|Issue 41: 5 June 2009|
|Thursday, 04 June 2009|
"Whoever wants to accomplish great things must devote to a lot of profound thought to details.”
Paul Valery, French philosopher and poet
Food bites . . . Is marketing an art or a science?
"It's both, and that's the problem. Some marketers are scientists. They test and measure. They do the math. They understand the impact of that spend in that market at that time with that message. They can understand the analytics and find the truth.
"This sort of marketing works when it works, but it usually doesn't. That's because we're dealing with humans, the wild card in the system. The other marketers are artists. They inspire and challenge and connect. These marketers are starting from scratch, creating movements, telling jokes and surprising people. Scientists aren't good at that."
Seth Godin, US business guru & writer
Read more here
Editor's Stuff - The value in networking!
One of the most important aspects of any business is building networks, and one that is of particular value to FOODStuff SA is the long relationship forged with New Nutrition Business (NNB), the UK-based think-tank on the health and nutrition markets, and surely one of the most astute observers of all trends and developments shifting and moving these sectors. Their analysis is so accessible, well written and quite simply brilliant.
It normally costs subscribers a pile of Euros to access its insights, but I have permission from founder and chief, Julian Mellentin, to publish selected articles from its monthly newsletter. This is a major boon for all interested in health trends, the most dominant market forces shaping the world of food today. Check out the latest three articles, and there are several others posted under the 'Latest Food Industry Trends' menu.
With retail sales of over $200 million in 2008 and staggering category growth of 100%, the rapid emergence of the American market for energy shots – stimulation drinks in 60ml-180ml packages – is a phenomenon, especially in a recessionary environment. Read more
How to innovate - and how not to
The fast emergence of the “energy shot” category, once again is a practical demonstration of how “New Category Creation” is the most effective innovation strategy, giving rise to entirely new markets in which new brands grow quickly while also earning superior profit margins. Read more
Organic gravy train runs out of steam?Organic food has long been a difficult proposition to sell to consumers. With no proven health benefits for the individual, the message has relied primarily on the benefits to the wider environment. Read more
As every marketer knows, while consumers might say in focus groups that they put the care of the planet high on their priority list, what they do in the supermarket is quite another matter – and hence organic has stayed a fast-growing but nevertheless niche proposition. What is economic downturn doing to this premium market? Has organic reached its limits? Read more
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SA Food Industry News
High food prices not our fault, say producers
Grain SA says maize and wheat producers cannot be blamed for the country's high food prices. "The price of basic foodstuffs, like maize and wheat which are used as the basis for staple foods, cannot be blamed for the high levels of inflation," Grain SA's chairperson Neels Ferreira says.
So why do we pay so much in the supermarket?
Supermarkets like to project themselves as the consumers' friend. Because of the large scale of their operations, they say, they are in a position to get a better deal from suppliers than small retailers with little power to negotiate. However, with food inflation remaining higher than overall inflation, not everyone believes the benefits of better deals are being passed on to consumers. Read more
Food inflation 'will ease soon'
Consumers will feel the benefit of lower farm prices within months, says a leading agricultural economist. South Africans battling double-digit food inflation should see some relief in the next two to three months, according to Andre Jooste, an economist at the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC). Read more
Home drinking water filters under scrutiny
Shocking new findings on water purification systems released this week have sounded alarm bells for owners of home filters.
Food Industry News
US: FDA announces BPA safety reviewThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it is reviewing its advice that bisphenol A (BPA) is safe for use in baby bottles and food containers, pledging to announce its findings within weeks. The FDA ahs revealed it is to re-examine its conclusions just hours after two prominent Democrat congressmen sent a letter to the agency questioning whether its findings in 2008 had been overly influenced by industry opinion. Read more
CHINA: New food safety law comes into force
Chinese authorities have said its new food safety law, which came into effect on June 1, will help prevent the food contamination incidents that have caused so much damage to the reputation of its domestic producers. The legislation aims to toughen up the country’s food monitoring network by imposing more stringent standards, stricter supervision and a recall system for tainted or substandard products. The government has also pledged offenders will face severe punishment. Read more
DSM receives award for quality in infant nutrition
DSM Nutritional Products received the 2009 Frost & Sullivan award for Global Excellence in Quality in the infant nutrition market in recognition of DSM’s contribution in setting new safety standards for use in infant nutrition markets across the globe.
“DSM is highly honored to receive this recognition. In introducing our innovative new baby food grade, we are responding to the growing concerns of manufacturers and consumers alike about the safety of infant formula products,” said Fabiana Assis, global marketing manager of infant nutrition. Read more
Tetra Pak to step up drive in new markets
Tetra Pak, the world’s biggest packaging company, will step up investment in building new plants in emerging markets by 10 per cent to more than €200m ($282m) next year as global milk consumption soars to new highs.
US: The Cheerios Saga
View 1: Drugs for breakfast?
When is a breakfast cereal not a breakfast cereal? Well, when it’s a drug. General Mills has been rapped over the knuckles by the US FDA for illegal health claims on its popular Cheerios-brand cereal. Rightfully so. The company’s flouting of the law gives health claims – and the food industry – a bad name.
