Carst and Walker

Issue 15: 14 November 2008

 19/9 26/9
3/10   10/10  7/11


'Enthusiasm moves the world.'
Arthur James Balfour, former British prime minister

Food for thought . . .Convenience foods transformed

Image'Today, America’s eating habits are changing faster than they ever have before due to the explosion of culinary diversity in the restaurant scene. What America seeks to prepare easily at home is changing in an era of ever globalising food culture. It used to be enough for packaged food makers to box up or jar up established flavours and food experiences under the rubric of convenience. In the past, it made sense to consumers and the industry to evolve from convenience as helper, to convenience as complete solution for the less interesting, routine meals consumed every day. More recent trends, however, show that consumers are actually moving in the opposite direction.'
Laurie Demeritt, president & COO of The Hartman Group,
a full-service consulting and market research firm.

For more on convenience foods from The Hartman Group, download this FREE white paper.


Editor's Stuff

ImageI'm back… a little more than a year since I shed the mantle of editor of SA Food Review, I have taken up the exciting challenge to launch my own food industry website! is an up-to-date resource and diary aimed at the local food/beverage industry sectors. Its main component is a weekly e-newsletter, published on Fridays. A news 'flash' reminder and 'teaser' is emailed to all subscribers. All you need do is click the link to get to what, I believe, is a good, provocative read around the global food world.
    The newsletter is a synopsis of the week's news trawled from a myriad of media; highlights and lowlights – stuff that is topical, thought-provoking, informative, insightful,  interesting and entertaining. The tone is generalist and middle-brow for all to appreciate. I have no agenda other than interesting and informative journalism, but amid the credible news and opinion, I'll also report on some of the kooky stuff, because it's important that you know, junk or not, what is being said out there about your industry.    
    FOODStuff SA will be of interest and pertinence to all food and beverage industrialists, and I aim to please a broad readership, from food scientist to secretary, brand manager to MD.
    FOODStuff SA already has useful content and it is, by nature, a work in progress. It includes the week's newsletter, an archive of past newsletters, local food news, important trends, product launches, interesting innovations, packaging, a list of industry events, useful websites and so on.
    I am delighted and proud to have a number of respected associates on board, allowing me to share select items of their subscription-only content with you: New Nutrition Business, Innova Market Insights and PACKAGiNG & Print Media. And more to follow, I hope.
  I also intend this to be an interactive site, a community of food industrialists, and welcome your emails and submissions of comments, news, developments, events, pics and press releases. So please help me mature this embryo into a healthy infant and beyond!
  This useful food industry resource needs your support and, if you are a supplier to the food and beverage sectors, please do consider advertising on FOODStuff SA. Compared to print media rates . . . well, there's no comparison, as you can see here ! And that's good news in these tough times.

    Hope you enjoy it, please alert your colleagues and let me know what you think…. regards – Brenda email

Food Industry News

SA: Woolworths recognises eco-responsible suppliers

ImageWoolworths has named three suppliers as winners of its Eco-Efficiency Awards for 2008. The award recognises efforts these suppliers are making to join the retailer in working towards becoming more environmentally responsible.  This year’s recipients include La Motte, Kimberly-Clark SA and, for the second year running, Westfalia, which grows the bulk of Woolworths avocados and mangos. Read more

SA: South Africa's tequila sunset

ImageAgave Distillers in the Karoo heartland town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape, is going under the hammer after a successful application by creditors for its liquidation. It is one of the few distillers, outside the borders of Mexico, who manufacture a "tequila-styled" alcoholic drink from the Agave plant. Read more

SA: Earlybird garners SIAL international award

Earlybird's Goldi Toast'Em Chicken Toastees, frozen chicken ‘waffles’ which just need crisping for a few minutes in a toaster, walked away with the country award at the recent Sial D’Or International Food Exhibition in Paris. The Sial D'Or represents one of the food industry's greatest honours and this product won top honours for products from South Africa.
In 2007, the product was runner-up in SA Food Review's New Product Competition, with the judges lauding this a fresh and imaginative idea that delivers both great taste and fantastic convenience. Congratulations!

EU: Ugly fruit and veg make a comeback

ImageWonky cucumbers and comedy carrots are staging a comeback, thanks to a European Union decision to scrap stringent rules which stipulate that only the most perfect-looking produce adorns supermarket shelves, a move that aims to cut waste, improve choice and reduce prices. Read more

EU: No change to BPA opinion required, says EFSA

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says it will not be revising its position on bisphenol A (BPA), following on from the criticism of the US FDA's draft assessment of the chemical, which is used in certain food packaging. Read more

US: Starbucks profit drops 97% on store closing costs

ImageStarbucks' profit dropped 97% in its fourth quarter, mainly because of the costs of closing underperforming stores and also falling sales in the U.S. Read more

