Staff Writer

Bulla brings Fairy Bread to its Dairy Foods range

Bulla Dairy Foods has built on the success of their Lamington and Coconut Ice range with the introduction of three new flavour stick ice cream combinations.

The newest ice cream range, including Fairy Bread, Cookies & Cream and Cookie Crumble, aims to provide consumers with fresh milk and cream that they love.

According to Bulla Dairy Foods General Manager Nick Hickford, Bulla is committed to tradition and innovation.

“There is nothing more iconic for Australians than fairy bread. By reinventing this family classic and bringing it to life in a fun frozen format, we’re confident that we’ll be keeping this much loved treat alive for many more generations to come,” Hickford says.

Fairy Bread features vanilla-flavoured ice cream dipped in a white choc coating and covered in colourful sprinkles. Cookies & Cream includes cookie-flavoured ice cream dipped in a white choc coating and covered with chocolate cookie pieces.

Bulla’s new range comes in packs of six and is available in most supermarkets.

Tocal College selling eggs to Pace as free range becomes defined

A NSW government-linked farm is supplying “free range” eggs to the country’s biggest egg producer, a company that has played a critical role in lobbying efforts to weaken labelling standards.

The Department of Primary Industries-run Tocal College has signed a 10-year contract with Pace Farms to supply it with eggs from an operation with 70,000 hens on a 15-hectare property near Newcastle.

The business contract has sparked fears the government’s efforts to help develop a national, legally binding free range standard – most likely to be decided on Thursday – has been undermined by industrial egg producers.

Darren Bayley, the principal of Tocal College, said the farm met the Model Code of Practice, which says stocking densities can go beyond 1500 hens per hectare if they are regularly rotated.
He said the birds were rotated through clean, shaded paddocks for a minimum of eight hours a day, and not one dollar from the sale of the eggs went to the Department of Primary Industries.

“All of our eggs go to Pace Farms. We looked at the different providers and Pace had an excellent reputation. We’ve found Pace to be good to deal with. We’re proud of our enterprise, our layout and set up,” he said.

The managing director of Pace Farms is Frank Pace, who is a director of the Australian Egg Corporation Limited. The AECL at one stage attempted to secure a “free range” certification trademark that set the stocking density at 20,000 hens per hectare.

Consumer group Choice said the industry’s definition meant hens would never have to go outside, and has instead proposed: “Where most of the birds actually go outside regularly, have room to move comfortably when outdoors, and have room to move comfortably inside the barn.”

Frosty Boy signals intention to expand into Asia

FROSTY Boy Australia is determined to become the world’s preferred dessert and beverage base
manufacturer, with the Asia-Pacific market key to success.

In seeking new business prospects, the company is set to attend two of the region’s largest food and beverage expos, HOTELEX in Shanghai and Food&HotelAsia 2016 in Singapore.

According to Frosty Boy CEO Dirk Pretorius, the company manufactures the equivalent of two million serves of soft serve ice cream daily, with export making up 75 per cent of business.

“We have already had great sucess in the Asia-Pacific region, with a great deal of our product being exported there, but there is still so much room for growth,” Pretorius said.

Frosty Boy had recently been placed in high esteem to the rest of the world when its partnerships with Asian companies took place under Australia’s improved trade agreements.

“Brand Australia in particular has contributed towards the company’s growth and is strongly
recognised in international markets, particularly in China. Good quality Australian products, such as
our beverage, frozen yoghurt and soft serve bases are in constant high demand,” he said.

Food and beverage companies must address safety concerns

Recent statistics from the United States Small Business Association show nearly 90 per cent of businesses fail within two years of experiencing a disaster.

According to risk and insurance experts David Goodall and Peter McGee, companies in the food and beverage industry that have adopted a ‘do nothing’ strategy, only to find out when being assessed by manufacturers.

“With a turnover in excess of $111.2 billion annually, food and beverage is one of Australia’s most important industries and we have a global reputation for our quality and consistency, but how prepared are we to navigate the multitude and changing risks that participants in this industry face on a day to day basis?” Goodall said.

