Newsletter 19 April 2013

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 19 April 2013 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” Lin Yutang, Chinese writer, translator, linguist and inventor

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Editor’s Stuff: Domesticating bacteria!

How fascinating the world of food science and its intersection with those of health and nutrition, and vice versa. A topic that is getting huge coverage in this regard is the human microbiome – the 100 trillion bacteria of several hundred species bearing 3m non-human genes that reside in each of us – and I quote from last week’s Food Bites:

“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.”
The domestication of bacteria and their incorporation into all manner of household and consumer products is already a reality: in toothpaste, lozenges and chewing gum to fight throat infections, gum disease or bad breath; and as skin lotions, soaps and cosmetics. One of the biggest prizes is the promise microbes hold for helping weight loss, with research showing that microbes of fat people differ from those of thin ones. Microbial slimming products? What a hit they would be! Read more here

In my book, we can definitely add ‘microbiome’ to ‘obesity’, ‘naturality’, ‘health’ and ‘wellness’, as the biggest trends-topics du jour.


Enjoy this week’s read…
  • Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
    PS I will be on holiday for the next two weeks, celebrating a family milestone birthday in the wilds of Zim and the KNP! Next newsletter will be published May 10.
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    look for a job or advertise your company’s positions!
    Click here! 

Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
Popular supermarkets including Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Woolworths, Spar and Fruit & Veg have responded to a City Press report that identified them as stocking incorrectly labelled meat products, largely blaming cross-contamination.
The Distell Group, Africa’s leading spirits, wines and RTD business, has acquired a top-performing producer of Scotch whiskies, Burn Stewart Distillers Limited, for just over R2,2 billion from the Scottish-based CL World Brands Limited and Trinidad and Tobago-based Angostura Limited, owners of Hine Cognac and Angostura Bitters respectively amongst other global brands.
Food Safety Update with AIB & FACTS – June Workshop in Port Elizabeth
Join Entecom for an exciting Food Safety Update in association with AIB INTERNATIONAL & FACTS. These two workshops are customised for the South African industry and will be presented by Rolf Uys and a member of the FACTS team. See more on the Entecom home page!
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.

drinktec comes to Africa: 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, has 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.

 International News & Developments
Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, has reported its first fall in profits since the early 1990s, down 51.5% to £1.96 billion after a series of hefty property writedowns and slowing sales growth, and confirmed that it’s pulling out of its US chain of 199 Fresh & Easy shops at a cost more than £1,2bn.
Inside the world’s largest food company: Interview with Nestlé HRD
Nestlé is so massive, it’s no surprise it’s complicated. Headquartered in Switzerland, it has operations in 86 countries and at last count employed around 328,000 people. It is home to roughly 8,000 brands. An interview with the man who heads up the challenging HR portfolion for Nestle UK and Ireland.
The world’s biggest scheme to certify that seafish come from sustainable sources has come under fire in a scientific journal, where researchers say the label is too generous and may “mislead” consumers.
In case you missed it – US: KFC goes boneless!

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.

 LRQA South Africa

 Food Trends, Innovation and Marketing
Unprecedented changes in lifestyles and eating patterns, a greater demand for healthier fare and more ethical options, and consumers’ desire to know more about the foods they choose will cause dramatic changes in the way the food industry does business in the years ahead. Eating alone, home meals for millennials, a new definition of health, and a demand for true transparency are among the important consumer trends that represent new opportunities for the food industry. A synopsis of dominant trends, with American bias, as researched and reported by Elizabeth Sloan, columnist for IFT’s Food Technology magazine and president of Sloan Trends.
In the US, cold-pressed juices have morphed from an elitist ‘cleansing’ curiosity to an industry that has venture capitalists smacking their lips…
With wellness issues at forefront for ‘Big Food’, supermarket chains are turning to experts to advise consumers. Once confined to hospitals and offices, dietitians are a marketing weapon for the chains bringing them aboard to aid shoppers seeking the best foods to drop weight, battle diseases or avoid allergic reactions.
Cupcakes became an American cultural and economic phenomenon over the last decade, with gourmet cupcake shops proliferating across the country, selling increasingly elaborate and expensive concoctions. But, the craze for $4 gourmet cupcakes appears to be peaking…
Why drink beer out of a cylindrical can when you can drink it out of a bow tie-shaped can? That’s what US beer giant, Anheuser-Busch, is positing, as it releases a unique can that it hopes will be worth its weight in marketing gold. 

