Sweets make you popular, online ads tell kids

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The UK's Costa Coffee is preparing to open 300 outlets in India, even though it is a traditional tea-drinking nation.

However, the chain is confident the move will pay off thanks to the country's growing young middle class, keen to add the acquisition of a taste for coffee to the cars and TV sets they are increasingly able to afford.

Managing director, Mark Phillips, told the Financial Times that the company had found younger Indians were also looking "to differentiate themselves from the older generation".

He estimated that there were therefore some 40 million potential customers for Costa in the Indian market.

The first shop is to open in the capital Delhi in September, with the first Pakistani store following shortly after.

Although the coffee sold will initially be imported from Venezuela and Kenya, and shipped to India via London, in time more will be sourced locally, Mr Phillips said.

The shops will also offer traditional Indian food, such as sandwiches with chicken tikka fillings, alongside the firm's usual offerings.

Further information: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/399c4aea-143c-11da-af53-00000e2511c8.html

W&DB acquires pubs with food focus



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Following Monday's acquisition of Scottish brewer Belhaven by Greene king, the pub sector today sees further consolidation with two sales.

Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (W&DB) has bought English County Inns (ECI), which was formed in 2001 and focuses on its food offering.

The £13.7 million deal involves the acquisition of the smaller operator's 14-strong unbranded pub estate located in central and southern England.

W&DB said they would make an "excellent fit" with the 537 managed pubs it operates under the Pathfinder Pubs business.

At the same time, the UK's second largest pub group, Punch Taverns, announced it has sold 45 of its outlets to Admiral Taverns for a sum of £14.8 million.

W&DB previously bought Wizard Inns and Burtonwood, as well as the Cumbrian brewer Jennings earlier this year.

The campaign for real ale (CAMRA) opposed this acquisition, fearing traditional brands would be compromised, and specifically that the Cockermouth brewery's operations might be wound down.

Further information: http://www.breakingnews.ie/2005/08/24/story217564.html

Health drink to toast the New Year



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The chairman of the UK's Provexis, Dawson Buck, has told the company's AGM that the widely anticipated health drink Sirco, will benefit from a larger than expected initial distribution base owing to high interest from retailers.

The beverage will capitalise on the current trend for "functional" foods and drinks that promise tangible health benefits.

Created in Liverpool, the tomato-based juice will be available in most of the main supermarket chains in early 2006, alongside a nationwide marketing drive timed to coincide with consumer "New Year" resolutions to improve health.

Sirco contains Fruitflow, which is a patented bioactive extract derived from tomatoes, and will come in orange, blueberry and apple flavours.

The tomato extract is equivalent to drinking a litre of tomato juice.

Research has indicated that Fruitflow reduces the risk of thrombosis by inhibiting blood clotting, which is a major cause of heart attacks and stroke.

The firm is currently also working on a cancer-combating extract from broccoli, and says the project is proceeding as hoped.

Mr Buck told the Independent: "Maximum impact will be made by a launch in the post-Christmas period, when health and well-being is at its highest on the consumer's personal agenda."

Further information: http://www.sharecast.com/cgi-bin/sharecast/story.cgi?story_id=528407

Aseptic packaging costs to be considered



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New research has suggested that the method of aseptic packaging is becoming increasingly popular with food producers, but warns that high upfront equipment costs are inevitable.

The report from Frost & Sullivan reveals that revenue generated by the aseptic packaging industry in the US amounted to US$4.61 billion in 2004, with the potential to reach US$5.31 billion by 2011.

The aseptic process provides a means of increasing the shelf life of chilled products without the need for preservatives or refrigeration, filling a sterilised package with sterile contents instead.

Analysts Ravi S. Sankar and Anupama Ramaswamy, explained: "To boost revenues, manufacturers of aseptic packaging equipment should highlight benefits such as extended shelf life and lower distribution costs and attempt to decrease the overall production costs."

Distribution costs are reduced, as the packages can be folded so as to take up less space when being transported around.

The report also stressed the importance of safeguarding against contamination in the operation of the equipment.

A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation only permits hydrogen peroxide to be used for the sterilisation of filling equipment, which is the reason linear equipment has been widely used in the past.

However, now it has become clear that rotary equipment is far more efficient, and manufacturers have found that a cleaning product combining peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide is better suited to rotary fillers' more turbulent airflow.

Efforts must therefore be made to adapt hydrogen peroxide to high-speed rotary machines, the report said.

Further information: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/news-ng.asp?n=62064-frost-sullivan-aseptic-packaging

EU targets aquaculture sector



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The European Commission has proposed new EU legislation concerning the health of farmed fish and shellfish, as well as the prevention of certain diseases in the aquaculture sector.

The regulations aim to update the general health situation across Europe; to facilitate safe trade in aquaculture animals and their byproducts; and to boost the competitiveness of the sector within the EU.

The proposed directive brings the rules for placing aquaculture animals and products on the market into line with the standards of the world organisation for animal health (OIE).

It also states that national authorities should draw up control and eradication programmes and contingency plans for outbreaks of emerging or exotic diseases.

"Having healthy animals is fundamental to Europe’s aquaculture sector, which generates millions of euros annually," said Markos Kyprianou, commissioner for health and consumer protection.

"Disease outbreaks undermine consumers’ confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of farmed fish and shellfish.

"They can also devastate the stocks of farms affected by them. Prevention is the best cure, and that is what our legislation aims at."

Further information: http://www.eupolitix.com/EN/News/200508/9d0dc4e4-11b3-4e32-a658-7bbb379b98de.htm

Wine leads growth in UK alcohol market



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Alcohol consumption in the UK rose by five per cent between 1999 and 2004, with wine leading the way, according to a new report.