“But while salads wrapped in plastic, warm sushi riddled with salmonella, all make us gag,
that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the ripple effect that can also create damage throughout the
entire supply chain. Our message is, no matter how large or small your business, know all your
risks, plan for them so you can rethink your insurance and ensure all bases are covered.”

The discovery of horsemeat in processed beef products sold by a number of UK
supermarket chains in 2013 resulted in a series of product recalls and threw a spotlight on
the food industries supply chain in UK and throughout Europe.

As much as 100% of beef products were found to contain horsemeat; other beef products
were found to contain pork. The scandal revealed a major breakdown in the traceability of
ingredients in the food supply chain and exposed additional potential risks.

When you consider the supply chain for Comigel, one of the food manufactures at the
centre of the scandal, it’s easy to see why the wheels fell off. Romanian abattoirs
supplying Dutch and Cypriot meat traders, who send product to various parts of France.
Since the story broke in January 2013, it has spread to 13 other European countries and
authorities are seeking an EU-wide solution.

This issue not only ha an impact on consumer confidence, there is a significant financial
fallout for the companies involved.

Woolworths private label strategy will play directly into the hands of Aldi

Woolworths’ plan to rebrand its private label ranges in an attempt to meet changing shopper demands and combat the growth of Aldi will simply play into the hands of this German discounter.

This new strategy, a replication of what Coles did in November 2015, will see their existing “Homebrand” and “Woolworths Essential” product ranges combined under the “Essentials” brand name. However, in focusing on price and private label ranges, supermarkets are in a race to the bottom where there are no points of difference in products except for price.

The risks with the private label strategy

The fastest, although not the smartest, way to compete with a competitor like Aldi is to replicate; and that’s exactly what Woolworths and Coles have been doing for the past five years. With both major supermarkets driving a message of “price” and increasing their private label ranges, more shoppers also started frequenting Aldi.

Internationally, grocery discounters like Lidl and Aldi continue to steal market share from the major full-line supermarkets, while supermarkets continue to discount heavily. The practice of deep discounting and private label expansion limits the differentiation between the grocery players and accordingly reduces shopper loyalty. As such, with no supermarket providing a point of difference, more and more customers simply shop around for the lowest price.

The problem with “no-name” products

Franklins No Frills was Australia’s first low-cost grocer, with a narrow range of very low priced, generic, “no-name” grocery products. This concept of “no-name” products was new to Australian shoppers at the time and Franklin’s market position initially worked in its favour.

However, Aldi’s entry into the Australian market in 2001 changed the way we looked at private label products. While Woolworths “Homebrand” and Coles “Smart Buys” prices were generally as cheap, if not cheaper than similar entry-level private label products at Aldi, consumers considered the quality of these basic “no-name” products to be substandard to higher tiered private label products.

These lower perceptions are related to packaging. In a low involvement, routine shopping task, supermarket shoppers will often employ simple logic (often brand or price) to determine quality and aid selection.

Woolworths “Homebrand” and Coles “Smart Buys” were designed in plain packaging with no pictures to infer low price. However, shoppers also related low price and plain packaging to mean low quality.

In contrast, Aldi’s private label ranges mimic nationally branded products. As such, shoppers perceive Aldi’s private label ranges to look similar to the nationally branded alternative and correlate quality. The lower price then creates a positive value experience for the shopper.

Woolworths’ new strategy equally is about improving perceptions of brand, through new packaging, while maintaining, or even lowering price.

The rise and rise of supermarket private labels

Aldi has legitimised private label products and forced other players to lift their game. This left Coles and Woolworths scrambling to improve the quality and packaging of existing home brand ranges.

Where once private label grocery products were considered a “cheap and nasty” alternative for the branded product, supermarket quality assurance teams have changed this mind set. Today’s supermarket private label products, offer quality on par with national branded alternatives, with some, so closely resembling the market leader, one would be forgiven for grabbing the wrong box.

Australian consumers appear to be warming to the supermarkets’ private label products. Research last year indicated that the number of Australians who tend to buy private label groceries over big name brands rose from 44% to 65% in the space of just six months. In comparable markets, like the UK, the proportion of private label sales is almost at parity with national branded products and across Europe, countries like Switzerland and Spain have already reached more than 50%.

