Issue 14: 7 November 2008
'Everything is always impossible before it works. That is what entrepreneurs are all about – doing what people have told them is impossible.'R. Hunt Greene, US venture capitalist
Food for thought. . . We ate better then? We did?'Dietary scaremongers have monopolized the public's attention. Sure, there have been some changes between modern meals and those of our grandparents. But overall nutrition in the '50s and '60s (when there were half as many restaurants and far fewer convenience foods) was far from superior to our own. Fifty years ago, most Americans ate a high-fat, high-cholesterol and high-sugar diet.'
Trice Whitefield, writing in the 7/30/08 NewsOK.com.
Food Industry News
SA: Tiger Brands sells off Sea HarvestTiger Brands will facilitate the largest black economic empowerment (BEE) deal so far in the country's fishing industry, with news that it had received a R541-million cash offer from a consortium led by Brimstone, which included key members of Sea Harvest management, to acquire Tiger Brands' 73,16% stake in its partly-owned subsidiary, Sea Harvest. Read more
SA: Wine prices at record lowsIn real terms, South African wine lovers have never found wine "cheaper" than it is today. In the short term consumers may smile, but commentators warn that the heady potion, just like the wine producers' cash flow, could evaporate if current economic conditions in the industry persist much longer. The reason for the low prices is an oversupply on global
markets, which is filtering through to the South African marketplace as well. Read more
US: PepsiCo plans $1 billion China investmentPepsiCo plans to invest $1 billion in China over the next four years. "This is our largest investment in China in the nearly 30 years we have been doing business here, and it is consistent with our broader global strategy of investing in high-growth developing markets," CEO Indra Nooyi said. Read more
US: World's scariest stock: StarbucksWhen you spot this shady character strutting toward your front steps, you'll see why this is one trick-or-treater for whom you won't want to open your door. For the second year running, the scariest Halloween costume imaginable is a Starbucks stock certificate. Read more
US: Can Coca-Cola grow and shrink at the same time?Can a company grow and shrink at the same time? That's what Coca-Cola is trying to do. Like every big company, Coke wants to grow its revenues and profits. It also wants to reduce its environmental footprint. Is this possible? The answer is probably not, at least not right
now. Read more
US: Coca-Cola sets goals for cutting water use and emissionsCoca-Cola has committed itself to a 20% improvement in water efficiency over 2004 levels in its worldwide operations by 2012, saving about 50 billion liters of fresh water over projected use that year. Read more.
US Consumers cut organics when budgets are tightOrganic food, which has been growing by 20% over the past few years, slowed to 4% growth compared with a year ago for the four weeks ending Oct 4. The weak economy is prompting many customers to choose which marketing claim, if any, is worth paying higher prices. Read more
US: Will economy eat Whole Foods' organic lunch?Marketing experts in many categories are closely watching Whole Foods as a bellwether of organic performance, to see if the widespread acceptance that organic products have earned with consumers holds up in tough economic times. A recent analysis by Nielsen reports that organic sales now total $4.7 billion, with dollar sales up 23% and unit sales up 20% compared with a year ago. But as the economy worsens and grocery prices continue to rise, that growth has slowed. Read more
US: InBev struggles to hold Bud deal togetherStella Artois owner InBev may be struggling to hold its £32.8bn Anheuser-Busch takeover together – but it has already started a £4bn auction of bits of the American brewer that it doesn't want. Chief among assets under the hammer is Orlando's Sea-World and eight other theme parks still owned by AB and said to be worth £1.7bn.
