its dubious clutches for a few weeks R&R on our incomparable beaches, but it's there, lurking, waiting…
So what does 2009 hold? This week's newsletter offers you several perspectives from highly-respected sources. First off, when it comes to products with a health and nutrition positioning, remember these words: “Feel the Benefit”. This, according to New Nutrition Business's (NNB) very astute annual analysis of this market sector, is the key theme for the last year of the Noughties.
Its yearly report, Ten Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2009, reveals that what consumers want most from healthy foods in recessionary times are products that provide a benefit they can actually feel; where they can see that they are getting value-for-money.
The importance of “feel the benefit” already underpins many successful brands in the good times, notably energy drinks and products for digestive health. It’s no coincidence that these are already the two largest segments of the functional food and beverage markets worldwide.
Each year since 1995, NNB has forecast and analyzed trends in food, nutrition and health. “This year is different,” says founder and director Julian Mellentin, “with a growing worldwide recession. The effect of a slowdown will be to reinforce the core trends and sweep away the fads”.
Thanks to my exclusive arrangement with Julian, readers of www.foodstuffsa.co.za have access to the key predictions contained in this comprehensive report. You can read more here, but if you're in any way involved in this sector, I can only recommend you invest a few thousand rand in this buying this remarkably readable, insightful and fascinating 80-page publication.
This week's newsletter also reports on Datamonitor’s predictions for FMCG goods for the coming year. No surprises, it notes if economic woes caused by an overly-caffeinated worldwide financial system are a metaphor for what may happen in food and beverage markets, then get ready for more relaxation offerings, for products that promise to “detoxify” in one way or another, and for those that tout “good for your brain” ingredients.
And then you can look at "What's Big in Japan". And this always makes for interesting reading – there surely cannot be a country with quirkier food predilictions and innovation. Only in Japan!
I welcome all your correspondence. Regards, Brenda email
PS Please vote for The New Product of 2008 (the poll is on this page top right)!
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Really enjoying your newsletter; only heard good things out there about it! Keep up the good work. Grant Momple, Afriplex Flavours
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Food Industry News
IRELAND: Irish pork scare . . . supermarket shelves have been stripped of Irish-bred pork
Retailers have removed pork bred in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic from sale amid concerns about toxin contamination. So, what next for farmers? It's been dubbed the "Christmas crisis" and the Irish pig industry faces a miserable New Year. Read more
COMMENT: As the scare over Irish pork shows, claims that industrial farming produces cheap, safe food are utterly untrustworthy. Read more
Dioxins in pork: putting the episode in scientific perspective
SA: First SA MD for McDonald's SA
Greg Solomon has been appointed as the new MD of McDonald's South Africa. Solomon's promotion, effective 1 January 2009, is a significant milestone for the company as he will be the first South African to run the local operation since the business opened here in 1995. Read more
SA: Food price inflation on the wane
THE RATE of increase in food prices seems to be slowing as commodity prices fall worldwide. This was evident in the month-on-month price changes of the 20 basic items in The Times shopping trolley for December. Good news for consumers! Read more
SA: Cheaper petrol won't affect food pricesHoliday-makers hitting the road this festive season will receive a welcome boost from Wednesday‘s R1.61/l drop in the price of petrol, but national supermarket chains say this is unlikely to bring food prices down in the near future. Read more
WORLD: Back from the brink: global financial meltdown relieves food crisis
Just seven months ago, the global food crisis had reached a flash point. Prices of staples such as corn and rice had more than doubled over a year, and, by April, riots had broken out in Haiti, Bangladesh and Egypt. Come September and the quick evolution of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the situation has changed dramatically, but there's no room for complacency. Read more
SA: Judge ticks off lawyers as he dismisses milk cartel appeal
Competition Appeals Court Judge Dennis Davis has expressed grave concern about a tendency in the legal fraternity to prolong court cases indefinitely. The judge called for a debate in the legal profession in South Africa on the role of lawyers in relation to “balancing the interests of clients and their duty to uphold the integrity of the system”. Read more
UK: SABMiller to be Sudan's first brewer in 25 yearsSABMiller has announced it will launch a new lager in south Sudan, the first beer produced there since Islamic law shut down the region's last brewery 25 years ago. Alcohol was banned in Sudan after the northern Khartoum-based government brought in Sharia law in 1983.
