Schibello Caffé opens research & development roasting laboratory

Schibello Caffé has launched their new Research & Development Roasting Laboratory in Sydney’s north-west.

Situated in Rhodes next door to the Schibello Caffé headquarters, the facility features a coffee training academy coupled with an on-site espresso bar and a dedicated roasting laboratory.

The roasting laboratory, complete with a boutique roaster, allows Schibello Caffé to perform cupping session and experiment with small batches of new blends. The laboratory will be open for cupping session, and is available for clients who want a coffee blend developed for them.

 “The coffee sector is ever-changing, and very dynamic. Our success over the past 15 years has been due to our adaptive nature, and our understanding that great coffee is about more than just the product – it’s about the experience, the social dynamic, the environment, and the sense of belonging,” says Ross Schinella, CEO of Schibello Caffé. 


Global Stevia market registers a robust growth

The global Stevia market is expected to reach US $ 565.2 Million by 2020, due to shifting consumer preference.

According to a Future Market Insights report “Global Stevia Market – Market Analysis and Opportunity Assessment, 2014 – 2020,” the global stevia market is projected to grow at a single-digit CAGR during the forecast period, accounting for US $ 565.2 Mn by 2020.

Stevia extracts are finding increasing application in soft drinks and juices, ice creams, and various other products. This is attributed to its high-intensity natural sweetness properties. Due to these factors, share of the stevia market is expected to account for around 15 percent of the overall sweetener market by 2020.

The global stevia market is sub-segmented on the basis of the type of liquid, powdered and leaf form. The powdered stevia sub-segment is projected to account for around 65.4 percent share of the total stevia market by 2020, owing to ease of availability and use. The liquid stevia sub-segment, on the other hand, is expected to record a CAGR of around 9.0 percent during the forecast period.

All forms of stevia extracts are extensively used in end-use industries such as dairy, bakery, confectionery, beverages, packaged food, snacks and others.

Increasing introduction of products with stevia-based sweetener ingredients in various end-use industries is expected to bolster growth of the global stevia market by 2020.

Increasing popularity of such products owing to growing modern retail, urbanization, awareness and health concerns and changing preferences of consumers are major factors driving growth of this market.

Apart from the application in the food and beverages industry, introduction of products with stevia-based sweeteners across end-use industries such as bakery and confectionery is expected to bolster growth of the global stevia market by 2020. Furthermore, the global stevia market is driven by the need for effective alternatives for artificial sugar-based products owing to changing consumer lifestyle, increasing product visibility in urban areas and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for rebaudioside A as an ingredient in food products in European countries.


Food grade sheep collagen launched

A new functional ingredient has hit the market, with Holista Colltech Limited launching the world’s first food grade sheep collagen, under the brand Ovinex.

Food grade oral collagen, often referred to as collagen peptide is made by enzymatic cleavage of the much larger collagen molecule under specific conditions of time, temperature and acidity/alkalinity.

“Sheep as a source of collagen is unique and does not present the cultural and religious barriers seen with collagen from cows and pigs,” said Holista Colltech Limited CEO, Dr Rajen Manicka.”

“Ovinex is also Halal certified and we have tremendous protection of our differentiation in terms of a strong patent and several related proprietary technologies.”

The global collagen peptide market is segmented into Bovine, Porcine, Marine and Chicken.

“We expect massive demand for this product in application such as bone and joint health, pet food, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, food and beverages, the wound healing market and regenerative medicines,” Manicka said.

Geographically the collagen peptide market is segmented as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world.

North America accounts for the largest market share in the global collagen peptide market in 2013, owing to large number of R&D practices, strong awareness about nutraceuticals and wide use of cosmeceuticals.

“The Asia-Pacific, driven largely by China, Taiwan and Japan, is estimated to grow strongly and emerge as the most promising and fastest growing market during the forecast period from 2014 to 2020. This growth is expected to be driven by factors such as the strong use of collagen in traditional Chinese Medicine, steadily increasing industrialisation and increased awareness towards nutrition and well-being,” Manicka said.


Consumption growth of spirits restricted: IBISWorld

Increased health consciousness and stagnant alcohol consumption have restricted spirit consumption growth in overall volume. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated its report on Spirit Manufacturing in Australia

Australia imports the majority of the spirits it consumes. As a result, players in the Spirit Manufacturing industry in Australia supply less than 40 percent of domestic demand. For some products, a degree of transformation occurs domestically, particularly in the case of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, which compose the majority of industry revenue.

According to IBISWorld industry analyst Ryan Lin, “over the past five years, the industry has recovered from effects of the alcopops tax in 2008, which reduced demand for RTDs.”

This recovery has been helped by an increased demand for bottled spirits and ready-to-serve cocktail products. Industry revenue is forecast to grow at an annualised 1.8 percent over the five years through 2014-15. In 2014-15, industry revenue is expected to grow by 2.4 percent to $508.8 million, assisted by rising consumer discretionary income and favourable export conditions.

Conditions within the Spirit Manufacturing industry have varied over the past five years. Increased health consciousness and stagnant alcohol consumption have restricted consumption growth in overall volume.

“This has been partly offset by a trend towards more expensive spirit consumption, and a growing consumer willingness to try new industry products,” Lin said.

