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Newsletter 21 September 2012

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 21 September 2012 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “In the cellars of the night, when the mind starts moving around old trunks of bad times, the pain of this and the shame of that, the memory of a small boldness is a hand to hold.”  John Leonard, critic (1939-2008)

Sensient Food Colors

 Editor’s Stuff: Stevia now approved for use in SA!
It’s finally happened – stevia has been given the regulatory thumbs up in South Africa!

It has been some four years since it was first designated GRAS in America, and so all the initial global hype and excitement about this ‘natural’, no-calorie sweetener has rather passed us by. Nonetheless, let’s hope we will get to see some interesting NPD in the months ahead. Read all about it below.

Stevia, the “natural, healthy” alternative to sugar, has finally been approved for use in South Africa with the recent promulgation (10 September 2012) of new sweetener regulations. 
We all know SA wines are good, but now it’s proven that they’re REALLY GOOD FOR YOU!
This has been confirmed by a group of researchers from the University of Cape Town who set out to see if South African wines extended the same heart benefits as those tested in international studies, and whether white wine held the same benefits as red.
Lots of good news in this week’s newsletter – enjoy!

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! FOODStuff SA is a hub for food-bev industry recruitment: look for a job or advertise your company’s positions!
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Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments

Marketing and recruiting new drinkers is a priority for beverage makers thanks to slowing demand in the US and Europe as the economic turmoil takes its toll. Whisky is proving particularly lucrative in South Africa…

Clover on the lookout for more ‘jewels’

Dairy industry heavyweight Clover is investing to enhance efficiency so as to lay the foundations for accelerated growth. The strategy is already showing results. Patient investors look set to be well rewarded by a company with powerful brands and a huge distribution footprint.
Waste cooking oil, often sold unscrupulously into the informal sector, is both a health and environmental concern in South Africa. Spur has announced how it has partnered with a Cape Town biodiesel company to successfully recycle and convert over a million litres of vegetable cooking oil used by three of its restaurant operations in the Western Cape.
Stellen Fine Wines is giving South Africans a new refresher with some Latin appeal; a sparkling red wine with cola named Colathemba.
BOS Ice Tea has added another member to its family of organic Rooibos products: new BOS one litre and 500ml Tetra Prisma packs.
When it comes to an array of foods – fresh produce, meat, baked goods, and fast food – a pack of choice for its functionality and low cost is the ‘foamo’ or extruded polystyrene (XPS) tray. Leading food packaging manufacturer, Cibapac, has now added some fresh life into an old stalwart with the launch of its versatile new ‘Unitray’.
Pioneer Food’s Werda brand, the leading brand in ready-to-eat-salads, has added a new variant to its range convenient and nutritious salads – a potato salad option and number 18 in the line up.
Last week’s top headline: DoH on warpath over mislabelled IQF chicken
Such is the level of non-compliance with legally-correct labelling of “Individually Quick Frozen (IQF)” chicken products sold across the country, the Dept of Health has found it necessary to issue a statement warning consumers that they are being duped in many instances.

 International News & Developments

Food prices, more than some lousy video, are to blame for the violence sweeping the Middle East. [Excellent analysis and insights. Ed].

Although loathed by some, GM crops have become ubiquitous. Despite the massive quantities of GM food eaten in the Americas and elsewhere, few studies have correlated the foods with health problems. However, a recent study found that rats grew tumours and died young after being fed a diet of GM corn laced with the world’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate, known by the Monsanto brand name, Round-Up.
So-called “low fat” foods can contain a similar number of calories to the standard versions – and in some cases contain even more sugar, according to a study by the UK consumer watchdog, Which? 
Chobani, the best-selling yoghurt brand in the US, has given its founder, Turkish immigrant, Hamdi Ulukaya, a net worth of at least $1,1 billion in under five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Big Beef has decided someone’s head is going to roll for that whole ‘Pink Slime’ saga earlier this year, and that someone is ABC News. Beef Products Inc is suing ABC for $1,2-billion over “roughly 200 ‘false and misleading and defamatory’ statements” about the company’s lean finely-textured beef product (LFTB) – that has become widely known by the awful moniker, ‘pink slime’.

India: An outraged nation of shopkeepers
Long protected from competition, small businesses fear an invasion of foreign supermarkets.
Last week’s top headline: So, what is the most important invention in the history of food? Such a big question could spawn many possible answers – but it’s one that the Royal Society, the UK’s famed national academy of science, recently decided to answer.

 Food Trends and Marketing
Capitalising on one of the hottest snaking trends of mixing salty and sweet flavours, Kraft Foods has launched a new product in the Toblerone range in Switzerland, which is soon to be introduced to other international markets across Europe, UK and US.
‘Click and collect’ offers consumers a new way to get groceries
A new mode of grocery shopping is emerging that combines digital with a trip to the physical store: “Click and collect” entails ordering online, then retrieving the goods at a store nearby. In the UK, Tesco recently initiated curbside pickups, as did Asda and other chains at select stores.
Last week’s top headline: US: Coca-Cola’s new Dasani Drops
Following the lead of Kraft’s launch of Mio, the world’s largest beverage company is Now Coca-Cola is preparing to leverage its scale to stake a claim in the new flavour drops category and will be introducing its Dasani Drops in coming weeks.