The strategy of increasing the proportion of private label products will meet the needs of shoppers who seek value over brand, but also provides sufficient margin to allow supermarkets to slash prices further.

How will private label impact supermarkets in the future?

When it comes to choice in the supermarket, some is certainly better than none, but more is not necessarily better than less. Australian shoppers can expect less choice in the supermarket of tomorrow and this may not be a bad thing.

For many years, Australian supermarkets promoted vast ranges of brands and products, believing that broader, deeper ranges would satisfy shoppers. However, recent research suggests that, psychologically, this assumption was wrong. In fact, shoppers faced with excessive choice found it difficult to choose and were less likely to purchase.

Aldi has demonstrated the power of “less”. Selling only 1700 products, the supermarket’s small ranges may deliver less choice, but saves shoppers time, this creates less confusion and satisfies most.

Globally, where German discounters like Aldi or Lidl have entered the market, incumbent supermarkets have slashed range. Recently, Tesco cut 20,000 product lines from their 90,000 range, similarly Coles in 2012 reduced its range by some 7,000 products.

While this strategy responds to customers who are looking to make their grocery shopping more efficient, it also reduces supply chain costs for supermarkets.

 

Gary Mortimer is Senior Lecturer, QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology.

This article first appeared in The Conversation. Read the original here.

Lasers could save us from food poisoning

Scientists in South Korea have developed a fridge-mountable laser that can detect microorganisms in food products and alert potential consumers accordingly.

The researchers from the Korea Advanced Institutes of Science and Technologydescribed the technique as “a simple, non-destructive, non-contact, and rapid optical method for measuring living microorganisms in meat products using laser speckle decorrelation”.

“By simply measuring dynamic speckle intensity patterns reflected from samples and analyzing the temporal correlation time, the presence of living microorganisms can be non-invasively detected with high sensitivity,” the researchers continued.

As arstechnica.com points out, they then contaminated some chicken breasts with E. coli or B. cereus and used the laser technique to test them. In addition, they tested some chicken which was not contaminated.

They successfully identified which pieces were contaminated and would cause food poisoning if consumed and which were safe to eat.

Compared to other methods of detecting microorganisms, this method is simple, cheap and non-invasive. And the lasers can even detect microorganisms through plastic wrapping.

However, the fridge laser technique has its limits. It is unable to detect contaminants that don’t move, like viruses or toxins.

Artists join the battle for food security

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), Liverpool City Council and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre are inviting local community champions and food heroes to take part in a major artist-led project: ‘FOOD FIGHT – the Battle for food Security’.

The project takes a socially engaged approach to raising awareness and stimulating conversations about a hidden issue: food security and access to affordable, fresh and nutritious food for everyone in Liverpool and South Western Sydney. It will include a series of community engagement workshops and culminate in a major public event in Bigge Park, Liverpool, on Saturday 30 April.

The project, which is part of the MCA’s C3West program, is led by Sydney artists Diego Bonetto and Branch Nebula (Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters), in collaboration with designer Genevieve Murray of Future Method Studio.

‘FOOD FIGHT – the Battle for food Security’ has been developed in partnership with Liverpool City Council and builds on the Council’s long-standing commitment to encourage healthy lifestyles, through initiatives such as the “Healthy Living in Liverpool Cookbook” or the seminal “Right to Food” conference which took place in October 2014, involving a range of local and national policy makers, academics, health promoters and community development workers.

As part of the project development, the artists will conduct a series of community engagement workshops with local partners such as the Liverpool Girls High School, Inspire Community Services and the Liverpool Community Kitchen, Food Bank, OzHarvest and Youth Food Movement Australia – to name a few.

The event itself will take place in Bigge Park, Liverpool, on Saturday 30 April (5-8pm). It will include a night market with local and healthy food stalls, live cooking shows, a DJ set, soap box performances by ‘Food Warriors’, nutrition chats with roaming ‘Food Security Guards’ and a dramatic finale involving a short artist-choreographed food fight and a 100-seat al-fresco banquet designed by the artists and cooked by local food heroes from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds – giving policy makers, stakeholders, recipients of food relief and community champions a chance to engage in meaningful dialogue.

