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Aug 18, 2016 / Richard Hall

Setting national nutrition targets

Could South Africa be leading the way ?

I’m not aware of any country that has a comprehensive nutrition strategy, which then forms the basis for planning production on farms.

Yes, many have national dietary guidelines. But without any connection to agricultural policy.

At least South Africa has quantified the challenges and set some goals.

The challenges are huge and come from opposing directions:

• 63% of women and 41% of men are overweight or obese.
• 14% of children under 5 are overweight.
• Yet 29% of children are affected by stunting.

The goals for 2025 aim to:

• reduce stunting to 10%
• reduce underweight to 5%.

Necessary steps.

Aug 16, 2016 / Richard Hall

Alcohol without alcohol

Two recent announcements by global alcohol leaders have highlighted the opportunity for adult drinks with less or no alcohol.

Anheuser-Busch has predicted no and low alcohol beers will account for 20% of its sales by 2025. This compares with a market share of just 2.5% for beer up to 2.8% alcohol by volume in 2014.

After investing in a new UK non-alcoholic spirit called Seedlip in July, Diageo Chief Executive Ivan Menezes commented: “We want to be at the front-end of this … We want to stay in this consumer space where our brands play. We’re not interested in getting into the soft drinks space.”

Aug 11, 2016 / Richard Hall

Summer’s strangest stories – so far

I’ve picked three.

Top of the list is Belgian brewers being able to use the sun for making beer from urine. Scientists from the University of Ghent have found a way of using solar power to turn urine into drinking water and fertiliser. An experiment at a music festival then used some of the water for making beer. Hence the phrase coined by the team – “from sewer to brewer.”

Second is the idea of consuming cockroach milk as a source of protein. Researchers in India have discovered that milk from the Pacific beetle cockroach is 4 times more nutritious than cow’s milk and its protein releases energy over a long period of time. I wonder how long it will take to produce a glass half full.

Third is a hydrating brand which is not a water, called Original Source. It has 4 milk flavours which are not milk – almond, bamboo, coconut and vanilla. But what is it really ? It’s a shower moisturising soap.

Aug 9, 2016 / Richard Hall

Hydration qualities of milk

The New York Times published an article recently on the findings of a new “beverage hydration index”, which analysed the hydration effect of 13 different beverage types.

72 British men in their mid-20s each consumed 1 litre of water and the index was set at 1.0 for the amount they had not passed in urine 2 hours later.

4 beverages were found to have a “significantly higher hydration index than water.” An oral rehydration solution, fat-free milk and whole milk all scored around 1.5. Orange juice scored 1.1.

Lead author Ronald Maughan from Loughborough University commented: “When beverages contain nutrients and electrolytes like sodium and potassium, as milk does, the stomach empties more slowly with a less dramatic effect on the kidneys.”

Drinks containing caffeine, alcohol and higher sugar levels “had hydration indexes no different from water.” As Ronald Maughan elaborated: “It’s true that caffeine is a diuretic, but not at the concentration found in most coffee drinks.”

Aug 4, 2016 / Richard Hall

55 acquisitions in July

No sign of a Brexit or uncertainty slowdown in food and drink industry transactions, with 55 recorded on the bevblog.net database for July.

By far the biggest was the $12,500 million dairy sector acquisition of US based WhiteWave by France’s Danone.

The next two were:

• $621 million for Gores private equity to buy 58% of Hostess Brands bakery activities in the United States

• €420 million for Dutch dairy FrieslandCampina and others to purchase 51% of Engro Foods in Pakistan.

Within the 55 total, 11 were in soft drinks, 10 in alcohol, 7 in packaging, then 4 each in bakery, dairy, ingredients and services.

24 countries were involved. 27 were inside national borders – 14 in the United States and 6 in the United Kingdom. 28 were international – 11 involving the United States and 10 the United Kingdom.

Overall, the United States featured in 25, the United Kingdom in 16, the Netherlands in 6, then France and Italy in 4 each.

Jul 26, 2016 / Richard Hall

US milk drink growth

Zenith’s Global Dairy Congress at the end of June provided a plethora of market insights, especially about the relative growth for different types of milk drinks in the United States.

Fairlife Chief Executive Steve Jones emphasized the promise of added value milks.

US Milk Drink Growth - Slide1

Dairy Farmers of America Senior Vice President Jay Waldvogel noted improved fortunes for milk fat.

US Milk Drink Growth - Slide2

Jul 21, 2016 / Richard Hall

$55 a bottle for water

Here is an ice cold story for the heat of summer.

A new limited edition water is about to be launched with all the terroir and hype imaginable.

It’s a polar water “harvested from icebergs freshly calved” off Norwegian glaciers 1,000 km from the North Pole – “pristine ice, locked up for millennia.”

A boat has collected 16 tonnes that had been at the centre of the glacier and was “as hard as concrete”, yet provides “an exceptionally smooth mouthfeel.” It’s “almost entirely mineral free with the pH of fresh snow.” The initial production run will be 13,000 bottles.

One of the owners appropriately remarked that “this project had just the right amount of madness for me.”
Glacier-Ice-Boat
The original heading for this blog put the price at $36, but apparently the correct figure should be $55. Let’s see how fast it sells.

Jul 19, 2016 / Richard Hall

European push for healthier food

At last, a co-ordinated approach. And a potentially sensible one.

In June, the European Union asked governments for national plans to make food healthier.

Progress reports are to be made every two years. Benchmarks, best practice and results are to be shared.

“For people’s diet to improve, the healthy choice should be the easy choice.” The policy seeks public health driven education, objective nutrition information and attention to physical as well as social environments. It calls for reducing levels of salt, saturated fat, added sugars and calories along with smaller portion sizes. Reformulation should be a gradual process. Emphasis should be paid to food for infants and children.

Consumer and industry groups have given their backing.

Signs of hope.