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Newsletter 14 September 2012

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 14 September 2012 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice.” 
Ernest Hemingway, American author

Sensient Food Colors

 Editor’s Stuff: What’s the most important invention in the
history of food?
We take so much for granted about modern food availability, abundance and choice, that it’s good to take a moment to reflect back on the amazing stream of processing and technology that got us to this space and place; to the many thousands of SKUs in every supermarket.
So, what is the most important invention in the history of food? Such a big question could spawn many possible answers – but it’s one that the Royal Society, the UK’s famed national academy of science, recently decided to answer.

It has announced that the most significant invention in the history of food and drink is the… click the link above and read on!

How South Africa REALLY shops!

Two weeks ago I was in Hazyview, Limpopo, and happened to do some grocery shopping on the worst possible day: Friday afternoon and end of month. The SPAR was heaving! Nonetheless, the chore had to be done – but, as it turned out, it became an eye-opening field trip.
What was fascinating to witness was how this very well-appointed and ‘First World’ store was catering for its target low-income shoppers, with product formats and choices that you’d never see in the leafy suburbs. Also interesting, too, was the swathe of stuff in baskets discarded at the tills, a telling point on just how tight and inflexible budgets are in the mass market.
I can recommend this type of consumer-research exercise – to see how South Africa REALLY shops – for any food industrialist.
Enjoy this week’s newsletter!

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! FOODStuff SA is a hub for food-bev industry recruitment: look for a job or advertise your company’s positions!  Click here!

Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
Such is the level of non-compliance with legally-correct labelling of “Individually Quick Frozen (IQF)” chicken products sold across the country, the Dept of Health has found it necessary to issue a statement warning consumers that they are being duped in many instances, and that it intends taking action against these poultry miscreants.

Fruit and Veg City and RMB Corvest have announced a deal whereby Fruit and Veg City Holdings would acquire a 50% stake in Diamonds Discount Liquors – and a new brand, Market Liquors, will be sited at exits and entrances of the Food Lover’s Market stores.

The first wines entitled to carry South Africa’s fully traceable new ethical seal have been announced by the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA).
Nampak has announced that it has reached agreement with Norway’s Elopak of to acquire the remaining 50% shareholding which it currently holds in Elopak South Africa for R115 million. Elopak is a leading manufacturer of gable top paper cartons for fresh beverages and dry foods. 
Reportback from ExtruAfrica Conference
“The growing consumption of meat and the strong footprint of meat are reasons to soon find alternatives for meat analogue products,” stated Dr Ralph Thomann, Head of the Department of Food Technology, IGV Institute for Cereal Processing in Germany, at the annual international ExtruAfrica Conference held outside the Kruger Park recently.
Adult and/or non-alcoholic soft drinks are an obvious beverage trend – and tapping into this is a new, alcohol-free sparkling white [not referred to as wine] launched by Distell’s The House of JC Le Roux.
Last newsletter’s top headline: Introducing Ready Egg – an NPD first for SA

Now here’s an interesting first for the South African FMCG market… introducing Ready Egg, a new convenience egg product from Cape Town’s The Free Range Chicken Co.

 International News & Developments
Seeking to combat rising obesity rates, the New York City Board of Health has today approved a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts and movie theaters, enacting the first restriction of its kind in the country.

WikiCells, a food packaging technology that could eliminate the need for plastic containers, has secured a $10m venture capital investment which it says will see it launch its first products next year. The WikiCell encloses food or drinks in similar ways to the natural skins that protect fruits such as grapes, apples, oranges or coconuts.

The developing markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China will drive sales for Kraft’s global snacks business, Mondelez International, according to CEO Irene Rosenfeld.
The Danish government has revealed plans to drop its tax on saturated fats, introduced in October 2011, and shelve a proposal to introduce a tax on sugar from January 2013.
The adage “Think Global, Act Local” is an essential for multinationals entering new countries – and how apt that McDonald’s, famed for its beef-based Big Mac burgers, has said it will open its first ever vegetarian-only restaurant in the world in India next year.
Does an organic strawberry contain more vitamin C than a conventional one? A new study by Stanford researchers has added fuel to a debate about the differences between organic and conventionally grown foods.

 Food Trends and Marketing
Coca-Cola’s newest drink won’t come in a bottle or a can. And people will only need a squirt or two to quench their thirst. Following the lead of Kraft’s launch of Mio, the world’s largest beverage company is preparing to leverage its scale to stake a claim in the new flavour drops category and will be introducing its Dasani Drops in coming weeks.