Artist Diego Bonetto, one of the creative minds behind this project, concludes: “Our aim with this FOOD FIGHT project is twofold: we want to create a fun and engaging event that serves as a wake-up call and conversation starter on a hidden issue; whilst also celebrating the community champions and everyday heroes who fight for food security in the local area, one meal at a time.”

Sprite rolls out next phase of ‘Cut Through The Heat’ campaign

Coca-Cola South Pacific has announced the latest phase of Sprite’s ‘Cut Through The Heat’ campaign, as the brand aims to continue building on the success it enjoyed in 2015. The latest activations are focused on extending Sprite’s relevance with a younger audience.

To achieve this, Sprite have developed a fully integrated marketing campaign that includes multi-channel executions across digital and social, out-of-home advertising, experiential activations and partnerships through to the end of the year.  The campaign continues its theme of encouraging consumers to ‘Cut Through the Heat’ and tackle the awkward moments head on.

Today’s Hit Network national drive time co-hosts, Hamish and Andy have been brought on board to launch the ‘March of Awkwardness.’ The radio campaign includes awkward moment segments, curated by Sprite, as well as a series of radio competitions and giveaways aiming to empower and inspire listeners to deal with life’s awkward moments. Sprite are also working closely with influencers Brittney Lee Saunders, a YouTuber from Newcastle, and Jacko Brazier, a Melbourne-based social media personality, to help connect with a younger audience. The duo will create content for their social channels including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine, allowing Sprite to reach over 200,000 Aussie teens and young adults.

The development of 10 brand new Sprite content videos for online and mobile platforms will drive the brand’s digital and social strategy. The series of short form ads and snackable content will be geared towards positioning Sprite as a refreshing option to ‘Cut Through The Heat.’

The 2016 campaign kicked off with the brand’s renowned ambassador, Sprite Saver, on the lookout for awkward moments between unsuspecting Aussies and rewarding them with a refreshing treat. Sprite Saver stopped by Coogee Beach in Sydney over Valentine’s Day weekend and four universities across four states during O-Week. Sprite Showers also made a successful return with over 7,000 mini cans and 2,800 showers used to help beach goers cut through the heat at Coogee Beach.

Robotics set for greater role in food & beverage Industry: report

The gflobal growth rate of industrial robotics adoption in food & beverage industry is outpacing those in traditional industries like automotive and electronics, a report has found.

According to the report “Industrial Robots for Food & Beverage Industry: Global Market 2016-2022”, robotics will play a vital role in the evolution of the next-generation technologies.

In spite of a small consumer of industrial robots, food & beverage industry has been ordering an increasing number of industrial robots.

The report examines the worldwide market of industrial robotics in food & beverage industry through a comprehensive summary and analysis of premium information sources.

With a review of global market environments and food & beverage industry trend, this report provides an in-depth and detailed analysis of market structure, market trends, market forces, application fields, product types, geographical landscape, and the major industrial players/vendors.

In most analysis, historical statistics together with market outlook cover the 2014-2022 period in terms of unit shipment as well as sales revenue.

Geographically, the global market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the rest of world (RoW). Specific analysis and forecast over 2014-2022 have been covered for important national markets such as U.S., China, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Mexico.

Asia-Pacific region dominates the global industrial robots market in food & beverage industry in terms of sales volume as well as annual revenue, followed by European market and North America region. Strongest growth potential also exists in APAC for the future market with China and Southeast Asian countries expected to be the main driving engines for the growth. Current competitive scenario and profiles of major vendors are also included.

Oreo releases Oreo Thins

Oreo has released a new cookie, Oreo Thins – a thin and crispy new take on an Oreo favourite.

Measuring just 7mm thin in diameter – thinner than a pencil, a tablet and a chopstick – the new Oreo Thins is the most significant innovation for the brand to date.

