Newsletter 26 July 2013

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 26 July 2013 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kind of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.” Robert M Pirsig, author and philosopher 

Sensient Food Colors

Editor’s Stuff: A shake-up in the soy market!
News that’s likely to create waves for many who rely on soy ingredients… Nestlé South Africa has confirmed that it is closing down its soy production plant in Potchefstroom – bought from SPP just over two years ago. “Surplus to needs” is the official explanation – but this development raises many questions and it’s a story that I’ll endeavour to shed more light on next week.
Acquired in February 2011 for R106m – announced with a fair blaze of publicity and a further R150m allocated for upgrading – Nestlé South Africa has now decided to call it a day on soy protein and millk production at its SPP Potchefstroom plant. The entire plant, not the building, will be sold via online auction in September, with the exact day still to be disclosed by the appointed international auction house.

Slept badly this week? Nothing to do with food, but this is really interesting… if you slept poorly earlier this week it may have been a result of lunar effects. New research published in Current Biology shows that sleep quality suffers around the full moon, negatively affecting sleep duration, deep sleep, how long it takes to fall asleep, and levels of melatonin, the sleep-related hormone.
Scientists have long known about our circadian, or daily, bodily rhythms, but this study helps shed light on the lesser-understood “circalunar” rhythms of our bodies. These phenomena are known to exist, but we know very little about them, in part because a month-long pattern is harder to observe and study than a daily one.
The latest issue of SAAFoST’s FST Magazine has been published:

Topical articles include:                
  • The African botanicals beverage boom  
  • Marketing origin-based foodstuffs  – lessons from the rooibos and Karoo lamb industries
  • Bakery innovation – tracking the key trends    
  • Why today’s sweetener ‘rush’?  
  • Emulsions in beverage technology  
  • All you need to know about the SAAFoST Congress (7 to 9 October) in Pretoria
To subscribe or advertise, contact editor, Tricia Fitchet
Enjoy this week’s read…
  • Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
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Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
Ian Moir, the CE of Woolworths since November 2010, talks to Moneyweb about his career, his move to SA, his relationship with chairman Simon Susman, the group’s unwavering dedication to quality, transformation within Woolies, and what keeps him awake at night.
Pre-cooked ostrich meat, a product developed by world-leading ostrich company Klein Karoo International (KKI) in an effort to make up for the devastating effects of the H5N2 avian flu outbreak in 2011 which resulted in a European Union (EU) ban on raw ostrich, is now available to local consumers at Woolworths.
A new breed of consumer is challenging the way that retailers package, price and distribute their products, says Gareth Pearson, CEO of Jo’burg-based BMi Research.
In March 2012, SA’s new R146 food labelling regulations came into force and although not without controversy, the changes were largely welcomed by consumers and retailers alike. More than a year later, however, non-compliance remains an issue. Many manufacturers and smaller retailers have still not fully invested in the changes that are necessary to meet new industry standards. With more regulations on the way, non-compliance is no longer an option.
It’s said that Soweto is the most lucrative per capita market for Johnnie Walker Blue Label in the world. What is less well known is that Johnnie Blue is the invention of a South African …

 International News and Developments
In a little shop near the Louvre museum in Paris, a very strange type of ice cream is being sold. At the counter customers don’t order cups, cones or shakes; here they ask for WikiPearls, little donut hole-sized balls of ice cream that are covered in a flavoured, protective skin.
Starbucks Coffee and Danone have announced a strategic agreement to offer a jointly created and developed selection of new specialty yoghurt products in participating Starbucks stores and in grocery channels.
How sustainable is quinoa?
Interest in quinoa has surged among consumers in Europe and the US – but the rapid increase in its popularity has also given rise to concerns about sustainable production.
Dr Pepper Snapple is being sued because the plaintiff thought the antioxidants in its 7-Up berry-flavoured drinks actually came from juice; Red Bull is being sued because it charges a premium for its caffeinated beverage that “gives you wings” even though it allegedly provides the same jolt as a cheaper cup of coffee; and Coca-Cola is still fighting a long on-going class action on Vitaminwater.
British supermarkets and newsagents are to be told to abolish so-called ‘guilt lanes’ which see shoppers tempted with fattening sweets and treats at checkouts.

