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Newsletter 20 July 2012

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 20 July 2012 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”   Wayne Dyer

Bidfood Solutions

 Editor’s Stuff: Government publishes salt reduction regulations!
We had it coming! And now it’s here!
Incorporating generous time lines for compliance, the Department of Health has published draft regulations to reduce the amount of sodium in processed food. Health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi has made his intent on this issue well known for some time and the move is unlikely to be a surprise to the industry.
Here is some additional and pertinent reading on this contentious topic:

UK: Battling on, not very successfully, with cutting sodium
Salt reduction is on a voluntary basis in the UK. Now, the problems faced by companies trying to reduce levels of salt in food have been laid bare in a government report that reveals many are set to spectacularly miss their targets this year. Although some are on course, others are beset by technical issues around preservation and taste, involving meat, bread, cheese, cereals, cakes and sauces.

Most South Africans do not believe tasty food can be made with less salt, and few realise cutting their intake may fend off a heart attack or stroke, according to new research by food giant Unilever.

Bad salt, good salt? How hypothesis has become fact
The eat-less-salt argument has been surprisingly controversial — and difficult to defend. Not because the food industry opposes it, but because the actual evidence to support it has always been so weak. [Insightful opinion piece by contrarian US food researcher, Gary Taubes]

Enjoy this week’s read!


Brenda Neall: publisher & editor

PS Apologies for the lack of newsletter last week – I had a week flattened by a nasty dose of bronchitis.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! FOODStuff SA is a hub for food industry careers: find a job, or advertise any openings! Click here!

Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments

SA’s best-loved chocolate brand, Cadbury Dairy Milk, has announced the launch of the first re-sealable chocolate packaging in South Africa.

SA embraces fast food, new report shows
DESPITE increasing costs eating into local consumers’ pockets, South Africa’s appetite for fast food is growing steadily, a new study has found. 

If proof is needed that a well-executed, innovative idea can still succeed in the harsh world of food retail, Fruit & Veg City provides it in abundance. From a humble start 19 years ago in one store in Kenilworth, Cape Town, the retailer has grown into a company its MD and cofounder, Brian Coppin, says will achieve turnover of R5bn this year.

Brine in chicken under spotlight
Association of Meat Importers and Exporters of South Africa CEO, David Wolpert, says the levels of brine injected into poultry in the country are as high as 30%. Government is taking steps to reduce the total weight of brine in chicken to 4% via new legistlation.

Fruit and vegetable juice concentrate producer, Ceres Fruit Processors reports that it’s implementing an expansion project to increase its apple and pear concentrate production facility by 50%.

Talking to Manie Roode, deputy CEO of Clover… “In SA there are still more than 200 milk processors, producing about 2,5bn litres of raw milk. The number of processors is exceptional if you compare SA’s position with that of other producing countries. Some have exited the industry as part of a consolidation process and we expect there will be more. The industry can be way more efficient.”

Sicily Manufacturing, the producer of One Naughty Lemon Limoncello in Franschhoek, Western Cape, has created an innovative new concept for the restaurant, airline and catering industry: pure lemon juice in a stylish single-serve sachet.

Recycling PET, the plastic used to manufacture beverage bottles as well as many food containers, has helped generate almost 26 000 indirect jobs, and the plastics recycling industry can help reduce poverty across South Africa and contribute to GDP growth.
Don’t think the pressures on so-called “Big Food” is only an American thing! The PLoS Medicine series of articles on Big Food, published over the past three weeks, has put a heavyweight hand on this hot issue – and includes an essay on Big Food in South Africa and the displacement of traditional diets by the incursion of multinational food companies.

 International News & Stuff

Nestlé Health Science has acquired a stake in US firm Accera, to support the ongoing trials and rollout of the firm’s key brand, Axona, a medical food intended for the clinical dietary management of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, already on the market in the US. Axona fits the company’s ambition to develop a strong portfolio of nutrition-based solutions to manage and prevent disease.

PepsiC and Theo Muller Group, the largest privately-held dairy business in Germany, have announced that their US joint venture, Muller Quaker Dairy, will enter the growing US dairy market this month with innovative premium yoghurt products that have never before been available to US consumers.
Britvic’s mass recall of its popular Fruit Shoot drink due to a faulty cap will cost the company up to £25m, the drinks maker has said in a profits warning. Why did the company decide on the recall? 

Industry commitments help Fairtrade sales grow 12% globally

Fairtrade product sales rose 12% worldwide in 2011 due to ethical sourcing commitments from the food and drink industry and increased consumer awareness. 

Last week’s top headline: Fighting for the next billion shoppers
The long battle between Procter & Gamble and Unilever is intensifying in the developing world. Both firms are trying to “straddle the pyramid” by offering products in each category aimed at three different sorts of consumer: high-end ones; the rapidly emerging middle class; and those at the bottom, who may never have brought any branded product before.

