Newsletter 18 October 2013

Your Newsletter

18 October 2013
 Your weekly food industry news
and insights…
SmartStuff:   “No fine work can be done without concentration and self-sacrifice and toil and doubt.”  
Max Beerbohm, English writer & caricaturist

Editor’s Stuff: Blood on SA’s food industry floor!
In early July, Phil Roux, the new CEO of Pioneer Foods, SA’s third-biggest food company, said in an interview with Moneyweb that his ‘transformational-not-tinkering’ mantra in his new job would be “Seed, weed, feed” – and, indeed, he’s been true to his word.

Pioneer Foods cannot have been a contented workplace in the past few months after the new boss made it known that heads would roll as he went about right-sizing the business – news of which broke this week.

The Pioneer group, said several reports, is embarking on a major job-cutting exercise in bid to cut costs. More than 1 200 of its best-paid staff or 10% of the current workforce, are being put on early retirement, retrenched or redeployed to lower-paid jobs. Pioneer, like many food companies, is struggling in an economic climate where many consumers are feeling the strain and restricting their spending.
This has been confirmed by Pioneer, but with little detail given as the group in closed period with the JSE ahead of its results. Thoughts are with all at Pioneer as they work through what must be a miserable period.
For anyone head hunting talent, you know where to go looking! And if you have any openings available in your company, please contact me to list them on FOODStuff SA’s Jobs pages.
Fabulous SAAFoST’s 20th Biennial International Congress and Expo!
Last week some 500 delegates converged at Pretoria’s CSIR International Convention Centre for this eagerly-awaited three-day congress, the next big SAAFoST event after its exhaustive hosting of IUFoST 2010 in Cape Town in August of that year.
I was in Pretoria for all three days and can attest that it was outstanding in every respect; from the calibre and scope of the presentations (including 28 international speakers), to the impressive expo, the brilliant catering and social-business networking opportunities.  Well done to SAAFoST’s Northern Branch in staging a world-class event!
Congratulations and appreciation of their services must also go to the outgoing and incoming SAAFoST presidents, who handed over the chain of office at the congress: respectively, the respected Stellenbosch University food science academic, Dr Gunnar Sigge, and Kerry Ingredients & Flavour’s flavourist-genius, Ryan Ponquett (pictured).
Enjoy this week’s newsletter!

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor
SAAFFI’s Precise Short Training Courses – 5 November 2013, Gauteng
Flavours & Fragrances – What they are made of & how they are regulated – See more at:
Flavours & Fragrances – What they are made of & how they are regulated – See more at:
  • Flavours & Fragrances – What they are made of & how they are regulated
FOODStuff SA is a hub for food-bev industry recruitment:
look for a job or ad
vertise your company’s positions! Click here

Sensient Food Colors

  Local News and Developments
Shoprite chief executive Whitey Basson has moved beyond blaming the usual suspects of unions and labour legislation for South Africa’s economic woes and has lashed out at the “declining” manufacturing sector for its lack of innovation and competitiveness.

SAB launches SA’s first flavoured beer

In a first for the South African beer category, SAB has introduced a new brand, Flying Fish Premium Flavoured Beer. 

Brand extension for Frankie’s – from soft drinks to ice lollies 
KZN beverage company, Frankie’s, has announced it’s extending the soft drink brand into the realm of frozen treats/snacks, with the launch of a range of ice lollies based on its four top-selling, olde-worlde flavours.

Futurelife launches added-sugar-free Zero version

Futurelife, one of the fastest-growing and credible health brands in the country, has added a ZERO variant to its range of cereals and functional foods.
PepsiCo South Africa has introduced a new 60g Lay’s Munch Bag – a first for Lay’s, and said to be an ideal single-serving size; one that’s not too small and neither too big.
A legendary brand within SA’s white spirits category, Distell has launched two new Mainstay line extensions, a super-premium vodka, Mainstay 54 Island Vodka, as well as a flavoured derivative, Mainstay Fusion.

