Issue 84: 21 May 2010

When you hire people that are smarter than you are, you prove you are smarter than they are.”

RH Grant

Food bites… Health and wellness. Huh?

Image““Health and wellness is one of the most complicated, convoluted, and contradictory constructs humankind has ever invented … and if consumers are getting smarter about what they eat, then knowledge must be very fattening.” 
Mark Payne, US innovation consultant, quoted in IFT’s Food Technology Magazine

EBNditor’s Stuff – The countdown to IUFoST 2010 

There are only 88 days to go to probably the most important food industry event ever held in South Africa, IUFoST 2010, the 15th World Congress of Food Science & Technology.


The Global Food Awards are an important part of the congress, and hot off the email this morning is news from SAAFoST president, Rosie Maguire, of the seven South African semi-finalists who have made it into the finals against plenty of competition from 13 other countries. 


 IUFoST 2010 logo


See the Full Congress
Programme here

“South African food companies are justifiably proud of their innovations and value the opportunity to showcase their products in the global arena. The close relationship that SAAFoST enjoys with industry facilitated our nominating world-class products for the awards. Our entries were selected on the basis of scientific content as well as degree of innovation and this has been recognised by the team of international judges. We are quietly optimistic that South Africa will be amongst the final winners,” says Rosie.


Following evaluation by a global panel that includes a South African, the absolute winners will be announced in Cape Town at the 15th IUFoST World Food Congress on Monday 23 August.


Congratulations again to these deserving finalists! Read more here on the finalists and you read more about all the semi-finalists here.


Enjoy this week’s newsletter!


PS Get up to speed on R146/2010, the new food labelling and advertising regulations! Lucia Anelich, head of the CGCSA’s Food Safety Initiative, has advised that due to an overwhelming response, the FSI has added another date to the training courses on R146 it has been hosting in Johannesburg. This date is 10 June and 40 is the maximum number that can be accommodated.
She notes, too, that the FSI has conducted several “in-house” training sessions at company premises, and this opportunity is available to food companies countrywide. For more details, contact Lorraine Nadas, T 011 789 5777, email: [email protected].


Email Brenda Neall, editor and publisher: [email protected]


Magalies Citrus is looking for a Product Development Technician, and Orley Foods has three positions advertised. See jobs here and here.

Afrikaans translation: To translate this page, go to, and simply paste the URL into the page translator module. The translation is by no means perfect, but is a help if you want to read in your home language.

Local Food Industry Stuff

ImageWanted from the SA food industry: information on the nutrient composition of foods

The MRC is on a mission to optimise the quality of nutrient data in the country – and wants the help of the food industry in improving and extending the South African Food Data System (SAFOODS), much used by all local food developers for their labelling. FOODStuff SA. Read more



ImageTiger Brands suffers as private labels gain

Increased sales of retailers’ private labels and house brands dealt Tiger Brands a telling blow as it reported a 2% decrease in turnover to R10.2 billion for the six months to March 31 on Tuesday. Business Report. Read more


ImageSABMiller gets whacked

The world’s second biggest brewer, SABMiller saw its share price fall just over 5% after its annual results, came in line with consensus. A dealer at global trader said “it seems everything came in line with expectations, but the market sees it as underperforming.” Moneyweb. Read more


SAB ups production and sets aside R170m for World Cup

ImageSAB reports that it is investing R170m in activities around the World Cup, from the refurbishment of bars to heavyweight advertising across the country. It has ramped up beer production in April and May to cope with an expected increase in demand of 100,000 hectolitres during the five-week World Cup tournament, and suppliers and venues will be given an emergency telephone number to use to call in fresh beer. Read more


OBITUARY: Susman’s Woolworths a legacy to be proud of

ImageA fading black and white photo hanging in the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia shows six men and two women next to a sign saying Susman Stores. The undated picture attests to the retail heritage into which former Woolworths MD David Susman, who died on recently at the age of 84, was born. Business Day. Read more


Many ways to bake a cake: SA’s bakery regulations

ImageThere are so many different ways to bake a cake, a biscuit or a loaf of bread – and if you want to do it in South Africa, there are a pile of regulations and guidelines that need to be followed. The Food Safety Network has a valuable resource in this regard: a supply of easy-to-download and keep documents of the regulations & guidelines on baking. The Food Safety Network. Read more


ImageCadbury Cashew & Coconut – back by popular demand

Cadbury SA has announced that it will be permanently bringing back the popular flavour variant of Cashew and Coconut, launched originally in 2008 as a limited edition. FOODStuff SA. Read more


Food Industry News

International Dairy Awards – all the winners

 The IDF Dairy Innovation Awards 2010 announced recently drew over 150 individual entries from 29 countries – delivering on a mission to provide a unique annual snapshot of excellence across the industry. All entries and winners feature in this special IDF Dairy Innovation Awards 2010 Showcase magazine – it may take a few seconds to load.


