Tetra Pak outlines environmental plans

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EU creates online traceability system

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Food producers are to receive further help to meet new traceability requirements through a new Internet solution.

Funded by the EU, E-Fruitrace is a technology initiative that is aimed to help food producers and combines a mix of traceability systems used by processors, distributors and agricultural cooperatives across the EU.

The system is aimed at the fruit sector and is worth €1.5 million, created in response to new EU food hygiene regulations which are set to come into force on January 1st, according to Food Production Daily.

Trials were conducted last year and revealed that the system helps to boost efficiency and cost effectiveness for food firms and farmers.

The online data also allows information to be exchanged quickly and easily throughout the food distribution chain.

"With the system comprehensive data covering everything from where the fruit was grown, what fertilisers were used, where it was stored and what trucks transported it can be easily accessed and distributed between different actors," Pedro de la Pena, technical manager of E-Fruitrace at Agromare in Spain explained.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Tesco to be number 3 in world for food by 2010

Date: Thu, 09 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


UK supermarket chain Tesco will overtake both Metro and Ahold to claim third place in the global grocery retail league by 2010, a new survey claims.

IGD's new report 'Tesco: Driving Global Capability' predicts that Tesco's global sales will grow from £30.8 billion today to £58.9 billion by 2010, an annual growth rate of 9.6 per cent.

Tesco's international business has increased from £1.3 billion to £6.1 billion over the past five years, and IGD expects this figure to reach £17.3 billion by 2010. By 2010, IGD forecasts that the UK will account for 71 per cent of Tesco's global sales, Asia 17 per cent and the rest of Europe 12 per cent.

Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said "Tesco's international success has been driven by a clear policy of identifying the right business in a given market and ensuring that all areas of that business are as efficient as possible, to underpin future growth."

The number of international markets in which Tesco is present has more than doubled over the last seven years from six to 13 and the company is currently focusing on start-up operations in China, Turkey, Japan and Malaysia.

IGD considers that an underdeveloped retail environment will be a critical factor in selecting future market entries and suggests that Tesco may move into Russia, Indonesia, Vietnam and further markets in Eastern Europe, such as Romania over the next six to 10 years.

Ms Denney-Finch added: "Although trading internationally is not without its challenges, Tesco has managed to grow its international business by more than 350 per cent in sales terms in the past five years (from £1.3 billion to £6.1 billion) establishing itself as the fastest growing retailer in the global top 10 in 2003.

"IGD believes that other key international trading opportunities include developing its position as a key global account for suppliers and rolling out retail services, such as financial services and internet home shopping, to international operating markets in order to broaden and deepen Tesco's relationship with its customers."

Further information: www.tesco.com

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

New EU policies on food information

Date: Thu, 09 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A new European Union regulation will allow a category of previously prohibited claims relating to the reduction of disease risk to be made on food.

In July 2003, the European Commission adopted a new legislative proposal aimed at tackling unsubstantiated claims made on food.

The proposal, which builds on the international guidelines of Codex Alimentarius, sets out how food can be described. The Codex rules prohibit a list of claims, such as unsubstantiated claims, as well as claims regarding the suitability of foods for use in the prevention, treatment or cure of a disease (with exceptions).

The proposal covers two categories of claims: nutrition claims (such as "rich in vitamin C" and "low in fat") and health claims (such as "good for your beauty and your inner harmony"), Food Ingredients First reports.

Under the new regulations, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will carry out scientific evaluation of health claims on the basis of proposals by food manufacturers.

EU citizens have become increasingly interested in healthy eating in recent years.

(no further information)

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

UK government and fishing industry fight new EC plans

Date: Thu, 09 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Fishermen's leaders and UK government ministers have reportedly vowed to fight European Commission catching plans.

The Commission's proposals, unveiled in Brussels, include plans for a "systematic" approach to fish stocks for next year's catching according to their biological state.

Fishing industry leaders described the proposals as "out of date and too extreme", fishupdate.com reports.

The proposals include "necessary" increased restrictions on fishing effort for stocks subject to recovery plans, adapted TACs and associated measures in anticipation of recovery or management plans for stocks for which recovery plans are in the pipeline, such as southern hake and North Sea plaice, and restrictions to protect the associated depleted stocks for stocks in mixed fisheries, such as haddock and whiting.

Scottish Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie has restated the Scottish Executive's opposition to closing areas of the North Sea to fishing activity where there is no evidence of conservation benefit.

George MacRae, the secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association said that they had been told not to pay too much attention to the Commission's closed area proposals, which were based on science now superseded.

"Significant strides have been taken already to assist cod recovery and the maintenance of other stocks which are in good heart and in these circumstances,closed areas are a sign of desperation on the part of the Commission who have apparently run out of ideas and have a mindset that you have to have management and control or nothing can happen," he declared.

(no further information)

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

A-Z decision draws nearer

Date: Thu, 09 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


The decision on the acquisition of the A-Z UK restaurant chain is set to be made this week.

According to Caterer Online, 29 offers had been made for the group and a decision on the chosen company will be made on December 10th.

Possible names thought to be in the running for the firm are the co-founder of the group, the owner of the Greenhouse restaurant and previous partners involved in A-Z.

Restaurants set to be affected are seven venues in London - Aubergine, Zafferano, Alloro and L'Oranger.

In addition, the Spiga and two Memories of China restaurants will also be involved.

The firm was moved into administration in November after funding for the firm was removed.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Agreement on brands reached by Premier and Kraft

Date: Thu, 09 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Premier Foods has announced today that it has now reached agreement with Kraft Foods to purchase a number of its brands.

The deal for £70 million includes products such as Angel Delight, Bird's Custard and Rowntree's jelly.