Available in three flavours, Vanilla, Tiramisu and Lemon, each 104g pack provides two bitesized packets containing seven cookies. Following the successful launches in the USA and China, this ‘thinnovation’ will be a permanent addition to the Australian Oreo cookie portfolio.

Sara Black, Senior Marketing Manager Oreo at Mondelez Australia said, “We’re excited to introduce Oreo Thins to Australian cookie lovers. Oreo has grown 19.8% in the Australian market within the last year, so we believe our fans will love this new crisp and delicate texture of Oreo Thins.”

The launch of Oreo Thins is supported by TV, PR and influencer engagement, digital and a direct-to-consumer activation.

Oreo Thins will be available on shelves nationwide from today.

‘Reverse strawberry’ hits Australian shores

A ‘reverse strawberry’ with white flesh and red seeds has been released onto the Australian nursery market and could eventually make its way to retail shelves.

The ABC reports that the fruit, known as a pineberry, was bred in Europe in the early 2000s from naturally occurring white strawberries which were collected in South American during the colonisation period.

United Nurseries is importing the fruit to Australia.

Phillip Neilsen from United Nurseries told the ABC that Australia’s strict quarantine and biosecurity requirements meant it took four years to bring the import process to fruition.

“They are still a strawberry, [but] you have a very subtle taste at the beginning of citrus or pineapple, and it finishes off with the classic strawberry flavour,” Neilsen said.

He said that initially the market for pineberries would be backyard growers but added that commercialisation was a real possibility in the future.

“The original thought pattern was just to target the public in respect to retail [nurseries],” he said.

“But what we saw over in Europe is that it is a commercial variety as well.

“You have to start somewhere, so we thought we’d start with retail and then work our way back down the other chain.”

He added that the unusual-looking fruit was not the result of genetic modification, but traditional breeding techniques.

“It’s taken them many years to develop them,” he said.

Image: United Nurseries.

Complete Health Products to distribute Pure Good Bars in QLD

Complete Health Products will begin distributing Pure Good Bars’ products to Queensland health food shops, pharmacies and independent groceries from April 1.

The products, made by the Sydney based wholefood snack bar manufacturer, are blended raw fruit and nut bars, suitable for gluten free, vegan and paleo diets.

“We’re looking forward to offering the Pure Good Bars brand, as it’s a raw healthy snack bar. The bars are locally made, well-priced and taste great,” explained Complete Heath Products Founding Director, Kathryn Powell.

“We think the bars are a great addition to the wholefood snack market, offering customers a great value, raw bar alternative.”

According to Pure Good Bars Managing Director Iain Keogh, the products are made from raw fruit and nuts, and blended into a fudgy, smooth snack-sized 40g bar.

“You can literally see the ground cashews, and taste the squashed dates and sultanas,” he said.

All Pure Good Bars are gluten, wheat and dairy free, with no added sugars or syrups. There are five varieties, including a Cacao and Mint Protein Crunch, which contain 18 per cent protein.

Detectamet launches range of detectable ingredient packaging

Detectamet has launched a new range of plastic packaging material that is food safe as well as metal and x-ray detectable.

The material can be used to make plastic sacks in all practical sizes and thicknesses. It can also be used to make detectable plastic liners for paper sacks.  From strong 25kg sacks to small sachets, this new detectable packaging can be custom made for specific purposes.

Customers can select from nine colours to identify brand or purpose or to provide extra visibility (e.g. strong blue). The polyethylene used to make the material has been cleared as safe for direct contact with food in compliance with US and EU regulations.

Packaging is essential for handling and protecting food and food ingredients. However, until now, there has been little packaging that the metal and x-ray inspection systems could be used with.

“Customers have provided us with data on the sources of contamination,” Detectamet Managing Director, James Chrismas said. “And of the plastic contamination events identified by consumers some 40 per cent of them were contaminated with packaging.”

“I have been asked several times by retailers if we can reduce the risk of contamination by pieces of ingredient sacks and this new material is a significant response to this challenge.”

The release follows on the heels of Detectamet’s detectable paper, which is used to make labels. Combined with the detectable bags this will help the food industry to raise the protection of customers to a new level.