While meat snacks make up a small percentage of the overall snack market, Innova Market Insights reports greater activity in this sector, with sales growing in the established US markets and also higher penetration in more non-traditional markets such as some of those in Europe.

The number of products touting low/no/reduced sodium claims have declined over the past few years, despite the increased awareness about risks of over-consumption, says Mintel.
Consumer demand for ‘more natural’ foods and beverages continues to grow – and food manufacturers are responding by highlighting naturally-derived ingredients and the natural credentials of new products, according to UK-based market research firm, RTS (Research to Solutions).
Move over Boomers, the Millennials (aka Generation Y) are taking over. And that shift will potentially change the food system as we know it, says a new research report out of the US.
Wine, flavoured malt drinks and premixed cocktails are among alcoholic drinks being packaged in a squeezable pouch, with Nielsen reporting that sales of alcoholic drinks in a pouch increased 153% in a year.
UK: Recession leads to record rise in breweries
The recession has fueled a record rise in the number of breweries opening in Britain as unemployed people or those looking for a career change set up their own ventures.

 Food Science, Safety and Ingredients Stuff

The growth in global demand for functional beverages is fuelled by several consumer trends. The number one trend, identified by IFT’s Food Technology magazine, is ‘real food nutrition’, whereby consumers are choosing to get more of their nutrients from the food and beverages they consume, rather than from supplements.

Tate & Lyle has developed and will soon launch a new stevia sweetener, branded Tasteva, and which it says does not have the bitter flavour associated with many stevia sweeteners on the market.

New consumer resource helps demystify common food ingredients
IFIC has published, What’s in Our Food: Understanding Common Food Ingredients, a downloadable pamphlet that takes the mystery out of common food ingredients by describing how and why they are used, their safety and labelling.
Food science insights from the September edition of IFT’s Food Technology journal:
Sugar reduction with polyols
Polyols are in a unique position to assist with reduced-sugar or sugar-free reformulations since they can reduce calories and complement sugar’s functionality.
Clostridium Difficile: An emerging food safety risk?
Traditionally associated with healthcare environments, C difficile has been increasingly isolated from packaged foods and food animals, raising concerns about foodborne and zoonotic transmission to humans.
The new trend to ‘swavoury’ flavours
When sweet and savoury tastes are combined or doubled up, they make for a dimension of flavour like no other…

 Health and Nutrition Stuff

Microgreens – plants that are 14 days old or younger – could be the next big ‘thing’ in fresh produce, with scientists at the US Department of Agriculture saying new research has found that the leaves of microgreens pack four to six times more nutrients than the leaves of mature adult leaves.

Millions of people take omega-3 supplements to improve their heart health, but new research  questions their benefit.
US: McDonald’s to list calories on menus
World’s biggest hamburger chain says it will start listing calorific information on its menus in 14,000 US outlets ahead of new law.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

For many, the scent of freshly brewed coffee is the first highlight of the day. Now, scientists claim to have solved the mystery of why it never tastes as good as it smells.

Meeting your pals for a drink after work today? Take a moment to notice your beer glass shape: it might be influencing how much booze you down. New research shows that an optical illusion makes curved glasses seem more alcoholically innocent than they really are.

 Food bites…2012: Sustainability the only successful business model

“Initiatives in sustainability have been shown to substantially improve brand equity and forge strong ties with consumers … what exactly do I mean when I say ‘sustainability’? Expressions like ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘going green’ have certainly made their presence felt, even on a day-to-day basis, but they have been applied to such a wide range of products and practices that their definitions have become a bit ambiguous.
“For me, sustainability has always been just as much a process as it is a quality; it entails the entire life cycle and supply chain of a product, which I believe should be cyclical and not a linear straightaway to the landfill (ie cradle-to-cradle, not cradle-to-grave).

“By conceptualising sustainability as a process rather than simply as a fixed value, you can broaden your (and your consumers’) perspective of a given product. To put it bluntly, pulling information from every aspect of your product – from gathering raw materials to production to post-consumption – will facilitate creating a clear and comprehensive sustainability statement to satisfy your customers – not to mention attract new ones.

“… Want to attractive new costumers, don’t tell consumers that your product IS eco-friendly, tell them WHY it is eco-friendly.”
Tom Sazky, Packaging Digest, 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, stuff about FMCG food-bev manufacture from farm gate to retail shelf, is published and edited by Brenda Neall. You can contact her at:

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