|Issue 47: 17 July 2009|
|Thursday, 16 July 2009|
"I firmly believe that we can be both efficient and human. . . . . Let us conduct our business as much with the heart as with the head.. "
Antoine Riboud, the founder of world food giant, Danone
“Though there aren't many scientists ready to suggest humans undertake caloric restriction, they recognize it is the only known intervention shown to prolong life in multiple species, including, most recently, primates. It works, scientists believe, because it triggers alterations in metabolic pathways involved in energy utilization. In animal studies, calorie restriction has also resulted in a reduction in age-related disabilities, including cataracts, arthritis, cognitive decline and kidney disease.
Food Bites . . . the secret to longevity?
"While evidence is promising, it's too soon to jump from the Petri dish to the public. No human studies have proven that calorie-reduction works for people. Plus, getting people to comply is unlikely."
Marnell Jameson, writing in the LA Times on longevity. [See article in this newsletter]
Editor's Stuff - Brilliant SA packaging innovation hits the shelves
The item in question is Snap & Squeeze, handy single-serving sachets that, invented in Cape Town and perfected in Italy, will surely change the face of the sachet market. I first wrote about this award-winning concept (it won a big Italian packaging prize last year and was initially called Easysnap) and its inventor, Dr Hennie du Plessis over a year ago - and you can get all the background here.
Unfortunately, Hennie du Plessis is out of town in the wilds of Botswana, so he wasn't available to comment on this milestone but I will get his input soonest. Read the story here.
SA Food Industry News
World-first Fair Cape rooibos yoghurt gets CANSA recognitionFair Cape's new Free Range Rooibos Yoghurts are the first yoghurts to carry the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) Smart Choice emblem. Awarded to suppliers who comply with strict criteria, the emblem has been developed to educate the public on the importance of smart food choices and offer consumers purchasing peace of mind.
CANSA has recognised Fair Cape Free Range Rooibos Yoghurts as a Smart Choice, primarily on the grounds that a serving contains the rooibos equivalent of one cup of tea. Read more
Kraft sells Beechies to Natela ImportersBeechies chewing gum has been bought by Natela Importers from Kraft Foods in a deal that will enable Kraft to focus on its core brands and give Natela entry to a new confectionery category.
Gerry Chandran, the MD of Kraft Foods South Africa, said last week the company did have a strong confectionery category in South Africa that included Toblerone and Côte d'Or chocolate, but chewing gum no longer fitted into the group's strategy. Read more
Discovery Vitality's HealthyFood benefit proves a hitDiscovery Vitality's HealthyFood benefit, in partnership with Pick n Pay, has attracted over 100 000 people in its first three months. Discovery Vitality members that have registered for this benefit, launched in February, have already purchased healthy food items to the value of over R30-million at Pick n Pay.
The HealthyFood benefit offers up to 25% of savings on a list of more than 6 000 HealthyFood items bought at Pick n Pay stores across South Africa. Read more
The great food price rip-off
The Sunday Times gave the food price furore major exposure this week, declaring that South Africans are paying up to 30% too much for some essential foods - because of greed, dominance and waste at major companies. And struggling consumers may have to fork out even more for food within months as producer associations warn of further hikes - particularly on dairy, vegetables and staple foods - following the 31% increase in electricity this month. Read more
SABMiller to invest $125m in new Angola breweryWorld number two brewer, SABMiller, will invest $125-million in a new brewery and sparkling soft-drinks plant in Angola this year to satisfy growing demand for beverages. The London-based brewer of Grolsch, Pilsner and Peroni said the new brewery and soft-drinks plant in Luanda would bolster its investment in the Southern African nation to $250-million in the last 18 months. Read more
It’s Bud vs Castle in 2010 battle of the brandsNext year’s soccer World Cup will pit two iconic brands against each other — South Africa’s Castle Lager and Budweiser, the world’s biggest- selling beer.
SAB is positioning Castle Lager as the country’s “host beer” in the lead-up to the tournament, hoping to entrench the beer as shorthand for SAB and South African hospitality. Budweiser’s parent company Anheuser-Busch has sole rights to market in Fifa’s designated areas as it’s a World Cup sponsor of the event. Read more
Food Industry News
EUROPE: Barry Callebaut promises a chocolate revolution
Global chocolate market leader, Barry Callebaut, has developed the product that competitors have been hopelessly puzzling over for 60 years -- chocolate that doesn't melt and is low in calories.
The Swiss giant first unveiled the product dubbed "Vulcano" at an investors' presentation in March 2008 when it was still in the developmental stages. Since then, all patents have been registered. Moreover, the first taste tests have been successfully conducted, and the product is now ready to be presented to industry clients.
The calorie delusion: Why food labels are wrong
The common wisdom is that maintaining a healthy weight is largely a matter of balancing calories in and calories out. Yet according to a small band of researchers, using the information on food labels to estimate calorie intake could be a very bad idea. They argue that calorie estimates on food labels are based on flawed and outdated science, and provide misleading information on how much energy your body will actually get from a food. Some food labels may over or underestimate this figure by as much as 25%, enough to foil any diet. Read more
First 'climate friendly' labels appear on foods
Sweden is to become the first country to slap "climate-friendly" labels on food products. The hope is that the labels will prompt consumers to buy greener products, but there are worries that some companies may use the scheme to "greenwash".