The RTD segment has remained subdued since the introduction of the alcopops tax in 2008, which raised prices and placed greater restrictions on marketing. However, the good value of many Australian spirits, increasing consumer preference for local products and the growing popularity of Australian whisky and gin have all aided industry revenue growth. These factors bode well for domestic manufacturers. The industry exhibits a medium level of market share concentration. Major players include Diageo Australia Limited, Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd, Coca-Cola Amatil Limited and Bacardi Lion Pty Limited.

Over the five years through 2019-20, factors such as the rise of cocktail culture and the premiumisation of the beverage market are expected to boost demand for pre-mixed cocktail drinks and value-added bottled spirits.

Imports are likely to continue to dominate the industry as imported spirits remain popular and international manufacturers diversify their product lines. Sales of Tasmanian-produced whisky are forecast to grow strongly as the state's reputation as a producer of premium single malts strengthens. The initial success of Australian spirits is likely to encourage a more diverse range of boutique distillers to enter the Spirit Manufacturing industry. However, growing competition from cider, beer and wine manufacturers will likely threaten industry revenue over the next five years.


Ready meals to be the largest frozen food segment by 2020

The global Frozen Food market is expected to reach an estimated value of USD 156.4 billion in 2020.

The global Frozen Food market was valued at USD 122.1 billion in 2013  is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.6 percent from 2014 to 2020, to reach an estimated value of USD 156.4 billion in 2020, according to a new market research report published by Persistence Market Research.

The report, “Global Market Study on Frozen Food: Frozen Ready Meals to be the Largest Segment by 2020,” says frozen foods have become an important part of the modern diet, as customers shift their dietary preferences towards ready-to-eat food products.

Availability of a wide range of frozen food products in different food categories is the factor driving the global frozen food market. Other driving factors are changing customer purchasing pattern and increasing urban population. Additionally, increasing number of working women is driving the global frozen food market. Majority of working women in the western countries don’t cook food at home.

Europe has the largest market share for frozen food, followed by North America and Asia Pacific. In Asia Pacific, economic developments paired with increasing urbanization and disposable income are some factors driving the frozen food market in the Asia-Pacific region. Owing to these factors, Asia Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth in the forecasted period.

Global frozen food market grew from USD 111,400.0 million in 2010 to USD 122,084.6 million in 2013 at a CAGR of 3.1 percent in value terms. Under regional segment, the European frozen food market the (largest market in 2013) increased by 2.8 percent CAGR during 2010-2013. The Asia-Pacific frozen food market is expected to show highest CAGR growth of 6.0 percent during 2014-2020 to reach USD 46,014.4 million in 2020. 


Listeria contamination more likely to occur in retail than manufacturing

Research finds levels of Listeria bacteria in American delis at levels that would be unacceptable in manufacturing.

Purdue University research shows that standard cleaning procedures in retail delis may not eradicate Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which can cause a potentially fatal disease in people with vulnerable immune systems.

A study led by Haley Oliver, assistant professor of food science, found that 6.8 percent of samples taken in 15 delis before daily operation had begun tested positive for L. monocytogenes.

In a second sampling phase, 9.5 percent of samples taken in 30 delis during operation over six months tested positive for the bacteria. In 12 delis, the same subtypes of the bacteria cropped up in several of the monthly samplings, which could mean that L. monocytogenes can persist in growth niches over time.

Ready-to-eat deli meats are the food most associated with L. monocytogenes, which can grow at refrigerator temperatures, unlike Salmonella and E. coli.

Stringent control measures and inspections have tamped down the presence of L. monocytogenes at meat processing plants, but there are no regulations specific to Listeria for retail delis. Recent risk assessments suggest that up to 83 percent of listeriosis cases linked to deli meats are attributable to products contaminated at retail.

"Manufacturing has a zero-tolerance policy for Listeria, but that dissipates at the retail level. The challenge of developing systematic cleaning procedures for a wide variety of delis – which are less restricted environments than processing plants – can make Listeria harder to control,” Oliver said.

Oliver and her team tested for L. monocytogenes and other Listeria species in 30 delis in national supermarket chains in three states in America. The researchers swabbed surfaces that come into frequent contact with food, such as meat slicers and counters, and surfaces that typically do not.

About 30 percent of the delis never tested positive for the pathogen, while some delis tested positive in 35 percent of the samples collected over six months.

"The prevalence of L. monocytogenes is higher than we expected in a significant percentage of delis, and the bacteria is persisting in these delis over time," Oliver said.

Most of the positive samples were collected from surfaces that usually do not come into contact with food, examples being floors, drains and squeegees. But the bacteria can be transferred unintentionally from these surfaces to food, Oliver said.

While the percentage of L. monocytogenes found on food contact surfaces was low, "these numbers would never be acceptable in manufacturing," she said. "The reason we haven't had a listeriosis outbreak tied to a deli is because it's a disease with a long incubation time, and it's difficult to track to a source. There are only about 1,600 listeriosis cases a year. But the likelihood of death is huge."

The research team tested 442 of the L. monocytogenes isolates collected from delis to determine how virulent the isolates were – that is, how great the likelihood was that they could cause disease. They found that less than 3 percent of the isolates had a lower potential for virulence.

"The vast majority of the isolates were 'hot' – comparable to wild-type L. monocytogenes," Oliver said. "These are particularly cause for concern."

She said that delis' standard sanitation operating procedures can keep the bacteria at bay only if the delis are in good condition, thoroughly cleaned and have sloped floors. But cleaning and sanitation may not effectively manage Listeria in a deli with structural damage such as missing grout, loose wall coverings or a drain that is not working properly. L. monocytogenes can flourish when it finds a moist niche that is infrequently cleaned.

