Newsletter 15 August 2014


15 August 2014
We hunt down the latest food-drinks news
and trends so you don’t have to!
SmartStuff:   “Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”  George Woodberry, American literary critic
Editor’s Stuff: Sugar – how did something so sweet turn so sour?
One of the biggest challenges in my job of cherry-picking content for FOOD-DRINKStuff SA is deciding what should feature when constantly faced with drowning in an ocean of information on thousands of websites. 
It’s a challenge I relish, though, because the food-drinks world is always fascinating and fluid, and so packed with contentious issues of fundamental interest to all humans. This week I found one item that posed no such dilemma, however, and yes, again, it’s on sugar! This is a brilliant essay on the hottest topic in the food industry today, with wonderful insights and historical-cultural perspectives. 
Sugar: the evolution of a forbidden fruit

Read more...Sweetness was meant to be irresistible. We are born with a sweet tooth. Babies drink in sugar with their mother’s milk. Sweetness represents an instant energy boost, a fuel that kept our ancestors going in a harsher world. And now sweetness is linked with death and disease. How did we get ourselves into this unhappy state?

Enjoy this week’s read…. 

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
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  Local News and Developments
Investigation uncovers unlawful food labelling

Some of the country’s major retailers have been implicated in a widespread food-labelling scandal uncovered by a recent National Consumer Commission investigation.

Shoprite’s Hungry Lion aims to compete as a stand-alone chicken chain

The current refurbishing and rebranding of Shoprite’s quick-service restaurant, Hungry Lion, will see the chain not only competing with the likes of KFC and Steers but also vying for dominance in other southern African countries in a few years, its chief executive Adrian Basson asserts.

Rules for SA premium brandy tightened

Brandy drinkers who consider themselves connoisseurs will have something to cheer about, as new rules may mean even better top-notch South African premium brandy.

Cadbury Dairy Milk and Oreo – a hot hook-up now in SA!

The popular combination of South Africa’s best-loved chocolate, Cadbury Dairy Milk, and Oreo- the world’s number one biscuit, is now on SA shelves.

The art of tasting olive oil

Aspiring olive oil tasters are invited to a three-day training course run by SA Olive in partnership with the National Organization of Olive Oil Tasters (ONAOO), the world’s premier olive oil-tasting school.

Food retailers: Mall brawl brewing
Pick n Pay, so reports go, intends to aggressively step up efforts to stop Massmart from expanding its food offering in Game stores across SA, prompting JSE-listed mall owners to call on the competition commission to intervene.
Fishing for answers at poaching’s ground zero
Behind the Cape’s illicit perlemoen trade are whole communities that rely on the income the illegal abalone fishers bring in. 
In case you missed it: SA’s Afriplex and Germany’s Doehler join forces

Paarl’s well-known and pioneering African botanicals ingredient producer, Afriplex, is spreading its wings in a joint venture with Doehler, a global specialist of ingredients and ingredient systems, located in Darmstadt, Germany.

Useful SA food labelling guide

Unilever Food Solutions’ new, easy-to-use Food Labelling Ingredients and Legislation Guide provides the answers to many questions that frequently come up in the food and food service industries about nutritional values, labelling and legislation issues.

 Cola News and Wars
Coca-Cola buys stake in Monster Beverage for $2bn

Coca-Cola is hungry for even more caffeine: six months after announcing it would acquire Green Mountain Coffee, the beverage behemoth said that it will pay $2.15 billion for a stake in energy-drink maker Monster Beverage and an opportunity to take an even larger slice of the beverage world.

Coke confronts its big fat problem
Americans may not have figured out the answer to the obesity epidemic, but for years they’ve pointed to Coca-Cola and other soda as one of the causes. Coke has tried fighting against this. It’s tried ignoring it. Now it accepts this as a reality.  
The war to reinvent the soda fountain

Thanks to new weaponry built with touch screens, Italian or Apple-inspired design and the latest technology, the cola wars are returning to an old battleground, the soda fountain. PepsiCo has now been rolling out Spire, a range of new self-serve equipment for dispensing drinks in in food service venues.

ICYMI: Gone sour: Coke’s experiment with stevia for vitaminwater

The Coca-Cola Company has ditched stevia as a sweetener for Glaceau vitaminwater in the US and will revert to the original sweetening system.

 Trends, Marketing and NPD
The nine habits of highly effective nutrition companies

If you want to make a success in the healthy food/nutrition business, here are some of the “most-proven” elements of strategy that you need to follow… sage advice from Julian Mellentin, founder and executive director of New Nutrition Business.

Nestle USA to launch innovative RTD coffee concept

Water enhancers have become a massively successful new drinks category in the US. Latest to the party is Nestle USA, adapting the concept to coffee, and who reportedly will soon be launching a 26-serve Nescafe ‘to go’ liquid coffee concentrate that consumers can add to water to create RTD coffee on demand, along the same lines as its Nestea liquid water enhancer.

Food-drink marketing clarity: transparent packaging boosts sales

The American grocery store is having a moment of clarity. While fraught with technical issues, yoghurt to granola to tortilla chips are showing up in clear packages. The thinking: Shoppers are more inclined to buy when they see what they’re getting.

