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Issue 2: 18 July 2008

 

FOODStuff SA – Weekly Ezine July 18

 Food for thought . . . .
It's not the mountains you climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.
Muhammad Ali

"Coke is, of course, more than bottled sugar water, just like Levi's is more than pants and iPod is more than a hard drive. Coca-Cola has woven itself so skillfully through popular culture around the world that it is a series of images and ideas as much as a drink."

Phil Kloer, Atlanta Journal Constitution


Food News

US: InBev and Anheuser-Busch agree to combine

InBev and Anheuser-Busch have entered into an agreement to combine the two companies. Anheuser-Busch shareholders will receive $70 per share in cash for an aggregate equity value of $52 billion. The combined company will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev. Read more

US: Winners of the 2008 IFT Food Expo Innovation Awards

At the recent 2008 IFT Food Expo, annual Innovation Awards were announced. They were judged on the degree of innovation, technical advancement, benefits to food manufacturers and consumers, and scientific merit. Winners included a frying system for donuts, a speedy protein analyzer, an oxygen scavenging system for pack shelf life, and new high pressure processing equipment.
    Only companies exhibiting at the 2008 expo were eligible. IFT was founded in 1939 and is based in Chicago. It is a not-for-profit international scientific society with 22 000 members working in food science, technology and related professions in the industry, academia and government. Read more 1; Read more 2

US: FDA unlikely to trace 'smoking gun'

It is highly likely that the source of the recent salmonella outbreak linked to raw tomatoes will not be traceable, claims the US Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Read more

US: Salmonella outbreak now the largest in US history

When and where will this seemingly never ending nightmare end? In order to protect our food supply, we must address vulnerability gaps in our current system at any point along the distribution chain up to the consumer that would allow accidental contamination of fresh produce. Read more

ImageUK: Online junk-food ads 'targeting children'

Online ad campaigns for products such as Fanta have appeared in the six months since they were banned from terrestrial TV during children's programming. Children are continuing to be targeted by junk food companies advertising their products over the internet or through "viral" promotions, despite a ban on television adverts promoting unhealthy food to the under-16s. Read more

UK: Brown 'wrong-headed' over waste, says Tesco boss

The chief executive of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, has called Gordon Brown's recent attack on food waste "well-meaning but wrong-headed". In an interview today in The Independent on Sunday, he dismisses allegations that the £51,8bn supermarket chain wastes food, encourages binge drinking and is destroying the face of rural England.
Read more

ImageSA: Blazing the peri-peri trail to US shores

Nando's, South Africa's iconic chicken brand, is celebrating its 21st birthday in style with the opening of its first restaurant in the US, sited at 819 7th Street Washington DC. Read more

Health and Nutrition

Who are you calling fat? We are bigger than ever, but think we're thinner

We are getting fatter but we think we are thinner, and the trend could have serious implications for the obesity epidemic, a study has found. Read more

ImageCan tomatoes carry cure for Alzheimer's?

The humble tomato could be suitable carrier for an oral vaccine against Alzheimer's disease, according to Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology in Korea. Read more

Study: Keeping food diary doubles weight loss

Dieters may be able to take solace in the fact that one of the most powerful weight-loss tools available may be as close as a pen and paper. In a recent study by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, participants who kept food journals lost almost double the weight of their nonjournaling counterparts. Read more

Activity levels decline among schoolchildren

Computer games, television, a lack of school recess and cuts to physical education classes may all help explain why children aren't getting as much physical activity as they used to. But a new study offers insight into exactly how sedentary American youth has become. Read more

UK baker wants us to eat less bread

British pioneering organic baker, Andrew Whitley, the man organising The Real Bread Campaign in the UK, explains why this would be a good thing: "One reason we eat so much is that much of our food offers so little in nutritional terms that we are constantly eating just to fulfill our nutritional requirements," Whitley says. "This is where our calorific intake becomes a problem."
    Author of the book Bread Matters, Whitley argues that better diets can both cut cravings for junk food and be more satisfying. He is a fierce critic of the Chorleywood industrial breadmaking system, which he believes is wreaking hidden damage on public health through its use of undeclared enzyme additives and zero fermentation time. Read more