Delis with contamination problems should "minimize the 'stuff' in the deli," Oliver said, to make it possible to clean the area thoroughly and train employees on how to maintain a sterile environment.

Consumers with vulnerable immune systems should buy prepackaged deli meats or heat ready-to-eat meats to 165 degrees, she said. Meat contaminated with L. monocytogenes will not show signs of spoilage, such as sliminess or odour.

"That's the challenge with pathogens such as Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli and norovirus: They don't cause changes in the characteristics of the products," she said. "Can you smell a food and tell if it's safe? Absolutely not."

The study was a collaboration between researchers at Purdue University, Cornell University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

The paper was published in the Journal of Food Protection.


Handheld sensor can detect something fishy

Scientists at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science have developed a handheld sensor that can detect seafood fraud.

It’s estimated that up to 30 percent of the seafood entering the U.S. is fraudulently mislabelled, bilking U.S. fishermen, the U.S. seafood industry, and American consumers for an estimated $20-25 billion annually. Passing off other fish as grouper is one of the rackets this sensor aims to stop.

The instrument assays seafood samples using real-time nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (RT-NASBA). The handheld instrument that purifies and identifies the sample’s RNA is a portable version of the lab-based bench top model previously developed.

The paper describing the new technology and its application appears in a newly published issue of Food Control.

“Using the hand-held device, a complete field assay, potentially carried out at the point of purchase, requires fewer than 45 minutes for completion and can be performed entirely outside of the lab,” said biological oceanographer John Paul, University Professor at the USF College of Marine Science.

“Some past assay procedures could take hours, even days to identify samples.”

According to the paper’s lead author and College of Marine Science graduate, Robert Ulrich, fraud involving grouper is prevalent locally because it is the third most economically valuable seafood product in Florida and there are commercial quotas on grouper catches. The task of identifying true grouper does get complicated because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allow 64 species of fish to be labelled as “grouper.”

“The demand for grouper in the U.S. is so strong that it cannot be met by the harvesting of domestic species alone,” Ulrich said.

“In 2012, over 4,000 metric tons of foreign grouper, worth $33.5 million, were imported into the U.S. This mass quantity of imported grouper creates opportunities for fraud, which can lead consumers to pay more for lesser valued seafood species and may allow importers to avoid paying tariffs.”

The scientists believe that the portable QuadPyre version of RT-NASBA is accurate enough to detect grouper substitution on cooked fish at the point of restaurant service, even when the samples are masked by breading or sauces, an improvement over other techniques that have been unreliable in such cases.

The technology is being commercialized by a USF spinoff company called PureMolecular, LLC under the name GrouperChek (trademark pending). Assays for other commercially important seafood species are being developed.

The USF College of Marine scientists who developed the QuadPyre RT-NASBA hope that its use will help ensure those charged with seafood purchasing and seafood commerce regulation can begin to close the inspection gaps and better combat seafood mislabelling fraud.


Food cooked at high altitude looks and tastes better: Nestle

Nestlé scientists have discovered that cooking food at high altitude can intensify flavour, colour, aroma, and nutrient quality.

A group of scientists from the Nestlé Research Center (NRC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, travelled to the world’s highest revolving restaurant – the ThreeSixty in Saas-Fee, Switzerland – for a day’s cooking at high altitude, some 3,600 metres above sea level.

Back in the lab, at 833 metres above sea level, they repeated the cooking process and scientifically compared the results. Their conclusion – food cooked at high altitude both looks and tastes better.

Sky soup

The scientists prepared three identical recipes for vegetable broths, one cooked high in the mountains, and two others in the lab – one at ordinary pressure and the other at high pressure – and discovered that the recipe prepared in the clouds had a very different flavour profile.

“Flavour is a key driver of food acceptance and consumer preference”, said Dr. Candice Smarrito, the NRC scientist who led the study.

“So we prepared vegetable broths consisting of exactly the same quantities of turnip, carrot, leek and celeriac cooked at high, low and ambient pressure.

“The results were then analysed both in the laboratory using a range of analytical processes, and by a panel of tasting experts to see how the different combinations of pressures and cooking times impacted on the culinary quality and molecular and sensory profile of the preparations,” she explained.

Volatile compounds

The lower boiling point of water at high altitude and low pressure allows food to cook more gently, at a lower temperature. At 3,600m , for example, water boils at just 85°C .

Nestlé scientists have proved that this process maintains the food’s natural amino acids, carbohydrates and organic acids, as well as volatile compounds, such as aromas.

Having these elements preserved in the components of a finished dish makes the flavours, colours and aromas more intense, without the addition of a single flavour enhancer or additive, or even salt.

Richer flavours

They found that low-pressure cooking reduces food weight loss and therefore increases the yield of vegetables.

It also leads to significantly richer broths in terms of amino acids, carbohydrates and organic acids, enhancing their non-volatile, volatile and sensory profiles.

In particular, the team noticed an enhancement of sulphur volatile compounds when boiling at lower pressure, which correlates with a greater leek aroma.

In this way, the researchers established that imitating the conditions of mountain cooking through low-pressure boiling might be used to enhance the flavour profile of culinary preparations, so increasing consumer preference.

This preservation might also extend to any thermally sensitive compounds, such as vitamins.