Robert Schofield, Premier Foods CEO explained: "It will extend our product range in the desserts category and enhance our position as one of the UK's leading suppliers of ambient grocery products.

"The acquisition is expected to be earnings and margin enhancing in the first full year of ownership and meets the acquisition criteria we outlined at the time of our IPO."

The move will also increase the company's position of household names in the grocery sector with brands such as Branston, Typhoo and Branston.

Money for the deal will come from unused bank debt facilities and the acquisition is still subject to approval by the board.

The deal is the first for Premier since July 2004 and it will also include brand rights, intellectual property, stock and packaging machinery.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Chicken data could lead to product innovation

Date: Thu, 09 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A better understanding of how to produce healthier birds for food consumption is being offered from a new report by US scientists.

The International Chicken Sequencing Consortium has produced a report on the biochemical 'code' in bird's cells which make up chickens and can help give a better biological understanding of salmonella and bird flu.

A key area of interest is the threat posed to humans from illnesses experienced by both chickens and humans and the new data may help with explaining the resistance involved.

According to the BBC, the information could help to make changes in the food industry, including helping to develop more productive birds.

Other researchers hope there will be additional benefits for agriculture such as helping to identify how to create the traits for bigger eggs and leaner, tastier meat.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Overseas expansion for celebrity chef

Date: Fri, 10 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


UK chef Gordon Ramsay has revealed he is planning to broaden his business overseas, with a new restaurant in Japan.

According to Caterer Online, the famous chef will open a restaurant in the new Conrad Tokyo hotel and it will accordingly be named Gordon Ramsay at The Conrad Tokyo.

The restaurant will open when the hotel opens in spring and other food establishments are also set to be opened in the hotel.

Known for his bad temper and foul mouth, the chef already has a restaurant in Dubai and is said to be looking at Las Vegas as a next potential option for business.

Restaurants owned by the chef in the UK include Petrus, Gordon Ramsey in Chelsea and Gordon Ramsey in Claridges.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Sugar industry reform called for by Oxfam

Date: Fri, 10 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A new report out today has called on changes to be made to the British sugar industry.

According to Oxfam, sugar trade rules are unfair and huge profits at British Sugar this year were due to "support form UK consumers and taxpayers and a hugely protected market".

The report has been released to correspond with British Sugar's Annual General Meeting.

Anna Macdonald, Oxfam's campaigns director said: "British Sugar are the winners from a very unfair regime.

"They have almost a complete monopoly of sugar beet production in the UK and are only so profitable because of Europe's grossly unfair sugar trade rules."

According to reports, British Sugar made £175 million in profits for 2004, which Oxfam claims is due to their monopoly of the market and money paid out under CAP.

Oxfam now wants EU sugar rules to be changed to be fairer and more ethical and it also wants an end to export dumping.

In addition, the group has called for increased access to Europe's markets for the world's poorest countries.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

New grain business planned by top UK firms

Date: Fri, 10 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Two of the biggest agricultural companies in Britain have announced they are to combine to create a huge grain buying business.

Allied Grain and Banks Cargill are hoping to form Frontier next March and it will be owned equally by each company.

Although the deal is still subject to approval it is expected to be approved by regulatory authorities since it is thought to help "provide certainty for farmers".

The managing director of Allied Grain, David Irwin, explained that the deal would help give farmers the chance to exploit the supply chain and minimise food miles.

In addition, Mr Irwin also feels that for the food industry the new firm will mean the ability to offer high-quality, locally-sourced grain anywhere in the UK.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Starbucks expands food offerings

Date: Fri, 10 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Coffee chain Starbucks has expanded a hot foods test programme in its West Coast stores.

The coffee shop giant plans to roll out the new menu, which includes breakfast and lunch sandwiches, nationally and has now quadrupled the number of test stores to 80.

Starbucks has not revealed when it plans to introduce its hot food menu countrywide, but it could be as early as next year.

"We've been pleased with the test results so far and our customers have responded favourably. We continue to believe our food program is an opportunity for growth going forward," said Starbucks spokeswoman Valerie Hwang.

Starbucks reported that 12 per cent of its $4 billion in sales during 2003 was down to food. The shops currently sell a range of cold items like cookies, cakes, muffins and salads.

The chain has boomed over the past decade, with 6,300 US locations and a further 2,400 abroad. Profit growth over the past five years has averaged 31 per cent.

Further information: www.starbucks.com

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Food makers turn to speciality breads

Date: Fri, 10 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Retailers and suppliers are increasingly turning to high quality, speciality breads in order to appeal to consumers.

Britain's bread sector has been hit by the rising popularity of low-carb diets, such as Atkins and South Beach.

In recent months, supermarkets have increasingly focused on premium own-label bread and Tesco has launched a new range of burger baps topped with cheese, onion and mustard seeds, while Sainsbury's has unveiled a cheddar cheese and caramelised onion bread.

Mediterranean breads are continuing to enter the market, with a roasted tomato and mozzarella Fougasse from Sainsbury's and a sun dried tomato and basil bread topped with extra basil oil from Asda, according to Confectionery News.

Leading baker Rank Hovis estimates that annual sales in the UK bread retail market are worth around £2.2 billion. However, market analyst group Mintel predicts growth will be slow and steady as manufacturers look for profitable new market niches.

Mintel claims that a third of wrapped bread sales are now from the premium category and own-label has become the biggest collective brand in the speciality sector.

The UK's Federation of Bakers attributes a 13 per cent rise about £130 million, in the bread sector over the last three years to speciality breads. The traditional sliced and wrapped bread retail market has declined by around 1.5 per cent in volume over the same period.

(no further information)

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

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