Food Ingredients

ImageThumbs up for African superfruit pulp

EU regulators have given the green light to baobab pulp as a novel food ingredient. The nutrient-packed fruit has been consumed for years in Africa via drinks, confectionery, baking and ice cream, but as it has not been widely consumed in the EU prior to 1997 was subject to the Novel Food Regulation. Read more

More on the baobab . . .The tree of life (and its super fruit)

The medicinal properties of the baobab fruit are the stuff of African legend. Read more

FDA says HFCS is natural

After a recent spate of news reports that said the term “natural” could not be used in reference to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and litigation over labelling products containing the sweetener, the FDA has sent a letter to the Corn Refiners Association clarifying the use of the term “natural” for products containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Read more

New Product Development

ImageSA: Bovril launches brand extension

Pioneer's Bovril is bringing the flavour of its beef spread to the dinner table with the launch of its new brand extensions: Bovril Gravy Powder and Bovril Instant Gravy, and is taking the opportunity to leverage the brand into the gravy market.
Read more

SA: Slashing trans fat from Snackworx's snacks

Snackworx, manufacturer of Bakers, Pyotts, Baumanns and Willards snack foods, recently announced that all of its biscuit and chip ranges are now being produced free of trans fatty acids. Read more

ImageUS: GoodBelly, new probiotic fruit drink

GoodBelly, a new nutritious and delicious fruit drink featuring probiotics and antioxidant-rich fruit, is now in stores. New GoodBelly features powerful probiotic Lp299v which is clinically proven to improve overall digestive regularity and promote immunity. Read more

Food Processing

New plant converts food waste to energy

Researchers at Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association (CCFRA) have installed a pilot plant that is capable of transforming hundreds of kilos of food waste into bioethanol using a novel production process. Read more

Food Trends

ImageRevolutionary chefs? Not likely, physics research shows

However much the likes of Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay might want to shake up our diets, culinary evolution dictates that our cultural cuisines remain little changed as generations move on, shows new research.
    The research, 'The non-equilibrium nature of culinary evolution', shows that three national cuisines – British, French and Brazilian — are affected by the founder effect which keeps idiosyncratic and nutritionally ambivalent, expensive and sometimes hard to transport ingredients in our diets. Read more

Nutraceuticals may be nearing tipping point in US

Nutraceuticals, food and beverages that claim to enhance appearance, revive mental acuity and increase resistance to disease, have reached a tipping point in North America, according to new research from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts. Read more

Beverage News

ImageUS: Jolt Energy launches world's first 16oz re-sealable cap can

Wet Planet Beverages is rolling out its Jolt Energy beverage in the revolutionary 16oz re-sealable cap can. The popular 16oz size represents nearly 60% of all energy drink sales, thus providing Jolt Energy broader consumer appeal. Read more

ImageUS: UCLA researchers: pomegranate is the healthiest beverage of all

Step aside cranberry juice and wine. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, tested beverages and ranked them by their levels of antioxidants. Pomegranate was judged as the healthiest drink of all, ranking it higher than red wine, tea, and cranberry juice. Read more

ImageSA: Now less sugar in Woolies juices

In the most recent step in its Good Food Journey, Woolworths has announced that it has reduced the amount of sugar in its chilled 100% fruit juices and nectars. This follows the reduction in sugar across their entire yoghurt range earlier this year and is in line with WHO directives, as well as Woolworths own commitment to offering better food choices.
    'We’ve removed the equivalent of 20 million teaspoons (approximately 79 tons) of sugar from our chilled 100% juices and nectars,' says Cecil Mitchell, Woolworths head of food technology. He says this includes the naturally-occurring fruit sugars in the concentrates from which Woolworths chilled juices are made, as well as the sucrose (table sugar) which is added to chilled nectars, and represents the amount that would have been included in these juices in a year based on average weekly sales.
    'South African dietary guidelines recommend using sugar sparingly – for a normal adult that means about 10 teaspoons of added sugar or sugar from concentrated sources per day. By reformulating our chilled juice recipes we’ve significantly been able to reduce the amount of sugar in these fresh juices without compromising on flavour,' he adds.

ImageUS: Starbucks' lessons for premium brands     

Starbucks has attempted to put the focus back on coffee, revitalising the quality of its standard beverages. But none of these moves addressed the fundamental problem: Starbucks is a mass brand attempting to command a premium price for an experience that is no longer special. Read more

US: Starbucks moves into the protein smoothie market to increase sales

After just recently announcing the closure of 600 stores in the U.S., coffee powerhouse Starbucks will unveil protein smoothies and new iced beverages in some of its markets as early as next week. Starbucks hopes these protein drinks could help pump up sales and profits amid a downturn in its business due to the sluggish consumer economy in the US.