NRC scientists are currently carrying out additional research to identify the culinary preparations that might be enhanced, both in terms of the sensorial experience and the nutritional value, by this low-pressure cooking method.


Why many low-fat products fail

The ability to taste fat could be the reason many low-fat products struggle in popularity over time, according to sensory science researchers.

Deakin’s newly formed Centre of Advanced Sensory Science has found there is overwhelming evidence for the tongue’s ability to detect fat, suggesting it is the sixth taste.

“There is great potential for the food and health industries to develop new low energy products using the knowledge on fat taste,” says Professor Russell Keast, head of the Centre of Advanced Sensory Science.

“If we think about the food industry in particular, there’s a lot of low fat foods that were put out for dieting back in the 80’s and 90’s that had subsequently failed because over time they failed to deliver in terms of what the consumer wants, which is the acceptance and liking over time of foods.

“This presumably is because fat has a taste component to it wasn’t taken into account.”

“Fat has multiple effects in foods, it provides mouthfeel, acts as a flavour carrier and helps with flavour release,” Keast says.

“What we are saying is that in addition to those attributes, fat also activates taste receptors. If fat taste had been considered during low fat food development, perhaps there would not have been so many low fat failures.

“Part of the role of having a taste is embodying the fix that the nutrients bring to the food so if you reduce them or take them out, the sensing mechanisms that we have to identify those nutrients isn’t necessarily there.”

While failed low-fat foods were able to mimic the mouth-feel and flavour-release properties of fat, what they weren’t able to mimic is the actual fat or fatty acid activating the taste receptors and the responses that happens from that activation.

“The key is to find some of these fatty acids that are higher activating. If they are higher activating then you can effectively reduce the level of fat in foods but still activate those taste receptors that provide the feelings that we want from fat and that would in the long term have a great benefit for the development of low fat foods that are sustainable over the long term for consumers.”

The evidence that fat is a sixth taste has opened the door on low-fat product innovation, but Keast says more research still needs to be done.

“We don’t know which fatty acids are higher activating and that’s going to take a bit of effort to work out but I would say that the dairy industry in particular should be trying to take advantage of this type of research because they have fractured the first fatty acid profile from bovine milk.”

“It’s not an easy thing to discover, it will take time and effort on part of the dairy industry and maybe even the meat industry to be able to find what fatty acids are best to apply into foods.”

The review, ‘Is fat the 6th taste primary. Evidence and implication’, is published in Flavour Journal.


Researchers develop functional ingredients out of lobster byproducts

Flinders University and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) have teamed up to find innovative ways of using leftover shells and parts from the processing of lobsters.

The two institutes are working with Adelaide-based lobster exporter Ferguson Australia to help the company generate new products from lobster "offcuts", and to develop a cost-effective manufacturing process to improve Ferguson's annual turnover and environmental stewardship.

Prototypes developed so far at Flinders University's Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development include lobster essence oil, protein powder and chitin; derived 100 per cent from lobsters.

Flinders PhD candidate Trung Nguyen, who is working on the project, said the lobster oil and protein powder could be used as functional ingredients in a range of foodstuffs, from stock bases to crackers, while the chitin, chitosan and its derivatives could have a wide range of applications, from food and cosmetics to biomedicines, agriculture and the environment.

"We have extracted a variety of items, including protein hydrolysates, chitin, chitosan and oil, from food-grade lobster parts that would usually be thrown away," Nguyen said.

"The oil has quite a strong smell so it could be used as a lobster flavour in chips and crackers, and it is also rich in astaxanthin which is a powerful antioxidant," he said.

"While this particular collaboration focuses on producing lobster-flavoured products for food, my PhD study as a whole explores the development of other high-value products for the food or pharmaceutical industries.

Nguyen said the extraction of lobster compounds uses cutting-edge advanced manufacturing processes such as supercritical CO2 extraction and microwave-assisted extraction, which produces a product that is of high purity while also being cost effective and environmentally sustainable.

Flinders Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development manager Raymond Tham said the products, once refined, will be marketed to potential partners in the food industry.

"There's a real opportunity to make sure none of our high value seafood is ever wasted, and that they are used to produce products that currently do not exist on the global market," Tham said.

"Together with SARDI, our lab work has shown that we can create these products in very large quantities using sustainable technologies, ultimately increasing the competitiveness of South Australian foods in the national and international marketplace."

Ferguson Australia managing director Andrew Ferguson said the creation of new products from leftover lobsters would enable the company to reduce its waste management costs and improve environmental and resource sustainability.

"These products will reduce the amount of lobster waste sent to landfills, which has a high cost for both the business and environment, but will instead have a higher retail value and longer shelf life to reach wider export markets," Ferguson said.


Packaged food and soft drink consumption to increase

The world buys 1.5 trillion calories a day, with the average global consumer purchasing 765 calories each day through packaged food and soft drinks, according to new research.

Market Research Company Euromonitor International released new research examining the total amount of nutrients purchased per-person per day through packaged food and soft drinks products. 

The research found countries in North America and Western Europe purchase over 1500 calories, with India at 150 calories per day and China at 510, respectively.

“Despite over 40 percent of the global population being overweight and obese, our nutrition data shows that by 2019 the world will purchase 90 calories more a day,” says Lauren Bandy, nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International.

“This analysis helps address rising concerns surrounding nutritional value in food while building a picture of what people eat in different countries.”