View 2: FDA Cheerios challenge shows rise of Third World mentality
"I refer to the monumentally stupid case the Food and Drug Administration brought against General Mills' Cheerios cereal, in which it basically said only drugs can cure what ails you. Never mind diet, never mind exercise. The FDA not only regulates drug products, it apparently feels it has to protect their share. So it wouldn't surprise me if the drug firms that market cholesterol and heart pills prodded the FDA to take action because Cheerios was muscling into their territory .....
Mr Obama won the election based on his promise of meaningful change, yet his own regulatory agencies are stuck in the Dark Ages. And we'll continue to spend billions and billions of dollars on drugs that promise more than they deliver, which are based on often shoddy research and have unknown side effects that could be worse than what they're supposed to cure. Read more
UK: Tesco turns itself into a green giant
Tesco is to build the world’s first zero-carbon store in the town Ramsey in Cambridgeshire, and the company hopes the building will act as a template that can be rolled out internationally. For Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, one of the world’s biggest retailers, the new store is another sign that his firm is championing the green cause to cut the world’s carbon emissions. Leahy is adamant that change can be achieved quicker through better information and greater consumer choice, than by tax and regulation. He believes government intervention could be the worst thing. Read more
UK: Recycling revolution begins in blood and guts
A power station that can run on rotting food? It is what makes apower station in Widnes on the Mersey, like no other. Instead of using coal or gas to generate electricity, this plant runs, quite literally, on blood and guts, a cocktail of the food industry’s leftovers. The “fuel” contains slaughterhouse bone and meat, mouldy bread, rotten fruit, old ready meals and fish entrails.
Each day about 30 lorries bring all types of unwanted food and animal remains here, where it is mulched together in giant tanks to form a homogenous purée. It is then injected into boilers where it is incinerated at 1,000C. From that point, the plant works like any other power station, creating steam to power a turbine to generate electricity. Read more
Revealed: the bid to corner world's bluefin tuna market
Japan's sprawling Mitsubishi conglomerate has cornered a 40% share of the world market in bluefin tuna, one of the world's most endangered fish. A corporation within the £170-bn Mitsubishi empire is importing thousands of tonnes of the fish from Europe into Tokyo's premium fish markets, despite stocks plummeting towards extinction in the Mediterranean.
Protecting the last great tuna stocks
Representatives of Western Pacific island nations last week put the finishing touches on a series of bold new measures aimed at saving the world's last great tuna stocks. Read more
Fish is no longer a guilt-free meal
"The End of the Line" looks to be the biggest environmental film since "An Inconvenient Truth". Taking the role of Al Gore in explaining a problem that is well known to scientists but has yet to hit the mainstream, Charles Clover, a former Daily Telegraph journalist, outlines the threat to the oceans. He asserts that if the fishing industry is not regulated, the world will be out of seafood around 2048. This would result in starvation for 1.2 billion people, as fish is a key part of their diet – unless you want to survive on jellyfish burgers. Read more
Phosphorus famine: the threat to our food supply
As complex as the chemistry of life may be, the conditions for the vigorous growth of plants often boil down to three numbers, say, 19-12-5. Those are the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, prominently displayed on every package of fertilizer. In the 20th century the three nutrients enabled agriculture to increase its productivity and the world’s population to grow more than sixfold. But what is their source?
Health & Nutrition
Fact or Fiction? You must drink eight glasses of water dailyVirtually every health-conscious person can quote the recommendation: Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. Other beverages -- coffee, tea, soda, beer, even orange juice -- don't count. Watermelon? Not a chance. Read more
UK: Majority of British women would choose a double chin over the dreaded 'LBB'A new survey, commissioned by Activia has revealed a bloated belly as the number one body complaint amongst British women with 52% of women surveyed stating that they would rather live without it.
Lower belly bloating or LBB (described in the survey as the physical increase in below the waistband belly size) has even overtaken other irksome conditions such as the muffin top and 'cankles' (thick ankles), not to mention more visual features such as a double chin, little boobs or 'thunder thighs'. Read more
Eating right and exercising drop in popularity
Middle-age and older Americans are less likely than in the past to eat right, exercise and maintain a healthy weight. In 1988, 42% of Americans ages 40 to 74 said they ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily; in 2006, the figure was 26%. Read more
Dietary choices of parent, child often different
The popular belief that healthy eating starts at home, and that parents’ dietary choices help children establish their nutritional beliefs and behaviors may need rethinking, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Study: Prebiotic fibre promotes weight loss
Independent of other lifestyle changes, oligofructose supplementation, a prebiotic fibre, has the potential to promote weight loss and improve glucose regulation in overweight adults, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009; DOI:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27465).
The randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial randomly assigned 48 otherwise healthy adults with a body mass index (in kg/m2) greater than 25 to receive 21 g/d of oligofructose or a placebo (maltodextrin) for 12 weeks. There was a reduction in body weight of 1.03 ± 0.43 kg with oligofructose supplementation, whereas the control group experienced an increase in body weight of 0.45 ± 0.31 kg over 12 weeks. Read more
No conclusive link between diet and ADHD
A Harvard Medical School review has concluded that there is still not enough evidence to link diet with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although traditional research has not come out in support of dietary treatment for ADHD, some parents and researchers still believe that diet is an important factor in the disorder’s treatment and prevention.
