Newsletter 29 July 2011

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 29 July 2011 | Your weekly food industry news and insights….
SmartStuff:   “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”   Oliver Wendell Holmes, US Supreme Court Justice (1841-1935)

Bidfood Solutions
Editor’s Stuff: McDonald’s announces a new “healthier” makeover
It’s interesting how often McDonald’s is in the headlines. On my small website alone, a search reveals that I have reported on dozens of issues involving the fast-food icon. It’s definitely true: McDonald’s sneezes and the media jumps.

This week was no different with the announcement that McDonald’s Happy Meals are getting their fat and calories trimmed, part of the company’s new plan, dubbed  “Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices”, to add healthier choices and “clean up” up its menu.

The seemingly ubiquitous Happy Meals that have drawn the ire of health advocates and have been blamed for contributing to childhood obesity, will carry apple slices, reduced portion of french fries and a choice of beverage, including new fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low-fat white milk.

More interesting than the news itself, however, has been the reaction from the so-called “food police” and the reaction to their reaction. “It’s a small step, but I’m not impressed,” said über food policewoman, Marion Nestle, who always offers great insights and comment, even if you don’t agree with her.

“Rather than praise corporations like McDonald’s for such meaningless and most likely temporary ‘improvements’ let’s call them out for the distractions they are. We can at least celebrate that years of advocacy efforts to curb marketing to children is causing McDonald’s to take notice, as lame as it is,” writes an opinion piece on Food Safety News. A heated debate just got hotter!

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Kerry Ingredients

 Local Food Industry News

SA’s food producers are a feisty lot. Instead of fearing Walmart’s much maligned policy of sourcing cheap imports they are unanimous in their opinion: bring on the competition, reports MoneyWeb.

South Africa’s confectionery sales climbed over 19 percent between 2006 and 2010, notes a recent overview of the country’s sweets and chocolate market by Leatherhead Food Research. Value sales of sugar confectionery, gum and chocolate in South Africa were worth R10.44bn in 2010, it says, adding market growth has been helped by World Cup 2010.


Food Trends, NPD and Marketing

A recent webinar from The Hartman Group explores beverage trends, ingredients and applications. While this 27-minute video presentation delves into the American market and trends that will significantly impact that marketplace in 2012, it also has much broader relevance and will be of interest to South African beverage makers and marketers, and indeed, to those everywhere.

Women are all the rage in the drinks industry, it would appear. With product launches in beer, soft drinks and spirits targetting the fairer sex, the female of the species is in the spotlight. The critics are not impressed. So what are some of these beverages and why do they have the critics spitting…?

Acid phosphate: an old staple from the soda fountain era when phosphated sodas were all the rage. The likes of a refreshing cherry phosphate all but disappeared in the 1950s. Today, the ingredient that creates a tongue-tingling sensation and dry, tart flavour has returned.

Trying out the Coca-Cola Freestyle
Cool gadgets, shopping technology and e-readers are all fine and well, but the important question is what will be the overall impact on the way we work, live, play and eat. Will Coke’s new Freestyle machine, which is currently in testing phase in several regional US marketplaces, pass this test? Freestyle is a beverage dispenser that allows customers in fast food settings to create more than 100 customised beverages by interacting with an (not so) intuitive touch-screen interface.
Dessert is an indulgent end to any meal; however, we are moving beyond the basic ice cream and cake to discover sweet, savoury and tasty treats that tempt the palate. Click through to this image gallery to see what’s trending in desserts.
Kiwi company, EverEdge IP, reports it is finding international success licensing plastic packaging technology to Danone, the world’s biggest yoghurt maker, for its innovative CrushPak packaging concept which allows consumers to squeeze product straight into their mouths.

 Verni Superflor

International News

Cornish pasties, the packed lunches that came into their own as meals for tin and copper miners in the 17th century, can now only be made in Cornwall. Coming from anywhere else makes them mere pasties.

