Tetra Pak outlines environmental plans

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Parkinson's could be prevented with low calorie diet

Date: Tue, 14 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A new study from America has suggested that eating a low calorie diet could help consumers to reduce their risk of getting Parkinson's disease.

Conducted by a team at the US National Institute on Ageing, a team of monkeys were tested for the research, which concluded long-term reduction in calorie intake can stop the disease developing.

As well as helping to slow down the ageing process it is thought that limiting calories can help switch on mechanisms that help to protect brain cells which can be lost through Parkinson's.

The researchers explained to the BBC: "The present findings suggest that long-term caloric restriction can protect the monkey dopamine motor system against environmental toxins associated with Parkinson's disease.

"However, the impact of caloric restriction and other dietary manipulations on the course of Parkinson's disease in patients who are already symptomatic remains to be determined," they added.

Findings were welcomed by the Parkinson's Disease Society and they said results were encouraging but that more research on the effect on humans was needed.

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

Food enjoyment may be good for weight

Date: Tue, 14 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Latest advice from nutrition and diet experts has suggested that eating slowly and not feeling guilty over treats at Christmas could help consumers to keep the weight off.

According to ic Wales, the average Brit puts on five pounds over the festive period and many people often do not diet to shed this, despite countless New Year resolutions to diet.

However, experts are now claiming that indulgence, within reason, can actually be quite good for people and by worrying and feeling guilty only makes people feel unhappy and put on more weight.

Nutritional therapist Alison Cullen agrees and claims: "Guiltily counting every calorie or sitting there desperately trying to find the resolve to refuse the Christmas pudding or chocolates is highly stressful.

"All that worry really achieves is to put a brake on our digestive system, which actually prevents the body from dealing with the food we've eaten in a healthy, normal way and getting rid of the toxins and fats."

According to Ms Cullen, if consumers are "uptight and tense" even the best organic and pure food will not do them any good.

In the same way a balanced diet is healthy throughout the year, during the festive season consumers can balance their food and drink intake to minimise the effect of Christmas dining.

The main tip for festive food is to chew it properly since it is easier for the body to deal with, the effect of the fat in the system is minimised and recent work has found links to this and a lower rate of coronary disease.

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

Packaging waste cut down at Tesco

Date: Tue, 14 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Food retailer Tesco has revealed the first fully automated recycling machine in the UK today.

The machine has been designed to help encourage consumers to recycle more of their packaging waste and works by sorting the materials out and using new technology to process around 80 items per minute, according to Food Production Daily.

According to the supermarket chain, the machine will considerably increase the amount of waste that is recycled in the UK and it is hoped will help triple the amount people bring to stores for recycling.

"I am delighted to see retailers using their unique position to help encourage their customers to recycle," said Margaret Beckett, secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs.

"With nine out of ten people saying they would recycle if it was easier to do so, the new Tesco facility will hopefully attract a new generation of recyclers and encourage those who already do to recycle more."

Recycling is becoming a key issue for manufacturing firms, including food businesses, due to increasingly tougher rules, fines and regulations.

The UK's food and drink sector produces between seven and eight million tonnes of waste each year, but it is thought food retailers can help to achieve waste reduction targets from packaging.

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

Novelli plans cookery school television series

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Michelin-starred chef Jean Christophe Novelli is reportedly considering setting up his own television production company.

The French chef plans to make a series about his cookery school when it opens in February next year. He said he is also in discussions with the BBC and is studying "many options" on how to make the programmes.

Groups of up to ten cookery students will pay £250 plus accommodation costs to spend 24 hours with Mr Novelli at his 14th century Hertfordshire farmhouse near Luton, according to Caterer Online.

The 43-year-old patron of the Auberge du Lac restaurant at Brocket Hall has spent £200,000 expanding the original six-bedroom house to accommodate guests and further refurbishment work will cost around £300,000.

Mr Novelli said: "They are with me all the time - if they don't want to go to bed, we will stay in the kitchen all night talking."

(no further information)

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

New meat safety test developed

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Food analysis giant Biacore International has unveiled a new food safety kit for testing drug residues in meat products.

The company claims that its new Qflex Kit is capable of rapidly detecting 14 different b-Agonists, potentially toxic veterinary drugs used as growth promoters.

Biacore Q and Qflex Kits offer automated, label-free analysis and the company insists they provide significant time saving and reduced risk of experimental errors compared to similar testing methods, Food Production Daily reports. All Biacore instruments utilise Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) technology as the basis for detection and monitoring of protein interactions.

"In order to prevent ingestion by consumers, the use of b-agonists as growth promoters in farm animals is prohibited in many countries," said Esa Stenberg, vice president and head of Biacore's food business unit.

"It is therefore essential for producers to have an efficient test available for rapid, routine detection. Our new, simple to use Qflex Kit provides an extremely sensitive assay with broad specificity."

Traces of a nitrofuran, a banned veterinary medicine, were discovered in organic chicken in the UK earlier this year and up to 23 tonnes of the affected meat had been distributed across the country.

Further information: www.biacore.com

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

Poultry and meat help site launched

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


The Meat and Poultry Communications Alliance has unveiled a new website aimed at offering consumers and the media quick and easy nutrition information.

The new site, set up by the coalition of three industry organisations, was developed with assistance from leading nutrition expert Michele Tuttle, who will periodically answer nutrition questions submitted to the website.

www.meatpoultrynutrition.org will provide detailed nutrition on meat and poultry, The Pig Site reports.

The new website includes scientifically referenced sections on dietary fat, protein, weight loss and portion size; a recipe section; frequently asked questions; and a list of third-party experts who can provide background information and grant interviews.