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

Despite big moves within the food-beverage industry to improve sustainability and resource efficiency, the primary technology innovations needed remain focused on the product – either to deliver better quality or new products, says a new survey out of the UK.
Food manufacturers who cut R&D are “short-sighted”: Pepsi boss
It is “short-sighted” for food manufacturers to cut R&D, even during an economic downturn, claims a senior manager at PepsiCo.
In the third of his series of ‘Top 10s’, Leatherhead Food RA’s Dr Wayne Morley, Head of Food Innovation, takes a look at ingredients, specifically the challenges that ingredients face when used in foods.
The growth in global demand for functional beverages is fuelled by several consumer trends, among them ‘real food nutrition’, whereby consumers are choosing to get more of their nutrients from the food and beverages they consume, rather than from supplements.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
SA’s leading sports scientist, Prof Tim Noakes, goes too far in suggesting that a switch to a high-fat, high-protein diet is advisable, say six top doctors and academics. Noakes has responded and, in his defence, he’s never advocated his new diet as being for everyone.
White bread has been “demonised” by health campaigners and TV nutritionists and is actually an important source of vitamins and minerals, new research out of the UK claims.
Leading nutrition scientists from around the world convened at the USDA this week to present the latest research supporting the role of tea in promoting good health. 
Food is amazing. It’s delicious and helps keep us alive, but it can also be dangerous and destructive. Overeating is very common. When humans are hungry, they eat, but sometimes they get carried away. This funky video explains the science behind overeating and how we can beat it!
Neurobiology of the placebo effect
A wonderfully witty look at this intriguing topic….
Last week’s top headline: Microgreens pack the nutrition

Microgreens – plants that are 14 days old or younger – could be the next big ‘thing’ in fresh produce, with scientists at the US Department of Agriculture saying new research has found that the leaves of microgreens pack four to six times more nutrients than the leaves of mature adult leaves.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

In today’s global village, it should come as no surprise that Eastern and Western cultures are often wedded, and sometimes in weird and ingenious ways. Enter the Chork. While it may sound like an expletive, or a clever name given to the odd guttural noise produced when an over-zealous chortle leads you to choke, it is neither.

Now here’s an “Only in America!” story… a new innovation in popcorn, not the popcorn itself, but in the mechanism of its consumption. Introducing the Popinator!

Sous vide is a remarkable way to cook proteins. Chefs everywhere are using it, but the technology has not been translated effectively into a domestic appliance. One US company, however, believes it has come up with the perfect solution.
Food with unexpected animal extras – in pictures
Mice baked into bread, ants entombed in boiled sweets and frogs in bags of spinach in as many weeks: just some of the unexpected animal extras people have found in food.

 Food bites…2012: They said it this week…

… on a humble cuppa
“There is now an overwhelming body of research from around the world indicating that drinking tea can enhance human health. The many bioactive compounds in tea appear to impact virtually every cell in the body to help improve health outcomes, which is why the consensus emerging is that drinking at least a cup of green, black, white or oolong tea a day can contribute significantly to the promotion of public health.”
Jeffrey Blumberg, professor of nutrition science at Tufts University, Boston

… on McDonald’s calorie disclsoure
“I suspect other companies will follow McDonald’s move, but it won’t benefit them as much. For McDonald’s, it builds the brand’s perception of being a leader in terms of transparency. It isn’t clear that disclosing calorie information impacts eating habits, so McDonald’s isn’t taking a major risk.”

Tim Calkins, professor of marketing at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

… on food expiry dates
“The expiration date is not an indication of safety. You can have a product that just hit the store that has a pathogen in it. But that’s because of mistakes in processing or handling, not because it went past its date … People freak out about milk when it goes beyond its expiration date. I don’t think they should, because if it’s pasteurized, that kills all the bacteria that could make people sick. If you go back and look at (Centers for Disease Control) data, you will hardly ever find someone got sick because they ate food past its expiration date.”

Fadi Aramouni, professor of food science, Kansas State University

… on food safety audits
“Audit reports are only useful if the purchaser or food producer reviews the results, understands the risks addressed by the standards and makes risk-reduction decisions based on the results. So companies who blame the auditor or inspector for outbreaks of foodborne illness should also blame themselves.”

Doug Powell, professor of food safety, Kansas State University

… on buying organic food
“The fact is that buying organic baby food, a growing sector, is like paying to send your child to private school: It is a class-driven decision that demonstrates how much you love your offspring but whose overall impact on society is debatable … The organic ideology is an elitist, pseudoscientific indulgence shot through with hype. There is a niche for it, if you can afford to shop at Whole Foods, but the future is non-organic.”

Roger Cohen, columnist, writing in the New York Times


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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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