UK: Indian farmer suicides not GM related, says studySuicides among Indian farmers have not increased as a result of the introduction of GM crops, according to a large scientific study. The finding runs counter to arguments often cited by NGOs in the country such as Gene Campaign that oppose GM crops. They say that the supposed hike in suicides is a tragic social consequence of farmers being forced into debt as a result of growing the crops. Read more
UK: Natural-born industry killersIngredients suppliers say demand for 'natural' ingredients is causing major supply issues The supermarkets' thirst for all things 'natural' is theatening food safety and the environment and driving up costs, without offering consumers any meaningful benefits, ingredients suppliers have warned. Read more
US: Singles are finding smart ways to keep food from going down the drainThe life expectancy of many food products frequently becomes a race against the clock for many shoppers who only cook for one person. This often-overlooked inconvenience affects a wide range of people, from college-age bachelors to divorced singles to widowed elderly. For these individuals, expired and wasted food can be costly.
UK: 'Leftovers can save Brits billions'British workers spend £5.5 billion on shop-bought lunches each year while leaving almost the same value of food at home to waste, according to a study. Read more
UK: Recycling waste piles up as prices collapseThousands of tonnes of rubbish collected from household recycling bins may have to be stored in warehouses and former military bases to save them from being dumped after a collapse in prices. Read more
ASIA: Report details rising demand for Asian shark finThe rising demand for shark fin soup in Asia is spurring illegal fishing and contributing to a plunge in stocks, according to a report on Monday. Read more
EU: Spanish scientists make biofuel from olive stonesSpanish scientists at the universities of Jaen and Granada have developed a method of making biofuel from the stones of olives, a scientific journal has reported. Read more
EU: Bans and safety issues: the nanotech debate heats upNanomaterials should be assessed individually to determine their impact on human cells and the environment, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) asserts. Read more
US: Unilever's Promise takes a shot at blood pressureAbout 73 million Americans have high blood pressure – that's the background. Thirty years ago, Unilever dedicated the Promise brand of spreads to “heart-healthier eating.” In July 2007, the company took the brand into new territory with Promise Activ SuperShots, little 100ml bottles of a fruit and yoghurt blend that contained natural plant sterols, ingredients that are clinically proven to help remove cholesterol.
Unilever has tweaked that formulation to focus on blood pressure, specifically on “closing the potassium gap” that can lead to high blood pressure. The result is Promise SuperShots for blood pressure. Read more
Diet and Nutrition
What should people eat? The long road to new guidelines…How time flies. It seems only yesterday that the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released, followed by the revamped Food Pyramid with its exciting vertical stripes and cute little steps up the side to remind us that we need to exercise in addition to not eating like hogs. Read more
Probiotics: are they more hype than help?Are probiotics really all they’re cracked up to be? The jury’s still out. Few of the hundreds of products on the market — yogurts, smoothies, cereals and dietary supplements, for example — have actually been clinically tested for their effectiveness in easing gastrointestinal ills. And many of the new foods and beverages that claim to be probiotics may not contain enough of the types of bacteria that have been proven in studies to deliver health benefits. Read more
I'll find a minister for healthy eating, says Jamie OliverBritain needs a dedicated minister for food to prevent an obesity "horror show" from enveloping the country, Jamie Oliver has warned MPs. Read more
Babies are OK after light drinking in pregnancyA light tipple during pregnancy is OK after all, according to a large study – but it's more likely to be because of the silver spoon in your child's mouth than the alcohol in your glass. Read more
Jury still out on diet-disease linkScientists agree that a balanced diet is key to good health and that eating well can prevent diseases such as diabetes. But research is not conclusive about illnesses not directly related to nutrition, such as cancer, AIDS or neurodegenerative diseases. Read more
Food allergies in adults are over-reported, says studyHalf of the reported food allergies amongst adults are not food allergies at all, says a new study from Germany. According to a paper published in the journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, between 10 and 20 per cent of people see themselves as suffering from a food allergy, but the real figure may be half this. Read more
Not your garden-variety tomatoRaspberries, strawberries, cranberries, … and tomatoes? Researchers have now engineered a tomato that has the same antioxidants that give berries their red and purple shades and nutritional punch. And at least in mice, these supertomatoes seem to aid in the fight against cancer. Read more
Tricking the brainFlavour modulators stimulate specific pathways into the brain. Read more
That's it for this week, folks!
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