 Food Trends and Marketing
Global launch numbers for lactose-free dairy products more than tripled in the five-year period to the beginning of 2012, according to Innova Market Insights data.
US: Has ‘organic’ been oversized?
The fact is, organic food has become a wildly lucrative business for Big Food and a premium-price-means-premium-profit section of the grocery store. The industry’s image — contented cows grazing on the green hills of family-owned farms — is mostly pure fantasy. Or rather, pure marketing. Big Food, it turns out, has spawned what might be called Big Organic.

Why more than ever, do consumers lust after the new? And why does that spell heaven or hell for brands? The ‘new’ has never been hotter, as the entire world, from emerging to mature economies, is now creating new products, services and experiences on a daily, if not hourly basis… moving ‘new’ from being a tired marketing ploy by ‘old’ brands (‘new and improved!’), to a genuine, exciting proposition for consumers.

Last week’s top headline: The global march of the ‘Mexipops’

Call them “Mexipops”: Mexican-style light lagers, served in clear glass bottles with a slice of lime. Just recently, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, coughed up $20bn to buy the remaining half of Mexican firm Grupo Modelo, which makes Modelo and Corona Extra, the best-selling Mexican beer in the US. Other big brewers seem to have spotted a trend.

 Food Science, Safety and Ingredients Stuff

Milk undergoes heat treatment – pasteurization – to kill off microbes that can cause food spoilage and disease, but certain bacterial strains can survive this heat shock as spores and cause milk to curdle in storage. American researchers at Cornell have identified the predominant spore-forming bacteria in milk, knowledge that can now be used to protect the quality and shelf life of dairy products.

A small Canadian agri-biotech company is trying to bring to market a genetically engineered apple that does not turn brown when sliced or bruised. But it has much of the rest of the North American apple industry seeing red.
US FDA bans BPA from sippy cups and baby bottles
It has been years since US manufacturers voluntarily stopped using the plastic additive BPA (Bisphenol A) in sippy cups and baby bottles. But now they have no choice. The FDA announced it has formally banned BPA from these products.

In a new book, The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food, author Josh Schonwald examines how foodies, farmers, scientists and entrepreneurs will revolutionize what’s on our dinner plates by 2035. Schonwald says the lettuce we buy two or three decades from now might be a new variety, the carrots could be red because they’ve been engineered to include lycopene – and the meat may have been made in a lab.

The University of Liverpool is leading a €8-milllion European project to develop and test new food products with satiating qualities to help control appetite, manage weight and combat obesity. 

Suppliers of the orange, vanilla and other flavour and fragrance ingredients used in hundreds of foods, beverages and personal care products are putting their faith in microbes as new sources for these substances.

Food companies are desperate to get off the guar gum rollercoaster

Guar gum prices have taken a rollercoaster ride over the past couple of years – and at IFT in Las Vegas, hydrocolloid expert Dennis Seisun said all bets were on regarding their future direction.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
Claims about how sports drinks, supplements and shoes/trainerswill help regular or elite athletes train harder and achieve better results are usually based on no or flawed evidence, researchers have revealed.

Oral immunotherapy is in the news again as a possible solution to food allergy. It involves the feeding of the allergy-producing food over time, in gradually increasing doses, in order to coax the immune system to tolerate it with few or no reactions. Previous studies have suggested that it works with common childhood allergens like milk and peanuts — and now with eggs, too.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

We’re all encouraged to eat more fresh fruit – but it isn’t always the easiest advice to follow. Fresh fruit doesn’t stay fresh for long, especially if it sits in a bowl with other types of fruit that all ripen differently. It’s also difficult to know what size of bowl is needed to accommodate differing quantity and types of fruit. Introducing Stretchy Bowl that looks to solve both these issues.

 Food bites…2012: The year that protein reaches its tipping point?

“For over a decade suppliers of protein have wrestled – unsuccessfully – with how to take protein away from its association with the body-building market and win more mainstream acceptance for protein-fortified foods and beverages.

“After many years of waiting, at last awareness of protein is beginning to rise, helped by several boosts to protein’s image as a valuable part of a diet that helps people manage their weight….

“The next year will see dairy protein gain ground even more, driven by:
  • a change in the scientific test methods for protein, which show that dairy protein is much better absorbed by the human body than other types of protein, giving dairy a big marketing advantage
  • major dairy companies, such as Arla, introducing new forms of protein which are clinically proven to be rapidly absorbed by the human body, thus making them even more effective.

“Tipping points are often subtle things and this is no exception. This trend will continue but it will evolve slowly. The wisest companies will take action now.”

Julian Mellentin; editor-in-chief, New Nutrition Business. 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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