Swiss tax rules lure McDonald’s from UK
McDonald’s is to leave London for Geneva, joining the growing ranks of US companies moving their European headquarters to take advantage of preferential intellectual property tax laws.
UK: Asda claims victory in aspartame ‘nasty’ case
A High Court judge has found in favour of Asda in its court battle with Ajinomoto over food and beverage ‘no nasties’ labelling, which listed aspartame as an ingredient not used. Ajinomoto plans to appeal.
US: Is P&G mulling a sale of Pringles?
It’s crunch time for Pringles. Procter & Gamble has unleashed the four-decade-old snack in a barrage of new flavours, shapes and sizes with new marketing even as speculation grows that Pringles could be among the next P&G brands to be sold or spun off ..... P&G has sold Folgers coffee, Jif peanut butter, Crisco shortening and Sunny Delight drinks, leaving Pringles potato crisp as the last major food brand the Cincinnati-based outfit has left. Read more
Another food factory death puts worker safety in the spotlight
A man died at a New Jersey chocolate processing plant last week after falling into a vat of liquid chocolate. Temporary worker Vincent Smith was tipping solid chocolate into the melting vat when he slipped from a platform into the 2.5m deep unit. Smith apparently died instantly from a blow to his head from a paddle which was mixing the chocolate. Read more
Bob's Beat: So what's the answer, just ban ALL advertising?
We hear a lot of calls for the food and beverage industry to put the brakes on its advertising to children. But it isn't just the children. Manufacturers who create products targeted at adults are also under fire if their products are deemed unhealthy or contributors to the obesity epidemic. In fact, all across the world there are calls for marketers to just 'stop' the advertising!'
It irritates me that some manufacturers seem so willing to bend to the pressure of scrutiny from forces determined to redefine the meaning of 'marketing.' At some point, it will not be enough to just give consumers a free pass in the responsibility game and place all the blame on marketers. If parents don't want their kids to eat sugary cereals, then, jeez, don't let them eat sugary cereal, no matter how much advertising is out there.
don't know what all the answers are, but it can't always be the industry that has to act responsibly. Somewhere along the line, the burden of deciding what foods consumers and their kids will or won't eat has to fall on their shoulders as well.
Bob Messenger is a foremost analyst of the US food industry and publishes a daily ezine: The Morning Cup
Food Trends and NPD
UK: End of a tradition? The humbug seems doomed
Once proffered by kindly aunts or sucked in the back of cars on long journeys, the humbug is in danger of being consigned to the sweet jar of history.
UK: Herbal tea sales take buzz out of coffee
Tea sales are rising after decades of decline as people abandon pricey cappuccinos and buy more green and herbal teas for their alleged health benefits.
US: ‘Energy Shots’ stimulate power drink sales
This New York Times articles confirms the establishment of the power shots category, as reported a few weeks ago. The power drink of the moment costs 20 times as much per ounce as Coca-Cola, comes in a tiny bottle and tastes so bad that most people hold their noses and down it in a single gulp.
Tate & Lyle’s ‘top 5 facts about fibre’
Recent research by Tate & Lyle has found that consumers want healthier fare and believe that fibre can help them reach their healthy living goals. However, many long-held misconceptions about fibre still exist. Here are five facts straight from consumers that Tate & Lyle found in its US market research. Read more
Baby food with rice ingredients at an all time high
Over the last year the number of baby food product launches containing rice ingredients has almost doubled as food manufacturers continue to respond to the consumer demand for natural, organic and hypoallergenic products, three of the major health trends of 2008/09, according to data from Innova Market Insights. Read more
UK: Doughnut peaches – the new craze
Just when you think supermarket staples are pretty much established, in sweeps a sensation. Stand aside, large, regular peach, for the doughnut peach (which is also called the donut peach, by people who do not know how to spell). This small peach has a squished shape, hence its name. It is set to be more ubiquitous this UK summer with one wholesaler reporting that in 2006, he was supplying three to five cases a week; this year, it's more like 200. Read more
SA: NPD busy-ness at I&J
New I&J Light & Crispy variant with multigrain crumb: The I&J Light & Crispy range of fish fillet portions is the market leader in its category, and following the continued healthy eating trend, I&J has added a new Multigrain Crumb variant in a Lime & Coriander flavour. Read more
US: Nestle launches healthy/indulgent snack
A favourite, better-for-you snack for more than 80 years, Nestle Raisinets chocolate covered raisins have been a sweet treat for generations. Nestle USA has now launched Cranberry Raisinets, chocolate covered cranberries. Read more
Presenting ice cream innovation
While this is the low season for ice cream in our corner of the world, in the northern hemisphere a swathe of new products hit the shelves for summer. To view a fabulous gallery of new launches, click here.
