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94% of World’s 19,000+ Breweries are Craft

The craft beer revolution is taking hold in more countries across the globe. According to a new survey released by Alltech and The Brewers Journal, the number of breweries worldwide has surpassed 19,000, representing 209 countries and territories surveyed. Some 17,732, or 94 percent, of these breweries can be defined as craft beer producers. For the purpose of the survey, a craft brewery is defined as having fewer than 30 staff or producing less than 5,000 hectolitres per year or more than 50 percent of the brewery being privately owned.

The craft beer movement has created a global surge in the number of new breweries opening, with the US and the UK alone seeing a greater than 10 percent increase in the number of craft breweries year-on-year. This has drastically changed the fonts and fridges in pubs and bars on every continent. The thrill of innovation, experimentation and community engagement is creating a new market for brewers and retailers.

The largest craft beer producer remains the U.S. with 4,750 craft breweries out of a total of 5,025 breweries. However, the U.K. has the most craft breweries per capita with 25 breweries per million people, compared with 15 in the U.S. and 16 in Germany.

“The U.S. and the U.K. fermented their lead in craft beer production as a result of legislation that paved the way for craft brewers,” says Tim Sheahan, editor of The Brewers Journal. “In the US, the pivotal point was in 1978, when President Jimmy Carter allowed home brewing for the first time since Prohibition. The UK’s watershed moment came in 2002 with Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s progressive beer duty legislation, which reduced beer duty to nil for breweries producing less than 5,000 hectolitres.”

Although the US is recognised as the originator of the recent craft beer movement and has heavily influenced the modern take on traditional styles, there are more craft breweries in Europe than North America. The top 10 craft beer-producing countries are the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.

The global momentum behind the craft beer craze has led Alltech, an international company with a brewing and distilling division renowned for its Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale®, to leverage its worldwide presence and create opportunities for craft brewers to network and showcase their creations.

Alltech hosts multiple beer festivals around the globe, the largest of which is the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair in Dublin, Ireland. Now in its fifth year, the event featured 38 breweries from five countries and attracted more than 7,000 attendees. The event has since been replicated in other Alltech locations, including Kentucky, Canada, Brazil and China.

“It is great to see so many different brews being developed for these festivals. In Ireland, we found that the majority of seasonals were launched for the first time at the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair,” says Gearoid Cahill, European director of brewing science, Alltech. “There is a real spirit of collaboration among craft brewers, and, for consumers, the opportunity to meet their favourite master brewer face to face offers a memorable experience.”

For more information on the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair, visit http://eu.alltechbrewsandfood.com/

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Tests in Real-life Situation Increase Success Rate of Product Innovations

The context in which consumers eat, has a major impact on how they evaluate the taste of foods. This conclusion has been drawn following a study of airplane meals, carried out by Wageningen Food & Biobased Research. The scientists demonstrated that real-life testing situations can be effectively simulated in a lab. The study, published in the Journal of Sensory Studies, gives insight to manufacturers on how to improve the predictive value of product tests, and thereby increase the success rate of product innovations.

The researchers asked 466 consumers to judge a selection of airplane meals. Approximately half (242) of the people did this in a lab in two different testing contexts: in conventional test labs and in test cabins, which simulated being on board an aircraft. The ‘on board’ participants sat in airplane seats, in rows close to each other, and each of them had a boarding pass. They received safety instructions and, in the background, they could hear the sound of aircraft engines. Their meals were served by flight attendants. The remaining participants (222 people) rated their meal ‘in flight’ during a trip aboard a real aircraft. In total, four different airplane meals (two with rice, two with pasta) were evaluated.

In test lab or on board
The ratings of meals in the simulated aircraft situation and on board a real plane were very similar. Ratings in the test labs, for half of the meals, differed significantly from the other two situations. In the test labs participants gave all the meals a comparable rating, whereas in both ‘on board’ situations one meal was rated as clearly tastier than the other.

Added value real-life testing
“The results of our study demonstrate the added value of testing in a real-life environment,” says Nancy Holthuysen, researcher at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, and leader of the project. “The studies also show that a real-life environment can be effectively created in the lab, often in a cost-efficient way. This even applies to the situation on board an aircraft, where you not only need to take into account background noise and passenger comfort, but also low humidity and changes in air pressure.”

Publication
The scientists have described the study in the Journal of Sensory Studies. Following the project, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has extended its lab facilities by creating an experience room where almost any situation can be simulated upon request  – from airplane to grand café, living room to supermarket.

Predictive value
On average, two-thirds of newly-launched food products disappear from the market within a year, because the consumer’s appreciation is less than expected. Manufacturers and caterers often limit themselves to product tests in conventional test labs, as they consider research in a real-life situation too expensive, too time-consuming or too complex. Research in test labs, however, has low predictive value.