LRQA South Africa

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

The lack of any ‘magic ingredient’ for sodium reformulation necessitates a partnership approach to retaining shelf life in foods – with the spotlight on health improvement initiatives to reduce sodium, sugar and fat in packaged food, Euromonitor International discusses the challenges and trends, how food manufacturers can reformulate and position their products.
Sensient Colors has launched AccuPak, the first dissolvable bag in the food colour industry. The water soluble bags are a convenient packaging alternative that delivers the proper dose of colour and eliminates dust and cross-contamination issues.
Active packaging continues to move ahead, such as the emerging incorporation of non-contact antimicrobials in the package structures to suppress pathogens and prolong shelf life. News from Michigan Technological University is an innovation that has the potential to kill 100 percent of harmful microbes before they even touch produce. The secret is copper – an element long valued for its antibiotic properties.
A multinational team of scientists has identified a single gene, called Shell, that regulates yield of the oil palm tree. The fruit and seeds of the oil palm are the source of nearly one-half of the supply of edible vegetable oil worldwide, and provide one of the most promising sources of biofuel.
In conversation with the WWF: The rocky road to sustainable palm oil
The good news: Around 15% of global palm oil produced in the past year was certified by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The bad news: Only half of it earned a premium, which doesn’t sound like a great recipe for inspiring more producers to get on board.
The 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has  presented four companies with the 2013 IFT Food Expo Innovation Awards. The winners are Glanbia Nutritionals, NIZO Food Research, PerkinElmer and Tate & Lyle.

 Marketing, Trends, Innovation and NPD
As quinoa, kale, hummus and even seaweed find a seat at the American dinner table, the prospects for the processed food brands of yesteryear might appear dim. After all, how can classics like Hungry Man, Chef Boyardee, Hamburger Helper and Spam possibly survive in an age where foodies are in and frozen is out?
Sports nutrition marketers, traditionally focused on young men, sports teams and hardcore athletes, could do well to put more attention to a far larger and potentially more viable market: women, weekend warriors and consumers pursuing individual sports and fitness activities from yoga to walking, according to a new report.
An interesing development in the evolution of omega-3 for incorporation into functional foods, and particularly beverages. US company, Oceans Omega, claims it has developed a technology that allows the addition of omega-3 fatty acids into clear beverages with no change in finished taste, smell or texture.
Stevia: going places and some
Stevia will steal more and more market share from sugar — the natural sweetener has the potential to displace 25% of global sugar demand by 2050 as more consumers opt for the zero-calorie sweetener, asserts leading stevia producer, PureCircle.
In case you missed it: “Texture the next food mega-trend
“Texture is moving to the forefront as the next hot mega-trend,” said Elizabeth Sloan, President of Sloan Trends, speaking at the recent 2013 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Chicago.
Can’t boil an egg? Help has arrived!  “Too busy, or too stupid” to boil an egg? A pre-cooked soft-boiled egg which only needs boiling water added is about to hit UK supermarket shelves. 

 Health and Nutrition
Allergies are certainly the result of both genetic and environmental factors, but there is fresh evidence to suggest that at least one major genetic aberration could be behind everything from hay fever to food allergies to asthma.
The red-wine polyphenol, resveratrol, believed to benefit longevity and heart health for its antioxidant properties, has been found to undermine the cardiovascular benefits of exercise in a small study.
Excitement around antioxidants has diminished, replaced by polarised views and misconceptions that have started to impede industry use of the ingredient in supplements and drugs, scientists suggest. Two scientists from Maastricht University in the Netherlands have written a review to dispel ten misconceptions about antioxidants.
How adding iodine to salt boosted Americans’ IQ
Iodised salt is so commonplace in the US [and the world] today that the additive is hardly given a second thought. But new research finds that humble iodine has played a substantial role in cognitive improvements seen across the American population in the 20th century.
Global life sciences company, DSM, has published results of a consumer perception survey revealing that urban consumers around the world continue to be confused about the amount of salt they consume.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
Norwegian company Unikia is looking to update the plain old lunch bag with its Compleat FoodBag, a reusable lunch box that keeps food fresh and protected in transit and rolls up compactly when the meal is over.

 Food bites…2013: Gluten and MSG intolerance – all in the head?

“MANY basic claims of nutrition science are unintuitive and sometimes don’t stand up to repeated research. (Salt? Cholesterol? Vitamins? Alcohol? Coffee?) At this point, scientists simply don’t have a good explanation for the mechanism and prevalence of gluten intolerance — hence the need for studies about whether it exists at all.
   “Maybe people have always been gluten intolerant and were going undiagnosed — as is true with celiac disease. Maybe our guts haven’t evolved to process gluten — as some advocates of the Paleolithic diet claim. Maybe it’s Monsanto (conspiracy theorists rejoice!). Maybe gluten intolerance isn’t really caused by gluten, and we should actually be blaming a family of proteins in wheat called amylase trypsin inhibitors. None of these explanations are ‘only’ in our heads, which makes them feel more acceptable.
   “But to deny the distinct possibility that gluten could be another MSG, at least for some people, is to deny what science has confirmed, again and again, about our nature as human beings.
   “So when some annoying friend implies that your gluten intolerance is psychological, go right ahead and be offended. But when science suggests it? Best to listen up, question your self-diagnosis, and remind yourself that nocebo effects are nothing to be ashamed of.”
Alan Levinovitz, writing in Slate, read the full and brilliant article
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Brenda NeallPublished weekly 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]