US: Why Pepsi's down while Coke is up

ImageYou would think that as sellers of small pleasures, Coke and Pepsi would be poised to ride out this rough economy on similar waves. But Coke has turned in strong earnings lately while Pepsi has lagged. The divergence in performance stems less from an evolution of American tastes than from a gradual parting in strategic paths. The cola twins differ more and more in their non-bubbly portfolios. Time Magazine Read more

US: Kraft CMO focuses on value and ease

"The foundation of great marketing is understanding consumers in a very holistic, fundamental way," says Mary Beth West, chief marketing officer of Kraft Foods. Kraft focuses on the value propositions of brands, and provides products and recipes that help customers use Kraft products to "feed a family with food they feel good about." Read more  

US: Prices are the same, but packaging is shrinking

ImageTo avoid raising prices, many manufacturers are trimming package sizes in ways that are difficult to detect. Unilever's Skippy peanut butter jars, for example, now have a dimple on the bottom and hold 16.3 ounces instead of 18 ounces, and Kellogg reduced the weight of many of its cereals in June. Read more

EU: Danone: experiencing slowdown in emerging markets

ImageDanone has become the first global food company to admit that growth in emerging markets may adversely affect top-line numbers. Falling sales in Brazil and Russia have indicated that markets previously relied upon can now no longer be seen as sure-fire drivers of growth. Given this revelation, Danone may turn out to be the first of many companies to announce similarly revised figures. Read more

CALIFORNIA: Vote for bigger hen cages could cause big changes

ImageCalifornians' recent adoption of a ban on restrictive cages for egg-laying hens will hasten changes nationwide, supporters say. Opponents say it will put California producers out of business, given consumer demand for cheap eggs. Read more

CHINA: China vows improved food safety

ImageChina’s Premier Wen Jiabao says that the country will be introducing its first major food-safety law and its food exports will meet international standards. This comes in the wake of its tainted milk products scandal believed to have killed four babies and sickened thousands of children. Read more

CHINA: Beijing Olympic Games clean-up a dirty business

Excellent commentary . . . This year’s Beijing Olympic Games may have been good for China’s public image but the smooth running of the event was built on multiple state-prompted sacrifices and the food ingredients industry was one of the lambs that copped it in the neck for ‘the greater good’. Read more

CANADA: Not so energising energy drinks

ImageDespite their relatively high price, energy drinks are more and more popular, especially among young adults. Their commercial success is entirely based on an aggressive marketing approach, not on scientific proof. Read more

Ingredients Stuff

HIE opens its doors – to reveal new ingredients

ImageAs Health Ingredients Europe opened its doors in Paris this week, here's a look at some of the new launches at the show. Read more

Hi Europe lauds innovative ingredients

ImageDSM, Kemin and Brudy Technology have taken the top prizes for innovative ingredients at Hi Europe 2008. The industry judging panel determined DSM’s blood pressure-lowering peptide, TensGuard, was the most innovative ingredient of 2008, awarding it the gold medal. Kemin Health Europe took the silver award for its Slendesta potato extract. Read more

Senomyx and Firmenich collaborate on sucralose enhancer

Senomyx and Firmenich SA have entered into a collaborative commercialisation and license agreement for S2383, Senomyx’s sucralose enhancer. The new S2383 flavour enhancer may be used in beverages, foods and oral health-care products to reduce the need for sucralose. Read more

Kombucha has ancient roots. But it's untested.

ImageThe drink is purported to boost immunity. Home brews have sickened some. It's been spotted in the hands of celebrities, a murky-looking drink with an exotic name: kombucha. The beverage originally hails from China, where it first earned a reputation as a health tonic nearly 2,000 years ago. In the US, kombucha has gone through several reincarnations. Its benefits haven't been proved. Read more

EXCLUSIVE! New Nutrition Business on

ImageUK-based, New Nutrition Business (NNB) is the longest-established journal on the global food and nutrition business. NNB provides an unrivalled collection of news analysis and case studies from around the world on companies, brands, products, ingredients, markets, regulations. In a valued collaboration, NNB's highly-regarded founder and MD, Julian Mellentin, has given us the go-ahead to publish select articles from his monthly magazine, normally only available by subscription.

Analysing Nestle's launch of its new, super-premium beauty drink, Glowelle

ImageCombining innovation in ingredients, technology, packaging, positioning, marketing and distribution, Nestlé’s Glowelle beauty drink is a rare example of a new launch that innovates from every angle. It even acknowledges the reality that functional foods are a high-value, low-volume niche. If it doesn’t work… Read more

Probiotic profitability turns the corner       

ImageAnyone who wants to know how to succeed with a science-based ingredients business – and how long that can take – would be well-advised to first look at and truly learn from the experience of BioGaia. Read more

Diet and Nutrition

Vitamins C, E do not cut heart attack, stroke risk: study

ImageNeither vitamin C nor vitamin E supplements cuts the risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke in a US study recently published. And a second study has failed to show that taking low-dose aspirin helped prevent heart and artery disease among Japanese people with diabetes. Read more

Coconut water: 'The healthiest beverage you can drink'?