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Kefir Formats Flourish in Fermented Dairy Drinks

Kefir appears to be bucking the trend that has seen launch activity in drinking yogurts and fermented beverages remain relatively static in recent years. While kefir launch numbers are still limited globally, Innova Market Insights data indicate that they grew more than three-fold between 2011 and 2016. This is despite launches in the overall drinking yogurt/fermented beverages sub-category rising by a much more modest +60%.

“As interest in fermented dairy products spread in the west alongside the arrival of the so-called functional foods market in the 1990s,” reports Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “Kefir started to move out of its home in the Caucasus via limited availability in specialist health food stores in western markets to a more value-added, mainstream positioning, particularly in the US,” she adds.

The US pioneered the kefir market in the west and brought value-added options in resealable plastic bottles to the mainstream market. This allowed for more direct competition with other dairy and non-dairy beverages. It accounted for over one-third of global kefir launches in 2016 and beverages featuring kefir accounted for 40% of US drinking yogurt/fermented beverages introductions overall, compared with just over 8% globally. Europe accounted for the bulk of the remainder, led by more traditional markets in Eastern Europe, although launches in Western Europe have grown strongly, but from a very small base.

Kefir is strongly promoted on its healthy properties, particularly with rising interest in fermented foods and beverages overall. All US and nearly 94% of global launches used some kind of health positioning in 2016. There was initial emphasis on probiotics, particularly focusing on digestive health benefits. Even though regulatory issues have made this type of claim more difficult in some parts of the world, digestive health claims were still used for nearly two-thirds of global launches in 2016.

Nearly half of kefir launches use low fat claims and the sector has also not been slow to exploit rising concerns over sugar intake in the diet. The number of global launches positioned on low sugar/no-added-sugar and sugar free positionings double in 2016 to feature in 20% of the total. Organic and lactose free variants are also increasingly common, among kefir launches.

For more information about Innova Market Insights, please visit: www.innovadatabase.com.

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A Third of All British Drinkers Have Reduced or Limited Their Alcohol Intake

While the majority of British adults enjoy a tipple, it seems today’s consumers are taking a more conservative approach towards their alcohol consumption. Indeed, new research from Mintel reveals that as many as one third (32%) of all Brits have reduced or limited their alcohol intake over the past 12 months* in comparison to what they would usually consume. What is more, half (51%) of the nation’s beer, wine and cider drinkers say they are drinking less alcohol than a few years ago, confirming Brits are actively moderating their drinking habits.

While many glasses may now be half empty, it is economical factors which are encouraging consumers to cut back. Over two in four (44%) Brits who have reduced their alcohol have done so in order to save money, while 41% of those choosing to limit alcohol intake have done so to lose or avoid gaining weight. Improving personal health (39%) is also a notable trigger for cutting down and a further 30% have cut-back to reduce the risk of disease. Additionally, some 14% of all those who have cut back on alcohol have done so because they are worried about becoming dependent on alcohol and the same proportion (14%) have cut back to stay within current NHS and government guidelines.

The consumers most likely to have cut back at some point are those aged 25-34 (35%) and 35-44 (36%); meanwhile, geographically this peaks at 41% in the North East and dips to 27% in the South East/East Anglia.

Today, one fifth (19%) of adults report they do not drink alcohol, with a slightly higher proportion of women (22%) than men (17%) being teetotal.

Richard Caines, Senior Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel, comments: “As many as a third of all Brits have limited or reduced their alcohol consumption at some point in the last year. While this includes consumers cutting back for shorter and longer periods of time, it is a strong indicator that steps to moderate alcohol consumption are now widespread. Reducing alcohol consumption to save money reflects the discretionary nature of drinks and how they can add significantly to outgoings.”

The fact that Brits are reducing the amount of alcohol they drink presents a significant opportunity for low-alcohol and alcohol-free beers, ciders and wines. Today, lower-alcohol beer, cider or wine is drunk by around one quarter (23%) of alcohol drinkers, while overall, just 14% of Brits drink non-alcoholic or alcohol-free beer, cider or wine. Usage of lower-alcohol drinks is higher among men (26%) and significantly above average for 18-34-year-olds (41%).

Pubs and bars are proving popular venues for low alcohol brands, as a night out (26%) and a casual drink at the pub (22%) are when low-alcohol drinks most appeal to consumers if they are limiting or reducing their alcohol intake.