Best new dairy drink – Winner – Friesland Campina WAMCO of Nigeria, with its Peak evaporated milk sachet.
Best newcomer brand or business – Winner – Meiji Dairies Corporation from Japan, with RakuRaku baby formula cubes.


US: Obama unveils obesity plan to curb kids marketing

ImageFirst Lady Michelle Obama has unveiled a Task Force action plan calling on food manufacturers to curb the marketing of unhealthy foods to children. “For the first time, the nation will have goals, benchmarks, and measureable outcomes that will help us tackle the childhood obesity epidemic one child, one family, and one community at a time,” Obama said. Read more


US: Food companies make calorie-reduction pledge

ImageSixteen food and beverage companies, including Kraft Foods, Hershey, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, vowed they would cut 1.5 trillion calories from their products by 2015. The group, which is part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, said it would introduce more low-calorie products, reduce portion sizes, and change recipes of existing foods and drinks. The campaign “is providing a new level of leadership and momentum on childhood obesity,” said Kellogg CEO David Mackay, chairman of the foundation. Wall Street Journal. Read more


How Nando’s conquered Britain

ImageThe peri-peri chicken chain is now the restaurant of choice for a new breed of confident young multicultural Britons and can be seen as one of a few modern restaurant brands to have changed the face of British fast food. In the past few months, Nando’s has taken advantage of the cheaper property market and expanded aggressively in London and elsewhere. There are now 220 Nando’s in the UK, serving 800 000 customers every week. The Guardian. Read more


McDonald’s hopes new cold drinks will be hot

ImageAmerica’s largest fast-food chain is on a multibillion-dollar mission to become a serious beverage juggernaut, and pitting it against convenience stores, supermarkets and specialty coffee chains such as Starbucks. The chain has slowly been rolling out iced frappés and now smoothies are on tap. Read more


ImageSCOTLAND: Healthy school meal scheme fails as pupils turn to fast food

Ambitious plans to make Scotland’s school dinners healthy have backfired after tens of thousands of children rejected canteen meals in favour of fast-food in the four years since the Scottish Government imposed tough rules. Uptake of school meals in Glasgow alone has plunged from 61% to 38%. Herald  Read more


Unilever’s Polman aims to double company’s turnover

ImagePaul Polman, Chief Executive of consumer goods group Unilever, has stated that his aim was to revive stagnant sales and double them. “We aim to double turnover from 40 billion euros today in what some employees believe will be 10 years or less,” he told shareholders at the Unilever Plc annual general meeting. Reuters. Read more

Vitamin prices rise worldwide

DSM Nutritional Products has announced a 12% price rise for natural-source vitamin E and Mixed Tocopherols, driven by an increase in raw material prices, and which will have a knock-on effect on the cost of functional food and drink production. This adjustment is effective immediately. [No link]


Food Trends, Marketing and NPD

Nestlé to take teatime high-tech

ImageNestlé, the world’s leading food and beverages company has just announced the launch of Special.T, a pioneering tea machine system, a follow up on the success of its Nespresso coffee pod system in Europe . The Special T process is much like that used by pod coffee machines. Sealed aluminum capsules containing tea leaves are inserted into the machine, which then recognizes which of the 25 blends — including black tea, green tea, white tea, blue tea and infusions — has been selected. Brew time and water temperature are then regulated to match the blend. Nestle and the NY Times. Read more here and here   

Chewing longer with gum that changes flavours?