US: Coffee takes the lead from soft drinks

Java-junkies aren't ready to put down their coffee cups just yet. Taking the lead over the soft drink industry for the first time, the coffee market (inclusive of both retail and foodservice sales) was valued at $44 billion in 2007. According to an updated study from Packaged Facts, "Coffee in the US: Retail, Foodservice and Consumer Trends," the coffee market will brew to an estimated $59 billion by 2012. Read more

EU: Producers in the pink as 'youthful' rosé becomes a French fashion

Some French wine growers are rioting. Others are in the pink. Rosé, once the mocked poor relation of French vineyards, has overtaken white wine in volume of sales in France for the first time. Read more

UK: Pepsi link with 'Becks' under threat

Global soccer star David Beckham is currently in talks with Pepsi regarding his advertising agreement with the firm. However, it is looking increasing like he could end his contract when it expires at the end of 2008, as industry speculation hints at his desire to be associated with a 'health' drink brand or even the launch of his own soft drinks brand. Read more

Packaging News

Two separate drinks in one aluminium can

A beverage can with a dividing wall enables the packing of two drinks within one container and keeps them separate on the inside, thus adding value for the consumer and manufacturer, claims its developer. Read more

Wal-Mart: the new FDA

A chemical used in plastic baby bottles is being driven off retailers' shelves not by regulators, but by advocacy groups, politicians and giant retailers … How, exactly, did Wal-Mart become the new Food and Drug Administration? … The giant retailer, along with CVS (CVS, Fortune 500) and Toys 'R Us, announced recently that it plans to stop selling baby bottles containing the chemical bisphenol-A. Read more

Hot Stuff

Why everything costs more – a rough guide to why food prices keep going up

For the first time since 1973, the world has been hit by a combination of record high food and fuel prices. The price of oilseeds and grains, such as wheat and maize, has doubled since January 2006, with over 60% of the hike taking place since January 2008, according to the World Bank. Rice more than tripled between January and May 2008. Read more

Sweeteners making us fat? No way . . .

Lyn O’Brien Nabors, president of the US Calorie Control Council, takes issue with a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association that implies low- and no-calorie sweeteners are making us fat. Read more

Drop that spoon!

Britain is one of the world's largest consumers of puffed, flaked and sugared breakfast cereals. How did that happen when many were said to contain less nutrition than the boxes they come in? Read more

Forests to fall for food and fuel  

Demand for land to grow food, fuel crops and wood is set to outstrip supply, leading to the probable destruction of forests, a new report warns. Read more

Fighting for a new freedom of milk choice

The risks and benefits of pasteurisation, the process of heating milk to high temperatures in order to destroy bacteria that may lead to disease, are being hotly contested. Read more

Funky Stuff

Apples beat pears on crunch issue

Just why pears rot faster than apples can now be explained by science. It is all to do with how oxygen is able to find its way to the centre of the fruit after it has been picked. Read more

China takes dog off the menu for Olympics

Man's best friend is off the menu in China for the Olympic Games: Beijing officials, fearful of offending Western sensibilities, have ordered restaurants not to serve dog for the duration of next month's Games and September's Paralympics. Read more

ImageReducing cow burping 'is key to tackling climate change'

Argentine scientists are taking a novel approach to studying global warming – strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows to collect their burps and farts. Researchers say the slow digestive system of cows makes them a producer of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that gets far less public attention than carbon dioxide in efforts to fight global warming. Read more

London restaurant introduces 'Pregnancy Pizza'

A London pizzeria has launched the UK's first range of pizzas designed specifically for pregnant women … includes eight different pizzas based on requests from pregnant women, with advice from avnutritionist. Read more

Ben & Jerry's makes 'Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road' for Elton John

Ben & Jerry's has done it again: Hoping to honour rocker Elton John before his first-ever Vermont performance, Vermont's crazy-cool confectioner has whipped up a flavour just for him — "Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road." The limited-batch ice cream, made from "an outrageous symphony of decadent chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle and white chocolate chunks," is a take-off on his 1970s album and song "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Read more


That's it for this week, folks!

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