|Issue 27: 20 February 2009|
|Thursday, 19 February 2009|
Editor's Stuff - Signs of the times
Frugality, trading down, comfort food, surging private label sales, bargain-hunting, eat-in rather than out, take-aways over restaurants ... these are clearly the driving forces in our food world today. Conversely, it's not all bad news as, while consumers are feeling the pinch, they're also prepared to spend their precious bucks on spoiling themselves at home with premium products. 'Trading Down and Up', in fact, tops Innova Market Insights top ten trends for 2009.
You can read all these stories, and so much more, in this week's newsletter.
And thanks to Nando's Peri Deli, we're even going to cheer up FIVE lucky readers with a great give-away: R250 vouchers to these sylish new food emporiums. Enter the draw today!
Food Industry News
SA: Tiger sees slowdown in product demand
Food group Tiger Brands (TBS) said today that its trading performance for the four months to January 31 reflected a general slowing down in the rate of growth for its products. This was in line with expectations. Read more
SA: House brands on the rise
The sale of private label goods — or in-house brands — is on the increase, with supermarket chains noting a particular up-tick over the last six months. Corporate brands are outperforming overall store sales as the tough economic environment bites into consumers’ spending power.
SA: Checkers raises customer profileSales growth at the upmarket Checkers chain have caught up with the Shoprite chain, as higher-income customers switched from rivals, says Shoprite Holdings' chief executive Whitey Basson.
The acceleration in Checkers sales bucks a trend that has led to the sweetest spot in retail, serving less indebted, lower-income customers, and the Shoprite brand continues to be among the greatest beneficiaries of that pattern. Read more
SA: Distell sales lift despite global crisis
The growing popularity among young people of Distell's cider and ready-to-drink brands has enabled the firm to increase its share of this market, says MD Jan Scannell. Read more
SA: Cape wine workers paid less than R60 a dayWorkers who produce hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine for the UK market are struggling to survive on wages of about R57 a day and are facing increasingly harsh conditions, according to a new report.
The study from War on Want claims that thousands of employees working on wine-producing farms in South Africa face low pay and the threat of sudden dismissal as the pressure to produce cheap wine for the UK intensifies. Read more
EU: Strong performance by Nestlé in 2008
Nestlé's 2008 performance reflects its ability to achieve a high level of organic growth together with an improvement in the EBIT margin, even in difficult times. The Group's results in 2008 are broad-based, demonstrate its intrinsic strength and provide momentum into 2009. Read more
EU: DSM turns record profit ahead of ‘uncertain’ year
“A year of stark contrasts” as DSM board chairman, Feike Sijbesma called it, has seen DSM turn a near €1bn profit but left the Dutch ingredients giant unable to make a forecast for this year as the economic crisis sets in. Read more
EU: Givaudan flavour sales led by snacks
Givaudan’s sales may have dipped in 2008 but double digit growth in its snacks segment helped to bolster its flavour division. Read more
US: The bad economy is hitting America right in the stomach
Consumers have cut back sharply on food spending, shunning restaurants, opting for generic products over brand names, trading in lattes for home-brewed coffee and shopping for bargains. That is hurting sales and profits at many food processors, grocery chains and restaurants.
US: Kraft unveils cheerful mantra and logo
Kraft Foods CEO, Irene Rosenfeld, has unveiled an optimistic new corporate mantra, "Make today delicious," in her ongoing quest to revamp the company. A new logo has the company name in lowercase letters, with the word "foods" underlined by a red smile. Read more
US: Peanut Corporation of America to liquidate
The peanut processing company at the heart of a national salmonella outbreak is going out of business. Read more
US: Peanut growers reeling from salmonella scandal
"They've tainted our entire industry," says Shelly Nutt, executive director of the peanut producers board in Texas, the nation's second largest growing state behind Georgia. "Public perception is killing us." Read more
COMMENT: Parnell is public enemy No 1 – but he's in peanuts, not banking
Who's the most vilified man in the US right now? Some Wall Street type, you will doubtless reply: one of those bank bosses who paid themselves huge bonuses for losing vast amounts of other people's money and sending the entire global economy into a tailspin. Wrong. The answer has to be Stewart Parnell (left), guilty in the court of public opinion (and maybe soon in a court of law) of casting a deadly cloud over an American gastronomic staple. Read more
COMMENT: Who's watching what we eat?
The tainted peanut products, which have sickened hundreds and may have caused nine deaths, represent a new level of food outrage, more serious than even the salmonella salsa and downer-cow beef recalls of 2008. In this case, the plant's management allegedly knew it was shipping food products that could kill, and then lied about it. Read more
UK: Culture of cheap food has to go, says Waitrose boss
The culture of cheap food has damaged public health, farming and the environment, according to the head of Waitrose, Mark Price. He's attacked aggressive price cutting championed by his larger rivals such as Tesco and Asda, and blamed the government for encouraging a trend of cheap food after the second world war, which consumers "have now got used to".