The chicken run

The foodie world is seduced by the economic-romantic myth of grow-your-own, self-sustaining food production… this delightful essay is a paean to the efficiencies of the modern food industry, but mostly it’s a dig at those SA poultry producers who have clamoured and won government protection at the expense of the consumer.
Spur Corporation, whose brands include Panarottis, John Dory’s and Captain DoRegos, has announced it will be extending its African footprint and open outlets in Swaziland, Nigeria, Tanzania, Namibia and the Seychelles next year.
Forget the Western Cape. Wine farming hits KZN
Leave the mountains and valleys of the Western Cape which are the heart and soul of the South African wine industry and travel north-east towards the green fields of KwaZulu-Natal – where three new vineyards have produced their first vintage.
Twisting, Licking and Dunking her way into our hearts!
South African Oreo Princess, Karabo Magongwa, has taken the world by storm! She’s been voted the ‘cutest kid advert ever’ by leading media company

QPro International

 International Developments

The power of PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi

PepsiCo chair and CEO Indra Nooyi has been placed 2nd in Fortune magazine’s latest ‘Most Powerful Women in Business’ rankings. Two other food industry businesses are represented in the top ten, with Mondelez International chair and CEO, Irene Rosenfeld, at number 6, and Archer Daniels Midland chair, president and CEO, Patricia Woertz, in seventh place.
Food waste ‘one of the great paradoxes of our times’
The 1.3bn tonnes of food wasted throughout the supply chain each year could feed as many as two billion people without any additional impact on the environment, the Food and Agriculture Organisation has said.
Diageo is planning a major re-launch of Guinness in Nigeria, where it sells more of its flagship beer than in any other country, as the drinks giant seeks to accelerate growth throughout Africa.

Haribo ‘Gummi Bear’ tycoon Hans Riegel dies at 90

German Gummi Bear billionaire, Hans Riegel, died Tuesday from heart failure, according to the Haribo candy company that Riegel spent nearly 70 years running. The candy entrepreneur had an estimated net worth of nearly $3 billion when he died. He was divorced with no children.
South Africa is the trial country for a new collaborative social responsibility program launched by the Coca-Cola Company – an initiative to erect thousands of green-tech, community kiosks globally, dubbed EKOCENTERS.

 Trends, Marketing and NPD
Of major importance to the food industry, these four issues are among seven long-term ‘megatrends’, business growth themes that will change everyone’s lives in the coming years and need to be on the investor’s radar screens, both from a risk and opportunity perspective, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
With Diet Coke sales heading south, a senior Coke executive says that many diet foods and beverages “are under a bit of pressure” as consumers question the safety of ingredients.
What’s the worst thing about KFC chicken? No, not the calories – rather the fact that it’s not really designed to be eaten on the go. Well, that was until KFC introduced a new menu item for people who absolutely have to have their fried chicken while driving. The KFC ‘Go Cup’ fits in a car’s cup holder – and is being hailed as a brilliant item of fast food innovation
While the savoury biscuits market is much smaller than that for sweet biscuits/cookies and levels of new product activity are generally much lower, the savoury sector has been showing a stronger growth rate in many countries – driven by increasingly sophisticated and complex flavours, more interesting shapes, improved textures and an increasing focus on health credentials.

Oat cuisine: Britain bowled over by porridge

As the European winter draws nearer, Mintel has drawn attention to the huge popularity of oats porridge in Britain. New research reveals, one in two Brits (49%) are porridge eaters, with a quarter (23%) of users enjoying a bowl almost daily.
Open the nation’s fridges and what do you find? Alongside the ubiquitous two-pinter of semi-skimmed, crumb-infested butter and fast-ageing bag of carrots you will, as likely as not, discover a pack of super-flexible, ultra-tasty chorizo sausage.
Not long ago, beer lived down the pub with the boys. But things are changing. These days it’s often to be found with vodka and embracing tequila. 

Kerry Citrus

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients

If the cork fits…

There’s an increasing amount of evidence that when it comes to sealing wine, corks are – well – a lot of dead wood, argues one of SA’s leading wine authorities, judge and journalist, Michael Fridjhon.
Industrial metal detectors may be old technology, but greater sensitivity, fewer false rejects and ease of use are helping them maintain their relevance in food and beverage inspection.
US: Tempest in a yoghurt cup
It wasn’t the most serious recall to hit the news, but a lot of people took extra interest in the late-August recall of Greek yoghurt products by Chobani. It was in some ways a case history of how a high-flying neophyte can either underestimate the repercussions of any tainted product … or try too hard to protect its brand image. Lessons to be learnt…
Imagine: You can now create french fries and ketchup from THE SAME PLANT. UK and New Zealand companies have both launched viable, commercialised versions of a tomato-come-potato plants for home horticulture.