“We see these products as a marketing opportunity to ingredient suppliers wanting to demonstrate their diligence in protecting their customers’ reputations,” Chrismas said.

Australian Made supports call for consistent branding of food for export

The Australian Made Campaign today welcomed comments made by Fortescue Metals Chairman, Andrew Forrest, at the Bao Forum for Asia on China’s Hainan Island this week, calling for Australia’s food and agriculture sectors to work together more closely to promote their products using a ‘Brand Australia’ strategy.

“The power of consistent branding, both here and overseas, cannot be overstated,” Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Mr Harrison said.

Mr Harrison said the already well-established Australian Made, Australian Grown logo should form part of the food labelling system envisaged by Mr Forrest, to provide consumers in markets everywhere with better surety of the true origin of the food they are purchasing.

“The iconic green-and-gold kangaroo logo has been clearly identifying Australian produce in export markets for 30 years with great success, so there is a pivotal role for the symbol to play in any ‘Brand Australia’ strategy,” Mr Harrison said.

“Australia enjoys a strong reputation internationally for its clean, green environment and high standards for the production of food, so it makes sense to place a strong emphasis on promoting the Australian brand and defending the authenticity of food supplied from this country.”

Sunny Queen Farms commits to lower hen density for free range eggs

Sunny Queen Farms brand has committed to an outdoor hen density of no more than 1500 hens per hectare in their free range egg farms across Australia.

The move means that the brand will comply with the hen density range recommended bythe Model Code of Practice, a document produced by the Primary Industries Standing Committee and published by the CSIRO.

According to the company, the move will make Sunny Queen Farms the only major free range brand that can claim an outdoor density of 1500 hens per hectare.

As Choice points out, several smaller free range egg producers do meet the Model Code of Practice, with some having outdoor hen density of as low as 7 per hectare. However, many producers claiming to be free range have hen density of up to 10,000.

Free Range eggs account for almost 41 per cent share of total eggs in supermarkets, however Sunny Queen Australia MD John O’Hara said consumers may not be getting what they think they are buying.

“There have been a lot of conflicting opinions around different densities and definitions for Free Range. Consumers want more clarity so they know what they are buying,” he said.

O’Hara added that hens at Sunny Queen have access to the outdoors for at least 8 hours a day where they can forage and roam freely.

“We give consumers access to a live webcam at the farms so they can see first-hand the chooks roaming around outside – we call it our Chooktracker,’ he said.

Nutri-Grain releases iced coffee-flavoured breakfast cereal

Nutri-Grain and Ice Break have teamed up to produce the first iced coffee-flavoured breakfast cereal.

Ice Break flavoured Nutri-Grain, a 4 Health Star rated Nutri-Grain cereal, is now available at Woolworths for a limited time only.

“Many time-poor 18-29 year old Aussies struggle in the mornings, wanting to sleep in rather than eat breakfast and get their coffee fix before they have to run out the door to live their unstoppable lives,” Tamara Howe, Marketing Director at Kellogg’s said.

“This new cereal is our solution to their dilemma. By pouring ice cold milk over delicious, crunchy Ice Break flavoured Nutri-Grain cereal, Aussies will get that real coffee taste they crave,” Howe said.

“We hope the result will delight both our Nutri-Grain and Ice Break fans – we think it is delicious, but our customers will be the final judges, of course.”

Ice Break flavoured Nutri-Grain is a great addition to Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain range of cereals. These include the new Nutri-Grain Original and three delicious variants of Nutri-Grain Edge Oat Clusters, all of which are rated 4 Health Stars.

Let’s stop with the frozen food snobbery

It’s fair to say that frozen food has a bit of an image problem. One in three Britons believe it is inferior to fresh food, and 43% say that nothing could persuade them to buy more frozen fare. Confidence in the sector was further knocked by the infamous horsemeat scandal.

But for the sake of our health, our pockets and the environment, it may be time to stop turning our noses up at frozen food.

Humans have been using freezing as a means of safely preserving food for thousands of years. But it wasn’t until the 1920s, when Clarence Birdseye kick-started the development of home refrigerators and launched the first line of frozen foods, that the industry really took off.

