Tetra Pak outlines environmental plans

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Nestle enters frozen pizza market

Date: Fri, 10 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Swiss food giant Nestle is reportedly purchasing half of German frozen pizza firm Wagner.

The company plans to tap into the lucrative German market and expand Wagner's brands abroad,

If German authorities approve the deal, the deal is expected to complete on January 1st 2005. It will give Nestle a 49 per cent in Wagner.

Based in Nonnweiler-Braunshausen, Wagner has a 33 per cent share of the €700 million German frozen pizza market and annual turnover of around €200 million. Frozen pizza is now Germany's favourite frozen food, but the market continues to grow by around eight per cent each year.

Wagner also exports to several European countries, including Austria, where it has a market share of approximately 25 per cent.

"We see together great opportunities to develop the business further, combining the Wagner management strengths, their strong brand equity and their product quality with Nestle Group's global sales reach, our marketing know-how and research & development competences," said Patrice Bula, chairman of Nestle Deutschland.

Gottfried Hares, Wagner spokesperson, added: "Nestle is the ideal partner for developing our business further in Europe and in new markets."

Further information: www.nestle.de

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

New gluten-free bread launched

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Irish scientists claim to have developed a new gluten-free bread with dramatically improved taste and quality.

Eimear Gallagher, who led the research at Ireland's Teagasc National Food Centre, said a new combination of potato starch and rice flour had been used to improve the taste, texture and volume of the bread. Two hydrocolloids, xanthan gum and HPMC, a derivative of cellulose, were also used to help bind ingredients together.

The project, completed in tandem with similar research into other gluten-free baked goods, including pizza bases, at University College Cork, is expected to prove particularly important for people suffering from coeliac disease, Food Navigator reports.

The new development provides opportunities for bakers, as well as the growing number of people with gluten intolerance. Professor Gallagher claims that recent figures in Ireland estimated that one in every 150 people may have coeliac disease and a similar medical study in the UK found that around one in every one to 200 people may have the disease but be undiagnosed. Milder intolerances cause uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches and abdominal pains.

"We have only touched the tip of the iceberg in identifying such people. Therefore, the need for quality bread to meet their dietary needs is of huge importance," Professor Gallagher said.

The formula has taken the Teagasc team three years to perfect and five or six Irish bakeries are now testing the new version of gluten-free bread with a view to launching it on the market.

Further information: www.teagasc.ie

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

Iberian ham comes to Britain

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A young entrepreneur is bringing a taste of Spain to the UK by importing ham and other delicacies.

Company bosses across the Iberian peninsula traditionally don Father Christmas outfits during the festive season and hand out whole shoulders of ham to their workforce.

Jamon iberico, or Iberian ham from acorn-fed pigs, dates back centuries and is described in The Telegraph as "the most meltingly sublime meat in the world, with a luxurious, almost sweet flavour unlike any other." The cured and marbled ham of the pata negra (black-hooved) pig costs around £15 for a plateful in restaurants.

George Scott, 21, was born and brought up in Spain, and his mother, Charlotte, owns Trasierra, a hotel near Seville. Mr Scott is passionately committed to the Spanish countryside and food. "I love Spain and Spanish produce,' he told The Telegraph "but I think it could be done a lot better in England.'

Mr Scott has now set up his own Spanish food company, selling organic goat's cheese, olive oil, quince paste, olives, vinegar, preserved fish and Iberian ham, his core business. He sells over the telephone and via his website to private customers, delicatessens and restaurants, including Fino, a Spanish restaurant in Bloomsbury, London.

A 7.5kg leg is priced at between £25 and £30 per kilogram and will provide a nuclear family with several weeks' worth of ham. Ham can also be ordered pre-sliced and vacuum-packed, but Mr Scott claims that it tastes best when freshly sliced off the bone.

Further information: www.george-scott.com

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

Drinks giants turn to flavoured water

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Drinks corporations Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle are all reportedly planning to launch their own brands of flavoured water in the United States.

Drinks firms bet on flavoured Lemon and raspberry versions of Coke's Dasani water brand will be available in US stores in the first quarter of 2005, the world's largest soft drinks maker has announced.

"This would appeal to people who don't want to drink the same water all the time," Ray Crockett, a spokesman for Coke's Dasani water brand, told Reuters news agency. "We have research that indicates consumers like flavoured waters."

PepsiCo has also announced that it will launch a new Aquafina water drink called FlavorSplash next year, which will be available in raspberry, wild berry and citrus flavours.

Nestle, which already markets Perrier, Poland Spring and other water brands, is launching lemon, orange, strawberry and raspberry flavoured Nestle Pure Life Splash. All the flavoured waters being launched by the drinks giants contain zero calories.

The US water market is worth an estimated $11-billion (£5.7 billion) a year. Flavoured waters account for about 4 per cent of US water sales by volume and about 10 per cent in dollars and the sector is growing rapidly. Gatorade's Propel Fitness Water is currently the market leader in enhanced waters. Gatorade is a unit of PepsiCo.

"That segment is just beginning to emerge, and it's unclear how it will do," said John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest. "I would estimate that it will gain some traction next year."

Large drinks companies are now targeting the growing enhanced water market, but Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are likely to tread carefully after Vitamin-enhanced versions of Dasani and Aquafina flopped in recent years. Industry observers have been warning of a pricing downdraft in the water business, but firms can charge more for flavoured or enhanced brands.

(no further information)

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

Food retailers display big health differences

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A new report out today from the National Consumer Council (NCC) has revealed that there are significant differences between UK food retailers in terms of the types of healthy food they stock and the information they provide.

The council rated the top nine supermarket firms in the UK based on their approach to healthy eating.

When comparing the main stores, Waitrose, Sainsbury's and the Co-op were found to be the best at conveying the healthy eating message and helping consumers to eat healthily and more easily.