 Health and Nutrition

Beyond caffeine: the prospects for alternative energy boosters
Around the world, consumer demand for energy-boosting products is at an all-time high. At the centre of the energy craze is one of the world’s oldest and most widely consumed drugs: Caffeine. But a scramble is on to find the next energy-boosting blockbuster.
Hangover remedies abound – with numerous concoctions of foods and drinks ‘guaranteed’ to get the body semi-functional again. One option, however, that pops up frequently in an online search is Sprite. Now, Chinese researchers have found that Sprite may actually be one of the best options for getting over a hangover.

US: NHANES nutrition research may be flawed

A new study published in PLOS ONE shows that four decades of nutrition research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be invalid because the method used to collect the data was flawed. The NHANES is the primary source of data used by researchers studying the impact of nutrition and diet on health.

The not-so-hidden cause behind the ADHD epidemic

Diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have ballooned over the past few decades. Why? It’s doubtful that biological or environmental changes are making physiological differences more prevalent. Instead, the rapid increase in people with ADHD probably has more to do with sociological factors — changes in the way we school our children, in the way we interact with doctors and in what we expect from our kids.

Discovery of virus that ‘eats’ C diff could spell the end for hospital superbug

British scientists have identified a phage virus which ‘eats’ the bacteria that causes the hospital superbug Clostridium difficile, in a breakthrough that could have major implications for the fight against antibiotic resistance.

Peanut butter test could help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease

A dollop of peanut butter and a ruler can be used to confirm a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer’s disease, University of Florida Health researchers have found. 
In case you missed it: Exercise as effective as drugs for treating heart disease, diabetes
The good news about exercise keeps rolling in… Forget the pills — there’s new evidence that exercise may be as effective as medications in treating heart disease and diabetes.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
Have you ever been offered a fancy cheese that smelled more like a used gym sock than something edible? American odour scientists took this idea and ran with it, with their project Synthetic Aesthetics. They used bacteria isolated from human hands, feet, noses, and armpits to generate cheese. 

 Food bites…2013: Food for thought on World Food Day, 15/10/2013

“OF COURSE we would be right to be cautious before buying into the often exaggerated claims made for the latest science, which is often based more on promissory than delivery notes. Suspicion of the claims of science to solve our food problems is well-grounded, as long as it does not descend into knee-jerk dismissals.
“But to forsake the benefits of any radical technological development because we are trapped in an overly simplistic, singular view of what good food means would be a terrible mistake. Science is not the answer to all our prayers but it has to be part of the answer to our food supply problems.

“We need to reach a point where we are neither romantically devoted to traditional, small-scale farming methods nor addicted to technological fixes. We have to be able to determine the roles of both.

“As John P Reganold, professor of soil science and agroecology at Washington Sate University, put it when assessing the merits of organics: ‘a blend of farming approaches is needed for future global food and ecosystem security’.

“There are many ways in which food can be good or bad, and we cannot afford to pretend that we can get all that we want without getting some of what we don’t. Just as a healthy body needs a balanced diet, so a healthy attitude to food production means balancing different goods and not allowing one to become the master virtue, denying the claims of all others.

“Like children who are told to eat up their greens, we have to accept that we sometimes have to swallow things that we find unpalatable, for our own good and that of the world.”

Julian Baggini, British philosopher, writer, leading UK intellectual
 Bidfood Solutions
Swift Micro Labs
Par Excellance
Professional Career Services
Fenris Personnel
The HR Company
ProCert Southern Africa

Progress Excellence

Fenris Personnel


Totally Food Events
Brenda NeallPublished weekly as part of and, 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 and DRINKStuff SA, websites with reams of pertinent and interesting stuff about FMCG food-beverage manufacture from farm gate to retail shelf, are published and edited by Brenda Neall. For editorial and advertising matters, contact her at: [email protected]