Newsletter 20 April 2012

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 20 April 2012 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” Peter Drucker, Austrian-American writer and management consultant

Bidfood Solutions
Editor’s Stuff: Sea Harvest and Findus add fire to the frozen category!
My news story of the week is the announcement by Sea Harvest of its partnership with giant Swedish foods group, Findus, and the debut of a select range of its frozen vegetables and ready meals in Pick n Pay’s (exclusively for a year) freezer cabinets.
SA’s frozen sector is crying out for renovation and innovation, and this development will be a welcome boost for the sector as a whole, and for Sea Harvest which is, by the way, now the frozen fish market leader. It looks an astute investment in its future business sustainability, too, as fish stocks dwindle and prices sky-rocket, and one that also circumvents the onerous and risky task of setting up local production.

At a classy launch function yesterday, Sea Harvest’s MD, George Bezuidenhout, said the Findus product price points would be “very competitive”, despite the shipping and currency costs, and that they are able to take advantage of its economies of scale, as well as its superb quality and super-efficient production methods. Click below for the full story.

I was fortunate to engage in some great networking at the Sea Harvest luncheon and found myself seated next to Bronwen Rohland, marketing director of Pick n Pay. Apropos the story in last week’s issue on the latest local episode of “packaging shrink”, she indicated it’s a practice that she and the retailer view very dimly. I shall say no more!

Still with Pick n Pay… I gave them a bit of a rollicking last week in my editorial on what I believe is an underwhelming fresh produce offer and, lo’ and behold, comes news this week in their Smart Shopper e-letter that they are putting a focus on improving this:

“Over the coming years, we will be making a major investment in improving our fresh foods – in particular, our fruit and vegetables, and meat categories – so that you can buy fresher product that lasts longer and tastes better.”

Enjoy this week’s read! I am about to head off to the wilds of Namibia for two week’s R&R. Back again on May 10.


Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
 Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Many interesting career opportunities are posted up on FOODStuff SA’s Jobs pages! Click here!

Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments

The ‘ban booze advertising’ issue has been hot on media pages this week… and industry leaders are irked that Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, who is apparently keen on a total ban on the marketing and promotion of alcohol, has not embarked on consultation with those likely to be most affected.

Loyalty card dents Pick n Pay’s profits
South Africa’s No.2 food retailer, Pick n Pay, reported a 15 percent fall in full-year profit on Wednesday, missing expectations, hit by costs related to its shopper loyalty programme and investments in its supply chain.
Row over ‘inflated’ meat prices
Red meat producers are accusing retailers of not passing lower prices in the supply chain on to consumers. When the red meat industry struggled with a drop in demand for its products earlier this year, retailers are alleged to have purposefully kept prices high for three months while lower prices could have benefited consumers. Shoprite disagrees…

SABMiller planned to invest up to $2.5 billion (R19.7bn) in the rest of Africa over the next five years to build and revamp breweries, the beer maker’s regional head has said, as it looks to slake rising demand for beer in the fast-growing continent.

Following the success of its Squish Pure Fruit Smoothies, Boland Pulp is confident that its new Squish Baby will take the baby food market in South Africa by storm.
A wrap for SA’s oldest packaging firm?
SA’s oldest packaging company, EH Walton, is fighting to reopen its doors after a liquidation application by its creditors forced it to close this month, leaving 450 workers without jobs. The privately-owned company, established in 1845 in Port Elizabeth, had invested R22m over the past three years in modern equipment to boost its competitiveness in packaging for the confectionery, pharmaceutical, liquor and automotive sectors.
Once in dire straits, SA’s magnificent game heritage has transformed into a multi billion-rand industry. The role of this heritage and game ranching extends well beyond ecotourism and hunting – it has great potential to play a role in ensuring the country’s food security.
Savannah Fine Chemicals

International News & Stuff

The US FDA has announced a strategy to phase out production uses of medically-important antimicrobials and provide that they be used only for targeted, FDA-approved animal health purposes under the supervision of a veterinarian.

Last year, China passed the US as the largest food and grocery market in the world (with both nations outpacing the No. 2 market, Japan, by a long shot).

Nestlé near deal for Pfizer’s baby formula unit
Pfizer is near a deal to sell its baby formula business to Swiss food giant, Nestlé, for at least $9 billion (5 billion pounds). Nestlé appears to have outstripped Danone and Mead Johnson Nutrition, who had teamed up for a bid. Pfizer put its infant nutrition and animal health businesses up for sale last July as it looks to focus on its core pharma business. 

Last top headline – US: FDA denies petition to ban BPA in food-bev packaging

The US FDA denied a petition on March 31 seeking to ban bisphenol-A, commonly known as BPA, from food and beverage packaging, but the agency said it continues to support research examining the safety of the chemical.

 Food Marketing, Trends and Innovation

The traditional diet of three meals a day has become a thing of the past – with most Britons now getting by on just two, a study has revealed.

