Newsletter 28 February 2013

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28 February 2013 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “‘Naturally healthy’ may be the biggest trend in our industry, but ‘brilliantly marketed’ is what natural foods still need to come to life.” New Nutrition Business 

Sensient Food Colors

Editor’s Stuff: The great meat fraud, SA edition!
While news of South Africa’s own meat fraud scandal was first reported in December (Is there horse in your wors? Not unlikely!), the same story this week has suddenly gathered momentum and generated mass media interest. 
The saga paints a rather damning public picture of the meat and retail sectors, never mind if it’s the work of but a few rotten, greedy vendors. While the burger scandal is getting more convoluted and  messier in Europe, I think the outrage that sausages have been making asses out of South African shoppers will be short-lived in SA. As a nation, we have far more than adulterated wors on our plates.

On the upside, it will likely create more consumer/retailer awareness and vigilence – the supermarket chains affected have apologised, admirably, if they were inadvertently duped themselves and have assured customers that it won’t happen in future. Again, compliance will rely on self-regulation and public-peer pressure in the absence of those who are supposed to regulate and enforce but simply don’t/won’t/cant.

Interestingly, while the story has been around for over two months, it only ‘erupted’ this week. Why? It’s called PR, yes public relations! Finally, in the wake of Europe’s saga it seems Stellenbosch University, home of the meat study that uncovered the fraud, suddenly realised it was sitting on a big issue that could win its academics and the institution some great kudos and so it hired a smart PR company to distribute the news. Bingo! It’s splashed everywhere!
That is the awesome power of PR – something the SA food industry, across the supply chain, has largely yet to discover. This has long been a beef (pun intended) of mine as an editor who highly appreciates apt and relevant PR – but I’ll let someone else repeat this irksome tale…

Enjoy this week’s read!


Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
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Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments

The NPM Calculator, which is basically a software application, will likely be used in South Africa to determine whether a food product may make any kind of health claim on its label.

South Africa’s Pioneer Foods on Friday named a veteran executive from its main rival as its next chief executive.
SAB has announced a R700m investment in a state-of-the-art new maltings plant in Alrode‚ Gauteng‚ an investment, it says, that will be part of its continued efforts to support the local economy and drive job creation. 
Woolworths is enticing new customers into its stores by introducing larger varieties of product categories and bulk value buys in its stores, meaning the battle for the trolley between the upmarket retailer and rival Pick n Pay is getting fiercer.
Simba has introduced a new variant to the snacks category with the launch of Lay’s Salt & Black Pepper, delivering on its promise of “continuously adding delicious flavours to its irresistibly light and crispy range of snacks”.
This year’s one-day seminar (April 11) hosted by the South African Association of the Flavour & Fragrance Industry (SAAFFI) is jam-packed with interesting and valuable marketing information as well as other captivating activities including a workshop, an on-stage panel discussion, and two presentations on trends from global experts. 
Thousands of local and international visitors are expected to attend Propak Africa to view the latest the industry has to offer in new equipment, machinery, products and services. Propak Africa, together with co-located shows FoodPro, Pro-Plas Africa, Print Expo and Pro-Label Africa, takes place at the Expo Centre, Nasrec in Johannesburg, from 12-15 March.
SGS recently presented Hulamin Containers with ISO 22000:2005 and PAS 223:2011 certificates, the latter being the first one to be issued by SGS South Africa. 

 International News & Developments
This past Sunday, the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story on the notion of “food addiction,” claiming that food companies make food that is just too good. The article is a publicity-generating excerpt from a new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, just released. With it, most commentators say, the food-bev industries can expect the pressure to rise yet again as the political, media, and cultural elite work through its pages.

A report from Oxfam, ‘Behind the Brands’, is highly critical league of the ethical performance of the world’s 10 biggest food and drink companies, supported by a global digital marketing campaign to raise awareness of the findings among consumers.

It’s taken four or five years, but the US Dept of Justice has finally indicted four employees of Peanut Corp of America, formerly of Lynchburg, Va, charging they knowingly shipped salmonella-contaminated peanuts and peanut products in 2008 and 2009, which led to massive product recalls and nine deaths.
Horsemeat doubts put shoppers off frozen burgers
Sales of frozen burgers have almost halved since the horsemeat scandal erupted as shoppers shun foods of uncertain provenance.
Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke has used his recent keynote speech at the annual City Food Lecture in London to warn the food industry that water scarcity is one of the greatest threats it faces.
And we thought they just liked it this way? Two California residents are suing Anheuser-Busch, alleging that the company waters down Budweiser and other beers “significantly” to boost profits, their attorneys announced Tuesday.
Watered-down Budweiser? Pick up a real beer instead
It’s not shocking that Anheuser-Busch might be watering down beers. The good news is the rich choice of craft alternatives.
Warren Buffett has agreed a $28bn (£18bn or R252bn) deal to buy the ketchup and baked beans giant, HJ Heinz, among the biggest ever takeover in the food-bev industry.