Mexico buys the most calories a day with 1928 calories per person, which is 380 calories more than the US. The additional 380 calories is the equivalent of an extra slice of pizza per person every day in Mexico. Germany buys nearly twice as much fat per capita per day than Japan, and France purchases more calories from bread each day than India does from packaged food and soft drinks combined.

“Understanding how packaged food and soft drink brands contribute to the total purchase of nutrients by category and country helps address the rising concern of nutritional value in food,” Bandy said.

The data, available in Euromonitor’s Passport: Nutrition database depicts a brands contribution to the purchase of nutritional content around the world, identifying the contents of the world’s diet and the impact each nutrient, such as salt, has on our diets. The data allows companies and governments to understand consumers taste and food preferences around the world.


Cake and Pastry Manufacturing to focus on new products: IBISWorld

IBISWorld predicts the Cake and Pastry Manufacturing industry will focus on specialised, higher margin products, over the five years through 2019-20.

According to the IBISWorld report, changing consumer trends, volatile commodity prices and a saturated market have characterised the Cake and Pastry Manufacturing industry in Australia. Rising input prices and intensifying external competitive pressures have posed some serious challenges to the industry over the past five years. For example, supermarkets have extended their private-label offerings as part of their ongoing push into the fresh food market. In addition, the move towards artisanal and gourmet foods has increased competition from retail bakeries, which have posed a threat to branded manufacturers in other parts of the baked goods sector.

According to IBISWorld industry analyst Arna Richardson, “in response to these challenges and sweeping changes in consumption needs and preferences, industry operators have relied on innovation and new products to stimulate demand in an otherwise stagnant market.”

Over the past five years, industry operators have promoted a widening range of products on the basis of health, wellbeing and convenience. Despite these measures, industry revenue is expected to contract at an annualised 1.3 percent over the five years through 2014-15, as heightened competitive pressures and restrained household disposable expenditure have taken a toll on the industry.

Over the five years through 2019-20, the industry will slowly evolve in line with its changing operating environment. New products, including lower sugar, low-fat and gluten-free alternatives and those containing added functional ingredients, will continue to be rolled out as the industry focuses on specialised, higher margin products. In view of intensifying competitive forces in traditional distribution channels, including the grocery channel, “the industry is expected to increasingly focus on food-service providers and convenience stores as preferred channels for purchases of pies and cakes,” said Richardson.

The Cake and Pastry Manufacturing industry is characterised by a low level of concentration, reflecting the existence of a large number of small and medium operators. This is despite the existence of some larger manufacturers with global connections including George Weston and Sara Lee. Concentration also varies between product segments. The cake segment tends to be less concentrated, as numerous niche players exist and production tends to be labour-intensive. Pies, however, command higher brand and customer loyalty and are therefore more concentrated, with the major players competing for market share.

Typically, the industry's larger firms tend to specialise in mainstream products, targeting the low to mid-price range of the final market. Smaller firms tend to concentrate on specialty products requiring short production runs and lower volumes. Despite the presence of smaller firms, manufacturing is moving toward larger scale, concentrated production.

This industry consists of companies engaged in the manufacturing of cakes, pastries and similar bakery products (including frozen products) from either a factory-based premises or home. It does not include those companies that produce and sell their products direct to consumers on the same premises, such as retail bakeries and supermarket instore bakeries.


Caffeine linked to increased soft drink consumption

Calls for tighter regulation of caffeine in soft drinks have been prompted by research from Deakin University that found that caffeine increases the consumption of soft drinks.

In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers measured the influence caffeine had on the consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks. They found that people drinking caffeinated drinks consumed much more than those who drank the non-caffeinated equivalents.

“This research supports the ongoing need for caffeine to be tightly regulated as an additive in the food supply, as it appears an ingredient for overconsumption,” said the study's senior author associate professor Lynn Riddell.

“The increasing consumption of nutrient poor, high energy foods and drinks is a major contributor to the continuing problems of overweight and obesity.”

Caffeine is a widely consumed, mildly addictive chemical that occurs naturally in coffee, tea and chocolate, but is an additive in soft drinks—mostly cola flavoured and energy drinks. It is estimated that more than 60 per cent of soft drink consumption is of the caffeinated variety.

The study involved 99 participants, aged 18—30, who were randomly assigned to either a caffeinated or non-caffeinated soft drink group. The participants were masked to the true purpose of the study, being told that it was about testing the palatability and liking of a lemon flavoured soft drink.  Over the 28-day intervention they consumed as much of the soft drinks as they wanted. The amount of soft drinks consumed was monitored daily while their liking of the drinks was assessed at the beginning and the end of the study.

The results of the study showed that the participants in the caffeinated drinks group drank 419ml (785 kilojoules) per day, significantly more than those in the non-caffeinated group who drank 273ml (512 kilojoules).

“Our findings clearly show that caffeine as an additive in soft drinks increased consumption and with it sugar calories, and that is a significant public health issue given the prevalence of obesity,” Riddell said.

As with previous research, a separate group of trained flavour testers found no difference in the flavour between the caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks.

Some soft-drink manufacturers claim that caffeine is added as a flavour enhancer however this claim is challenged by this research.

“Participants cannot taste the difference between the caffeinated soft drink and the non-caffeinated soft drink; if you can't tell a difference in flavour there is no flavour activity,” said the study's lead author Professor Russell Keast.