A taste more like standard-strength equivalents would sway nearly three in 10 drinkers (28%) to consume low-alcohol or alcohol-free versions of alcoholic drinks. However, overall, soft drinks are more popular than low-alcohol, alcohol-free versions of alcoholic drinks for all occasions. For current alcohol drinkers, 41% say that if they were limiting the amount of alcohol they were drinking when having a casual drink at the pub then they’d pick a soft drink, compared to 29% who would pick a low-alcohol or non-alcoholic version of an alcoholic drink.

“Replicating the taste of standard-strength alcoholic drinks and changing perceptions remains a key challenge for low-alcohol and alcohol-free manufacturers. Alcohol-free versions of alcoholic drink brands also need to look at the reasons why consumers are limiting or reducing their alcohol intake in order to increase their appeal as an alternative to standard-strength alcoholic drinks. This includes offering bigger savings to those looking to save money, as well as prominently highlighting lower calorie content compared to standard-strength equivalents to those looking to better manage their weight and improve their health,” Richard Caines adds.

Finally, Mintel research reveals that weekly alcohol limits are a mystery for most Brits. Introduced in January, new guidelines on alcohol advise men and women to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week on a regular basis. However, when asked how many units of alcohol per week the current NHS and government guidelines advise for men and women, Mintel research indicates that only one in 10 (10%) adults correctly stated the 14 units a week recommended and more than four in 10 (42%) admitted that they didn’t know.

“While consumers are aware of the health dangers from drinking too much alcohol, few are clear on the limits advised in the new guidelines to keep health risks low. Low-alcohol drinks brands could benefit from driving awareness of these limits and what the number of units in individual drinks means in terms of their contribution to that weekly guidance. Doing so could help to encourage more switching over to low-alcohol products from higher-alcohol drinks,” Richard Caines concludes.

*12 months to November 2016

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Dunnes Stores Remains Ireland’s Largest Grocer For a Second Month

For the first time Dunnes Stores has held its position as Ireland’s largest grocer for two consecutive months. This is according to the latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, for the 12 weeks ending 26 February 2017.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Dunnes’ shoppers are adding more to their baskets, helping the retailer to maintain the title of Ireland’s largest supermarket this month. The grocer’s “Shop & Save” initiative is continuing to influence customers, with the average basket featuring an extra one and a half items – an additional €3 per trip and €25 million for the retailer in the past 12 weeks.”

Sales at Dunnes grew by 4.6% and the retailer increased its market share to 22.9%, up from 22.5% last year.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel.

David Berry continues: “SuperValu remains hot on the heels of Dunnes, with a 22.6% share of the market. The retailer also managed to convince shoppers to splash a little more cash. The average customer spent over €1 more per trip, causing sales to grow by 0.5% amounting to an extra €3 million for the grocer.

“With Supervalu planning to open three new stores and refurbish a host of others, the retailer will be expecting to experience a boost in sales later in the year.”

Following three months of steady growth, Tesco sales dropped by 1.0% as eleven days of staff strikes led to disruption for the retailer. Despite the industrial action only affecting eight stores there has been a clear impact on the retailer’s performance, with market share falling by 0.9 percentage points to 21.7%.

Aldi’s and Lidl’s success is continuing, with sales rising by 5.3% and 4.1% respectively. Over the past twelve weeks Aldi managed to attract an additional 20,000 customers into its stores, while also encouraging them to visit more frequently. Lidl’s uplift in sales enabled the retailer to increase its share of the market to 10.6%.

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Irish Grocery Spending Rises For Seventh Consecutive Quarter

The amount Irish consumers spent on everyday grocery items, such as food, drinks and toiletries, increased year-on-year for the seventh consecutive quarter, according to Nielsen retail performance data. The amount people spent on groceries increased +2.1% in Q4 2016 versus Q4 2015. The 2.1% rise was based on a 1.5% increase in the volume of groceries purchased and a 0.6% rise in the average prices paid.

The Irish market outperformed both Europe as a whole (1.8% rise) and the UK (0.7% rise).

Alongside this, consumer confidence in Ireland at the end of 2016 was at its highest level since the recession and is now the sixth most confident country in Europe, according to Nielsen’s latest Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.

The Republic of Ireland’s Consumer Confidence Index score – which measures attitudes each quarter on topics including personal finances and job prospects – hit 100 in the final two quarters of 2016, the first time it’s reached this mark in nine years (Q4 2007). A score over 100 indicates degrees of optimism, below 100, degrees of pessimism.

The latest quarterly study shows the proportion of Irish consumers:

* Who’ve switched to cheaper grocery brands to save money – an activity often regarded as a barometer of consumer sentiment and behaviour – hit its lowest level since the recession (32%)

* Who’ve changed spending habits to save money hit its lowest level since the recession (59%)

* Feeling positive about their personal finances and feeling now is a good time to make purchases stood at 52%

* Feeling positive about their job prospects hit its highest level since the recession (58%) –the third highest in Europe, behind the Czech Republic and Switzerland.

