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Newsletter 28 March 2013

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PolyPET

 28 March 2013 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.” 
Henri-Frederic Amiel
, Swiss philosopher, poet and critic

Sensient Food Colors

 
Editor’s Stuff: Rot in meat sector spurs renewed calls for a
single food agency!
I reckon Business SA is about to shut down in a few hours time until next Tuesday, so here’s a pared down version of the newsletter, outlining some of the key stories that caught my interest in this shortened week.
 
A Food Agency must be established, says Government!

Meat remains in the headlines, with Parliament getting the lowdown this week from various involved parties on the mislabelling-fraud scandal.

 
Following the briefing of MPs and a portfolio committee, a DA press release has revealed that Depts of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Health and Trade and Industry are calling for the establishment of a Food Agency to ‘regulate, enforce and inspect’ meat and other food items.

The current cumbersome process of meat testing, verification and labelling involves the three depts – with the DA saying they have conceded that the whole function of food control is overly fragmented with a multiplicity of layers resulting in overlaps and gaps. The upshot is poor co-ordination and inefficient use of already scarce resources. That’s kind – other food lobbies have accused the depts of serious neglect, non-performance and failure to manage food safety.

The idea is that a single food agency will remove the current existing red tape and emulate bodies in the UK and the US. The agency would be independent and accountable to Parliament. 

“This agency would be a step in the right direction in restoring consumer and investment confidence in the safety of our products,” says the DA.

While we may have to hold our breath interminably on this one, if there’s any good to come out of this rotten story, perhaps this is it. Hurrah! Who could argue with this proposal – one that’s long been urged by many in the food industry?

 
Here’s wishing you a safe and happy Easter weekend. Enjoy this week’s read!
  • Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
     
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Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
 
Grisly meat stories told in Parliament
MPs told some chilling stories about their experiences with meat during a meeting with academics, government officials and industry representatives in Parliament on Tuesday.
 

Brine-injected, individually quick frozen chicken portions. It’s a huge industry in South Africa – IQF products make up about 60 percent of total retail chicken, but unlike in many other countries, there is no legislation controlling the percentage of brine which may be injected into the pieces. Sadly, that’s tantamount to an invitation to exploit… Intrepid consumer journalist, Wendy Knowler, takes a hard-hitting look at this common practice, whose days are hopefully numbered.

 
The best public health stratagems are often the least overt ones, as proven by NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s doomed-to-failure bid to ban super-sized soda in the US megalopolis. By contrast, here at home, the four-year old HealthyFood campaign by Discovery, the country’s largest health insurer, demonstrates that consumers who are given rebates on fruits, vegetables, and other nutritionist-approved foods quickly change their dietary habits. Healthful eating, it appears, just makes good cents.
 
A French company’s attempt to make “rooibos” their cup of tea has galvanised the government into action to protect the term — a move it should have made eight years ago after South Africa won a similar battle with a US company, commentators have said.
 
In news just come to hand, Bowler Metcalf in late January bought out the remaining 25,1% it did not already own in soft drink producer, Quality Beverages (QB), for R34,5m. The acqusition by the JSE-listed Bowcalf is part of a longer-term vision of vertical integration with a now major customer, as it makes a big move into the Gauteng market.
 
Famous Brands enters steakhouse business
In line with the group’s strategic intent to extend its presence in the casual dining sector, Famous Brands has entered into a joint venture agreement with the founder-owners of Turn ‘n Tender, the family steakhouse restaurant group started in 1977.
 
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Monday [March 18] that he would be signing regulations to reduce the salt content in several foodstuffs. The draft regulations were published for comment in July 2012.


 Food Trends, Innovation and Marketing
 
When it comes to advertising, celebrity endorsements mean more than you think. A new study looking at Gary Lineker’s appeal as celebrity spokesman for Walkers potato crisps has unveiled some astonishing findings behind this type of food marketing.
 
While jam and marmalade are falling out of flavour among Brits, new market research from Mintel lifts the lid on the nation’s love for peanut butter and chocolate spread – and highlights peanut butter as the rising star in the sweet spreads market.
 
Millennials are leaving indelible footprints on the global marketplace. It is a demographic group that has been the darlings and devils of marketers. How to influence these masters of customisation and self-expression remains a mystery to many. To help crack the Millennials’ path to purchase code, here are five traits to keep in mind.
 
PepsiCo has redesigned its 20-oz Pepsi bottle (591ml) for the first time in 17 years and which will begin rolling out across America in April.
Mobile restaurants are the fastest-growing segment in the American dining industry. It seems like everyone and their brother thinks it might be fun to cook and be their own boss in a repurposed delivery truck. But it is also risky business, with razor-thin margins and a fickle clientele.
 