ImageIn a memorable scene in the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” Gene Wilder, who plays an eccentric confectioner, displays a piece of gum that changes flavour while being chewed, replicating a three-course meal by tasting first like tomato soup, then roast beef, then blueberry pie. Now Stride, the four-year-old brand from the Cadbury division of Kraft Foods, has brought the idea to life with the introduction of Stride Shift, two gum varieties that change flavours, called Berry-to-Mint and Citrus-to-Mint. Mercury News. Read more


ImageFood marketers: America’s last, best hope to solve obesity

Obesity is now a national burden with two-thirds of American adults either overweight or obese. According to Hank Cardello, CEO of 27º North and author of Stuffed: An Insider’s Look at Who’s (Really) Making America Fat, it’s time to change the playbook and look to food marketers as the best solution. Food Technology E-Perspective. Read more


ImageMARKETING COMMENT: Good at talking vs good at doing

This is the chasm of the new marketing.


The marketing department used to be in charge of talking. Ads are talking. Flyers are talking. Billboards are talking. Trade shows are talking.

Now, of course, marketing can’t talk so much, because people can’t be easily forced to listen.

So the only option is to be in charge of doing. Which means the product, the service, the interaction, the effluent and other detritus left behind when you’re done.


If you’re in marketing and you’re not in charge of the doing, you’re not going to be able to do your job.

Seth Godin, US marketing guru


The “Beauty-from-Within” market

ImageAmericans take pills to scrub our arteries, to relax us for airplane flights, to deforest our nasal passages of mucus and to remoisten our tear ducts. We take pills to sharpen our memory, to forget the awful things that have happened to us, to revitalize our libidos and to fall into a stuporous, amnesiac, refrigerator-clearing sleep.


Like children wishing for magical results in a fairy tale, we can now also take pills to make us pretty. These are supplements sold at yoga studios, department stores, hair salons, some dermatology offices and even on QVC; they promise to even skin tone, reduce lines and wrinkles, shrink pores and offer protection from the sun. Along with food and drink that promote external beauty, these are part of what is known as the beauty-from-within industry, and it’s growing fast. NY Times. Read more


ImageUK: Animal welfare tops Britain’s food concerns

When it comes to Britons’ food, there is nothing closer to the hearts of the nation than the wellbeing of animals. Indeed, new research from Mintel finds animal welfare is Britain’s number one food concern with as many as four in ten (40%) people worried about this issue. FOODStuff SA. Read more


Manufacturers “too cautious” with best-before dates

ImageFood manufacturers are being “far too cautious” when it comes to setting best-before dates for many ambient food products, according to a leading academic in the field of sensory shelf-life testing. Food Navigator. Read more


ImageUK: The story behind Ubuntu Cola

Ubuntu Cola, the first UK cola to have the coveted Fairtrade mark, has secured a listing with Waitrose supermarkets and expects to sell two million units in 2010. This is an interview with founder Miranda Walker.


‘Ubuntu’ is a South African term for ‘humanity and kindness’. The Ubuntu Trading Company, which sources sugar from Malawi, donates 15% of its annual profits to the Ubuntu Africa Programme, supporting the sugar producers. Read more


The cupcake is dead. Long live the whoopie!

ImageThe dense American-style sponge cake sandwiched together with buttercream has taken Britain’s chicest bakeries by storm. Whoopie pies have been around modestly for decades in America and have recently seen a resurgence in popularity — thanks partly to the Magnolia Bakery in New York, which introduced maple-cream-filled whoopies two years ago. But the real story of the whoopie starts in the 1920s, when Amish farmers’ wives started making them from leftover cake batter as a lunch treat for their husbands, who ploughed the fields of Pennsylvania. Timesonline. Read more


Health and Nutrition Stuff


ImageGetting a fix on food and health

Food Technology’s recent “Wellness 10” conference delivered an integrated perspective on emerging technologies, scientific evidence, and consumer trends. This article offers some great insights and commentary published in the latest issue of the IFT’s Food Technology journal. If the development and marketing of ‘healthier’ food is your game, don’t miss this read. Food Technology. Read more


Carbs against cardio: More evidence that refined carbohydrates, not fats, threaten the heart

ImageEat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the health authorities for the past 30 years. Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, but the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country’s biggest killer. Now a spate of new research, including a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies, suggests a reason why: investigators may have picked the wrong culprit. Scientific American. Read more


Doubt is cast on many reports of food allergies

ImageMany who think they have food allergies actually do not. A new report, commissioned by the US federal government, finds the field is rife with poorly done studies, misdiagnoses and tests that can give misleading results. While there is no doubt that people can be allergic to certain foods, with reproducible responses ranging from a rash to a severe life-threatening reaction, the true incidence of food allergies is only about 8% for children and less than 5% for adults. NYTimes. Read more


ImageFive-a-day won’t keep the doctor away

The idea that eating fruit and veg can help to ward off cancer is repeated over and over again. Despite not being true.The American humourist Mark Twain said: ‘What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.’


