Newsletter 19 July 2013

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 19 July 2013 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “The best work habit you can ever get into is very simple: Do your worst task first thing in the morning.”
Gina Trapani, author of Upgrade Your Life

Sensient Food Colors

 
Editor’s Stuff: Stevia: going places and some!
 
Chicago this week was home to a huge gathering of food scientists, over 23 000 who were in the windy city for the annual IFT General Meeting & Food Expo. IFT, in case you’re not familiar with the acronym, is the Institute of Food Technologists, the US version of SAAFoST.
 
From many reports, one of the hottest events of the congress was a stevia workshop, where not even standing room could accommodate the number of interested delegates. It’s fascinating to observe how this natural sweetener is gaining ever more global traction, despite its current flavour shortfalls.
 
There are plenty of stevia facts, figures and insights in this week’s leading article, read on!
 
Stevia will steal more and more market share from sugar — the natural sweetener has the potential to displace 25% of global sugar demand by 2050 as more consumers opt for the zero-calorie sweetener, asserts leading stevia producer, PureCircle.

 

Who doesn’t love disruptive innovation, of the likes rendered by Google, IKEA, Samsung, Apple etc, and our own boytjie-from-Pretoria-made-huge-in-America, Elon Musk, with PayPal, SpaceX, the Tesla electric car and his soon-to-be-announced ‘Hyperloop’ high-speed travel concept? Perhaps not quite in the league of these giants, here’s a new take on the humble boiled egg. I love it, but some are less than impressed!
 

For those with even the most basic grasp of gastronomy, boiling an egg is the simplest of culinary callings. But if you are “too busy, or too stupid” to get the perfect yolk, a pre-cooked soft-boiled egg which only needs boiling water added is about to hit UK supermarket shelves.

The SA food industry will be getting together in October for SAAFoST’s 20th Biennial Congress at the CSIR Conference Centre in Pretoria.

 
Enjoy this week’s read…
  • Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
     
    FOODStuff SA is a hub for food-bev industry recruitment:
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Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
 
Many FMCG companies have failed to reach the township shopper effectively due to the assumption that the same rules apply in townships as they do with traditional urban shopping, writes FMCG business consultant, Michael Wood.
 
In what it terms “a major expansion drive”, Pouyoukas Foods has appointed a new CEO and taken over distribution and marketing of the Snack Factory range of products.
 
There is a widely held belief that Soweto is the most lucrative per capita market for Johnnie Walker Blue Label in the world. What is less well known is that Johnnie Blue is a South African invention. Step forward marketing maven from Bakoven, Cape Town, James Espey.
 
Trade in fruit and vegetables in SA is changing – and the biggest produce farmers are involved. SA’s leading fresh produce farmers have formed an online trading exchange for fruit and vegetables that could circumvent the country’s 19 city-based markets.
 
At a time when consumers are battling rising inflation and trying to eke out every rand, the food scandal that tainted SA’s meat producers has led to the creation of FoodSure, an independent standards authority that aims to make sure that South Africans get what they pay for.
 
Setback for importers, producers of frozen potato chips
Importers of frozen potato chips, as well as producers in Belgium and the Netherlands in particular, have suffered a setback after the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) imposed a provisional safeguard duty of 61.42% on the product late last week. This follows a staggering increase in imports of frozen chips to SA.
 
BMI Research has released media notes on its 2013 Annual Quantification Report Chewing and Bubble Gum in South Africa, as well as Sugar Confectionery. These notes are, alas, parsimonious on detail as can be expected with proprietary research, but may be of some benefit to readers.
 
Rhodes has launched two new fruit variants to its inventory, Rhodes Very Cherry and Rhodes Two Fruits. 
 
Rainbow Chicken, SA’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, plans to change its name to RCL Foods.


 International News and Developments
 
British supermarkets and newsagents are to be told to abolish so-called ‘guilt lanes’ which see shoppers tempted with fattening sweets and treats at checkouts.
 
People may ponder a Twinkie’s shelf life, but the brand name has lasting power, too. The food industry may draw four lessons from the July 15 return of Twinkies which have been off retail shelves for months, according to a report “The Return of the Twinkie; Naughty but Nice?” released by Rabobank.
 
Hostess Twinkies: hardly the ‘sweetest comeback ever’
Twinkies are back on shelves this week, but it’s hard to erase the 18 000 layoffs and management mistakes.
 
Contaminated school meal kills 25 Indian children
At least 25 Indian children died and dozens needed hospital treatment after apparently being poisoned by a school meal, sparking violent protests and angry allegations of blame. The children aged four to 12 fell ill on Tuesday after consuming a lunch of rice, soybean and lentils in the impoverished eastern state of Bihar.
 
An Australian farmer launched the alcopop industry 20 years ago – a boon for the alcoholic drinks industry but a cause for consternation over its influence on youthful drinking.

LRQA South Africa

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

 
The 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has  presented four companies with the 2013 IFT Food Expo Innovation Awards. The winners are Glanbia Nutritionals, NIZO Food Research, PerkinElmer and Tate & Lyle.
 
Several teams around the world are working to create the world’s first synthetic yeast, the workhorse of the beer industry, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Once complete, new strains of synthetic yeast could help make products such as vaccines, biofuels, chemicals and beer.
 