In case you missed it: Building trust in what we eat
Nearly six out of ten Americans [likely most people! Ed] have little knowledge about food production, according to a new white paper, “Building Trust in What We Eat,” released by Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS) FoodThink. The research is designed for food marketers to better understand the consumer’s lack of knowledge and trust in food production, and how that impacts food company perceptions.

 QPro International

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

 
A largely unremarked milestone was passed recently. A tipping point, if you will. Unlike all the resource peaks that environmentalists keep threatening are imminent, like “peak oil”, this one is good news. We’ve reached “peak farmland”, writes Ivo Vegter, a leading SA environmentalist journalist.
 
The world’s biggest ever study of allergies – spearheaded by the University of Manchester – got underway officially earlier this month. The €9-million project builds on an earlier €14.3-million research study and will involve the worlds leading experts in the UK, Europe, Australia and US. Together they mark the biggest study of food allergy in the world. A key outcome will be a standardised management process for companies involved in food manufacturing.
 
Germany’s Hydrosol, specialist in hydrocolloid stabilising systems, has succeeded in developing combinations of active ingredients to produce yoghurt shakes from reconstituted milk – a great advantage, especially in hot countries where fresh milk is scarce.

Why do people believe scientifically untrue things?

You hear a lot about the politicisation of science, but the real problem is the moralisation of science. New studies make a compelling case that moral differences drive partisan debates over scientific issues, suggesting that what you believe about a scientific debate signals to like-minded people that you are on their side and are therefore a good and trustworthy person. Unfortunately, this means that the factual accuracy of beliefs is somewhat incidental to the process of moral signalling.
 
How cultural stereotypes lure women away from careers in science
Women may be underrepresented in science and technology not because they are less skilled in those areas or because they face specific gender barriers to entering these fields, but because they may find better opportunities elsewhere.
 
In what could be a major change in the method that companies use to extract the sweet steviol glycosides in the stevia plant, US-based Cargill and the Swiss company, Evolva, have agreed to join together to develop fermentation-derived steviol glycosides, which will enable the production of better tasting and less expensive stevia products.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
 
A growing body of evidence suggests that all the antibacterial-wiping, germ-killing cleanliness of the developed world may actually be making us more prone to getting sick — and that a little more dirt might help us stay healthier in the long run.
 
Our Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has raised the ire of many in South Africa on his proposals to place severe curbs on alcohol and an even harsher approach to smoking. Every argument, from the constitutional freedom to economic activity to the rejection of a ‘nanny state’, have been hurled at him from outraged citizens to powerful vested interests. But is he wrong? Maybe not. [Provocative opinion piece by Jay Naidoo. Ed]

Soda myths: The truth about sugar drinks and health
Sugary beverages are not just loaded with calories, they also seem to trigger the genes that predispose some to weight gain, according to 2012 research. But a number of other lingering questions about soda and our health are less black and white: Is diet soda any better for us? Do the bubbles affect bones? And what about high fructose corn syrup? Here are the facts behind some of the biggest claims made about sugary drinks and health.
 
Is algae DHA as healthy as fish Oil DHA?

A review of research earlier this year found mostly good news in this vegetarian source.
 
People think candy bars with green nutrition labels are healthier
No matter how smart we think we are, humanity continues to be fooled by simple marketing tricks. A new study suggests that a green hue can convince you that a candy bar isn’t really that unhealthy.
 
Studies have found that organic baby food does not contain more nutrition than the conventional version. “The variety of foods and nutrients that babies take in will have a much larger impact on their health than whether they’re fed organic or not,” said Tiffani Hays, director of paediatric nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Food bites…2013: Just how worried should we be about
Synthetic Chemicals?

“The chief worry about synthetic chemicals, stoked originally by Rachel Carson in her 1962 book Silent Spring, has traditionally been cancer. Yet as the American Cancer Society notes, ‘Exposure to carcinogenic agents in occupational, community, and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths—about 4% from occupational exposures and 2% from environmental pollutants (man-made and naturally occurring).’
 
   “A recent article the journal Lancet Oncology argued that costly regulatory efforts to reduce exposures to trace amounts of man-made chemicals divert resources from truly effective measures to prevent cancer, such as modifying lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, and sunlight exposure.”
Article in Reason magazine
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Totally Food Events
Brenda NeallPublished weekly as part of www.foodstuffsa.co.za, 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: brenda@foodstuffsa.co.za

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