The Plumpy’Nut, a staple of international famine relief, is being sent to help save 3.5 million people at risk of starving to death in Somalia. The UN World Food Programme has airlifted 14 tonnes of the highly enriched “therapeutic” peanut butter to Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

In a reportedly surprising move this week, and one which will surely be popular with consumers, EU food regulators have proposed new regulations, effective 2015, that would make it mandatory to relabel bacon as “bacon with added water” if it contains more than 5% added water.

If you want a Greek growth story, here’s one that’s not about debt and defaulting – but it’s set in New York and we’re talking Greek yoghurt. One of the best-selling foods in American grocery stores is back in the news…

French agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire has threatened to boycott this year’s Anuga trade show after a decision to stop foie gras producers from exhibiting at the event.

Solae up for sale, sources say
DuPont and Bunge are seeking to sell St Louis-based Solae, their joint soy ingredients venture. Solae management this month began meeting with potential bidders, including private-equity funds and European strategic buyers.
UK: Tinned food giant John West agrees to switch to greener fishing
John West is the last of the major UK tuna industry players to announce a shift to greener fishing methods.
How food explains the world
From China’s strategic pork reserve to a future where insects are the new white meat, 10 reasons we really are what we eat…. The food in our mouths defines us in far more fundamental and visceral terms than the gas in our tanks or the lines on a map. So it’s not surprising that the most important questions of global politics often boil down to: What should we eat?

Savannah Fine Chemicals

 Food Science, Sustainability and Ingredients

There are a lot of myths out there about organic foods … Now, before I get yelled at too much, let me state unequivocally that I’m not saying organic farming is bad – far from it. There are some definite upsides and benefits that come from many organic farming methods. My goal, instead, is to bust the worst of the myths that surround them. In particular, there are four myths thrown around like they’re real that just drive me crazy…

Flying in the face of years of scientific belief, University of Illinois researchers have demonstrated that sugar doesn’t melt, it decomposes. This discovery is important to food scientists and candy lovers because it will give them yummier caramel flavours and more tantalizing textures.

A team led by University of Maryland School of Medicine Institute for Genome Sciences researchers has unraveled the genomic code of the E. coli bacterium that caused the ongoing deadly outbreak in Germany that began in May 2011.

Pasta could get fibre boost without affecting quality, say researchers
The addition of certain dietary fibres to pasta could offer health benefits without affecting the quality of final products, according to new research on durum wheat pasta.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff

Does pouring plain old tap water into fancy bottles make it taste better? Yes. Penn & Teller, eccentric American comedians and magicians who also specialise in BS-busting, prove this in an entertaining show inside a southern California restaurant featuring a water sommelier who dispenses extravagant water menus to patrons. However, the point of this post is to show how taste can be dramatically affected by suggestions and expectations.

This is certainly a bottle of wine to save for a very special occasion. This precious bottle of 1811 Château d’Yquem this week became the world’s most valuable bottle of white wine, after it was sold for £75 000.

World’s 50 most delicious foods
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food,” George Bernard Shaw said. Judging by the number of amazing dishes out there, he was right. But which are the tastiest? CNN has scoured the planet for what it thinks are 50 of the most delicious foods ever created. No doubt some of them will be surprising…

Food bites… Swatting back at the Food Police

“In an unwarranted hystrionic rage Food Police captains like Marion Nestle lash out at McDonalds for co-opting the undefinable term “healthy” in their advertising (geez, maybe Food Police should have trademarked the nebulous term to protect it?).
   Predictably, Food Police unleash their proud bigotry, railing against the “cheapness” of the food and the utter stupidity of the working classes who are believed to consume it. This is the special contribution of journalism professor Micheal “food is too cheap’ Pollan – a trendy loathing pity for the poor, obese clods who consume “cheap” food; a bigoted condemnation humanely, charitably stopping just short of blaming.
   The blame, you see, is reserved for…wait for it…corporations. Evil, efficient, effective, enterprising corporations like McDonalds and hundreds of others who operate successfully and profitably while at the same time feeding and nourishing us all.”

Doc Mudd, commenting on Food Safey News. Read more

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Published 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!


Brenda NeallFOODStuff SA is published and edited by Brenda Neall.

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