But the country's south won the right to a semi-autonomous secular government in the 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war between the mostly Muslim north and the mostly Christian and animist south. Read more
UK: Tesco to become world No.2 retailer by 2012Britain's Tesco will overtake France's Carrefour within the next five years to become the world's second-biggest retailer by turnover behind U.S. group Wal-Mart, according to a new report. Read more
CHINA: Government considers compensation for milk victimsChina is considering compensation for victims sickened or killed by toxic infant milk formula, a government spokesman said, following months of contention over stricken families with unmet demands for redress.
Chinese authorities recently said six children died and 290,000 children suffered "urinary system abnormalities", apparently after consuming Sanlu-brand milk powder and a "handful of other milk powder brands with problems". Read more
CHINA: New four-month food safety campaignChina is cracking down on food makers that use illegal or excessive chemicals in their products. Phases will include internal checks, inspections for "high risk" meat and protein-rich products, and targeting producers that make illegal food additives. Read more
US: Institute completes soybean genomeThe US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) has released a complete draft assembly of the soybean (Glycine max) genetic code, making it widely available to the research community to advance new breeding strategies for one of the world's most valuable plant commodities. Soybean not only accounts for 70% of the world's edible protein, but also is an emerging feedstock for biodiesel production. Soybean is second only to corn as an agricultural commodity and is the leading U.S. agricultural export. Read more
SWITZERLAND: Sustainable fuels for Emmi's Swiss factoryLeading Swiss dairy brand Emmi will produce its yogurt and muesli products in Emmen, Switzerland, using renewable energy. The company is working with partners to build a wood chip plant that will generate steam for Emmi's dairy production, saving Emmi 1.6 million litres of heating oil annually. Read more
TRENDS! Looking ahead to 2009. . .
EXCLUSIVE!! New Nutrition Business: Top Ten Trends in Health and Functional Products
In tough times the single most important factor consumers will take into account in choosing a functional food or drink will be whether it delivers a benefit they can feel. When people can feel the benefit that is being offered to them, they can see that they are getting value-for-money. Read more
Datamonitor: Ten trends to watch in FMCG goods in 2009With 2009 nearly upon us, look for new product marketers to make the year interesting with beauty foods and drinks, detox products and concentrated liquid cleaners that cut costs and help the environment. Datamonitor’s Product Launch Analytics takes a look at these and other trends in consumer packaged goods for the coming year. Read more
Consumer goods in Japan: hit products in 2008Japanese magazine, Nikkei Trendy, has announced what it considers to be the top 30 'hit' products in Japan in 2008. Given the gloomy economic outlook, products emphasising value-for-money are undoubtedly getting attention, while other products in the top 30 show that, as well as satisfying consumers' needs, food and drink manufacturers must also cater for product trends such as health and fusion. Read more
Health & Nutrition
Fears over nut allergies are creating mass 'hysteria'Fears over nut allergies are creating mass 'hysteria' and an 'overreaction' resulting in draconian bans in schools an expert at Harvard Medical School has warned. Read more
Why are so many kids allergic to peanuts?The number of school-age kids with peanut allergies has doubled in the past decade. Yet scientists can't quite put their finger on what makes the legume such a threat or why the allergy has become so prevalent.
Theories abound, though, and most involve an overactive immune system. Read more
France abuzz over alcoholic 'cure'An eminent French cardiologist has triggered an impassioned debate in the medical world over his claim to have discovered a cure for alcoholism. Read more
Scientists find gene that can predict alcoholismAlcoholics could be identified before they develop a physical or psychological dependence on drink, after scientists identified a genetic basis for alcoholism. A study has found a simple genetic difference between people that marks their susceptibility to alcohol. Read more
Fruit 'n veg not cool enough for Aussie men
Young Aussie men are worried that their peers will laugh at them if they suggest fruit or vegetables instead of fast food. Read more
Arla's milk powder replacement for ice creamArla Foods Ingredients has produced a range of functional milk proteins to be used for ice cream, which the company claims overcome the limitations of standard whey protein concentrate (WPC), improve product quality and cut raw material costs. Read more
Avebe introduces vegetarian gelatinAvebe launched a vegetarian gelatin for use in soft jelly candies and other confectionery products. The ingredient can be listed as "starch" on labels. Read more
Roquette invests in potential of microalgaeAs part of its €40-million a year R&D investment programme, starch giant Roquette is planning an extra focus on microalgae as a nutritional ingredient.
