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Newsletter 8 March 2013

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8 March 2013 | Your weekly food industry news and insights…                                                                 
SmartStuff:   “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”
Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born American inventor

Sensient Food Colors

 
Editor’s Stuff: Kerry goes shopping in SA, again!
 
In a deal that underlines its commitment to serving customers within South Africa and the whole EMEA region, Kerry Ingredients & Flavours has acquired Cape Town-based Orley Foods, a leading manufacturer and supplier of sweet ingredient solutions to food manufacturers and foodservice providers in South Africa.
 
A family business for many years with an impressive pedigree and product range, Orley was bought some five or six years ago by the private equity Libstar group which boasts a stable of entrepreneurial food companies.
 
The deal follows close on the heels of Kerry’s buyout last year, announced at about the same time, of Durban-based FlavourCraft.
 
 
We are surely seeing a trend here, as international companies are apparently keen to entrench and expand an African footprint, and are moving in and buying stakes, or all, of local companies, particularly in food ingredients and food safety/auditing arenas. It’s a sign of an encouraging confidence in SA’s business prospects and political future.
 
With another new deal – the UK’s Intertek buying FSA – also announced this week and detailed below, here’s a list of some of the recent deals, locally and internationally-based, that are changing the SA food industry landscape:

Kerry Citrus

  Local News and Developments
 
Clover has announced the acquisition of of several Nestlé bottled water assets – in a joint venture deal that will see the latter maintain a 30% holding in the new entity. The R58m deal includes a Gauteng-based Doornkloof property, a bottled water manufacturing facility and water rights.
 
Intertek, the leading UK quality solutions provider to industries worldwide, has acquired FSA – Food Safety Assessment, a leading food assurance company, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. This acquisition expands Intertek’s capacity to provide auditing, certification and training services for food producers and manufacturers in South Africa and the Sub-Saharan region.
 
SABMiller has announced a $40-million investment in a new 260,000 hectolitre brewery in Okahandja, Namibia (71kms north of Windhoek) as part of its strategy to expand its operations across Africa. It expects to break ground on the new site in early April and to be operational in the latter half of 2014.
 
The meat labelling scandal continues to leave a bitter taste in consumers’ mouths – and it has been followed with more bad news with a newly published study proving that biltong is also prone to fraud, especially when it comes to game variants of SA’s best-loved snack.
 
Walmart revolt still coming?
When Walmart came into South Africa through its 51% acquisition of Massmart in 2011 there was near-hysteria about lower prices and changes to the retail landscape… But the retail environment has not shifted much, other than competitors having improved their systems and honed their sourcing.
 
Playing on the global craze for smart phones, SA’s two leading fruit juice players have become embarked on humourous tit-for-tat, pun-rich marketing campaigns for two special edition launches – it’s Liqui-Fruit BlackBerry vs Ceres Apple!
 
A proliferation of cooking schools and classes across the country; a spurt of specialist food markets across SA and a  new-found taste for the exotic. Is South Africa turning into a foodie nation? 
 

The NPM Calculator, which is basically a software application, will likely be used in South Africa to determine whether a food product may make any kind of health claim on its label.



 International News & Developments
 
At a time when agricultural experts are getting hot under the collar about an Indian village whose claims to be smashing rice-growing records have been extolled here and debunked here, it is useful to have a cool global appraisal of the state of GM crops, traditionally seen as most likely source of a new green revolution or (alternatively) as a disaster in embryo.
 
Coca-Cola Great Britain has announced that it is taking further action to be part of the solution to the global problem of obesity. The move includes the launch of a new, reduced calorie Sprite in the UK from this month that will contain 30% fewer calories and, instead of being added as a mid-calorie addition to the Sprite range, it will completely replace the current Sprite.
Step up’ on obesity before regulators bite, says Mars chief
Candy makers must take responsibility to tackle obesity and should act before regulators force their hands, says Mars Chocolate North America’s president.
 
The gift that branding endowed humanity with was the suspension of caveat emptor. Buyers no longer had to be constantly on their guard, so long as that trademark was there; trust was extended because consumers knew the brand-owner would suffer if it were broken. Look what’s happening now…
 
This past Sunday, the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story on the notion of “food addiction,” claiming that food companies make food that is just too good. The article is a publicity-generating excerpt from a new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, just released. With it, most commentators say, the food-bev industries can expect the pressure to rise yet again as the political, media, and cultural elite work through its pages.

 QPro International

 Food Trends, Innovation and Marketing
 
Very stylish item of innovation for the wine industry… out of California comes The Vini, offering fine wines by the glass and sleekly packaged in a glass tube as a 187ml serving, equivalent to 1/4 of a regular-size bottle of wine. At 25cm tall and 5cm wide, this container offers a very gracious pour in a unique package.
 
In a novel experiment with food provenance, leading UK manufacturer, Walkers, is to make crisps using real meat and cheese. Not everyone is pleased…
 
One of our oldest foods, the bacterial ferment of cow’s milk has been reinvented in America as a health product bordering on panacea, to wit the extraordinary success of thick, protein-rich Greek yoghurt. Now comes a new take on yoghurt – what one commentator calls ‘Brogurt’, or the “new Greek yogurt specifically suited to address the unique health and nutrition needs of the most neglected consumers in the category: men…”
 
Tiger Brands has unveiled its latest innovation – Oros Pops – leveraging the trusted and well-known brand, Oros, into the confectionery category.
 