Twain’s famous words rang especially true a fortnight ago when the latest study on the link between fruit and vegetable consumption and cancer prevention landed on our desks. Spiked Online. Read more


Chocolate and alcohol won’t help your heart, says new study

The National Heart Foundation of Australia says drinking wine or coffee and eating chocolate to prevent heart disease will not achieve expected results. Read more


Breast cancer breakthrough? Broccoli component zaps cells that fuel tumor growth

ImageUniversity of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists say they’ve found a compound that could help prevent and potentially treat breast cancer. It’s not a drug or a new radiation treatment but a natural component of broccoli and broccoli sprouts. And it has the remarkable ability to target cancer stem cells – the specific cells responsible for fueling the growth of cancerous breast tumors. Natural News. Read more

Digging deeper into superfruits

ImageThe health halo that crowns berries — the original “superfruit” — hasn’t slipped a bit over the years. Ever since it was discovered that berries have very high total antioxidant capacity, the public has had a veritable love fest for berries. Over the past decade, multiple research findings have supported the health benefits of berries, showing that they have a profound impact on chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and age-related mental decline. Chicago Tribune. Read more


Food Science, Food Safety and Sustainability


Synthetic cellSynthetic cell is a giant leap for science

Scientists have succeeded in creating artificial life in a test tube, in a development which promises to revolutionise biotechnology.

The research opens the way for scientists to create new life forms that can be genetically programmed to carry out a variety of functions, such as producing carbon-free fuel or made-to-order vaccines and providing new forms of food and clean water. However, the study also raises ethical concerns about the technology falling into the wrong hands, and, for instance, being used to make biological weapons, or by scientists to “play God” with life. Read more


Using bacteriophages to limit contamination in all-natural products

ImageBacteriophages have become one of the newest weapons for food processors to use in the war against foodborne bacteria that cause human illnesses. The term “bacteriophage” was coined in the early 1900s and literally means “bacteria eater.” The name for these organisms is fitting because, in the case of food applications, the bacteriophages are lytic viruses that attach to bacteria, insert their genetic material into the bacterial cells, replicate themselves and then destroy the bacterial cell.


Because they do not affect food quality attributes, are harmless to humans and do not attack other bacteria such as spoilage organisms, the bacteriophages have great potential as a novel means of improving food safety. MeatingPlace. [Registration required] Read more


Ring fries beat French fries on health and taste: Study

ImageFrying potato rings rather than straight strips produces fries with less oil, lower levels of acrylamide, less salt, and better taste, says a new study from the US. According to findings published in the Journal of Food Science, potato strips required longer drying and frying times in order to achieve the same colour and flavour as potato rings, which increased levels of acrylamide by 163%. Food Navigator-USA. Read more


More food from fungi? Crop-enhancing microbes challenge genetic engineering

ImageTo feed an exploding global population, scientists have called for a doubling of food production over the next 40 years. Genetic manipulation might seem the best way to quickly boost characteristics essential to plant growth and crop yields. New findings from different laboratories, however, suggest that fungi, bacteria and viruses could be an exciting alternative to increase agricultural productivity. Scientific American. Read more


Spicing the meat also cuts the cancer risk, research suggests

ImageSpices will do more than just enhance the taste of ground beef. They may also cut down on the risk of compounds that can cause cancer. Scott Smith, a Kansas State University food chemistry professor, has pursued different projects in recent years seeking ways to reduce heterocyclic amines (HCAs). HCAs are the carcinogenic compounds that are produced when muscle foods, such as ground beef patties, are barbecued, grilled, boiled or fried. ScienceDaily. Read more


ImageUS: Pre-cut lettuce is suspected cause of latest food poisoning outbreak

It’s convenient and popular, a healthy option for harried shoppers. But bagged lettuce suspected of causing a multi-state outbreak of E. coli illness raises new questions about whether pre-cut produce is riskier than whole vegetables. The outbreak, which involves romaine lettuce cut up and distributed in bags, is the latest in a string of recent food poisoning cases involving pre-shredded leafy greens. Washington Post. Read more 