Consumers’ time constraints and their demand for wellness is pushing healthy snack foods to the forefront for many packaged-food companies. Facing stagnant growth in their base grocery business, packaged-food companies are increasingly turning to snacks as an avenue for growth…

Coca-Cola has taken a step closer to becoming Coco-Cola – last week, the world’s largest beverage brand announced it had acquired a majority share of Zico, the number two brand in the estimated $350-million coconut water space.

New product activity is heating up in the large and diverse prepared sauces market – with Innova Market Insights reporting it has recorded consistently rising numbers of launches globally over the past five years or so, probably reflecting the increasing variety of meals and cuisines now being discovered by consumers.

The number of new products containing low kilojoule sweeteners has grown globally by 40 percent in the last five years, reports Mintel, the global supplier of consumer, product and media intellignce.

Human societies, at all times and places, have organised themselves around the will to live with others, not alone. But not any more. The number of people living alone has skyrocketed. What is driving the phenomenon?

While most people don’t notice or care much, there are those who resent being labelled as “consumers”, as if their sole purpose and reason for existence on this planet is to consume — to eat, drink, use, watch, and buy stuff, and keep the economy humming along. Now, a new psychological study indicates that it may be in everyone’s interest if we stop referring to (insulting?) people as mere consumers.

Last top headline – “Prosumers” leading a revolution in attitudes toward health and wellness says study
Research conducted on new realities in health and wellness by Euro RSCG Worldwide, a leading marketing communications agency, shows there is a revolution in consumers’ attitudes towards their health – with interesting implications for brands both within and outside the healthcare arena.

Food Science, Safety and Ingredients Stuff

Irish food company Kerry Group says that while mergers and acquisitions will play a central role in its growth strategy, its global scale and technological know-how also offer a competitive edge that will drive sustainable sales expansion.

A new scientific consortium led by Unilever aims to identify nutritionally valuable varieties of fruits and vegetables from the past, in order to produce natural health ingredients for the future, says the industry giant.

Impossible? No! Senior application specialist at DuPont Danisco, Jan Charles Hansen, tells how he gets incredible shelf life performance out of his croissants.

New approach to foreign body detection
Swedish company, Food Radar Systems, claims is unqiue microwave technology is the only system that can detect premiousl y invisible foreign bodies such as plastic, film, rubber, wood pieces, fruit stones, along with the likes of metal and glass.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff

All French fries are not created equal. It turns out that sodium levels in the same fast food items can vary significantly between countries, according to a recent study — and can you guess which country’s Big Mac is especially salty?

Is raw milk a wonder food? Or a health risk? What are the benefits and what are the dangers? Two experts, one for, one against, debate over raw milk actually means for farmers – and consumers.


Researchers with McMaster University in Ontario and the University of Akron in Ohio are leading the way in understanding the origins of antibiotic resistance – a global challenge that is creating a serious threat to the treatment of infectious diseases. 

An interview with Doug Brown, Global Marketing Manager at DSM Nutritional Products, on the latest developments in bone health and ‘ageing well’.

Sounding the sugar alarms
Worried about trans fat or salt? That’s a little old-school. If you want to stay current on dietary villains, you’ll want to start thinking about sugar. Lots and lots of sugar — as in 77 grams, or nearly 20 teaspoons. That’s how much added sugar the average American consumes every day, according to a 2011 scientific report, and that’s not even factoring in the sugars naturally found in fruits, vegetables and milk.

Sugar is getting a great deal of bad press of late (as above), and here’s some more… A new study has, for the first time, established a direct link has been between the amount of sugar circulating in the blood and how old a person looks.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

How far would you go to lose weight? Would you eat only through a feeding tube inserted in your nose? As unusual (and inconvenient) as that sounds, the feeding-tube diet, also known as the K-E diet, is the latest fad among brides who are looking to slim down before their big day.

Just when you thought all of your favourite foods had their corresponding alcoholic counterparts, a vodka version of America’s most beloved childhood sandwich rounded out the list. Some other way-out flavours are also hitting the shelves.

Mary Eberstadt, research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, has uncovered a curious reversal in today’s western cultur

e: she has written brilliantly on the reasons why yesterday’s bedroom prude has given way to today’s kitchen prude.

 Food bites… Snacking is it!

“We’ve been talking to our customers a lot about snacks during the past five years because we’ve seen consumer behaviour change so much. They’ve redefined what a snack is. People used to think a snack was chips, cookies or crackers. Now snacks are beverages, mini-meals or three items on a tray.

“Research shows that a portion of the population has stopped eating three meals a day and gone to five small snacks, which has huge implications for the food and beverage industry… Whether you are in foodservice or retail, you have to understand the consumers you are targeting and understand those snacking dayparts. As a marketer, I find it incredibly exciting and there are so many opportunities.”
Kim Holman, director of marketing, Wixon Foods, Wisconsin

DSM Quality for Life
QPro International

Swift Micro Labs

Par Excellance
Professional Career Services
The HR Company
ProCert Southern Africa

Progress Excellence
Totally Food Events
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: [email protected]