 QPro International

 Food Trends, Innovation and Marketing
How do you measure the success of an innovation? Sales results achieved is the obvious answer – and flowing on from that, profits. But given that markets, business and products all evolve over time, a key part of the usefulness of any measurement of innovation is not just what you measure, but when you measure it.
Using a proprietary drying process, start-up Wholesome Valley Foods is offering the nutrition of bananas in a more portable and lasting format with its Barnana chews. Given that US consumers buy more bananas than any other fruit, the company’s dream to become the next Sambazon or Pom Wonderful is within the realms of possibility. This case study is from New Nutrition Business.
The problems besieging Britain’s pubs industry are well known. Beer tax rises, cheap supermarket booze and the increased social acceptability of drinking at home mean an average of 18 pubs are closing every week. But landlords do have one trick up their sleeve and it is proving an almost surefire way of bringing paying customers through the door: the humble pub quiz.
Fewer women are dieting, according to a new study from NPD Group. NPD has been tracking Americans’ dieting habits for three decades, and this most recent study finds dieting to be on the decline, with women leading the trend. In 1992, 34% of women were on a diet; today that number drops to 23%.
Nampak Plastics in the UK, the country’s top producer of plastic milk bottles, has created the world’s lightest ever four-pint (two-litre) high density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle.
Sales of gum may have fallen to levels far beneath their most popular days, declining 2.7 percent in 2011 to $3.5-billion, but manufacturers are fighting to reverse the slide, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Smaller package sizes, alternative sales locations and a variety of new flavours are all part of that effort.
In case you missed it: Top innovation awards for fresh produce
The FRUIT LOGISTICA Innovation Award 2013 (FLIA) has been won by the “City Farming” system from the Staay Food Group, the Netherlands, a sustainable, environmentally-friendly method of producing healthy food for a rapidly growing global population.

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

FACTS has recently optimised an animal species screening method which allows the detection of up to 24 different animal species in a single reaction, significantly reduce the costs and labour required to ensure product authenticity.
Sourdough bread resists mould, unlike conventionally leavened bread. Now scientists at of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, show why.
US: What’s next for GMO labelling?
2012 saw a growing chorus by activists, backed by the organic food industry, to mandate labelling of foods made with GMOs. The energy behind by this movement hasn’t fizzled despite California voters rejecting it in Proposition 37 by a margin of 52 to 48 percent last November. This defeat, however, has done little to slow down anti-GMO activists and the resulting pressures faced by food companies.
The global market for compound chocolate will grow faster than regular chocolate, according to Swiss processing giant, Bühler, who is launching a smaller capacity compound chocolate processing machine to capitalise on this trend.
New cocoa powder taps rising consumer demand for intense flavour
ADM Cocoa has introduced a new intense cocoa powder at Gulfood in Dubai this week, tapping into consumer interest in richly coloured and intensely flavoured cocoa products.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
Since a housewife first mooted rooibos as a cure for baby’s colic in the late sixties, scientists have found increasing evidence to back anecdotal claims about the plant’s health benefits.
The way calories are assigned to foods by manufacturers needs a significant overhaul because calories are currently both over and under estimated by up to 25%, nutrition scientists say.
Viruses can make you fat — and your dirty-fingered friends can give these viruses to you. That is the punch line — a known truth about the world. The set-up, though, is longer in the telling. It begins with a boy named Nikhil living in India.
What makes a meal satisfying? The body recognises nutrients and calories, but the satisfaction of a meal comes from the entire eating experience, including the taste, aroma and texture of the food. At every eating occasion, the amount eaten, the duration of the meal and the satisfaction afterwards depend on multiple factors which we may or may not be aware of.
Mediterranean diet is a combination deal, say scientists
A large new Spanish study confirms benefits of diet high in olive oil, nuts, fish and fresh produce for preventing heart disease and strokes.
In a discovery that could promise a quick fix to the common hangover, a team of researchers led by UCLA engineers has identified a method for speeding up the body’s reaction to the consumption of alcohol.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
Has the impossible happened? Has someone built the first amazing microwave espresso maker? Possibly.
In case you missed it: Are you a ‘supertaster’?
About a quarter of the population has an especially sensitive sense of taste. What does it mean, and how can you find out if you’re one of them?

 Food bites…2013: The changing food retail landscape

“AMERICANS still slather ketchup on hamburgers but their habits are changing. Shoppers are shunning packaged foods stacked in the centre of the supermarket in favour of fresher provisions ranged along the periphery.

“Chilled soup is displacing tinned soup. Fresh pasta is selling fast while demand for the dry stuff is flat. At the same time, supermarkets are pruning the assortment of goods on shelves and consumers are shifting from name brands to supermarkets’ own-label nosh.

“Factories producing packaged food are operating well below capacity… Manufacturers are trying to adapt. Campbell, a maker of tinned soup, recently bought Bolthouse Farms, producer of edge-of-the-store foods like baby carrots and salad dressing. ConAgra Foods, the company behind Reddi-wip, sweetened cream you blast out of a can, picked up Ralcorp, which makes retailers’ own-label foods.”

The Economist, commenting on Warren Buffet’s purchase of Heinz, read more
 Bidfood Solutions
DSM Quality for Life
Swift Micro Labs
Par Excellance
Professional Career Services
The HR Company
ProCert Southern Africa

Progress Excellence

Propak Africa 2013

Totally Food Events
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]