“It is also important to note that the level of caffeine in the soft drinks used in the study was the same as in commercially available cola flavoured beverages.

“That caffeinated soft drinks were also more liked than the non-caffeinated soft drink at the end of the intervention, supports previous studies that suggest caffeine promotes liking and consumption via sub-conscious influences that may be related to reversing caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

“Additive compounds such as caffeine that promote consumption via sub-conscious effects work against efforts to minimise energy consumption.  The research provides evidence in support of the need for strong regulation of caffeine as an additive to foods.”

The research was funded by a Diabetes Australia Research Trust.


Single-serve ice cream products on the move

The number of single-serve ice cream product launches has increased 22 percent in five years.

Single-serve products accounted for a quarter of global ice cream launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months to the end of October 2014, up from 22 percent five years previously.

Single-serve lines appear to be most popular in Asia, where they accounted for 40 percent of all ice cream introductions, compared with a nearer average 20 percent in Europe and a below average 12 percent in the US.

“The hand-held ice cream market is working hard to move on from its weather-dependant summer-only image,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

“The sector varies across a whole range of product types, from ice lollies for children to premium chocolate snacks for adults and encompasses a wide range of formats including bars, sticks and cones.”

Hand-held ice creams in the US largely reside in the frozen novelties market, which has seen rising interest in fruit bars in recent years, with tracked NPD including licensed products such as Mars’ Starburst Sorbet stick, as well as lines from established ice cream companies keen to offer a healthy option, including Blue Bell’s Dipped Coconut Fruit Bars, Edy’s Outshine, Dreyer’s Coconut Water bars and Unilever’s Fruttare bars.

Another key trend, the move of gelato from the foodservice to the retail market, is also evident in product activity, with launches such as Talenti’s Gelato Pop range of dark-chocolate-coated gelato on sticks.

The hand-held market in the UK has seen good growth over the past two years, largely as a result of hot summer weather. Unilever has the two best-selling hand-held brands with its Magnum and Cornetto.

Meanwhile, R&R launched the first Kit Kat ice cream in a cone format during the year, as well as an Oreo Ice Cream Sandwich and a Creme Egg stick product and also relaunching Cadbury Dairy Milk ice cream on a stick.

Across the Channel, France is seeing similar trends with new product activity including a limited edition extension of the Twix ice cream bar with Inspiration Speculoos, featuring the increasingly popular Speculoos gingerbread concept. The Daim confectionery brand also arrived on the ice cream market, featuring a number of options, including a hand-held stick variant.

Germany has also seen activity in licensed products, including a Haribo water ice line from Langnese (Unilever) featuring flavoured gummy bears. A retro trend also brought back the Dolomiti stick ice cream popular with children in the 1970s and 1980s for the summer of 2014.


Researchers simplify beverage quality control analysis

The Fraunhofer Institute has developed a new method for investigating beer and other beverages for infection by pathogens.

In collaboration with the company GEN-IAL from Troisdorf, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam have developed a polymer powder that significantly simplifies quality control tests and shortens the time that they require.

With a new polymer powder, monitoring the production process for quality will be able to be faster and simpler in the future.

Manufacturers can also test drinks such as milk, juice, cola and red wine with the quick check.

Until recently, beer has been filtered in special equipment, where the bacteria remain on a membrane and is cultivated in a special culture medium before they can be examined microscopically. The new polymer powder from the IAP replaces this process: The powder is added to the liquid sample. The powder’s functionalized surface binds the bacteria efficiently. The pathogens adhere to the 100 to 200 micron powder particles. These can be easily removed along with the microbes in a specially developed system and analysed directly using various microbiological methods. The time-consuming enrichment in a nutrient medium is no longer necessary.

With the new method, food experts can investigate beer and other beverages for infection by pathogens.

“Membrane filtration is not suitable for the quality control of beverages such as fruit juices, milk, cola and red wine. They contain so much solid or suspended matter that the filter clogs quickly,” said Dr. Andreas Holländer, scientist at the IAP.

Breweries have also only been able to examine small sample volumes of up to one liter via membrane filtration. With the polymer powder, tests with 30 liters or more are possible.

“Wherever a small amount of microbes has to be extracted from a large amount of liquid, the new technique can be useful,” Holländer said.

“Through the use of the powder, food safety is increased, since it is more likely to find trace contaminants in large volumes of the beverages,” says Dr. Jutta Schönling, managing director of Gen-IAL.


Quest for digestibility driving yogurt consumption in China: DSM

New research has revealed that perceived gut health benefits and added probiotics are driving significantly higher yogurt demand in China.

Results of a survey carried out by DSM Global Insight in countries as varied as China, US, Brazil, and Turkey, revealed that perceived gut health benefits and added probiotics are driving significantly higher yogurt demand in China than the other countries surveyed. Moreover, improving digestibility would result in even further increases in Chinese yogurt consumption.

The paper reveals 8 out of 10 Chinese consumers actively seek a product containing probiotics.

The survey also shows that the rising yogurt consumption is heavily influenced by Chinese consumers embracing a healthy lifestyle and their belief that yogurt is good for their overall gut health. 76 percent of Chinese consumers choose yogurt for its gut health benefits compared to an average of 48 percent in the other markets surveyed including US, Brazil, Turkey, Poland and France.

Digestibility is also cited by our Chinese consumers as the key reason to further increase their consumption of yogurt. If it was ‘easier-to-digest’, Chinese consumers that have not increased their consumption of this dairy food over the last three years, report that they would eat more yogurt.

