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Food Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<40414243444546474849>> Total issues:487

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July 16, 2011, to July 23, 2011

Unilever Begins Construction Of Unilever Four Acres In Singapore

Unilever held a ground-breaking ceremony for the Unilever Four Acres, the company's proposed global leadership development center in Singapore. The company said the planned center highlights Unilever's commitment to emerging markets, particularly in Asia, which accounts for more than half of the company's total turnover. Unilever expects the center to help the company develop a global pool of management talent and help fuel its growth efforts.

Nestlé Acquires Controlling Stake In Singapore-Listed, China-Based Hsu Fu Chi

Nestlé has agreed with the Hsu family to acquire 60% of Hsu Fu Chi, a Singapore-listed manufacturer and distributor of confectionery products in China. The Hsu family will retain 40% of the company, with Hsu Chen remaining as CEO and chairman of Hsu Fu Chi. Nestlé offers to buy the shares of the company's independent shareholders who account for 43.5% of the shares in Hsu Fu Chi as part of the deal, which is subject to approval by regulators in China.

Study Analyzes Key Trends Driving Growth In Natural Foods Industry

A study by Food Technology magazine has found that several key factors are driving growth in the natural foods and beverages sector. Hot buttons include terms like organic, “naturally nutritious,” clean, “less-processed,” “preservative-free,” sustainable, ethical and humane. In 2010, for example, nearly one-third of the top-selling new foods/beverages launched in the U.S. carried a natural or organic claim. Other interesting data: “natural” topped the list of descriptors consumers looked for when purchasing foods/drinks at retail stores in 2010; twenty percent of shoppers buy natural and/or organic meat/poultry when it is on sale; seventy percent of shoppers believe that describing food as fresh means it is healthier; and nearly 75 percent of adults say humanely treated animals/cruelty free is important to them when shopping for food.

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July 09, 2011, to July 16, 2011

European Companies Unveil Products Based On Chr. Hansen’s Probiotics+Fiber Formulation

European dietary supplement companies have begun to launch retail products based on Chr. Hansen’s probiotic-plus-fiber formulation designed to fight constipation. The Chr. Hansen product is a stick with a powder blend of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium BB-12 and fiber. It is sifted over breakfast cereals or poured into a glass of water once or twice a day. In February, the product Yovis Regola was unveiled in Italy; British firm Wren Laboratories Ltd. has just introduced a consumer version of the product in the UK under the brand OptiBac Probiotics. Chr. Hansen said it is working with other companies in other countries on probiotics-plus-fiber products to “help people tackle constipation.”

Bayer Settles US Farmers' GM Rice Contamination Lawsuits For $750 Million

Bayer AG's unit Bayer CropScience agreed to pay $750 million to settle lawsuits filed by thousands of U.S. farmers who claimed that a line of the company's genetically modified (GM) rice contaminated crops and damaged their export value. Farmers suffered financial losses after rice futures declined around 14% days after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in August 2006 the discovery of the contamination of non-GM crops from nearby farms. Exports also slowed down as the European Union, Japan, Russia, and other anti-GM markets stopped buying or demanded testing of U.S. rice for GM contamination. Bayer has denied allegations of negligence during the GM rice test planting.

General Mills Acquires Controlling Interest In Yoplait

General Mills paid US$1.2 billion to PAI Partners and Sodiaal for a 51 percent interest in Yoplait S.A.S., and a 50 percent interest in a company that owns the worldwide rights to Yoplait brands. Yoplait currently holds the second biggest share in the global yogurt market, while General Mills has been a Yoplait licensee since 1977, and owns the Yoplait business in the United States, where it is the leading yogurt brand. General Mills plans to expand the Yoplait brand in new markets, as consumer demand for yogurt continues to grow due to rising interest in healthy and convenient food products.

