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Newsletter 8 April 2011

PolyPET
8 April 2011 | Your weekly food industry news and insights….
SmartStuff: “The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust
Bidfood Solutions

Editor’s Stuff: What possessed I&J?!
They say any publicity is good publicity, but the big question I’ve been asking this week is why a venerable old food company, a dab food marketer and brand builder, set upon a very expensive, and now failed, copycat product launch? Yes, I’m referring to the Sea Harvest versus I&J case that’s been much in the news this week and last.

Sea Harvest Oven CrispWhat on earth possessed I&J to launch a product that was a near facsimile of its major rival’s long-time best-seller? It lost the first round in court, and was further humiliated in a failed appeal of this decision. I&J Oven CrunchAll this has done is enrich a team of lawyers, boosted Sea Harvest as the aggrieved party, no doubt incurred major costs for failed NPD, product recall, packaging scuppering, a new development budget… a business disaster surely, or so it appears from the outside perspective.

How did such a decision passed senior management muster? “Passing off”, while unfortunately prevalent, has to be the ultimate in deadbeat and derelict creativity and innovation. Read all about the final verdict in this case here.

Enjoy this week’s read – there are, as every week, great stories and insights!

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor

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Local Food Industry Stuff

Danisco’s growth in South Africa has been nothing short of phenomenal in the past five years or so – and mirroring this success has been the official opening of its new and very world-class Innovation Centre in Cape Town.

The Consumer Goods Council of SA (CGCSA) has announced the appointment of its new head of the Food Safety Initiative (FSI) business unit, following the departure of Dr Lucia Anelich at the end of 2010.

Kraft has launched Stimorol TasteTwist – a flavour-changing gum in SA. Says the company: “This April, SA’s number one sugar-free chewing gum brand has launched the most exciting chewing gum advancement yet. Stimorol TasteTwist gives consumers the chance to experience a unique, sequential flavour change from fruit to mint.”
Snackworks, owner of iconic South African brands such as Bakers and Williard, has unveiled new and refreshed modernised packaging for all its products. At a gala evening held at The Venue in Melrose Arch, the company also also showcased new advertising strategies for the various brands.

Mondi Group has unveiled a plan to spin off its South African packaging operations to give both businesses the flexibility to pursue different opportunities. Mondi Packaging South Africa (MPSA) produces a variety of paper and plastic packaging products used across the South African food and drinks industry including bottles, fast food containers, cereal boxes and fruit boxes.

While poachers risk life and liberty extracting abalone off the shores of Hermanus, the pricey delicacy is being produced in tons not far away by Abagold, an SA aquaculture success story. Two decades ago this company helped pioneer what has become the world’s largest cultured abalone industry. It is so successful that a private equity firm, Inspired Evolution, has just pumped R52,5m into it.

Govt eyes overhaul of alcohol industry
If the government gets its way, the alcohol industry could be in for a massive overhaul. But whether the strict new regulations being proposed will be implemented effectively and result in less harmful drinking remains to be seen.

Enviropack

International Food Industry News
San Francisco food giant, Diamond Foods, has bought Pringles from Procter & Gamble in a $2.3 billion deal, making it the world’s second-largest snack company behind PepsiCo.

A US government advisory panel says there is no proof that foods with artificial colourings cause hyperactivity in most children and there is no need for these foods to carry special warning labels.

Fast food chain KFC is to stop frying chicken in palm oil. The company says it is removing the vegetable oil from deep fat friers to gain a “double benefit” by reducing climate change and heart disease.

Fears that almost 500,000 tonnes of cocoa beans stored in warehouses in the Ivory Coast would deteriorate are now subsiding with the perception that a political resolution is imminent in the cocoa growing country, according to Rabobank.
Unilever serves warning on novel foods failure
Research and development (R&D) champion Unilever has voiced deep disappointment and frustration over the collapse of talks reviewing the 1997 EU Novel Foods Regulation, claiming it will hamper food and drink manufacturers’ innovation plans.
UK: Rise of organic food stalled by recession
A £100m hole was knocked in sales of organic food last year as shoppers opted for cheaper produce in the economic downturn.