“Irish consumer confidence has been steadily rising for the last few years and has been stable enough to withstand recent unsettling events such as the UK Brexit and the US election,” says Matt Clark, Nielsen’s commercial director in Ireland. “Although we’re a long way from seeing a return to the days of the Celtic Tiger, this confidence has slowly been translating into increasing spend among consumers. A good barometer of this is year-on-year grocery spend rising for seven consecutive quarters plus the volume of groceries purchased jumping by its highest level for a year. This provides encouraging signs for the future, particularly with a flat consumer price index and ECB interest rates remaining at a record low.”

How Ireland confidence compares globally

The global Consumer Confidence Index stands one point above Ireland at 101, whilst Europe’s is 81 and Great Britain is 102. India (136) has the highest score globally, South Korea the lowest (43).

The scores are derived from Nielsen’s study, established in 2005, which measures among 30,000+ internet consumers in 63 countries. To view historical trends for all countries, broken down by metrics such as financial concerns and job prospects, visit the interactive Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker.

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UK Grocery Market Grows as Price Rises Continue

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks ending 26 February 2017, show supermarket sales grew at their fastest rate since June 2014 – up by 2.3% compared to the same time last year.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Like-for-like inflation has doubled since last month to stand at 1.4% during the past 12 weeks. However, when placed in their longer-term context, these price increases are still fairly minimal.

“Staples such as butter, tea and fish all saw prices rise by more than 5% during the past 12 weeks, as fruit and vegetables – many of which are imported – also saw an uptick in price. However, it’s important to point out that inflation is still far from universal, with prices actually falling across a number of categories including crisps, bacon and eggs.

“While consumers may be starting to feel a very slight pinch, increased inflation has led to overall market growth. Simultaneously, combined sales at the UK’s four largest supermarkets increased by 0.5% year on year. This is a timely reminder that despite the huge interest in the discounters during recent years the big four remain a force to be reckoned with: they still hold just over 70% of the market, with almost 99% of the population shopping in a Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda or Morrisons during the latest quarter.”

Individually, Morrisons grew ahead of the market with a sales increase of 2.6% signalling its fastest growth in five years. Holding market share steady year on year at 10.6%, the retailer’s positive bricks and mortar performance was buoyed further by the continued rapid expansion of its e-commerce business.

Tesco increased sales for the sixth period in a row – a run it hasn’t experienced since January 2014 – although this wasn’t enough to stop the grocer’s market share slipping by 0.5 percentage points to 27.9%. Asda was the only retailer to see sales fall during the past 12 weeks, but a decline of just 0.8% represents a significant improvement and is the grocer’s best performance since November 2014.

Fraser McKevitt continues: “To the catchy soundtrack of its new ‘food dancing’ advertising campaign, Sainsbury’s returned to growth for the first time since March last year, with sales up by 0.3%. At the same time, its market share slipped by 0.3 percentage points leaving the grocer with 16.5% of the market.

“Lidl became Britain’s fastest growing supermarket during the past 12 weeks – with sales up by 13.0% – while Aldi grew almost as quickly, increasing sales by 12.9% to reach a record market share of 6.3%. Also growing ahead of the market was Iceland, with sales up 8.8%. Meanwhile Co-op and Waitrose both increased sales by 1.7% and 2.9% respectively.”

There were signs of changing shopping habits too. Having peaked at just over 40% of sales in 2015, the proportion of groceries sold on promotion continues to decline, falling to 34.3% during the past 12 weeks – its lowest level since October 2009. The most dramatic shift has been a move away from multi-buy promotions, with shoppers spending half a billion less on these types of deals than last year. Fraser McKevitt comments: “Despite the general move away from multi-buys, meal deals remain popular – particularly around Valentine’s Day. Premium meal deals, which offer dinner for two at a price point of £10 or above, were bought by nearly 2 million consumers in February as Valentine’s Day offered a welcome opportunity to splash out.

“In fact, British diners spent £9 million more on premium meal deals than during the same period last year, suggesting that celebrating special occasions at home is an increasingly appealing option. 1.2 million shoppers bought still wine as part of their premium meal deal, 700,000 plumped for sparkling wine and 840,000 bought chocolates.”

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Green Credentials of Ireland’s Dairy Sector Could be Key to Addressing Climate Change Challenge

The impact of climate change represents a significant opportunity for Ireland’s dairy Sector but also poses a threat, a special industry conference held recently at the Teagasc Ashtown conference centre, Dublin, heard. The conference included details of a safefood sponsored research project which surveyed dairy industry stakeholders to determine their level of awareness of the potential impacts that Climate Change could create.