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July 02, 2011, to July 09, 2011

Strong Demand For Anti-Aging Skin Care Products Bolsters Beauty And Personal Care Industry

Premium beauty product sales rebounded strongly in 2010, driving the recovery of the global beauty and personal care industry. Also fueling the recovery was “dynamic innovation activity” in skin care, the largest market category, Natural Products Insider reports. The category is expected to grow three percent a year to $100 billion in sales by 2015, one fourth of which will come from sales of anti-aging products. Thanks to the focus on innovation, technically advanced skin care formulations based on stem cell technology and aesthetic medicine are showing up in new cosmeceutical products. A major disappointment, however, has been the slow start of nutricosmetics products, which have not yet surmounted the skepticism of consumers.

“General Wellbeing” Foods/Beverages Are Booming In U.S.

Retail sales of  health and wellness foods and beverages in the U.S. totaled $153 billion in 2010, accounting for one fourth of global sales in the category, according to Euromonitor International. “General wellbeing” comprises the largest subcategory, accounting for 40 percent of U.S. health and wellness sales. Euromonitor says general wellbeing is popular because “it does not make any overt allusions to ‘disease’.” In fact, marketers of health and wellness products are advised to avoid mentioning disease because that “needlessly narrows down a potential mainstream audience to a select target group.” Weight management products remain the second largest sales category, but growth is stagnant; energy boosting products and products to improve digestion are being well received; but beauty-from-within foods and beverages have not yet caught on in the U.S.

McCormick Expands European Presence With Acquisition Of Polish Seasonings Maker

Spice and seasonings manufacturer McCormick & Company said it will acquire all of the shares of Kamis S.A., a privately held Polish flavorings company whose market comprises Poland, Russia and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe. According to McCormick, Kamis is a brand leader in spices, seasonings, mustards and other flavor products in Poland with annual sales of zł 300 million (zloty, or $105 million). The purchase price is about zł 830 million (zloty, or  $291 million). McCormick said the acquisition, which will close in September, extends its presence in Western Europe into Poland and other markets in Central and Eastern Europe. The company also recently announced a joint venture in Turkey.

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June 25, 2011, to July 02, 2011

Stepan Company Acquired Nutritional Fat Products From Lipid Nutrition

The Stepan Company, a provider of food and other types of chemicals, said it has acquired the nutritional fat products of Lipid Nutrition, LLC, and will integrate them into the food and health specialties product lines of its subsidiary Stepan Specialty Products, LLC. The product family, which will include the Clarinol, Marinol and Pinnothin product lines, will be renamed Stepan Lipid Nutrition. Clarinol Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a dietary supplement used to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass. Marinol concentrated omega-3 triglycerides are used in clinical and infant nutritional products to promote cardiovascular and neurological health. Pinnothin, derived from pine nuts, functions as an appetite suppressant.

Omega-3-Rich Krill Oil Changes Expression Of Genes Associated With Fat Production

Researchers from a U.S. genomics company and a Norwegian supplier of krill oil report that a diet supplemented with omega-3-rich krill oil seems to control genes in the liver associated with cholesterol metabolism and the production of glucose and fat. Scientists fed three groups of lab mice either a normal diet with soybean oil, a normal diet plus fish oil and soybean oil, or a normal diet plus Aker Biomarine’s krill oil and soybean oil. After three months, the researchers assayed 20,118 genes, finding that 4,892 genes associated with obesity and insulin resistance were significantly changed in the krill oil group, but only 192 genes in the fish oil group. Further study is needed to determine “if the gene expression patterns observed in this study have effects on metabolic disease,” they concluded.

Extreme Weight Control Behavior In Adolescence Continues Into Adulthood – Study

Dieting adolescents who develop extreme weight control behaviors and binge eating are likely to continue these harmful activities into adulthood, U.S. research has found. The researchers analyzed data from a 10-year longitudinal study that examined eating, activity, and weight-related variables among more than 2,000 young people. Among females, the use of extreme weight control behaviors increased from 8.4 percent to 20.4 percent between early adolescence and early young adulthood and from 12.6 percent to 20.6 percent between middle adolescence and middle young adulthood. Extreme weight control behaviors among males increased from 2.1 percent in middle adolescence to 7.3 percent in middle young adulthood. The findings point to a need for “early and ongoing efforts aimed at the prevention, early identification, and treatment of disordered eating behaviors in young people," the researchers concluded.