Bokomo’s Werda brand brings home the taste of Latin America with its new Spicy Mexican Bean Salad. This quick and easy salad allows more time with family and less time in the kitchen with a simple snip of the bag.
 
How do you measure the success of an innovation? Sales results achieved is the obvious answer – and flowing on from that, profits. But given that markets, business and products all evolve over time, a key part of the usefulness of any measurement of innovation is not just what you measure, but when you measure it.

 Food Science, Technology and Ingredients Stuff

 
A new report into the food colours market combining market expertise from Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research reveals that, for the first time in 2011, the value of natural colours has overtaken that of artificial/synthetic colours globally.
 
Are people exposed to doses of bisphenol A in their canned foods and other consumer products that can harm them? Or are the amounts too low to cause any harm? Scientists continue to disagree.
 
To keep a growing world population filled with nutrients, startups like Beyond Eggs are finding new ways of making protein that don’t involve the resource intensity of raising animals. Here comes the Protein Economy.
 
New whey-based food
A Greek food scientist and his team, after spending years studying the make-up of whey protein, the plentiful by-product of cheese production, has devised a new food: whey protein cake that has multiple beneficial properties. 
 
When it comes to the right shopping bag, paper is often thought of as the greener choice. This intuition is actually “environmental folklore”, according to Australian design and sustainability consultant, Leyla Acaroglu, speaker at the recent prestigious TED2013 conference in the US.
 
A Belgian company, Ecover, long-time producer of a range of green cleaning products, has embarked on an ambitious project to reclaim plastic trawled from the sea and create fully sustainable and recyclable plastic bottles.
 
FACTS has recently optimised an animal species screening method which allows the detection of up to 24 different animal species in a single reaction, significantly reduce the costs and labour required to ensure product authenticity.

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
 
If you do, you fly in the face of mounting and incontrovertible evidence that some calories – in particular, “sugar calories” – are jeopardising both your and your family’s health. Physicians and politicians who cling to the dogma that “all calories should be treated equally” imperil our future… So says ardent “anti-sugarman”, Dr Robert Lustig who, in this article, explains his latest published research on sugar’s role in global diabetes.
 
The Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) has released a report recommending a new, advanced method for assessing the quality of dietary proteins. The report, “Dietary protein quality evaluation in human nutrition’, recommends that the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) replace the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) as the preferred method of measuring protein quality.
 
It’s news chocolate lovers have been craving: raw cocoa may be packed with brain-boosting compounds. Alas, you won’t find too many of them in your favourite chocolate bar but the science on cocoa’s flavanol content is looking very interesting…
 
Diabetes costs the US $245-billion a year says new report
Diagnosed diabetes cost the US an estimated $245-billion in 2012, according to new research released by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) this week. The new figure represents a 41% rise in five years.
 
Viruses can make you fat — and your dirty-fingered friends can give these viruses to you. That is the punch line — a known truth about the world. The set-up, though, is longer in the telling. It begins with a boy named Nikhil living in India.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
 
‘Beer goggles’, the phenomenon used to explain how a few stiff drinks can transform the plainest face into something much more attractive, has been revealed as a myth by a brain expert.

 Food bites…2013: The War on Sugar: Is Coke ditching of sugary Sprite in UK for stevia makeover a sign?

“Look, what’s going down in the UK is a big deal, the news that Coca-Cola is removing sugar from its ‘regular’ version of Sprite soda and replacing it with the ‘natural’ sweetener Stevia. I know a few Sprite fans here in the states who might go ballistic if Coke tried that here. And yet, that might be exactly what’s coming.
   “C’mon, it’s clear that Coca-Cola and other beverage players are facing enormous pressure from global groups and governments to stop with the sugary drink stuff and start taking a stand against obesity. There are proposals here and around the world plotting taxes and bans against products produced by Coke.
   “The fact is, many in the consumer and political activist community point to Coca-Cola Co. as chief among perpetrators who have helped to fatten-up America. This tsunami of blame is rolling towards Atlanta and Coca-Cola’s decision to dump ‘Full Fat’ Sprite in the UK is an amazing recognition by the company that it might be losing the battle waged against it in the War on Sugar.
   “It’s just one brand, Sprite, and its not cola, so it’s probably not time for soda lovers to freak out. But the UK Sprite-Stevia makeover may well be a harbinger of what’s to come in the beverage aisle.
Bob Messenger, Editor, The Morning Cup, foremost US food industry commentator

 * * * * * *
“Sugar in excess is a toxin, unrelated to its calories. The dose determines the poison. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not. And the food industry has put us way over our limit.
   “The food industry will summon their spin doctors. They will yet again argue that the statistics are wrong, the interpretation is too broad — but they will not be able to effectively refute the science. They haven’t yet, and they won’t succeed now. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and it’s shining brightly on the food industry’s practices. They will continue the propaganda, and try to sow the seeds of doubt. But they will be on the losing end of this battle.
   “The UK and Australia have just this past week laid down stricter guidelines for sugar consumption. The people and scientists of the United States are onto them as well. It’s just a matter of time before the politicians follow.”
Robert Lustig, MD, ardent anti-sugar advocate, Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF, and
President of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition
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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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