ImageCoconut water, the liquid inside coconuts, has a sweet, nutty taste, is low in fat and sugar, and is loaded with health-promoting nutrition. It can be found at most health-food stores and an increasing number of grocery stores as its popularity grows. Read more

People are fat 'because they don't enjoy eating'

The mystery of why some people stay slim while others get fat may be partly explained by differences between the way individuals' brains measure the pleasure of eating. Read more

Grape seeds may combat Alzheimer's Disease

ImageEating grape seeds may help combat degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer's disease according to new research. Read more 

How booze affects the young

ImageAlarming numbers of young people are now being treated in hospital for alcohol-related problems. Cherrill Hicks looks at the long-term implications. Read more

New treatments ahead for food allergies

New effective therapies are being developed to combat the rise in food allergies, said experts at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). US food allergies are now estimated at 3.7 percent in adults and 6 percent in children. Main manifestations include atopic dermatitis, anaphylaxis. Read more

Study: Energy-dense foods may increase diabetes risk

ImageA diet packed with energy-dense foods may significantly increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes, suggests new research from the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge, US. The study is published in the November 2008 issue of Diabetes Care. Read more

ImageViagra-effect of watermelon

Watermelons boost nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels. Read more

New clues on the cause of AMD

ImageAntioxidants extend the lifetime of irreplaceable photoreceptors and other retinal cells. Read more

Hot Stuff

Ten tips on how food processors can survive the credit crunch

An accounting firm offer tips to navigate, perhaps even capitalise, on the current financial crisis. Read more

Scientific endeavour: Publish and be wrong?

ImageOne group of researchers thinks headline-grabbing scientific reports are the most likely to turn out to be wrong. With so many scientific papers chasing so few pages in the most prestigious journals, the winners could be the ones most likely to oversell themselves — to trumpet dramatic or important results that later turn out to be false. This would produce a distorted picture of scientific knowledge, with less dramatic (but more accurate) results either relegated to obscure journals or left unpublished. The Economist Read more

A pinch too much — salt is set to be the next trans-fat

ImageWith so much emphasis on health care during the current presidential campaign, President Elect Obama will need to make some speedy decisions about the runaway medical costs occasioned by America’s unhealthy eating habits.
Salt will likely be first in the crosshairs. Pressure has been building for the sodium found mainly in table salt — currently an unrestricted substance “generally reckoned to be safe” — to be regulated as an “additive” subject to legal limits. The Economist Read more

New Product Stuff

US: Vacuum-packed hardboiled eggs are peeled and ready-to-enjoy

ImageHow's this for an obvious convenience snack item . . . California-based Eggology, has launched a new line of all-natural, Certified Humane hardboiled eggs, perfect for a healthy snack. The vac-packed (with salt and pepper sachets), two-unit product is available in Certified Organic, Cage-Free and Original variations.
The company that focuses on egg whites has some interesting consumer egg products not ever seen on local shelves: scrambled eggs (just pop in the microwave), protein products for athletes and bodybuilders, fresh egg white in a jar, frozen egg white treats for dogs and high protein ice cream, among others. Read more

SA: New Willow Creek olive oils with a gourmet twist

ImageWillow Creek Olive Estate has released three new infused olive oils. The flavoursome trio – Lemon, Basil and Parmesan – are produced on the estate in the Nuy Valley, with their award-winning, cold-extracted extra virgin olive oil as a base, delicately infused with natural flavourants. Read more

Packaging Stuff

Crawl before you walk: small steps towards sustainability 

ImageFor many consumer products manufacturers, sustainable packaging seems like an unending, insurmountable project. Well, it is true that sustainable packaging is never fully achieved, for it is an ongoing process. However, that doesn`t mean you should dismiss the task and do nothing to improve your company's impact on the environment. You can make a measurable difference by implementing small improvements, and save a few bucks along the way. Download the White Paper

US: Nestlé VP of Sustainability: 'Reduce, reuse, recycle is not enough'

Betsy Cohen, VP of sustainability for Nestlé, said during her presentation, titled More Safety vs. Less Material: Where Does Packaging Go?—that packaging professionals have to look beyond the package itself and take a “holistic” approach. Read more

First aerodynamic flying beverage bottle introduced

ImageXymbiot Interactive Packaging, a division of US company, ThinkAtomic, has introduced an interesting interactive concept, a patent pending plastic bottle that is designed to fly up to 30m when empty. This packaging concept is aimed directly at youth markets and may prove to be irresistible to children, tweens and teens due to its 'ultra cool appearance and its dual role as a fun and functional aerodynamically designed throw toy'. Read more

That's it for this week, folks!

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