Despite embracing other types of convenience foods and the rise of ready meals – with the market predicted to grow 20% by 2017 – the UK is still reluctant to go frozen. Instead frozen food is often viewed as a last resort – for when people can’t get to the shops.

Food snobs

Some of it may come down to snobbery. According to the director general of the British Frozen Food Federation, frozen food compares favourably to fresh in blind taste tests. But in the UK and US there is a passionate love-hate relationship with frozen food retailers such as Iceland.

Despite the growth of budget brands Aldi and Lidl in recent years, Iceland is still perceived in some circles as being downmarket and inferior, something it is challenging with its new “power of frozen” marketing strategy.

Ironically perhaps, this is in part due to price. Frozen foods are often cheaper at point of sale than fresh produce – due to lower production costs – and this can affect consumers’ perception of quality. Similar beliefs are held in the US, where in one study; four out of five consumers believed frozen foods to be “highly processed”.

Not so in France. Many French consumers see frozen food as being healthy, fresh, and of a high quality. This is no doubt helped by the strong brand presence of Picard, a premium retailer, which accounts for a fifth of all new frozen food launches in the country.

And who are we to argue with the French, whose reputation for fine food is in stark contrast to international beliefs about British food?

Freeze up

It does seem that the French might be on to something. Studies have shown that freezing does indeed “lock in” the beneficial nutrients of fruits and vegetables.

In one experiment, fresh produce was stored in a general household fridge at 4°C for up to three days. They were then compared with equivalent frozen produce stored in a domestic freezer at -20°C. The concentrations of antioxidants and other key nutritional components decreased in the refrigerated produce, and ended up lower than that found in the frozen goods.

Freezing excess food can also help us with portion control – which is thought to be key to tackling the current obesity epidemic. Frozen fruit and veg also count towards your five a day so the health argument for having a stock of non-perishable fruit and veg is pretty clear.

Britain has the highest level of food wastage in the European Union, with each household throwing away 13lb (6kg) of food each week. Throwing away items that could have been consumed cost each household £470 (US$679) in 2012. Embracing frozen food would likely lead to a reduction in food waste and create a more sustainable use of seasonal foods that are consumed out of season, as well as saving us money.

Pick and choose

Of course, freezing isn’t appropriate for all foods. The process of freezing creates ice crystals. The more water there is in a food, the bigger the ice crystals. The bigger the ice crystals, the more damage freezing does to the food structure and the food quality. So many veg such as lettuce leaves, mushrooms and cucumbers do not fare too well in their natural state due to their high water content.

There are ways around this, though, with the use of cooking or pulping and even changing the way you use your food. But on the whole, meat, fish, peas, sweetcorn and even aromatic spices all respond well to freezing in their natural forms.

When it comes to freezing, it doesn’t have to be either-or. Fresh bananas can be happily whipped up into a smoothie during the winter with the punnet of summer berries that were tucked away in the freezer. And for many products that don’t freeze well on their own, they can be frozen just fine if they have been cooked in a rich sauce first.

These days frozen offerings are not restricted to fish fingers and pizzas, innovation in the industry has brought about a raft of premium frozen products. You can even tempt your palate with such delights as bass fillets in a crispy lemon and herb tempura now appearing in frozen aisles near you.

So in the words of the other famous “Frozen” – you know, the Disney one – perhaps, when it comes to our snobbery over frozen food, it’s time for us to just “let it go”.

 

Emma Boyland is a lecturer in Appetite and Obesity, University of Liverpool.

This article first appeared in The Conversation. Read the original here.

Gelatissimo’s new doggie gelato

Gelatissimo has unveiled its latest innovation – a gelato creation that is suitable for consumption by man’s best friend.

The new Doggie Gelato flavour is a dairy free, creamy style gelato with delicious flavours of peanut nougat. The creation was specially formulated for dogs, but is delicious enough for them to share with their favourite humans too.

Available from Saturday, 26th March, in selected stores, and until stocks last, this dairy and gluten free treat is safe for dogs digestion, and gentle on their little tummy’s.