Demand for high quality dairy proteins is set to rise dramatically in the coming years as manufacturers and consumers begin to realise their full potential, according to Arla Foods Ingredients (represented in SA by Danlink).
 
Food waste has arisen as a major topic as we come to terms with feeding an extra two billion people by the middle of this century. Rather than just relying on additional food production to feed a growing planet, the opportunity to reduce or prevent post-harvest food waste offers an attractive option to wage a war on food waste.
 
Why is airline food so terrible?
Airline food is often dubbed an oxymoron. It’s a major challenge for food scientists, chefs and catering companies. They do create some that’s quite good, especially for those in the pointy end of the jet, but much is terrible. Good airline food is hard, immensely hard. Some insights into the challenges…
 
Opposition to GM foods may well change when, in the near future, they are found to actually be healthier for us.

 Marketing, Trends, Innovation and NPD
 
“Texture is moving to the forefront as the next hot mega-trend,” said Elizabeth Sloan, President of Sloan Trends, speaking at this week’s 2013 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Chicago. More than one-quarter (27%) of the best-selling [in the US] new foods and beverages in 2012 carried a texture claim.

Snack foods
: it’s the crunch!
The palates of the public are ever-evolving. Mouthfeel, taste and colour are extremely important, but it would be wrong not to consider the power of the ear. The sound a snack makes when a bite is taken is vital to enjoyment. It could be a sign of the times.
 
Butter vs marg: it’s a fight that has gone on for decades. On one side, there’s butter – rich, creamy, defiantly full-fat and made for millennia by churning the milk or cream. On the other, there’s margarine: the arriviste spread invented in the 1860s. It might not taste delicious but for decades margarine has ridden a wave of success as the “healthy” alternative. No longer.
 
The nutrition bars sector continues to enjoy rising levels of interest, in line with or even ahead of the market for cereal bars as a whole. Growth in the sector has reflected rising interest in healthy and convenient snacks suitable for consumption on-the-go, reports Innova.

US: Less glug, more smooth with new vented beer cans
The vented beer can is a noted innovation for the North American summer, with Anheuser-Busch in the US and Molson Coors Canada both launching versions that allow additional air to flow into the can, creating a smoother pour with less ‘glug’.

 
Alcohol brands score poorly on cultural relevance
The Cultural Traction 2013 report, which ranks brands according to their cultural vibrancy, has no alcohol brands in the top 10, despite the size and power of the giants of the liquor industry. 
 
In case you missed it: It’s not meat, it’s protein
After the pink slime and horse meat fiascos, it appears the word “meat” just isn’t working up the appetite like it used to. One euphemism we might see more of is “protein”.

 Health and Nutrition
 
Global life sciences company, DSM, has published results of a consumer perception survey revealing that urban consumers around the world continue to be confused about the amount of salt they consume, about maximum recommended daily intakes (RDI) and that taste still wins over health concerns when buying food.
 
Cranberry products have been anecdotally, and scientifically, associated with prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) for years. It’s proven that proanthocyanidins hinder bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract, but the mechanisms by which cranberry may alter bacterial behaviour have not been fully understood… until now.
 
“Breast is best”, so the mantra on infant feeding goes. The evolutionary case for that logic is easy — human milk is designed to feed human infants. But unravelling the chemistry that underpins the benefits of breast feeding versus using infant formula is still an adventure in complexity.
 
The health debate on artificial sweeteners continues, with an opinion article published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism causing a stream of media interest, and much scientific criticism. It reviews evidence on the negative impact of artificial sweeteners on health, raising red flags about all sweeteners – even those that don’t have any calories.
 
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association recommend that children drink skim or low-fat milk after age two. But that may not help them to avoid obesity.  

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

Restaurants trying to cut down on ‘wi-fi hobos’

Increasingly restaurants and coffee shops, especially big chains like Starbucks, are offering complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi. But Starbucks and small, independent coffeehouses alike are growing impatient about the multitude of ‘laptop hobos’ who are working, surfing, hogging tables and using their power supply.

 Food bites…2013: The difference that food scientists make

“FOOD scientists have a long history of addressing some of the world’s most serious problems including starvation, foodborne disease, and vitamin deficiencies. Today we’re developing new solutions to streamline food production, extend shelf life, improve sustainability, and increase nutrition, but that message may be getting lost. We need to do a better job informing the public, media, and other professionals about the important work we’re doing and how we must work together to solve the critical food issues we all will face in the not-too-distant future…
 
“We must spread the word about the important contributions food science is making to provide the world with a nutritious, safe, and abundant food supply. To help  tell that story, we’ve created our World Without Food Science campaign, our IFT Food Facts web page, and our Day in the Life of a Food Scientist video series. These resources demonstrate the important work that food scientists do every day.
 
“Currently, the main message about diet Americans are receiving is that ‘processed food is bad’, but as food scientists know, many processed foods are filled with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that sustain the human body… the processing level of food should not be a primary factor when selecting a balanced diet because it is a minor determinant of a food’s nutrient contribution to the diet.

“A simple and effective way to spread the word about the benefits of food science is through social media. Tell our story on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and any other means you have available.”

John Ruff, immediate past president of IFT, US

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Brenda NeallPublished weekly as part of www.foodstuffsa.co.za, 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]