CHINA: China now probes 'mystery' kidney stones in children
China is baffled by a "drastic" rise in the number of infants falling ill with kidney stones in the wake of a tainted milk scandal which killed six children from kidney complications and made hundreds of thousands ill. Read more
UK: Hoodia setback sees Phytopharm change focusPhytopharm, the British biotech company that develops pharma and functional food ingredients from medicinal plants and which holds the patent to 'p57', the active molecule in weight-busting hoodia, has announced it's turning its focus off food. This follows Unilever's decision not to proceed with its hoodia extract programme. Instead it will concentrate on Cogane and Myogane, treatments for Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease respectively. Read more
EU: Danisco, Mingtai form strategic partnershipDanisco has formed a strategic partnership with the second-largest microcrystalline cellulose manufacturer in the world, Mingtai in Taiwan. The partnership will focus on developing MCC-based solutions to the global food industry, and Danisco will introduce a full range of Grindsted MCC types optimised towards these specific food applications. Read more
WIN! WIN! WIN! Five R250 vouchers to Nando's Peri Deli
Styled to appeal socially-conscious trend-setters looking for a freshly-prepared array of good food on the go, everything about Nando’s Peri Deli shouts fresh, quality, convenience.
, and include the answer to the question: What local packaging company is a key supplier of Nando's Peri Deli's green packaging? Please put 'Nando's GIveaway' on your subject line.
Health & Nutrition
EFSA cans cranberry health claimThe European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has denied global cranberry leader Ocean Spray an article 14 health claim relating to consumption of cranberry and urinary tract infection (UTI) in women.
EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) found Ocean Spray’s scientific dossier failed to support a link between UTI reduction and consuming Ocean Spray cranberry products containing 80mg of cranberry proanthocyanidins (PAC) per serving. Read more
Sweeteners: real aid or excuse to indulge?
The current issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has published results of a review by scientists at the University of North Carolina of 224 professional studies of the effects of non-nutritive sweeteners on appetite, food intake and weight.
Acknowledging that the literature is rife with contradictory reports, nonetheless they conclude that the evidence suggests that if non-nutritive sweeteners are used as substitutes for higher-energy-yielding sweeteners, they have the potential to aid in weight management, but only if people do not overcompensate by eating lots of high-calorie foods. Read more
New Product Development
UK: M&S to debut 75p jam sandwich
Marks & Spencer is hoping to cash in on the popularity of retro products as well as consumers' appetite for low-price comfort food with the launch of a jam sandwich. Free from the flourishes of many M&S products, the 75p sandwich is exactly as it says on the pack: two slices of white bread with butter and jam. Read more
Starbucks unveils 'Via' Instant CoffeeStarbucks, whose chief executive is trying to fight "misperceptions about affordability" for the coffee chain's brands, has unveiled its new "Via" instant coffee that will sell for less than $1 per cup, with sales starting next month. Read more
Starbucks instant: Will it pass the taste test?Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been hyping a major announcement for weeks, hinting only that it would involve "innovation, competition, and value." Now that the news is out, will Via be an answer to the group's woes. Read more
COMMENT: Why king of coffee has problemsSo, who is Howard Schultz? He is Mr Starbucks, the urbane entrepreneur who turned a small Seattle coffee chain into a $10bn-a-year empire and changed the drinking habits of 50 million customers a week by dint of his marketing flair. Read more
UK: Cauliflower to make comeback with environmentally friendly rebrandingCauliflower, a British staple food for centuries, is to be rebranded as an environmentally-friendly alternative to shipping in more popular vegetables like broccolim baby corn, sugar snap peas and Chinese cabbage from abroad. In the last ten years production of the vegetable in Britain has fallen by almost a third. Read more
New sweet pepper wins innovation awardAt the recent fresh produce trade expo, Fruit Logistica in Berlin, the new Sweet Green Pepper from the Dutch vegetable seed-breeding company, Enza Zaden, was voted the most innovative product at the show.
Sweet Green Pepper has a strong green colour and sugar content of 45mg/g, up to 30% higher than in traditional green peppers. The vitamin content is also around 30% higher than in other green varieties and is thus very nearly the same level as orange-coloured peppers. This pepper variety retains its green colour throughout the ripening process. It is, contrary to the conventional green pepper, a mature fruit and therefore it tastes sweet. Read more
EXCLUSIVE! Innova Market Insights
'Trading Down and Up' Tops Trends List for 2009
Levels of new product activity have been holding up in the face of the difficult global financial situation, with the number of launches in 2008 ending up at a similar level to that in 2007, according to the Innova Database.
Another actively healthy year ahead for yoghurtsWith the traditional healthy image of yoghurts, it is no surprise that products with a health positioning dominate launch activity in the sector. According to the Innova Database, which recorded over 2,200 yoghurt launches globally in 2008, over 1,500 of these, or well over two-thirds, were positioned on a health platform of some kind.