Digestibility, as a barrier to increased consumption, is more pronounced in China – where up to 95 percent of the population may be lactose intolerant – than in other countries surveyed.

“We see that lactose-free and low-lactose dairy is increasingly popular in China. Lactose-free dairy is perceived to be healthier than regular yogurt and addresses the gut-conscious consumers looking for ‘easy-to-digest’ dairy foods”, said Merel Roes, Global Marketing Manager Maxilact at DSM Food Specialties.

“Our survey reveals that Chinese consumers, buying lactose-free, are eating more yogurt than three years ago, compared to the overall Chinese consumers surveyed. They would also increase their consumption if there were more lactose-free options available.”


Asia Pacific drives packaged food industry growth

The past decade has seen a number of Asia Pacific packaged brands enter the ‘Top 50 Billionaire Brands list’.

Euromonitor has released the ‘Top 50 Billionaire Brands list’ for packaged brands in 2014, and compared it with that of ten years ago.

Asia Pacific has been the major growth engine of the packaged food industry over the last decade adding over US$180 billion to the global market.

To put this in context, that’s 48% of the growth generated by the entire industry.

China has been the primary source of this and many of its home-grown brands, such as Yili and Mengniu, have risen up the global brands list rapidly. Despite many of the Asian food brands entering the billionaire club, most are actually entirely dependent on revenue from a single market.

On the other side of things, according to Euromonitor, many of what we would consider to be iconic food brands are starting to lose their way.

Brands such as Campbell’s and Barilla are being switched out for more targeted brand names that focus on core categories and demographic groups. The rise of the yoghurt-focused Activia brand at the expense of Danone is clear evidence of that.

In 2004, Kellogg’s was ranked number one on the list, followed by Kraft, Lay’s, Wrigley’s and Cadbury.

In this year’s list, Lay’s has moved up the list and landed the top spot, followed by Kellogg’s, Yili, Mengniu and Wrigley’s.

In terms of cumulative 2004-2014 sales, Kellogg’s still maintains the top spot, despite slightly decelerating its sales. Lay’s is next in line, followed by Kraft, Wrigley’s and Cadbury.

For the full list, click here.


Euromonitor releases new report on the ‘global sugar backlash’

Euromonitor International has released a new report discussing the global backlash against sugar.

The report discusses changes in consumer attitudes towards sugar and the effect sugar is having on global markets.

Each of the 34 global markets identified in the report saw a five-year rise in obesity including the US, where the number of obese adults rose from 34 percent in 2008, to 41 percent in 2013. In addition 27 markets saw an increase in diabetes.

Euromonitor notes that the negative attitude towards sugar is driving changes in trends, with consumers either making a conscious effort to reduce their intake, or eliminate it completely.

Accordng to findings in Euromonitor’s Global Consumer Trends Survey, 42 percent of consumers are now seeking out food labels with limited or no added sugar.

“Sugar is now seen as a health risk by most, and as toxic as tobacco by some,” says Gina Westbrook, director of strategy briefings at Euromonitor International. “Sugar has endured a tide of negative public opinion as the amount of scientific research linking the rise in sugar intake with obesity has increased, leading the government to become increasingly concerned about the rising cost of illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.”

Westbrook notes that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently recommended cutting the daily sugar limit in half to five percent and that manufacturers will need to reduce sugar content and continue to develop natural alternatives to artificial sweeteners.

“Companies will continue to work with ingredients suppliers to develop new alternatives, with natural sweeteners like stevia holding the greatest growth potential,” she said.

In November last year, Mexico passed a law that imposes significant new taxes on sugary drinks and junk food.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, successfully passed an eight percent tax on junk foods – foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fat, as well as an four percent tax per litre on sugary drinks such as soda.

President Nieto said at the time that the Mexican government has taken a long-term view of the situation, as the potential economic harm from reduced sales of junk food/ drinks is relatively insignificant to the medicals costs associated with food related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.


Australian organics industry enjoys record growth

The biennial Australian Organic Industry report was released today, highlighting key categories that are driving significant growth results.

The Australian Organic Market Report, commissioned by organic certifier Australian Organic, tracks trends in the Australian organic marketplace based on research by the Mobium Group, Swinburne University of Technology and ABS statistics.

The report found that consumption of certified organic food, cosmetics and household products are now valued at over $1.72 billion, representing a 15.4 percent compound annual growth rate since 2009.

Key findings across industry sectors driving growth:

  • Dairy is the fastest growing organic category in 2014, now estimated to be worth $113m
  • With compound growth of 127 percent 2011–2014, beef is the second fastest growing sector with a total value of $198m in 2014
  • Wine grape production increased by a staggering 120 percent between 2011 and 2014 and is worth $117m
  • Despite suffering during the drought, the organic grain category has grown by 20 percent with total crop values lifting by 67 percent in three years

Dr Andrew Monk, chairman of Australian Organic says that with demand for organics outstripping supply by up to 40 percent, the Australian retail market for certified organic products expected to continue to grow with private label products, certified organic processed foods and greater affordability driving this trajectory.

“One of the most significant findings was that 69 percent of primary food shoppers in Australia claim to have bought at least one certified organic product in the past 12 months. This demonstrates that organics are gaining greater penetration beyond the group of consumers who have traditionally purchased them,” says Monk.