Company chairman Marc Roquette says: "We have added microalgae as a new raw material. We have the objective of becoming a major player in the domain of microalgae serving nutrition and health." Read more
McDonald's beefs up global menu in profitable makeoverMcDonald’s is the quintessential American fast-food chain. But McDonald’s' ability to adapt to shifting consumer demand and build a strong global brand, as well as its customary role as a fast and reliable vendor of cheap meals, has made it a market leader. Read more
Why do women jettison science careers?Recent research shows that many women who, after a PhD, jettison a potential career as a university scientist for work in a different field. A study for the Royal Society of Chemistry has found that although 72% of the women surveyed intended to pursue a university career in the first year of their PhDs, by their third year this had slumped to 37%. Read more
New Product Stuff
Pour yourself a cigarette
The new 'Liquid Smoking' drink launched recently by Dutch entrepreneur, Martin Hartman, based on a formula devised by SA's Afriplex, has garnered many media headlines. Promising to deliver the same fix as cigarettes, the active ingredient in the fruit-flavoured herbal drink is sceletium. Read more on Liquid Smoking.
The 'what' in Liquid Smoking – more on Sceletium tortuosum
This succulent herb, commonly found in South Africa, is also known as Kanna, Channa, Kougoed (Kauwgoed). The plant has been used by South African pastoralists and hunter-gatherers as a mood-altering substance from prehistoric times. The traditionally prepared dried sceletium was often chewed and the saliva swallowed, but it has also been made into gel caps, teas and tinctures. Sceletium is known to elevate mood and decrease anxiety, stress and tension. Read more
SA: New dukkah variants from NoMUStylish Cape Town foodie company, NoMU, has added three new variants to its traditional Egyptian Dukkah dipper, one of its most popular local and export lines. Read more
Australian company creates water from fruitSydney-based Karpati Corporation claims to have developed an innovative way of producing drinking water from fruit. Company officials claim there is no waste in the process and the by-product is high quality fruit juice concentrate that is exported. Read more
UK bottled water sells for £1 000 at Selfridges
Love Limited Edition UK has sold six limited-edition Love H2O bottles, each encrusted with more than 6 500 Swarovski crystals, for £1 000 (€1 175 or $2 330) a bottle.
Also known for its jewel-encrusted vodka products, the company diversified into bottled water over a year ago and sources the water for its luxury packaged brand from Wenlock Spring Water in Shropshire. Read more
Australians urged to eat camels
Only months after being told to save the world from climate change by consuming kangaroos, Australians were urged Tuesday to start eating camels to keep them from wreaking environmental havoc.
Australia's population of more than a million feral camels — the largest wild herd on earth — is out of control and damaging fragile desert ecosystems and water sources, according to a three-year study. Read more
Large shipment of ‘cocaine’ seized at Durban Customs
The first cargo of the premium American energy soft drink, ‘Cocaine’, to arrive in South Africa has now been released after being seized at Durban International Airport only days after it was stopped at Johannesburg International. Read more
COMMENT: Marketing of 'Cocaine' drink is offensive
In at least one local convenience store, customers can buy an energy drink called Cocaine. Yes. It's named for the drug that has wreaked havoc in our society. Yes, that cocaine. Read more
Unilever deodorant cures hairy armpits[This has nothing to do with food, but it is fascinating! Ed]
Unilever has launched a deodorant that it claims is the first to reduce underarm hair growth. The Sure and Dove Hair Minimising deodorants will be available in both aerosol and roll-on formats and Unilever predicts it will be so popular with women that they will generate £10m sales in the first year.
Researchers at the company have spent three years developing the pro-epil complex, which gradually makes underarm hair finer and noticeably slows down the rate of growth. While the Sure and Dove Hair Minimising ranges are not designed to replace waxing treatments – or be used anywhere else on the body – Unilever claims they will reduce skin irritation caused by hair regrowth. Read more
That's it for this week, folks!
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