Among the issues used for ratings were labelling, in-store healthy eating promotions, food on sale and customer advice.

However the council believes that even those retailers that performed well can still do more to promote healthy eating to their shoppers.

Overall, Waitrose was claimed to be the healthiest supermarket chain, whilst most of those retailers known for their low prices did badly in the study.

The British Retail Consortium, responding to the survey, claimed that food retailers have already made "huge efforts" to help promote healthy and balanced diets.

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

Celebrity chef promotes festive food packaging recycling

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


UK consumers are being encouraged to recycle their food packaging this Christmas with a new scheme by British Glass and celebrity chef Kevin Woodford.

The popular TV star is helping to promote a new campaign, which is hoping to remind consumers to recycle their glass food jars and bottles after the festive season.

According to figures from the group, people will consume around 5.5 million jars of mincemeat, 6.5 million jars of cranberry sauce and 12 million jars of pickle in the UK this Christmas.

However, whilst last year some European countries recycled more than 90 per cent of their glass packaging, the UK recycled just 37 per cent.

Speaking at the launch Mr Woodford said: "Many people remember to recycle empty bottles at Christmas, but forget about recycling all the empty jars of mincemeat, cranberry sauce, mayonnaise, pickles and even the curry sauce jar they use to make left-over turkey curry.

"The great thing about glass is it can be recycled again and again to make more bottles and jars, so after the celebrations don't bin your glass, bank it at your local recycling centre or put it in your kerbside box."

According to Andrew Hartley from British Glass, the material is preferred to other types of packaging and is environmentally friendly and so many more products in glass packaging are bought during Christmas.

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

Polish cake firm acquired by Inter Link

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


UK cake firm Inter Link Foods has announced it has acquired a Polish cake maker for £1.17 million.

Cukiernia Mistrza Jana (CMJ) is a private company, which produces cakes and will now be wholly owned by Inter Link.

CMJ produces a collection of small cookies and cakes and recorded turnover of £3.76 million during the nine months to September 30th.

Executive chairman Alwin Thompson told Just Food: "The acquisition of CMJ is a very exciting first move for Inter Link Foods into Europe and complements our ambition to be number two cake supplier in the UK."

An advantage of the site is that products made there can be shipped to arrive in the UK within 24 hours and the acquisition will help Inter Link enter mainland European markets.

"CMJ operates from a well-invested 70,000 square foot factory with considerable spare capacity. It is our intention to use part of this new capacity to manufacture a range of products in Poland for UK customers," the company added.

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

Link between memory and food demonstrated

Date: Tue, 14 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Researchers in the US have found that the memory of a food can influence the eating habits of consumers.

UC Irvine psychologist Elizabeth Loftus suggests there may be ways for food makers to tackle false beliefs about a food product and influence eating habits.

"We discovered that food is a surprisingly easy target for memory manipulation," she wrote in the February issue of Social Cognition.

For the millions of Americans who worry about overeating during the holiday season, there may be hope: A new study suggests changing their memories of food may be a way to influence their eating habits.

Ms Loftus and her research team claim it is the first scientific demonstration of the effect of false beliefs on people's subsequent thoughts and behaviours.

The team conducted two experiments using a series of questionnaires and false feedback to convince people that, as children, they had become sick after eating hard-boiled eggs or pickles. As a result, these people later indicated they would avoid these foods. More than 25 per cent of the 336 volunteers confirmed that they "remembered" getting sick or "believed" that they did.

However, Ms Loftus explained that there may be limits to influencing eating habits. In another study using similar methods, people were convinced they had become sick from eating potato chips as children, but did not alter their behaviour towards the popular food.

"The idea that we can tap into people's imagination and mental thoughts to influence their food choices sounds exciting, but it's too preliminary to tell how this might be applied in the dieting realm," the psychologist said. "Our next step is to obtain grant funding to experiment with real food."

Further information: www.uci.edu

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

Call for grain innovation ideas

Date: Tue, 14 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


The Home Grown Cereals Authority is calling for applications from businesses with innovative ideas for the use of grain.

The organisation is holding its twice yearly Enterprise Awards and is inviting businesses from all food and non-food sectors to apply for finance to develop, market and launch new or existing products.

The Western Mail reports that the Home Grown Cereals Authority will be issuing grants of up to £50,000 in the latest funding round.

Julian Gibbons, chairman of HGCA's market development committee called particularly for applications from Wales.

She said: "Although we have had many applicants from all over the UK in both food and non-food categories, none so far have come from Welsh businesses so we're keen to encourage them to apply."

Further information: www.hgca.com/enterprise

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

Scientists bake traditional Christmas fayre

Date: Tue, 14 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Scientists at the Royal Society of Chemistry in London have baked mince pies based on an ancient recipe dating back to 1648.

The Cromwellian recipe features mincemeat, as well as cloves, mace, dates, currants, orange peel and raisins.

The pies, dedicated to Sir Robert Boyle, the Father of Chemistry, contained a liberal portion of minced beef and the society claimed the Christmas treat was precisely what Sir Robert would have enjoyed at his coming-of-age party in 1648.

The recipe, taken from Gervase Mark-ham's cookbook, The English Huswife, first published in 1615, is believed to have been used widely throughout the reign of Charles I.

Professor Anne Murcott, who revived Markham's recipe, said: "Tastes changed, and by the 18th century, a division was emerging between 'sweet' and 'savoury' that would be recognised today. Mostly, savoury meat pies lost their sweet flavouring. The exception was the mince pie which lost its meat, retaining suet as its sole ingredient of animal origin."

In the 18th century, it was discovered that the spices and fruit mixture in mince pies could be combined with brandy or sack months before Christmas and stored safely in stone jars.

Further information: www.rsc.org

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

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