“For the first time, we asked consumers their reasoning behind choosing organics with 49 percent of respondents claiming that they first purchased certified organics as they became aware of the impact food, fibre and cosmetics may have on their health. 16 percent began buying organic specifically because of a health crisis.”

The report has also revealed the perceived benefits of organic products are consistently associated with what organic food does not contain and is not produced with. The top six being: chemical free (80 percent), additive free (77 percent), environmentally friendly (68 percent), hormone and antibiotic free (meat) (60 percent), non-GM and free range (each 57 percent).

Other key Australian Organic Market Report 2014 findings include:

  • Organic purchases by those who are not categorised as green or sustainable shoppers increased from 24 percent in 2012 to 40 percent in 2014.
  • The Australian Certified Organic logo is by far the most recognised organic certification mark – a significant leap of 22.5 percent in awareness from 2012.
  • 32 percent of shoppers say they would only buy a product labelled as ‘organic’ if it is certified organic.
  • Australia still has the largest area of organic land in the world (22 million hectares) and there has been a 53 percent increase in fully certified organic land area between 2011 and 2014.
  • Exports of organic products have more than doubled from 2012 to 2014 with the organic export market now worth $350m.
  • Australian organic production (farm-gate) value is $508m, up 18 percent since 2012.
  • In non-alcoholic beverages, organic coffee saw the most dynamic retail value sales growth of 15 percent to reach $10m in 2013.


Top ten food trends for 2015, Innova Market Insights

Market research company, Innova Market Insights has released its overview of the top ten trends for global food, beverage and nutrition in 2015.

Taking out the top spot was From Clean to Clear Label, which highlights the need for clearer definitions of the term ‘natural’. This was followed by Convenience for Foodies which came in second and emphasises the demand for fresh foods and ingredients, driven by the popularity of food blogs and cooking shows.

Innova will release an in-depth analysis and examples of such products in the Top Ten Trends for 2015 in detailed presentations and reports within the coming weeks.

Top Ten Trends for 2015

  1. From Clean to Clear Label: Innova say that clean label claims are tracked in its database on nearly a quarter of all food and beverage launches, and that manufacturers are increasingly highlighting the naturalness and origin of their products. Innova noted that growing concerns over the lack of a definition of the term ‘natural’ has furthered the need to provide more clarity and specific details on the term.


  1. Convenience for Foodies: Innova states that the popularity of food blogs and cooking shows has driven demand for a greater choice of fresh foods, ingredients and an increased interest in cooking from scratch. Innova say that bloggers are cooking shows are seen as fashionable, fun and social, as well as cost effective, and have resulted in a wider use of recipe suggestions by manufacturers and retailers.


  1. Marketing to Millennials: This refers to the ‘Millennial generation’ (those aged between 15 and 35) which accounts for about one-third of the global population and is tech savvy and socially engaged. These consumer are well informed, want to try something different and are generally less brand loyal than older consumers. They want to connect with products and brands and know the story behind them.


  1. Snacks Rise to the Occasion: Innova say that as formal mealtimes are continuing to decline in popularity, it has seen growing numbers of food and drinks are now considered to be snacks. Quick healthy foods are tending to replace traditional meal occasions, and more snacks are targeted at specific moments of consumption, with different demand influences at different times of day.


  1. Good Fats, Good Carbs: Innova says that concerns of obesity have led to a growing emphasis on unsaturated and natural fats and oils and rising interest in omega 3 fatty acid content as well as the return of butter to favour as a natural, tasty alternative to artificial margarines that may be high in trans fats. In the same way, naturally-occurring sugar is being favoured at the expense of added sugars and artificial sweeteners.


  1. More In Store for Protein: Ingredient suppliers, food producers and consumers are on the lookout for the next protein source. Soy protein is regarded as cheap and mainstream and therefore being less applied among NPLs tracked. Whey protein has been popular for some years and is still growing, while pulse protein is rapidly emerging. More algae protein applications are expected in the future. Further along insect protein may become big in various categories.


  1. New Routes for Fruit 7: Innova notes that more product launches are being tracked with real fruit and vegetables, as they can function as colouring foodstuffs and in that role meet the increased demand for natural colours and flavours. Fruit and vegetable inclusions can add to the “permissible indulgence” character of a product. Consumers perceive a product to be healthier when it contains a real fruit or vegetable ingredient.


  1. A Fresh Look at Frozen: Innova say that in order to compete with the healthy appeal of fresh aisles and the convenience of canned foods, established frozen foods (vegetables and seafood) are focusing on freshness in their marketing, stressing the superior nutritional content in frozen food. Brand extensions include larger varieties in vegetables and fruits. At the same time the frozen segment is witnessing new product launch activity in new categories (e.g. soups, fruit, drinks , finger foods, sauces, pastries, herbs).


  1. Private Label Powers On: Even though the worst of the economic recession is over private label is still gaining market share in terms of new product launches in Europe, North America and Australasia. Store brands are here to stay and are found in all product segments. Discounters Aldi and Lidl are by consumers no longer solely seen as budget stores, but are accepted by the general public and considered to have good quality products.


  1. Rich, chewy and Crunch: Texture is an important driver for taste perception of food and beverages and focus of many of today’s food innovations. Brands are creatively combining textures with for example crispy inclusions, soft centres and extra crunchy toppings. Texture claims are shown more prominently on front-of-pack. Also, brands are creative in describing texture or including a texture claim in a product name.