Anna Temellini, Gelatissimo’s Master Gelato Maker said: “Gelatissimo is all about innovation, and I love the challenge of developing these new, exciting and unique flavours. We had a very talented team behind this creation, and a lot of work and research went in to ensuring we mastered the perfect flavour, while also keeping the product safe and edible for Australia’s most photographed family members!”

“We’re really proud to be able to welcome dogs in our stores and give them the opportunity to become even more a part of the family that they love so unconditionally!”

The influence of protein source on gut microbiome

A study published in the latest edition of The Journal of Nutrition found that a soy diet contributed to a more diverse microbiota than a diet from milk protein sources.

The study, conducted by Elaine Krul, Ph.D., Senior Technical Fellow, DuPont Nutrition & Health, is one of few to evaluate the impact of protein source on the composition of the gut microbiota and provides insight on how including soy protein in the diet can further support cardiometabolic health. .

“It has been suggested that increased microbial diversity in the gut microbiome is a marker of cardiometabolic health, where individuals with low richness have a higher incidence of dyslipidemia, adiposity, weight gain, insulin resistance and inflammation,” said Krul. “Adding lean, high-quality plant proteins such as soy to the diet could be a good strategy for individuals seeking products to support health and wellness goals, including weight management with added cardiometabolic benefits.”

In the study, titled “Soy Protein Compared with Milk Protein in a Western Diet Increases Gut Microbial Diversity and Reduces Serum Lipids in Golden Syrian Hamsters,” diets mimicking the composition of a typical Western human diet containing either milk protein isolate or one of three differently processed DuPont Danisco soy proteins were investigated for their effects on blood cardiometabolic measures, microbiota composition in different sections of the gut, and expression of genes in the liver that are involved in lipid metabolism. The study was conducted in hamsters, an appropriate model for human cholesterol metabolism. The soy-fed hamsters had a more diverse microbiota than those fed the milk diet. Gut microbiota profiles from all soy-fed groups were more similar to each other and showed significant differences in abundance of several key microbial families compared to those in the milk-fed group.

In addition, significant reductions in the concentrations of total cholesterol, triglycerides and atherogenic lipoprotein particles were observed with consumption of soy protein compared to milk protein diets. This adds to the existing evidence supporting the beneficial effects of soy protein to reduce cholesterol and improve fatty acid metabolism.

While DuPont Nutrition & Health has been active over the years in examining the role probiotics play in promoting a healthy microbiome, this is the first study the company has supported that explored the role that protein may play in that regard. “The heart health benefits of soy protein are well-established through numerous clinical and preclinical studies. These results provide insight on how including soy protein in the diet can further support cardiometabolic health through modifying the composition of the microbiome,” added Krul.

DuPont Nutrition & Health continues to explore the impact of changes to the composition of the microbiome and how that impacts health and wellness.  This will help to meet the increasing market interest in incorporating probiotics into protein-containing foods, particularly protein supplements and dry beverages.

Fonterra doubles first half profit

Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has more than doubled its net profit despite the global fall in milk prices.

As the Business Spectator reports, the Auckland-based dairy cooperative increased net profit for the six months to January 31 to $NZ409 million ($537 million). This a 123.5 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period last year.

Other positives included a 27 per cent gain in first-half normalised earnings before interest and tax for ingredients to $NZ617 million; and a 108 per cent increase in Ebit for higher-value consumer and food service products.

Fonterra chairman John Wilson noted that the state of the global market had negatively affected farmers’ incomes. In response, he said, Fonterra had focussed on higher value and more profitable products.

“The low prices have placed a great deal of pressure on incomes, farm budgets and our farming families,” Wilson said in a statement.

“Our priority is to generate more value out of our farmers’ milk by focusing on the areas within our control.”

“We aim to efficiently convert as much milk as possible into the highest returning products.”

As the SMH reports, the company described the performance of its Australian ingredients business as “still not satisfactory”, after its gross margin dropped by 25 per cent to $NZ9 million.

The company said the European Union’s dairy industry should revert to 1 per cent annual growth through 2016 and this should help increase the global price of whole milk powder.