New Product News & Development
OZ: Mars cuts portion size in Australia, but price stays the sameAustralia’s biggest-selling snack – the Mars Bar – is becoming 11% smaller, and it’s all in the interests of consumer health (according to its maker). The price, however, remains the same. Mars Snackfood Australia has announced that it has reduced the weight Mars Bars from 60g to 53g, making them 11.6% lighter, in direct response to Australia’s obesity debate. [Believe that, and you'll believe anything! Ed] 30 million Mars Bars are sold in Australia every year, and on that sales figure the company will save 210,000kg of chocolate, caramel and nougat every year with the smaller bars. Read more
US: New Special K Protein shakes for weight managersKellogg's has introduced the Special K Protein Shake, the brand's first weight-management protein shake -- featuring, it says, great taste, protein, fibre and a reclosable plastic bottle and which is "a creamy, delicious way to take the edge off hunger and help women stay on track with their weight-management goals". Read more
US: Kellogg adds fibre, hoping to bowl cereal consumers overSome 80% of Kellogg cereals will have at least 3 grams of fibre per serving by the end of 2010. That may sound small, but foods with 3 grams are rated a good source of fiber by the government. The fibre boost begins in August with kid-targeted cereals Froot Loops and Apple Jacks. Read more
UK/SA: Southern Comfort introduces pre-mix in a canBacardi Brown-Forman Brands has launched a pre-mixed Southern Comfort drink in a can. The 250ml slimline can is intended to appeal to the take-home sector. Read more
US: Trop 50 is a breakthough in OJFor consumers who seek less sugar and calories and want to avoid artificial sweeteners, Chicago-based Tropicana Products, a division of PepsiCo, bas launched Trop50. Whether that stands for 50 calories per 8-oz serving or 50% less sugar and calories (and no artificial sweeteners), this category innovation delivers the goodness of orange juice in three varieties. Read more
Food Science & Ingredients Stuff
Vinegar could be used for salt reduction: Study
Adding low concentrations of vinegar to foods may enhance perception of saltiness and enable food manufacturers to cut salt content without affecting taste, according to new research from Japan.
The World Health Organization recommends that per capita daily salt consumption should not exceed five grams, but average intake is between 9 and 12 grams, increasing the threat of hypertension, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Food manufacturers have been under pressure to reduce salt content in their formulations, as it is estimated that 60 to 80% of salt consumption comes from packaged foods rather than salt added at the table. This raises challenges in terms of functionality – as salt plays an important role as a preservative or to control the fermentation of yeast – as well as consumer acceptability. Read more
What's behind instant coffee
Coffee is of the world's favourite beverages, what with all the invigorating caffeine, great taste, and wonderful-smelling volatile compounds such as 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone, which gives coffee a sweet, fruity aroma.
The Japanese were the first to produce a stable instant coffee product in the early 1900s. During World War II, instant coffee gained fame among American soldiers after Nestlé marketed its Nescafé brand. The instant beverage was updated in 1963, when Kraft introduced its Maxwell House freeze-dried instant coffee, which the company claimed tastes more similar to fresh-brewed coffee than other instant coffee products. Within a few years, all major manufacturers had freeze-dried coffee products on the market.
Better safeguards for the food supply
Deadly adulteration of milk with melamine has impelled scientists to develop new analytical methods to detect the compound in food. Yet melamine is only the latest in a long line of contaminants that have been added to food through the ages.
"Melamine is the compound of the hour," says Graham Cooks, an analytical chemist at Purdue University. But "there have been and will be many more 'alarm compounds' that people will need to detect in foods." So scientists are looking beyond melamine-detection methods to other techniques that can more broadly protect the food supply. Read more
New findings on salty taste may inspire ways to trick the tongue
For those who want sweetness without the calories, there are plenty of options available. But when it comes to imparting saltiness to food, there is pretty much one choice: sodium chloride. The food industry would like to change that. [But] finding a replacement for NaCl in food isn't easy. Some say it might even be impossible. Read more
Foods may soon be modified 'to make you feel full for twice as long'
Millions of dieters have been offered hope after scientists discovered a way to modify everyday foods such as cakes and pastries to make diners feel full for twice as long. Read more
Liar! Liar! Scientists are not quite as honest as might be hopedTHAT people, from politicians to priests, cheat and lie is taken for granted by many. But scientists, surely, are above that sort of thing? In the past decade the cases of Hwang Woo-Suk, who falsely reported making human embryonic stem cells by cloning, and Jan Schön, a physicist who claimed astonishing (and fabricated) results in the fields of semiconductors and superconductors, have shown that they certainly are not. Read more
"Even your best friends won't tell you," a classic mouthwash ad warned. But OkayToKiss will bluntly let you knowif your mouth is foul. This new, patent-pending saliva test, developed by microbiologist Mel Rosenberg of Tel Aviv University in Israel and colleagues, turns blue if it senses high quantities of certain bug enzymes. Read more