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June 18, 2011, to June 25, 2011

Trend Toward Healthier Processed Foods Presents Technical Challenges For Manufacturers

Processed foods are getting more healthful as they take on more characteristics of natural and organic foods, including reduced sodium and sugar and more good fats and fiber. Driving processed food makers in that direction are several forces: front-of-packaging labeling, government initiatives, physician statements on the links between diet and obesity and diabetes, and rising consumer interest in living a healthier lifestyle. But these trends present technical challenges as food processors struggle, for example, to reduce sodium and sugar content levels, or increase omega-3 fatty acids and fiber content, while maintaining flavor and texture. Campbell’s Soup  says it tested "well over 200 batches" of lower-sodium recipes for its vegetable beef soup without finding any that satisfied consumers.

Atrium Partners With INAF To Study Metabolic Syndrome

Canadian dietary supplement maker Atrium Innovations Inc. and the Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (INAF) announced a multi-year commitment to study the impact of nutrition on metabolic syndrome. The two organizations have budgeted more than $5 million for the collaborative effort, which includes some funding from governmental agencies. Atrium CEO Pierre Fitzgibbon said the goal of the “sophisticated science-based approach” will be to develop products that help consumers “maintain their health and prevent serious diseases.” A particular focus of the research initiative is to gain a better understanding of metabolic syndrome, and to investigate the impact of small fruits, fish oil, probiotics and systemic enzyme therapy on inflammation.

Consumption Of Whole Grains Not Linked To Prostate Cancer Risk

Researchers in Denmark could not find a link between greater consumption of whole grains and specific whole grain foods and the risk of prostate cancer. The prospective study looked at data from 26,691 middle-aged men (50 to 64 years old) who provided information about their diets and various risk factors associated with prostate cancer. Over 12 years of follow-up study, 1,081 prostate cancer cases occurred. But there was no statistical association found between prostate cancer risk and eating whole grains generally, or eating specific whole grain products such as rye bread and oatmeal, with the risk of prostate cancer.

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June 11, 2011, to June 18, 2011

Corn Masa Flour Should Be Fortified With Folic Acid To Reduce Hispanic Birth Defect Rate

The higher rate of neural tube defects (NTDs) among newborns in the U.S. Hispanic community could be prevented by fortifying corn masa flour with the B vitamin folic acid, according to a research commentary by the March of Dimes. Hispanic women are about 20 percent more likely to have a child with spina bifida or anencephaly than non-Hispanic white women, probably due to the their lower intake of folic acid. Corn masa flour is used to make common Latin American food products such as corn tortillas and tamales. The U.S. FDA has long required fortification of cereal grains used in bread and pasta with folic acid, with the result that NTDs have dropped by 33 percent. Fortification of the flour with folic acid must be approved by the FDA.

OTA Disputes The Washington Times Op-Ed ‘Rant’ Against Organic Products

The Organic Trade Organization (OTA) has called an Op-Ed piece by David Mastio in The Washington Times a "biased, inaccurate and just plain irresponsible” attack against the organic food industry. OTA claims that Mastio is using misinformation and public hysteria over the recent Escherichia coli outbreak to attack organic food producers and points out that Federal food safety rules also cover the organic products industry and no evidence exist showing organic products are more at risk of E. coli contamination than chemically produced foods. It added that organic producers also have to meet third-party standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program, including emphasis on sanitation in the production process.

E. Coli Outbreak Is Hurting Produce Sales, But Effect On Organic Industry Will Be Temporary

A British analyst firm focusing on the organic industry says the recent E. coli outbreak in Europe that has killed 22 people and sickened more than two thousand others will probably have limited impact on organic devotees over the long haul. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control traced a German farm and are analyzing 18 sprouts including bean and broccoli to determine if they’re the source of the outbreak. Amarjit Sahota, director of Organic Monitor, says sales of organic produce have taken a hit all over Europe  but he doesn’t expect the outbreak to hurt the organic industry in the long term. Organic buyers are more worried about health issues associated with traditional farming, he notes.