US: More on the lettuce recall: this time it’s not the usual culprit

When the bacterium E. coli contaminates food and sickens people, public health authorities round up the usual suspects. Most of the time the bad bug turns out to be E. coli 0157:H7. But this time around the culprit in the widening recall of lettuce is a strain called 0145, which is tougher to detect and not commonly tested for. Read more


Unilever R&D: Air bubbles may help cut salt and sugar

ImageThe salt and sugar content of foods may be reduced by using air bubbles as an “inert filler” in liquid products, according to new research from Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, and published in the Journal of Food Science. The addition of air bubbles to a water-based gel enhanced the perception of salt and sugar, and also changed the texture and appearance of the samples. Reducing the salt and sugar content of foods without affecting their taste is an important challenge for the food industry. FoodNavigator-USA. Read more


A food revolution: the pioneer of urban farming

ImageWill Allen is a towering figure in his Milwaukee, Wisconsin, field. Working as a farmer, missionary and coach, he preaches the gospel of good food grown in the heart of the city. His urban farms provide fresh fruits and vegetables to inner city neighbourhoods “Our new farmers will not come from rural America,” Allen says. As president of the non-profit organisation Growing Power, Allen promotes urban farming among diverse groups in the inner city … Now, Allen and 40 farmhands grow 160 different crops in solar-powered greenhouses. They also raise fish and house a full barnyard of animals. ABC News. Read more

ImageWild birds opt for conventional food over organic, study shows

The nutritional benefits of organic food have been called into question by new research which shows wild garden birds prefer conventional seed to that which has been organically- grown. A three-year study by Newcastle University has found that wild birds are not swayed by the organic label, but instead prefer the more protein-rich, conventional food that will help them to survive the winter. Science Daily. Read more

Packaging Stuff


ImageEU: EFSA announces delay in bisphenol A verdict

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has announced a delay in delivering its verdict on bisphenol A (BPA) because it needs more time to review the vast body of research on the chemical. Food Production Daily. Read more



ImageSA ingenuity: Stop crying over spilt milk

The injection-moulded Clip It sachet jug has been specifically designed to hold a litre milk sachet securely and at the exact angle needed for mess-free pouring. Penny Haw talks to designer Desere Strydom, whose award-winning Clip It jug for milk sachets was born of her desire to continue saving money without the mess and spilt milk. Business Day. Read more

UK: Another program to promote the milk bag and jug format

ImageDairy Crest and Sainsbury’s are putting their full marketing weight behind milk bags and jugs – confident that now is the time for the format to take root in the UK. Sainsbury’s claims that the Jugit system reduces packaging waste by 75% compared to the poly bottle.

While Sainsbury’s is enthusiastic about the potential of the milk bag and jug combination, rival UK supermarket Waitrose recently withdrew the system from its shelves before the modifications were made citing “poor demand”. Dairy Reporter. Read more


Wine research body slams plastic packaging

ImageNew research from the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV) suggests white wines stored in plastic packaging remain fresh for only six months. Glass is still the dominant force in wine packaging but new formats such as the bag-in-box and PET bottles are gaining in popularity. This has sparked debates about the merits of different options that the ISVV aimed to settle with a three year study into the influence of packaging on wine preservation. Food Production Daily. Read more



ImageSpotlight on the potato

Pity the humble potato. Misunderstood for so much of early culinary history, and now relegated to permanent side dish status by a carb-fearing public. Potatoes, however, are one of the few foods that have actually changed the course of modern history. Imagine American history without the Kennedy family? You’ve got the Irish potato famine to thank for that. Where would McDonald’s be sans French fries? Here’s the story of Europe’s great potato conversion. Read more


The diet that helps you lose your paunch

ImageDr John Briffa is a man with a mission. He has declared war on our waistlines — or rather, the male waistline. His new book, Waist Disposal, reveals how to get rid of an unsightly paunch. “I think that men are a hugely under-catered for demographic,” Dr Briffa says. “Lots of diets and weight-loss clubs have a feminine slant and yet men have weight issues too. The way men store weight around their middles is very strongly linked with heart disease and diabetes — the health problems are much more acute than for women.” Read more


ImageFar-out flavours from Japan

The Kit Kats you know offer a quick fix of chocolate and crispy wafers. But in Japan, Kit Kats go far beyond chocolate, with flavours like ginger ale, soy sauce, creme brulee and banana. NPR’s Lynn Neary talks with Tokyo-based reporter Lucy Craft about the unique candy market in Japan. Read more

That’s all the stuff for this week!