Health and Nutrition
If red wine's good, are resveratrol pills even better?For several years now, the life-extending powers of trans-3,4,'5-trihydroxystilbene -- also known as resveratrol -- in its earthly form has had all the allure of an apple in the garden of Eden.
Ruby red, delicately fragrant, shapely in a rounded nest of glass, red wine can deliver as much as 1.5 milligrams of the plant compound resveratrol per four-ounce serving. At concentrations present in a person's blood after two glasses of red wine, resveratrol has been found to suppress the formation of blood clots and boost the efficiency of immune system cells.
So leave it to American entrepreneurs to gin up a thriving market for a resveratrol supplement rather than urge consumers to enjoy the food -- or in this case, savour the drink -- linked to better health and longer life. But the business of selling the supplement touted as an "anti-aging miracle" rests on a foundation of science that is as unstable and incomplete as it is promising. In fact, the marketing frenzy surrounding resveratrol is a prime example of how science can be distorted when it is mingled with hope, amplified for buzz and spun for profit. Read more
Red meat and dairy may be good for us
One minute we are being urged to avoid it and told that very low-fat diets are the way to go; the next we are encouraged to gorge on it, Atkins-style. Throughout fat’s fluctuating popularity, there has been one constant: that saturated animal fats are bad, bad, bad for the heart and we consume too much of them at our peril. But is even this accepted wisdom a big fat lie?
Calorie restriction leads to longer life: Study
Restricting the amount of calories we consume, while avoiding malnutrition, may extend lives and reduce the risk of chronic disease, suggest results from a monkey study.
Living a longer life: whose advice helps?
Live a life without frailty and disease, and enjoy lasting youth, both physical and mental. Gurus of longevity have been cashing in on that promise for centuries -- never mind that not one of the people prescribing a life-extension plan has ever delivered one that worked.
Health Canada confirms no health risk from BPA in baby foodAs part of its research commitment on bisphenol A (BPA), Health Canada has released the results of studies investigating BPA exposure levels in baby food in glass jars with metal lids, powdered infant formula and bottled water.
Health Canada says it has found bisphenol A in baby foods sold in glass jars with metal lids but the level is "extremely low and poses no health or safety concerns". It found that among the products it tested where bisphenol A could be quantified, about 70% had levels of less than one part per billion. That's well below the limit of 600 parts per billion set by a directive for bisphenol A (BPA) in food. Read more
New Inkjet technology could allow simple paper-based biosensors to detect toxinsFujifilm Dimatix has announced that a research team at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, working with Canada’s SENTINEL Bioactive Paper Network, has used its DMP-2800 Dimatix Materials Printer to develop a new inkjet method for printing bioactive inks (bioinks) on paper strips.
Applications for bioactive paper range from food packaging and hospital masks to paper strips for detecting and purifying unsafe drinking water or checking for banned pesticides in crop produce. Read more
Food Science & Technology Stuff
Soy sauce may help with salt reduction in foods: StudyAdding soy sauce to certain foods may enhance perception of saltiness and enable food manufacturers to cut salt content without affecting taste, according to new research from Japan.
Soy sauce was capable of reducing the salt content of salad dressings, soup, and stir-fried pork by 50, 17, and 29% respectively, without affecting the overall taste intensity or product pleasantness, according to results published in the Journal of Food Science. Read more
'Rosetta Stone' of bacterial communication discoveredThe 'Rosetta Stone' of bacterial communication may have been found. Although they have no sensory organs, bacteria can get a good idea about what's going on in their neighborhood and communicate with each other, mainly by secreting and taking in chemicals from their surrounding environment. Even though there are millions of different kinds of bacteria with their own ways of sensing the world around them, bioengineers believe they have found a principle common to all of them. Read more
Rebalancing flavour in reduced-kilojoule beveragesThere's probably not a beverage manufacturer in the world who is not examining its product lines for kilojoule-reduction opportunities. But, as any beverage developer knows, draining a drink’s excess kilojoules is only the first step in the reformulation process — one that throws just about everything else we crave about a beverage out of whack. But, with the right flavours, alternative sweeteners and functional tricks, you can give even weight-conscious consumers a reason to raise a glass to your formulation. Read more
What to eat, what to avoid on a dateAnything that makes you look healthy, doesn’t stick in your teeth, and doesn’t give you bad breath are menu favourites for date food, says a new survey from Cornell University. The new data, published online ahead of print in the journal Appetite, provide food marketers with vital information about the eating habits and preferences of university students hungry for love. Read more
Human fondness for fish dates back 40 000 years?Freshwater fish are an important part of the diet of many peoples around the world, but it has been unclear when fish became an important part of the year-round diet for early humans. A new study shows it may have happened in China as far back as 40 000 years ago. Read more
FEEDBACK FROM READERS - controversy over 100% juice
Darrell Gray, MD, Frutarom
Michael Gristwood, executive director, SA Association of the Flavour & Fragrance Industry
Darrell and Michael are opening the proverbial “can of worms” here!
Grant Momple, GM of Afriplex Flavours
That's it for this week, folks!