The Meat and Poultry Communications Alliance is a joint project of the American Meat Institute, the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation.

(no further information)

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

Portuguese food business increased at Unilever

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Unilever has announced that it is moving further into Portugal's food sector by restructuring its Portuguese foods business.

The food firm is currently in a joint venture with Jeronimo Martins Group and the new deal will see food businesses FimaVG and Unilever Bestfoods Portugal join together.

In addition, the deal will see the joint venture shares re-balance so that Unilever will hold 49 per cent of the combined business and Jeronimo Martins Group will own 51 per cent.

Up until this new restructuring Unilever Portugal had a 40 per cent stake in FimaVG.

Although the deal is subject to regulatory approval, if successful Unilever will receive around €80 million as a result.

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

Asda dairy protests put on hold

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Farmers for Action (FFA), which has been protesting against Asda, has called a temporary stop to its protests.

For the last fortnight dairy farmers have brought sections of the distribution network for Asda to a standstill, demonstrating against an Arla milk contract, which they deem to be unfair.

However the campaigning group has claimed that action is currently suspended as it hopes a further round of talks can help resolve problems over farm milk prices.

It is hoped a meeting between FFA, Asda and Arla will be held before Monday, when the group will decide on its next plan of action.

Defending the firm against complaints about dairy prices, a spokesman for Asda told the Press and Journal: "We're giving £2.5million to 600 farmers.

"We know it's only 600 farmers and we know it's not the rest of the industry. Farmers have been asking, as have the NFUs in England and Scotland, that we get closer to the farmers and that's what we are doing."

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

Moo appoints new ad agency

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Milk brand Moo has announced it has appointed a new agency for its marketing and latest advertising campaign.

Lawson Dodd will launch a 'Make it with Moo' campaign and promote the product as the perfect store-cupboard ingredient.

The campaign will convey the humorous approach of the brand and a host of series will be held to emphasise Moo's relevance to nearly every cooking occasion.

Belinda Lawson, director at Lawson Dodd, commented: "Moo is a very appealing brand. Anyone that uses milk should always have Moo in their cupboard.

"The strategy is delightfully simple but works on every level - use it to cook with, put what's left over in the fridge and you'll find its great in coffee, on your cereal. That's the way to get volume up and create a favourite brand in an unbranded market sector."

Moo was launched in January this year and is owned by the UK's third largest integrated dairy business Milk Link.

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

Poor service dogs UK restaurant industry

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Rude or hapless service continues to be the major complaint by diners, a new report claims.

Restaurant customers were also left fuming over the year by table-turning, rushed meals, cramped surroundings and overpriced food, according to the annual report by London-based guide Square Meal.

The survey of 8,000 diners, mainly in London, found that 40 per cent of respondents complained about bad service, compared with 24 per cent about food and drink, the second-largest area of grievance.

The guide names and shames a number of the most fashionable London restaurants, including Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, The Wolseley in Piccadilly and Chez Gerard at the Opera Terrace, for having the worst service of all the capital's smartest restaurants.

Comments from diners included: "Basic food at a very full price, shockingly snotty service; they tell you in no uncertain terms to turn up at an awkward time but the table is not ready." Another commented: "Our dining experience can only be described as appalling."

"People want that old thing - service with a smile," Gaby Huddart, editor of Square Meal. "London beats Paris hands down for its restaurants, but in France service is as important as the food and I'm not sure we've got that in London."

Restaurants with the best service included Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, the Greenhouse, Le Gavroche, The Square and Chez Bruce in Wandsworth.

Objections to rushed service and cramped surroundings almost doubled this year (rising from 5 per cent of complaints in 2002 and 2003 to 9 per cent) with diners attacking "crazy table-turning policies".

The number of grievances about the food also increased during 2004, with 19 per cent of diners complaining about the quality or the temperature of their meals. Other gripes included decor and ambience (18 per cent) and high prices (also 18 per cent), with a number of newer complaints emerging, such as the increasing use of automated telephone reservation systems and expensive bottled waters.

Square Meal found fewer complaints about smoky restaurants, and fewer diners reported the value on credit card slips being left open.

Further information: www.squaremeal.co.uk

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

Somerfield calls off anti-Co-op campaign

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Supermarket group Somerfield has axed its 'store wars' campaign against the Co-op and apologised for any offence caused.

Somerfield chairman John von Spreckelsen admitted the campaign was misguided and unhelpful and claimed that it was masterminded at junior level. He has reportedly been in contact with Co-op group chief executive Martin Beaumont.

Pete Williams, head of press at Somerfield said: "Somerfield regrets any offence that may have been caused by the unauthorised circulation of a document outlining a recent stores campaign.

"The document involved was intended to be light-hearted and was meant for Somerfield employees only.

In a controversial document entitled "Flock Off" Somerfield urged managers of its branches to treat their local Co-op retailers as "lambs to the slaughter".

The confidential memo, reported by the Manchester Evening News, used a cartoon image of Colin the Sheep, featured in TV commercials by the Co-operative group, being hanged at the gallows.

The dirty tricks campaign targeted 200 Co-op stores across the UK and offered a £5,000 incentive to store bosses who managed to close down their local Co-op and £500 to anyone who could successfully entice a Co-op employee to move to their store.

Martin Henderson, head of public relations for the Co-op group, said: "Although it was recognition of what we already knew all along, that we were beating them hands down on prices, quality and ethical trading. It's pleasing to see they have stood down."

Further information: www.co-op.co.uk

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

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