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Newsletter 21 June 2013

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 21 June 2013 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
Helen Keller, American writer and political activist

Sensient Food Colors

 
Editor’s Stuff: The irony of demonising processed food!
WE all know the processed food industry is under the whip from the foodie movement, and here’s one of the biggest ironies…
 
The anti-brigade has successfully popularised contempt for ‘nutritionism’, the idea behind packing healthier ingredients into processed foods. In this way, these ‘wholesome-food-only’ advocates have managed to pre-damn the very steps the food industry needs to take to appease them, placing the industry in a no-win situation.
 
So, if you maintain the status quo, then people will want to stay away because your food is loaded with fat and sugar. But if you try to moderate these ingredients, then you are deceiving us with nutritionism.
 
The likes of Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman et al explicitly advise the avoidance of foods containing more than five ingredients, or any hard-to-pronounce or unfamiliar ingredients. This rule eliminates almost anything the industry could do to produce healthier foods that retain mass appeal!
 
How can you ever win? This is the gist of my ‘article of the week’; a careful and intelligent scrutiny of the topic. It argues, ironically, that the demonising of processed food may be dooming many to obesity and disease.

Through its growing sway over health-conscious consumers and policy makers, the wholesome-food movement is impeding the progress of the one segment of the food world that is actually positioned to take effective, near-term steps to reverse the obesity trend: the processed-food industry! Do read.

Enjoy this week’s read… And something to cheer us up in the cold; it’s the winter solstice today, and the count-down to summer begins tomorrow!

Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
 
A new FMCG company has been formed through a joint venture of Pietermaritzburg-based Willowton Group, and global commodities giant, Louis Dreyfus. The former is one of SA’s largest sunflower seed crushers and producer of cooking oil, margarine, candles and soap, while the latter is the world’s biggest rice player.
 
Breakfast has become the most important meal of the day as consumers opted for a heavier morning meal and cut back on dinner, according to Famous Brands’ chief executive Kevin Hedderwick.
 
Cape Town has taken gold and top spot in the inaugural Vitality Fittest City Index. Announced by Discovery, the Index rates each of South Africa’s six major metropolitan areas according to physical activity-related health and infrastructure.
 
Two of South Africa’s iconic food brands, Simba and Steers, have again joined forces with the launch of Simba Steers Monkey Gland Sauce flavoured potato chips.
 
Government’s plan to ban alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotion will cost the economy almost 12 000 jobs and cut R7.4bn from South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP). 


 International News & Developments
 
Three biotechnology researchers were named the winners of the 2013 World Food Prize for their independent, individual breakthrough achievements in founding, developing, and applying modern agricultural biotechnology.
 
Britain is to push the European Union to relax restrictions on the licensing of genetically modified crops for human consumption amid growing scientific evidence that they are safe, and surveys showing they are supported by farmers.
 
All Britain’s main supermarkets have pledged strong support to the new national front-of-pack labelling scheme which aims to offer consumers clear and consistent nutritional information on the food they buy. Leading food manufacturers are less enthusiastic and are boycotting the voluntary scheme.
 
There are 670 calories in a venti Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino Blended Crème. The multibillion-dollar coffeehouse chain just announced that it will add calorie counts to US menus, staying a step ahead of the FDA.
 
PepsiCo re-energised: New products, healthier options having an impact
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has said that for all intents and purposes “Coca Cola is a one trick pony” focused on beverages and that is not the strategic direction she wants. As No 1 in global salty snacks and No 2 in beverages, PepsiCo benefits from the frequency in which their snack and beverage products are purchased together. Further, with a rapidly growing middle class in emerging markets (35% of sales), it has a tremendous opportunity to duplicate this strategy in other areas of the world.
 
Move over sticky labels – laser branding of fruit with supermarket or suplier logos is now approved in the EU. This follows a ruling approving the use of chemicals applied with a laser to the skin of fresh produce.
 
UK: Organic farming hits the skids as recession-hit consumers desert the sector
Organic farming fell to its lowest level on record last year, as struggling consumers continued to desert a sector that had been booming until the financial crisis set in.

 Food Trends, Innovation and Marketing
 
The wine cork could be set for a return to the mass market with the launch of a twistable and re-sealable version that does away with the corkscrew.
 
Americans still love their fast food and packaged snacks, but they’re increasingly turning their noses up at foods that look overly processed. So here’s the latest goal for food makers: perfect the art of imperfection.
 
Nestlé has followed in the footsteps of Mondelez by coming up with its own non-melting chocolate, which could prove a game changer in emerging markets with hot climates.
 
Mars Drinks, a business unit of Mars Incorporated, has released Steel Horse Coffee, which it calls “the first and only office-focused beverage powered by pure, robust coffee and circulation-supporting cocoa flavanols”.
 
Started in Australia and New Zealand in late 2011, Coca-Cola’s super-successful ‘Share a Coke’ program is being replicated in 20 markets around the world this year, including the UK, Brazil and China.

 QPro International

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

 
America’s navy seals used it to hunt down Osama bin Laden. Now the technology that helped track the elusive terrorist is at the centre of another top mission: to help to enhance the life of cakes in British bakeries.
 
An environmentally-friendly way of making vanillin from the lignin in wood pulp could change the economics of this flavouring industry.
 
Wrigley develops gum sweetened with dried fruit powders
Using dried fruit powders to sweeten gum could be a natural alternative to sugar and may be more cost effective than polyols, says Wrigley.
 
Why fruit ripens and spoils: Thousands of plant genes activated by ethylene gas
Ways to ripen, or spoil, fruit have been known for thousands of years, but now the genes underlying these phenomena of nature have been revealed.
 
A new variety of canary seeds bred specifically for human consumption qualifies as a gluten-free cereal that would be ideal for people with celiac disease (CD), Canadian scientists have confirmed in a study published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
 
Mark Lynas, once a leader in the anti-GM camp, now turned advocate for GM, investigates this latest GM scare story…. is it true and ground-breaking, or propaganda dressed up as science?

LRQA South Africa

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
 
The move by the American Medical Association board means that one-third of adults and 17% of children in the US – 78 million American adults and 12 million children – have a medical condition that requires treatment.
 
The Okinawa diet – could it help you live to 100?
Japanese people are more likely to reach 100 years old than anyone else in the world, a fact that some researchers attribute to their diet. So, are they right?

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
 
Tempted by sweets, cookies, cigarettes, or just your own cell phone?. Sometimes sheer willpower just isn’t enough – that’s why a team of inventors built the Kitchen Safe, a plastic container with a tamper-proof lock rigged to a timer.

Food bites…2013: Time for a rethink on GM crops

“CALLS” for an end to the ban on genetically modified crops are growing louder. Better still, it is no longer just scientists waving the flag for fast-growing, pest-resistant cereals. Now it is farmers.
 
“Thanks to the combined pressures of climate change, financial hardship and concern at being left behind by GM-friendly rivals across North and South America, the majority of Britain’s farmers are now avowedly “pro”.
“The only problem is that the cultivation of GM crops is illegal in Britain, as it is across the EU. It is time for a rethink, and signs that the Government agrees are to be welcomed. The dire prophecies of Frankenstein foods have not come to pass. Meanwhile, better crops mean more food, more cheaply, and without many of the unsustainable consequences of industrial agriculture.

“It can only be hoped that farmers adding their voices to the chorus will help drag Europe into the modern, better-fed world

Editorial, The Independent

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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: brenda@foodstuffsa.co.za

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