Verni Superflor

Food Trends & Marketing
A little late in the day, but never too late! Advertising agency, JWT’s annual 100 Things to Watch list for 2011 does contain some items of food-bev interest. This entertaining slide show is a wide-ranging compilation of things that reflect broader global trends and shifts that the ad network has been tracking over the past few years; from pop culture, sports, architecture, to fashion and all important, digital technology.

According to Innova Market Insights, vitamin K-2 appears to be the next big thing in functional foods as evidence has grown about its beneficial role in bone and cardiovascular health.

Sugar is currently the most-loathed (and enjoyed!) demon in the health and wellness arena. Join The Hartman Group as it explores the numbers behind the decline of the once-beloved sweetener and the rising popularity of its toothsome alternatives in its latest infographic.

Packaging is a first and last potential means of communicating your brand’s efforts in sustainability, as consumers “meet” the product on shelves, and dispose of them at the product’s end of life. View this slideshow to understand how consumers understand sustainability and what they’re looking for on your packaging.

Australia’s cigarette war over shocking pack rules
Australia has unveiled the world’s toughest tobacco advertising legislation, which – if it survives a legal challenge by the industry – will force all cigarettes to be sold in plain, olive-green packs covered in health warnings. [They say food will be the next ‘tobacco’ war – hence it’s of interest here. Ed]

Consulting in Food Labelling

Health & Nutrition Stuff

The cost and inaccessibility of healthier food choices are forcing the greater majority of South Africans into an unhealthy lifestyle – it costs on average 69% more to eat healthier food, says a new study on nutrition in SA by specialist researchers.

A new pathway has been discovered that links a common dietary lipid – phosphatidyl choline (also called lecithin) – and intestinal microflora with an increased risk of heart disease, according to a Cleveland Clinic study published in the latest issue of Nature.

Genetic changes behind sweet tooth
The substance ghrelin plays an important role in various addictions, such as alcoholism and binge-eating. It also impacts on sugar consumption.

The effects of fast food go far beyond nutrition and health. You don’t have to consume fast food to be the target of some of its most insidious effects. A team of Toronto researchers has found even incidental and unconscious exposure to the fast-food symbols all around us makes people feel time-stressed and impatient in settings far outside the eating domain.

Weird, Whacky & Wonderful Stuff

America is obsessed with bacon. There’s bacon chocolate, bacon salt, bacon popcorn, baconaise and yes, even BaconAir. The latest step down the bacon-crazed path is to smell like bacon and thus Bacōn Perfume/Cologne (pronounced ba-cone), by Fargginay, was born.

Coffee is astonishingly popular, the third most-consumed drink in the world after water and tea, and the second most-traded (legal) commodity after oil. Here’s a wonderful ‘consideration’ of coffee, its history and place in society…

What was created as a novelty item last year has now been added to a popular New York restaurant menu permanently. The ‘Serendipity Foot Long Haute Dog’ – sexied up with the food equivalent of diamonds and pearls – was admitted into the Guinness World Records last year for being the most expensive hot dog in the world, at $69.

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Published every Friday 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… fast, fresh and full of additives!
Brenda NeallFOODStuff SA is published and edited by Brenda Neall.

brenda@foodstuffsa.co.za

Food bites… Managing business in an increasingly volatile world

Some years back I asked Gavin Neath, then chairman of Unilever UK and now Unilever’s senior vice president for sustainability, whether life in food and drink manufacture was more complicated now than in the past, his response was: “It’s a conceit of every generation of managers to believe the change they are managing is greater than their predecessors.”

I’m sure he was right. But, given the speed at which catastrophic developments around the world can impact on what we do combined with the speed with which social networking is influencing public reaction to these events, it is a wise manager that has contingency plans in place to help cope with the unexpected.

Perhaps we should keep in mind the words of French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.”

Rick Pendrous, editor of Food Manufacture Magazine, UK

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