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June 04, 2011, to June 11, 2011

Waitrose Unveils New Line Of Nutritionally Balanced Foods

British food retailer Waitrose has introduced a line of nutritionally balanced foods, Waitrose LOVE Life, that will appear in stores beginning June 30. According to the company, the range of products is designed to complement the staple grocery items in essential Waitrose and the more “indulgent” products from Duchy, Heston and Menu From Waitrose ranges. The company said the new product line includes more wholefood ingredients and avoids saturated fats. The product launch will be supported with a quarterly magazine, recipe cards and a dedicated section on Waitrose.com where MyWaitrose members can share recipes and tips. The products were developed by Waitrose nutritionists and in-house chefs.

Diet Fortified With Prebiotic Fiber Improves Bone Health

U.S. researchers examining the effects of different doses of the prebiotic fibers known as galactooligosaccharides (GOS) on bone health found in a rat study that GOS was associated with increased absorption of calcium and magnesium and, in turn, increased bone density. The rats were fed a normal diet enriched with two, four, six or eight percent GOS, or no GOS, for eight weeks. The GOS was found to decrease pH in the upper large intestine and increase bifidobacteria concentrations. As the dose of GOS increased, so did absorption of calcium. Absorption of magnesium also increased, but this was not dose-dependent. Analysis of bone density found increases at several skeletal sites. The researchers concluded that “GOS seem to have potential to contribute to improved peak bone mass and strength.”

EFSA Asks For Current Scientific Data For Safety Assessment Of Aspartame

To determine the safety of the sweetener aspartame, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced it is seeking all available scientific data available on its use as a food and drink additive and tabletop sweetener. Prompted by the European Commission, the agency will conduct a full re-evaluation of aspartame to be completed in 2012. The call for data extends to September 2011 “to ensure that EFSA’s risk assessment of the safety of aspartame will be the most thorough and up-to-date yet.”  The agency wants all available scientific and technical data, whether published, unpublished or newly generated, related to the use of aspartame, a low-calorie sweetener that is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.

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May 28, 2011, to June 04, 2011

Increasing Commodity Costs Put Pressure On Indian FMCG Margins

Rising costs of raw materials are forcing fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in India to raise the prices of their products. Prices of most commodities remain high; most are still rising and tea prices in May were up over 13% on April, although the price of some edible oils were down in May. Some companies in India have already raised their prices, some more than once, and some will take further pricing action. Others are still considering raising prices, although fierce competition in the shampoo category has seen prices slip there.

FDA Approves Atopic Dermatitis Health Claim For Infant Formulas Made From Hydrolyzed Whey

Nestlé subsidiary Gerber Products Company said the FDA has approved a qualified health claim for infant formulas made from 100 percent whey, which includes Gerber Good Start milk-based formulas. The FDA said that such partially hydrolyzed formulas may reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis in healthy infants from birth to four months whose family history includes allergies. The FDA acknowledged, however, that the relationship between the formulas and reduced risk of atopic dermatitis is “uncertain” due to a lack of scientific evidence. The hydrolyzed formulas are not to be used to feed infants who are allergic to milk or show milk allergy symptoms.

Savory Aromas Plus Mineral-Based Salt Replacers Cut Sodium Without Affecting Flavor

Scientists at Unilever’s Netherlands facilities have found that combining savory aromas with salt replacers like potassium chloride allows reduction of sodium content in foods by as much as 30 percent without affecting the flavor. They suggested that enhancement of potassium chloride with a savory aroma offers one solution to the problem of cutting sodium content in foods, but others are needed to meet World Health Organization guidelines. One application of the technology would be in instant bouillons, the scientists said.

