Newsletter 25 May 2012

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 25 May 2012 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.”   Rita Mae Brown, American writer

Bidfood Solutions
Editor’s Stuff: Science solves the ketchup conundrum!
It makes my week when a WOW! story hits my search radar and I think this one could be truly game-changing for the condiments industry once commercialised.
A team of very clever scientists at MIT, America’s foremost science university, have developed an amazing new nano-based lubricant that makes the inside of bottles so slippery, nothing is left inside. Absolutely nothing. This not only takes all the frustration out of finishing a bottle of ketchup or any other sauce – but also means a lot less wasted food.

Good Food & Wine Show: I spent a few hours at the excellent Good Food & Wine Show yesterday and it was pleasing to see that several more big food players are participating this year. It seems that the top food companies often view these events as beneath them, or out of their marketing ambit and, so, why bother. I can’t believe cost is an issue when one observes the millions they spend on advertising.

Well, listen up. Everyone’s a foodie these days, and the CTICC even on a Thursday was heaving. What better a vehicle for powerful sampling and for marketers to interface one-on-one with their public, to put some humanity and accessibility to their brands, even if it’s only with hundreds, not thousands of people.

Enjoy this week’s read!


Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
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Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
BMI has released it annual quantification of the tea market covering four categories black tea, iced tea, rooibos and speciality tea. The mainstay of the market remains with black tea which commands a 58.3% share of overall market volumes, but watch out for rooibos and speciality teas.

Liqui-Fruit has launched two new flavours to its sparkling range and, with it, a prominent social responsibility campaign in support of Operation Smile South Africa to help give children born with facial deformities their smiles back.


Radical Waters reports that its controlling shareholder, Giant Trading, has had two patents issued supported by Radical Waters’ cutting edge, ECA (electrochemically-activated water) technology of interest to the starch and grain industries.

SIAL food expo only takes place in October, but the winners of its SIAL d’Or new product competition have already been announced. South Africa did not win any of the top category prizes, but our products reportedly were highly commended. The South African country award went to…

International News & Stuff

Shareholders of Kraft Foods have overwhelmingly approved Mondelez International as the name of the $35 billion snack foods company that will be created when the company finally splits sometime later this year.

The meteoric rise of stevia, a “natural, healthy” alternative to sugar – a holy grail for the food industry – is facing some hurdles in Europe since it won approval there last year: the problems are the aftertaste, the cost and possible hurdles in defining it as natural in some EU markets.
Denmark now moves on Israeli labels
Denmark will encourage retailers to stop labeling products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories “Made in Israel”, and label them “Made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” instead, government officials said. The move prompted a furious response from Israel when South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, insisted consumers had a right to know the correct origin of products. Read.

A US federal administrative judge has ruled that the pomegranate juice maker POM Wonderful isn’t all that – but both sides have claimed victory.

A few decades ago Peruvians looked down on quinoa, a fixture of Andean diets for centuries, as food for the poorest of the poor — when it was not being fed to chickens. How things have changed… 

Cold, bubbly, sweet soda, long the American Champagne, is becoming product non grata in more places these days. What began as a slow decline accelerated in the middle of the last decade and now threatens some of the best-known brands in the business.

 Food Marketing, Trends and Innovation
Another spray from the ever-innovative Harvard professor, David Edwards, the inventor of Le Whif chocolate spray and AeroShot, a caffeine/coffee aerosol equivalent: this time he’s turned his micro-particle spraying science to booze, delivering the sensation of alcohol without the bad side effects.
Research company, The Hartman Group in the US, has spent more than twenty years exploring the mainstream and fringes of food culture. Here is a sampling of 20 [American] trends that, it notes, have influenced food culture in sweet and sour ways.
Jaap Korteweg’s butchery in The Hague looks like an olde-worlde meat emporium, except there’s not a molecule of meat to be found in it. Its oxymoronic name, the Vegetarian Butcher, reflects the growing issue of meat-eating ethics and the evolving world of good-as-real meat analogues.

Exactly as predicted by e-gurus 15 years ago, e-commerce is hotter than ever. Whether in mature markets, where consumer spending is shifting online, or in growth markets where rapid urbanisation and increasing (mobile) internet penetration are unlocking new shopping habits, shoppers are ‘e-commercing’ it up.