Popcorn progresses on clean labels, complex flavours and anytime consumption

While popped snacks are gaining considerable attention as one of the up-and-coming sectors of the bagged snacks market, there still appears to be some mileage in the traditional popcorn market, both in the US and Europe, reports Innova Market Insights.

US: Big brewers betting on apple-flavoured malt drinks

“An apple a day” is not just a nutritional myth. It has become a rally call by some of the world’s top brewers In the US.

Cashew juice, a new apple in Pepsi’s eye

The demanding demographic group known as millennials, as well as new consumers among the world’s emerging middle class, have a restless appetite that is driving food companies to experiment on a grand scale with flavours and ingredients whose appeal until recently were largely local. Pepsi is doing interesting things with cashew juice in India.

US: Burger King pulls low-fat fries after tepid response

Burger King is pulling its more-healthful crinkle-cut French fries, known as Satisfries, from most of its North American restaurants as customer interest in low-fat options went cold. The fries were made with a different batter that enabled them to absorb less oil when frying.

US: Sales of almond milk soar
Even as the average American drinks less dairy, thirst for plant-based alternatives such as almond milk is growing.
US: Plant-based Just Mayo to expand to mass-market shelves
Hampton Creek’s plant-based mayonnaise brand, Just Mayo, has become the top-selling mayonnaise at Whole Foods Market stores within just six months of hitting the market. The product is derived from pea proteins and will soon be sold at other mass-markets retailers.
ICYMI: Concern over added sugars reshapes the sugar and sweetener market

The love-hate relationship with sugar and sweeteners is intensifyingPackaged Facts unpicks some shifting trends in the US market, but surely relevant globally, too.

 See all 2014 food trend reports here! And beverage here!

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients
Chocolate and snack crunch: hazelnut prices soar

Chocolate makers already choking on the rising price of cocoa face another price crunch in commodity markets after warnings of a global shortage of hazelnuts.

New and creative uses for ingredients showcased at the 2014 IFT Food Expo in June demonstrated how ingredient manufacturers continue to meet the needs of product developers and consumers. Hurry to view this extensive article – it’s only available on the IFT website for a short while for non-subscribers.
In the English-speaking world, our approach to making cheese for most of the last 60 years has been like a Texas gunslinger’s: kill bacteria, ask questions later. If it’s not pasteurised, it’s dangerous, the thinking goes. But in France, raw milk cheese is a very big deal, long considered safe and revered for its flavour. 
Making stevia a mainstream sweetener
PureCircle claims to be the global leader in the production and marketing of high purity stevia ingredients. The company works with the natural sweetener stevia on a huge scale… here’s an interview with the company’s new COO.
BPA-free plastic containers may be just as hazardous
Animal studies find that a replacement compound for the estrogen-mimicking chemical bisphenol A may be also be harmful to human health.

Read more...ICYMI: Salmonella’s favourite food could be its key weakness

Salmonella is notorious for contaminating a variety of favourite foods, particularly in summertime – beef, poultry, milk, and eggs are most often affected but vegetables may also be. But scientists have now discovered that salmonella’s Achilles heel may lie in its own favourite food.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
The persuasive power of the sugar cube pyramid

New York City’s ban on jumbo-sized soft drinks may be officially dead, but health authorities and advocates around the world are calling for bans, or at least taxes, on sugary soft drinks. A new study shows that any reduction in consumption of obesity-promoting beverages will likely need to be a matter of persuasion rather than law.

Nearly half of all Americans will get type 2 diabetes, says new study

How much worse can the type 2 diabetes epidemic get? Shockingly, a new study published by a leading medical journal says that 40% of the adult population of the US is expected to be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime.

ICYMI: What’s up with scientific research into the hangover?

Hangover research is a bit of a neglected field, not the highest priority for health-research funding. But there’s a lot hangovers can tell us about our brains, our guts, and the epidemiology of alcoholism.

Food bites…2014: Pithy bites

Millennials’ approach to food is a taste of things to come
“RADICAL changes in the way younger people think about food could have a significant influence on how food companies develop new products in the future.
   “Those in the 22-30 age group, known as the Millennials, have adventurous tastes and are keen to try new products. However, they also want food that is ethically sourced, as ‘green’ as possible, suitable for snacking, convenient to eat on the go, and healthy.
   “Food producers need to be aware of these trends not only when creating products but also when deciding how to package them,
   “People are now using food and drink as a proxy to express who they are, and no group more so than Millennials… Where previous generations relied on music, fashion and TV to help expression, Millennials have firmly added food and drink to that list. Their food and drink choices are actively used to drive their social standing on- and offline, their wellbeing, adventurous spirit, green values and hectic lives.”
Helen King, head of consumer insight and innovation, Bord Bia
The lure of sugar
“TODAY, when we denounce sugar, we are defying our nature. Sex was once the classic example of the good thing gone wrong – a gift of the gods ruined by religion and psychiatry. Now the road to excess leads to the supermarket shelf and the fast-food drive-through: Sugar has become the forbidden fruit, the momentary pleasure infused with a lifetime of guilt.”
John Allemang, The Globe and Mail 
Reformulation challenges
“OUR top challenge is to find appropriate technological solutions for salt, fat and sugar reduction that enable us to deliver the same product quality to the consumers”
Kristen Anderson, VP of Food & Tasting Science, Barilla Group