The "Drinking Habits in Europe" study from market research firm Mintel said that while French wine sales to the domestic market fell by four cent over the period, wine sales in the UK soared by 23 per cent.

As well as the growing 'reputation' of wine as a healthier alternative to beer, Mintel suggested that a greater degree of affluence was driving the trend, along with a more "aspirational" attitude to drinking, and particularly the increasing popularity of wine among women.

In general, UK alcohol sales have risen by 15 per cent, with total spending reaching €56 billion in 2004.

However, the beer market showed no movement in the UK and volume sales decreased by 10 per cent in both Germany and France.

Total volume sales of alcohol in Germany and France both decreased between 1999 and 2004, down by eight per cent and six per cent respectively.

Senior consumer analyst, Hanna Kivimaki, commented: "In France and Germany the cultural zeitgeist seems to be moving towards healthier lifestyles and away from alcohol consumption."

Further information: http://www.just-drinks.com/news_detail.asp?art=28285

Whale staple hailed as "superfood"



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A new health food has gone on sale in the UK, derived from the staple food eaten by whales that allows them to live for up to 100 years.

Phytoplankton is now available in liquid form as a product called Ocean FarmaSea, which is manufactured by US company ForeverGreen.

Natural health practitioner, Carl Munson, said: "I’ve been waiting for a super food like this, which contains some of the finest health-enhancing ingredients known to man such as aloe vera, noni juice and mangosteen.

"It also features the added benefits of frankincense and the powerful sea algae Astaxanthin."

The innovation was conceived in the US, when American sea farmer Tom Harper developed a rare form of cancer.

He decided to take a daily dose of phytoplankton paste, made from feed regularly given to his livestock, and shocked surgeons when his tumours subsequently proved benign.

In addition to his recovery, he also believes that the paste helped him to lose weight and improved his blood sugar levels.

"In six months, I no longer required insulin and can now eat just about what I want," he explained.

Mr Munson added: "It makes sense that having depleted the quality of our soils with intensive farming, we are now turning our attention to the oceans."

Further information: http://www.pressbox.co.uk/detailed/Health/Moby_Dick_health_secret_now_available_in_UK_34562.html

New recipe book has Fairtrade focus



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A new cookery book promoting the virtues of Fairtrade ingredients is scheduled for launch on September 6th.

Author, Vicky Bhogal, travelled to Ghana as part of her research for the book, where she met with growers of cocoa, bananas, coconuts and pineapple.

Workers spoke to her about working conditions as a producer in Ghana, and explained how the Fairtrade system had benefited them.

To increase sales, the book has also attracted contributions from a host of celebrities, including chefs Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver, but also Elton John, Minnie Driver and daytime TV duo Richard and Judy.

Ms Bhogal said: "What I am aiming for is a beautiful cookery book with all the biggest names between its covers that gives the reader more than one reason to be proud to place it on the bookshelf," according to Community Newswire.

"The recipes in this book are not only recipes for delicious meals but also recipes for change. Change has never tasted so good," she added.

Supporting the 'Make Poverty History' campaign, "A Fair Feast" is being launched in association with the Fairtrade Foundation and Oxfam, both of whom will receive half of the proceeds.

Further information: http://services.press.net/pressnet/communitynewswire/index.jsp?story_id=1140981&setStyle=mlStory&returnStyle=heading.cnw

School meals get first cash injection



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Schools in the UK are to increase the amount spent on meals provided to children by an average 10p a head from next term.

Following on from celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver's campaign to increase the nutritional value of school dinners, the government has pledged to increase spending to 50p per meal at primary schools and 60p for secondary schools.

At the time the campaign was launched, some schools were found to be serving up dinners costing as little as 37p per child, leading the popular chef to take his campaign to the doors of Downing Street.

The 10p rise is the first step along the path to improving the situation, the result of the first £30 million instalment to go to local education bodies as part of the government's undertaking.

The total amount pledged by the government, including for revamping school kitchens, is £220 million over a period of three years, £130 million for 2005 and 2006.

The grants being offered to local authorities have been calculated based on the number of pupils each sustains, according to Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine.

Kent will receive the largest amount, £804,396, followed by Essex and Birmingham.

Further information: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/08/25/ndinner25.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/08/25/ixhome.html

Tesco increases grocery lead



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Tesco has increased its lead over its competitors in terms of grocery market share once again, a report has shown.

The Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) report indicates that the chain accounted for a record high of 30.5 per cent of all UK food and grocery spending in the 12 weeks to August 14th.

However, Tesco's gains proved Morrison's loss, as the group's market share decreased further, reaching an all-time low of 11.3 per cent.

In second place, Asda made a marginal gain of 0.1 per cent, to claim 16.7 per cent of the market.

Among the other main contenders, Sainsbury lost 0.2 per cent to its rivals to claim a 15.7 per cent slice, while Somerfield gained 0.1 per cent.

Further information: http://www.sharecast.com/cgi-bin/sharecast/story.cgi?story_id=529608

A little fish is good for the heart



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Adding a small amount of fish to the diet could significantly decrease the risk of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), including chest pains and heart attack, a study has found.

However, moderate and high levels of consumption meant the benefits were lost, it seemed.

Dr Demosthnes B. Panagiotakos, from Harokopio University in Athens, studied fish consumption patterns among 848 middle-aged people who had suffered from ACS, and 1078 with no experience of the condition.

In general, the risk of ACS was found to be cut by 38 per cent in the case of fish eaters, and was even reduced by 11 per cent if the subjects also happened to be smokers.

If they were diabetic, the risk was still observed to have reduced by as much as 24 per cent.

Interestingly, however, the link was found to disappear if fish consumption exceeded 150g a week.

Admitting these results were "unexpected", the researchers said: "This observation could possibly suggest a threshold regarding the beneficial effect of fish consumption on cardiovascular risk."
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