US: Consumption of bottled water shows significant growth
Contary to most beverage categories, new research data shows the overall consumption of bottled water increased by 4.1 percent in 2011, building on 2010’s solid growth. In 2011, total  consumption increased to 9.1 billion gallons, up from 8.75 billion gallons in 2010. Per-capita consumption is up 3.2 percent in 2011, with every person in America now drinking an average of 29.2 gallons of bottled water last year. 
The market for lactose-free dairy products has doubled in the past five years – and is set for similarly impressive growth over the next five, says a new report by industry experts New Nutrition Business.
Danone launches “new category” of yoghurt for Spanish market Danone has launched a “new category” of yoghurt to Spanish consumers – offering the experience of eating ice cream with the nutritional benefits of yoghurt
– at a whopping capex of some R105m! 

Food Science, Safety and Ingredients Stuff

Scientists are several steps closer to restoring flavour to the supermarket tomato, a once-magnificent fruit turned by commercial pressures into a juicy orb of gustatory cardboard.
How much water do nations consume?
We hear every day about the need to conserve freshwater. That goal seems sensible—although knowing if humankind is making any progress could be impossible without a reliable way to quantify how much water nations use. To find out, scientists at the University of Twente in the Netherlands calculated the water footprint of the world’s countries as well as per capita water consumption in those nations.
Last week’s top headline: A return to synthetic flavours?

As two major global ingredient manufacturers announce new investment in synthetic menthol production, could this herald a new era for synthetic flavours, asks UK research company, RTS?

 Health and Nutrition Stuff

Sugar is one of the substances and objects that are carving new patterns of addictive behaviour in a disorientated world. This behaviour is the subject of new book, The Fix: How Addiction is Invading Our Lives and Taking Over Your World.

‘Go to work on an egg’, went a no-nonsense British 1950s advertising campaign. But now obesity experts have found out that not only does an egg keep you going longer, it could also help keep you slim.

Study: Men eat healthily to avoid conflict, research finds
Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that wives make their husbands eat healthy food at home, often not even consulting them about what they would like. Men are willing to put up with low fat meals or salads even of they do not like them to “keep their wives happy.. and maintain marital harmony”. However, they found that men often compensate by heading to an all-you-can-eat buffet for a “landslide of food”. 

While there’s little joy in housework, it did keep women’s waists a lot leaner than they are today. New research out of the UK has found that ‘because they do less housework’, the average British female waist has expanded by six inches since the 1950s.
Cranberry as a cure for bladder and urinary tract infections (UTIs) has long been claimed, but now proven by a Dutch company, Medical Brands. It has obtained a Class IIa Medical Device Status for its patented Cranberry-Active capsule, making it the first and only cranberry-based product in Europe which has a proven medical claim.

Last week’s top headlines: When the lights go out, the world eats junk This remarkable infographic shows our eating habits deteriorate as the day goes on – and it’s the same the world round.

New research finds an association between lower body weight and participation in cultural and intellectual activities, including reading.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
Pulling long-forgotten vegetables from the depths of a refrigerator is enough to make a stomach turn. But one man’s fridge mould is another man’s still life. Estonian artist, Heikki Leis’ Afterlife is a veritable rotting cornucopia of vegetables photographed long past their prime.

Maybe you thought self-righteousness was the primary consequence of eating organic food. New research indicates it’s actually selfishness. So if you want to be a better person, perhaps don’t go near organic food! 

 Food bites… From McDonald’s and Heinz…

…innovation does not have to be rocket science

“We’re in the food business, not rocket science. But we’ve sold one billion packs of Dip & Squeeze [new product format for foodservice]. We didn’t meddle with the formula [of Heinz ketchup]; look what happened with New Coke. We just changed the delivery mechanism. It’s going back to what our founder said – doing the common thing uncommonly well.”
Dr Michael Okoroafor, VP global packaging innovation and execution, Heinz

McDonald’s on why it ditched lean finely textured beef…
“It is perfectly safe, but there was a bad perception about it and we decided to stop using it. There is more to selling than just science. If people don’t want it, there is a reason to take it out. Maybe it sounds cowardly but this was a business decision.”

Dr Brinda Govindarajan, director scientific affairs and policy, McDonald’s

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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: [email protected]