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May 21, 2011, to May 28, 2011

Emerging Markets To Contribute 70% Of Unilever's Total Revenue

Harish Manwani, Unilever chairman and president for Asia, Africa, and East and Central Europe, said, in a long and wide-ranging interview, that his company plans to increase emerging market share of Unilever’s total revenues from 53% to 70%. Unilever views developing and emerging (D&E) markets as mission critical for its future growth and plans to allocate more than 60% of research and development (R&D) and brand-development resources in D&E countries. India has emerged as one of the most important D&E markets for Unilever. At the same time, the country provides the company with a large pool of managerial talent, with some 140 Indian managers currently working in senior positions worldwide. Brazil is an equally important market at the moment, but Russia and China remain among the countries where the company is "relatively under-represented", although they are now the company’s fastest growing markets.  Aside from growing its business, Unilever also intends to cut its environmental footprint by half by ensuring that 100% of its raw materials, such as palm oil and tea, come from sustainable sources. Manwani also identifies innovation as key to continuous market development but also highlighted the need to strip out costs as far as possible in order to mitigate the impact of rising commodity prices. 

Herbal Supplement Market Continues Strong Growth Trend

Despite a weakened global economy, the U.S. herbal dietary supplement market sustained a long pattern of robust growth in 2010, a reflection of burgeoning consumer interest in “good nutrition and natural lifestyles,” according to a multi-source report from the American Botanical Council. The Council reported that total herbal supplement sales in all retail channels rose by 3.3 percent in 2010, slower than the 4.8 percent growth rate from 2008 to 2009. Total single-ingredient herbal supplement sales in the mainstream food, drug, and mass market (FDM, including drug stores and mass market retailers) channel rose either 6.1 percent, according to Symphony IRI, or 4.8 percent, according to Nielsen’s SPINS FDM. The two data providers used different parameters in compiling their data.

Kraft Seeks To Expand Its BOCA Range Of Soy-Based Meat Alternative Products

Gary Berger, BOCA brand manager at Kraft Foods, said that U.S. retailers are re-locating meat alternatives in the store and giving them more shelf space as more consumers buy non-meat options and the category becomes increasingly mainstream. BOCA is looking to get new consumers to try non-meat products and is working with Weight Watchers to position the brand as a healthy weight management food option. BOCA is facing a growing number of competitors, but believes its healthy soy-based products will enable it to retain its leadership in the meat alternatives market. It defends the safety of its products but has introduced a non-GMO soy range to address concerns of consumers worried about GMO ingredients.

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May 14, 2011, to May 21, 2011

Coca-Cola Ups Investment In Kenya As Part Of Africa Strategy

Bloomberg reports that Coca-Cola Co. is planning to take advantage of Kenya’s rising consumer spending power by spending $62 million through 2014 to raise production capacity in the country. The investment in expansion and upgrading of seven production facilities reflects the company’s $12 billion, 10-year growth strategy in Africa. The company hopes to double annual revenue on the continent to $200 billion by 2020, increase profit margins and double beverage servings. The company produces Coke, Fanta and Dasani bottled water in Kenya and plans new products in its fruit juice business.

Nestlé Middle East Launches Direct Sales And Distribution Unit In Saudi Arabia

Nestlé Middle East has launched Nestlé Saudi Arabia, the company's direct sales and distribution operations in the country. It is part of Nestlé's efforts to expand in Saudi Arabia's growing market of 28 million mostly young consumers. Nestlé has been in the country since 1955 and the expansion is made possible by the Saudi government's decision to allow international companies to establish and manage their distribution and sales operations, Nestlé's expansion includes partnerships with local universities and institutions to train future Saudi executives and staff.

Stevia Council Launches Testing Program To Ensure Quality, Purity Of Stevia Products

In an effort to homogenize the analytical methods and reference standards used to determine steviol glycoside content in stevia products, the International Stevia Council (ISC) said it has created an independent Proficiency Testing Program. The ISC said the many analytical methods and reference standards in use today vary widely in quality and consistency, leading to inaccurate information on stevia product composition and purity levels. According to the ISC, the Proficiency Testing Program will allow participants to benchmark performance of their methods, analytical standards and analysts’ competency in a statistically relevant, blind testing scheme managed in accordance with international quality standards.
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