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Newsletter 20 September 2013

Your Newsletter

 
20 September 2013
 Your weekly food industry news
and insights…
SmartStuff:   “Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.”  Doug Larson, US columnist

 
Editor’s Stuff: Taste is it!
 
 
 

As in the infuriating game of golf, it’s always helpful to go back to basics, to the fundamentals of the grip, the stance, the ball position and so on, that make for a successful swing. It’s no different in business.

 
And that’s why I love this article which, on first looking at the headline, makes you mutter: ‘Tell me something I don’t know!’. But stop…. as in golf, the basics can get lost in distance, accuracy, power, spin, technology, gear etc.
 
Of course, every food industrialist does know its importance, but taste – simple, obvious, all-important TASTE – is often a priority that gets shoved down the NPD list, and I bet you know that, too!
 
This ‘back to basics’ article, by John Stanton, a professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, is a great read.

Enjoy this week’s newsletter!
  • Brenda Neall: publisher & editor

    SAAFoST’s 20th Biennial International Congress and Exhibition:

    Pretoria, CSIR International Convention Centre from 7-9 October 2013.
    See the programme!

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Sensient Food Colors


  Local News and Developments
 
SA’s biggest dairy producer, Clover, reported a 3.4% rise in full-year profit, in what the group described as a challenging environment. For the 12 months ended June, revenue increased by 10.7% to R8bn, and operating profit rose by 5.4% to R391.4m. Some interesting market intelligence can be had from the announcement of its annual results, including the likelihood of Clover directly entering the yoghurt arena after fully cutting ties with Danone at the end of the year …
 
In SA, Famous Brands produces 265 000 cups of specially blended coffee a day. With 2 175 restaurants, the company, whose brands include Wimpy, Steers and Mugg & Bean, also makes 77m ice-cream cones a year. It’s the big daddy of SA franchising, with a R9,7bn market capitalisation, and it wants to repeat its local success in the rest of Africa. It is not alone…
 
Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has announced the appointment of a new CEO. She is global marketing specialist Siobhan Thompson, who succeeds Su Birch with effect from November.
 
Woolworths has launched two refrigerated seafood ready meals in an innovative, dual-ovenable, two-compartment bag.
 
Maizena, South Africa’s favourite cornflour is now also available in an innovative, convenient and trendy new 500g tub that is easy to store and has a resealable screw-top lid.
 
Wild Island, the cordial brand in Ceres’s Continental Beverages stable, now offers RTD convenience with its new, on-the-go 250ml ready-to-drink smoothies. 
 
Distell has extended its JC Le Roux brand’s non-alcoholic ‘wine’ offering with the new pink JC Le Roux La Fleurette Non-Alcoholic.
 
Symrise South Africa, the local arm of the giant German flavour multinational, has opened a new customer innovation centre at its Isando, Jo’burg, premises. 

QPro International


 International Developments

 
A new report from Credit Suisse says the global backlash against sugar is about to start hitting the shares of food and beverage makers over the next few years.
 
Roasted, fried or served with noodles, chicken is on its way to becoming the world’s favourite meat, according to Holland’s Rabobank.
 
More than 90% of Americans are confused by the “sell by”, “use by” and “best before” labels on the foods sold at grocery stores – and prematurely discard edibles because they’ve misinterpreted the dates stamped on the products, according to a report released this week.
 
Fake food: the tech companies working to revolutionise how we eat protein
Chicken and eggs made from plants, meat made in petri dishes – the Silicon Valley startups innovating for more sustainable food.
 
Farming as rocket science
Why American agriculture is different from the European variety… differences of history and culture have lingering consequences. [An insightful essay. Ed]
 
PepsiCo’s new energising soft drink Mountain Dew Kickstar, only launched in February, has already generated more than $100m in sales in its first year, according to a senior executive at PepsiCo.
 
Google is calling the next version of its mobile operating system Android KitKat. The decision to brand the OS with the name of Nestlé’s famous chocolate bar is likely to be seen as a marketing coup for the Swiss food-bev giant.


 Marketing, Trends, Innovation and NPD
 
Ask anyone who travels in emerging markets or developing economies, and chances are they’ve been offered Johnnie Walker. According to a delightful article, the Scotch whisky’s global reach is only expanding, a symbol of entry into the middle classes. His tour through the history and marketing of the ‘amber restorative’ is a blueprint for how marketers can use our aspirational desires to sell us lots and lots of stuff — all over the world.

Coke misses cut in Forbes list: Top 10 Most Innovative Beverage Firms

There’s no place for Coke in the Forbes 2013 list of The World’s Top 100 Most Innovative Companies, with Starbucks leading the beverage pack above Pernod Ricard and Beam Inc.

Small snack makers create better personal connections

The healthy snacking boom has created a storm that small, boutique snack makers are benefiting from as their personal, niche products connect with the enthusiasm of consumers, Packaged Facts finds.
 
Beer’s continuing sales-volume decline in the US is a notable trend. “As bad as it’s ever been,” says Harry Schumacher, editor of Beer Business Daily, adding, “I guess Prohibition was worse.”
 
Few people are truly sensitive to grain protein, but brands are cash in on those who embrace the perceived benefits of gluten-free foods. Gluten-free has entered the mainstream, with even Twinkie considering jumping in a market estimated by research group Packaged Facts to be worth more than $4.2 billion in sales this year.
 