Coca-Cola will start selling a caffeine-free version of its Coke Zero soft drink this US summer.

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. Iits nutritional benefits and attractive colourful appearance are attracting a whole new range of consumers.

 QPro International

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

Leading scientists have hailed sorghum as a highly nutritious and cost-effective gluten-free grain, but say industry use remains small.
A team of Virginia Tech researchers has succeeded in transforming cellulose into starch, a process that has the potential to provide a previously untapped nutrient source from plants not traditionally though of as food crops.
The scientific secrets underpinning that awful reality about potato chips – eat one and you’re apt to scarf ’em all down – are slowly coming out of the bag according to this new research.
Recent internet-based discussion has resurrected fears over the link between carrageenan and poligeenan which studies have found to be a possible carcinogen. Ingredients Solutions, a supplier of carrageenan-based hydrocolloids, has published this refutation.
Naturex has introduced a range of 100% fruit and vegetable powders produced through a low-temperature spray drying process that it says better preserves flavour, colour and nutrition.

‘Prawns are basically locusts that live in the sea’: Could psychology drive sustainable choices?
An understanding of psychology could help persuade people to make more sustainable dietary choices – and even steer their preferences, according to Dr Andrew Bodey, analyst at sustainability consultancy Best Foot Forward.

For the first time, researchers have successfully engineered a strain of baker’s yeast capable of spewing out malaria drugs on an industrial scale. The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has already begun brewing the microbes and announced plans to generate 70 million doses this year.
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.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
Microbes in the gut may be a key to helping people lose weight, according to two tantalising new studies.
Moderate drinking is fine for pregnant Women: Study

Children of women who had no more than two units of alcohol while pregnant didn’t display any developmental delays at age 7, and in fact were less likely to have behavioral difficulties compared to peers whose moms didn’t drink, a British study found. While the link between heavy alcohol consumption and health and developmental problems in children is well established, researchers say the picture is different for light drinking.
Beer’s taste alone can trigger desire for drink
“It’s the first drink that gets you drunk,” Alcoholics Anonymous warns its members, reminding alcoholics that even a sip can set off cravings. The latest research shows that even the taste of beer is sufficient to activate the brain‘s pleasure circuits.
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.

 Weird, Whacky & Wonderful Stuff
Sending messages in bottles has been around since at least the Ancient Greeks… but now as part of a promotional campaign, Solo, a soft drink company based in Norway, has built an 8-meter tall replica soda bottle outfitted with solar panels, a camera, and tracking technology and set it adrift in the ocean.
Cruising the Alimentary Canal
Listen to fabulous author, Mary Roach, talk about her new book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, which traces what she calls “the whole food chute”. The alimentary canal— the much-maligned tube from mouth to rear — is as taboo, in its way… but in Gulp we meet the scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks, or has the courage, to ask.
   How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? Can wine tasters really tell a $10 bottle from a $100 bottle? Why is crunchy food so appealing? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? We go on location to a pet food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

Food bites…2013: Bill Gates: Food is ripe for innovation

“BUT THE new, future food is crucial for the developing world, where people often do not get enough protein. This is partly due to heavy reliance on animals as the primary source. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. There’s plenty of protein and necessary amino acids in plants, including the world’s four major commodity crops — rice, maize, wheat and soy.

“The problem is that instead of feeding these crops to people, we’re feeding most of them to livestock. And so we’re caught in an inefficient protein-delivery system. For every 10 kilograms of grain we feed cattle, we get 1 kilogram of beef in return. The calorie kick-back is just too low to feed a growing world population.

“So we need to find new ways to deliver protein and calories to everyone.

“Our approach to food hasn’t changed much over the last 100 years. It’s ripe for reinvention. We need to look for new ways to raise nutrition in the poor world while shifting some of our choices in the wealthy world.

“Fortunately, there are thousands of plant proteins in the world, and many of them have yet to be explored for use in the production of meat alternatives. Current investigations of the world’s vast array of plant proteins could fundamentally reshape our food supply for the better.

“I’m hopeful that we can begin to meet the demand for a protein-rich diet in a new way. We’re just at the beginning of enormous innovation in this space.”

Bill Gates, the co-founder and Chairman of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, posts updated information and videos about the future of food on Gates Notes.
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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]