In recent years, with the increasing segmentation and sophistication of the yoghurt market, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between yoghurts with added health benefits, particularly as these benefits can now be divided into two major areas, categorised by the Innova Database as ‘passive’ and ‘active’ health. Read more
FOODStuff SA has an exclusive arrangement to publish select articles from the Innova Magazine, monthly journal of the subscriber-only, Innova Database www.innovadatabase.comThe Innova Database is the product of choice for the whole product development team. See what food manufacturers are doing around the world in a way you never thought possible. Track trends, competitors, ingredients and flavours. It contains excellent product pictures, search possibilities and analysis.
Food counterfeiting, contamination outpace international regulatory systemsIntentionally contaminated Chinese milk killed several children and sickened 300,000 more, causing concern around an increasingly connected world economy. Demand for inexpensive products virtually guarantees future repeats of food adulteration and counterfeiting from overseas, Michigan State University researchers said, as trade volumes overwhelm regulatory oversight. Read more
Fresh fruits 'n veg can be bad for youRaw fruits and vegetables are good for you but may also send you to the doctor, according to research published by Cambridge University Press in the journal Epidemiology and Infection. A review article in the journal, written by several experts in their field, has highlighted the fact that fresh fruits and vegetables are increasingly recognised as a source of food poisoning outbreaks in many parts of the world. Read more
Another reason not to eat pâté de foie grasThe cruelty that is behind the forced feeding of poultry for pâté de foie gras is an anathema to growing numbers of consumers. Now comes news that the delicacy is a likely and plentiful source of harmful protein fragments known as amyloid fibrils, associated with damage to brain cells in Alzheimer's disease and to pancreatic cells in Type II diabetes, and which can be present in the meat of poultry and mammals. These amyloids are not destroyed even with high-temperature cooking process. Read more
GM & Green Stuff
UK: Wind of change for Cadbury cows
Cadbury is encouraging its farmer's to change their cows's diets to burp less to reduce the carbon footprint of its milk chocolate.
UK: Green thinking affects Easter-candy packaging
Some chocolate companies in the UK are ditching the flashy packaging that once was used to attract children and bring in sales -- slimming down boxes, getting rid of plastic casings and making other eco-friendly changes.
Kenya approves GM after years of delays
Kenya has become the fourth African country to allow the production and use of genetically modified (GM) crops after president Mwai Kibaki signed off on parliament's approval of new biosafety legislation last week (13 February).
COMMENT: Changing the tune on GM
Tesco’s chief executive has said that consumer attitudes are changing, and that the retailer may be ready to get behind GM. Are we finally seeing a thawing of attitudes towards GM in the UK? If the recent statement by Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of British retail giant Tesco, carry any weight (and I’d be inclined to suggest they do), then a turnaround on GM may be coming, particularly in the UK.
SABMiller measures its "water footprint"
Following on a similar article in last week's newsletter, comes another report in the Wall Street Journal that the likes of PepsiCo, SABMiller and Unilever are considering ways to measure and shrink their "water footprints," or how much water it requires to create their products. Some critics, however, are skeptical of the accuracy of water footprinting.
SABMiller, notes the article, has decided to tackle its water footprint in water-scarce South Africa with hopes of replicating the project elsewhere. SA breweries produce 17% of SABMiller's beer. Completed in October, the study showed that 95% of the company's water footprint goes toward growing agricultural ingredients. The water used to grow barley, maize and hops, as well as what is used in factories, added up to about 155 litres of water per litre of beer. Read more
The Phelps/Kellogg Fallout: Addicted to fake outrage
I’m not sure if it’s because we’re strung out on “Lost” episodes, or if it’s because we’re still suffering from a post-9/11 stress disorder that makes us crave “breaking news” alerts, or if it’s because the economy has turned us into distraction junkies. But one thing is painfully obvious after Michael Phelps’ marijuana “scandal” erupted recently: Our society is addicted to fake outrage — and to break our dependence, we’re going to need far more potent medicine than the herb Phelps was smoking. Read more [Great commentary from Truthdig.com. Ed]
A cut above the rest? Wrinkle treatment uses babies' foreskins
With each passing year, the crow's-feet framing your eyes and the creases lining your forehead grow deeper. And those pits and craters, constant reminders of junior high acne, just won't disappear. Cosmetic and dermatological companies have many potential fixes for your dermal woes — fillers to minimise the appearance of wrinkles, laser treatments to smooth imperfections, even injections of bacterial proteins (Botox) that paralyse your face muscles to prevent skin stretching.
And at least one company is searching for the fountain of youth in baby foreskins — yes, we're talking about that flap of skin sliced away during male circumcision. Read more [This has nothing to do with food, but it is interesting!! Ed]
That's it for this week, folks!