Brown sauce and tomato ketchup are failing to cut the mustard with British consumers, according to retail trade magazine, the Grocer. Is this because consumers have lost their taste for them, or because prices have gone up?

 
Another expansion to the fast-track water enhancers’ sector in the US… Nestea Iced Tea has launched Nestea Liquid Water Enhancers, an addition to the iconic brand that offers the great taste of Nestea in a portable, customisable form.
 
In case you missed it: Innovate by watching your customers
One of the simplest and most effective ways to innovate is to go out and observe your customers using your product in their own environment, advises Dr Gavin Symanowitz, an innovation expert who is frequently driven crazy by Fizz Pops!
 
With the one possible exception of an apple in the Garden of Eden, ingesting more fruits is seen universally as a wonderful idea. One of the reasons is the benefits of fibre – from fruits, vegetables, grains or other sources.

Kerry Citrus

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients
 
Under pressure from several quarters, food manufacturers are responding to remake their products with less added sodium and sugar. But they are doing it quietly. In fact, the industry’s name for the strategy is stealth reduction.
 
German scientists have moved a step forward in understanding, and perhaps mitigating, fishy odours in omega-3 supplements or their propensity to taint functional food-beverages.
 
Tetra Pak has inaugurated what it calls “the world’s most advanced liquid dairy plant in automation and integration” in Vietnam with Vinamilk, the country’s number one dairy manufacturer.

Companies ‘hide’ HPP due to consumer fears

High Pressure Processing (HPP) is now fairly widely used in the US to pasteurise food, but most food producers ‘hide’ the method because of consumer perceptions, a HPP consultant says.
 
Campylobacter is the pathogen making most people sick in the UK and, earlier this week, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) formally agreed to target the problem at its principal source: poultry production.
 
It’s a type of sous vide – the phenomenon of dishwasher cooking that’s recently been getting a lot of exposure in articles and blogs. Chefs and foodies recommend it, Whirlpool and General Electric don’t. However, very little data exist to guide discussions on the safety of the practice.
 
In case you missed it: The sickly history of sweeteners

The history of artificial sweeteners is a history of public neuroses, bad science, paranoid distrust of corporations and regulatory failure. It plays to our fear of what we don’t understand, absurd risk-aversion on the part of regulators and the political effectiveness of legislating popular prejudices.

 
The next generation of food and beverage production facilities will be sanitary, flexible, more pleasant to work in and self-sustaining.

 Health and Nutrition
 
DSM has launched a ground-breaking new and free publication, The Road to Good Nutrition. Part of DSM and Sight and Life’s ‘Vitamins in Motion’ campaign, the book highlights the critical role micronutrients play in health, wellness and disease prevention throughout life and advocates for increased access to these essential vitamins.
 
There are not many compensations for ageing, but one has just been unearthed by Danish researchers that will bring a glow to the cheeks of oenophiles of a certain age. Their study of hangovers across adulthood has found their severity depends on age.
 
The food we eat may not be providing us with the nutrients we need
We are sacrificing flavour and nutrients for appearance and ease of transport. We need a debate on food quality.
 
Human gut bacterial could be playing a decisive role in determining overweight or obesity, according to a remarkable study involving lab mice fed with bacterial gut ‘fauna’ from fat and thin people. The researchers suggest that it may be an important step toward developing new personalised probiotic and food-based obesity therapies.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
 
One of Britain’s most distinguished chocolatiers, whose proudest achievement was fathoming how to get the mint filling inside After Eight’s without it spilling from the sides, has died at the age of 74.
 
Every year, scientists gather at Harvard University to celebrate the prestigious IgNobel Prizes. Awarded by the science humour magazine, the Annals of Improbable Research, the IgNobels are a spoof on science’s highest honour: the Nobel Prize. The awards are given to work that “first make people laugh, then make them think.” Several items of food-beverage-related research featured this year.
 
What goes in, must come out… here’s an interesting take on modern toilet habits, with one US company attesting that we’re doing it all wrong! Introducing the, um, Squatty Potty!

 Food bites…2013: A real understanding of sustainability

“SURVIVAL replaced sustainability as a top-of-mind concern in recent years, leading some to think sustainability was a passing fad in the food industry.
   “Think again.
   “Sustainable manufacturing was never about saving the planet, although some of the concept’s most enthusiastic proponents tried to drape a green cape on it. Stripped to its fundamentals, sustainability is a synonym for efficiency, and it’s extremely difficult to find proponents of inefficiency and a return to wasteful ways.
   “Sustainability also is a counterpoint to criticism of “industrial food,” the perception that mainstream practices disregard the public and put profit and expediency first. Corporate social responsibility argues that making products that are nutritious and environmentally responsible is just as important as profitability, and that food companies are not evil ogres but responsible organisations where talented workers can feel good about their jobs.
   “The last point cannot be overstated. While outsiders associate food production with jobs, the reality is today’s food plants produce more products with fewer workers, and tomorrow’s facilities will run leaner and meaner. Today’s workforce possesses in-demand skills like mechatronics – a talent without a name 20 years ago – and recruiting and retaining those workers is a challenge.”
Kevin Higgins, editor Food Processing magazine, read more
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Brenda NeallPublished weekly as part of www.foodstuffsa.co.za and www.drinkstuff-sa.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 and DRINKStuff SA, websites with reams of pertinent and interesting stuff about FMCG food-beverage manufacture from farm gate to retail shelf, are published and edited by Brenda Neall. For editorial and advertising matter, contact her at: brenda@foodstuffsa.co.za

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