Principal researcher on the project, Professor Thia Hennessy of University College Cork’s Department of Food Business said: “This is the first such survey of dairy industry stakeholders on the island and we found that stakeholders from right across the dairy supply chain demonstrated a high level of awareness of climate change as well as a commitment to collective action to avail of any opportunities climate change may bring.”

Research collaborator Trevor Donnellan of Teagasc, continued: “The study confirmed that Climate Change presents both an opportunity and a threat for the Irish dairy sector. The threats identified in the survey included, extreme weather events, the emergence of new diseases and pests. By contrast the development of unfavourable climate conditions in some of the world’s key milk producing countries could offer an advantage to the Irish dairy sector, since the Irish climate is likely to be less adversely affected. One of the major recommendations of this research was that more planning is required to consider how to deal with extreme weather events.”

Welcoming the research, Dr James McIntosh, safefood, said: “Our work to improve public health on the island of Ireland is evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers and the food environment. Climate Change has the potential to impact on almost every aspect of food production and supply on the island and it’s important for us to understand how the provision of safe food and the promotion of good food safety practices across the food chain will be affected, particularly in larger agri-food sectors such as the dairy industry.”

The conference heard that there was a general view that science and technology can play a major role in mitigating Climate Change, but that there are obstacles to getting technology from the lab to the farm. Not all farmers were eager to adopt technological developments and these concerns needed to be addressed. Stakeholders felt that technologies being developed to address greenhouse gas emissions should be discussed with farmers in the developmental stage to establish their practicality.

Katrina Campbell of Queen’s University Belfast, who also collaborated on the research, continued: “Climate Change may also pose a threat for food safety as one of the most prevalent food safety hazards within the dairy industry is mycotoxins which emerge in animal feed. Warmer and wetter climates, as projected for Ireland under Climate Change, would contribute to a proliferation in fungal growth and thereby increase in mycotoxin contamination.”

“To counter the potential impact of Climate Change on food safety, new innovative technology and monitoring systems must be invested in to help ensure Climate Change consequences do not become a threat from the beginning point of the dairy food chain.  New testing methods to detect contaminants may need to be investigated in order to prevent transmission through the food chain and human consumption,” she added.

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‘Snackification’ of Mealtimes is Now Widespread Among Millennials

Most American Millennial snackers eat a snack in place of a standard meal at least once a week, a new survey reveals[1].

Researchers in the US questioned snackers between the ages of 18 and 35 about their snacking habits and preferences. When asked how often they eat a snack instead of having breakfast, lunch or dinner, 92% of them said they do so a minimum of once a week. Furthermore, half of the respondents said they replace a meal with a snack at least four times a week, while more than a quarter (26%) said they do so at least seven times a week.

The online survey of 300 male and female American Millennials who snack regularly was commissioned by Welch’s Global Ingredients Group, the supplier of FruitWorx real fruit pieces and powders, and was conducted in January 2017 by independent market research company Surveygoo. The findings shed light on the true scale of the ‘snackification’ of mealtimes among Millennial snackers, an often-reported but rarely measured phenomenon.

This trend could be a reflection of American Millennial snackers’ busy lives. They are snacking both at home and on the go, with 48% of Millennial snackers consuming snacks at work and 34% in the car. When asked why they snack, 39% of Millennial snackers said they do so when they are too busy to eat a proper sit-down meal, while 17% admitted to doing so when they ‘can’t be bothered to cook a meal’.

When respondents were asked which factors are important in guiding their choice of snack, the three most important were taste (80%), nutrition and health (52%) and convenience (49%). They also said they are looking for whole food ingredients, such as wholegrains (43%), real fruit (42%) and nuts (39%). Besides valuing real fruit, American Millennials who snack also prefer to know the origin of the fruit in their snacks. In total, 68% of survey respondents said it was important for them to know where the ingredients in their snacks, including the fruit, had come from.

Wayne Lutomski, Vice President International & Welch’s Global Ingredients Group, says: “The survey quantifies and expands on what we already suspected: the replacement of mealtime with snacktime among Millennial snackers is widespread. These consumers need their snacks to be convenient for their busy lives and contribute to their daily nutrition needs. Our survey findings tell us that there is an opportunity for snack products that can check all of the boxes – taste, convenience and natural nutrition.”

True American Superfruit
The findings from the survey highlight the importance of using specific ingredients when creating snack products. Key learnings point towards demand for those that deliver excellent taste, convenience and authentic nutrition, with a preference for whole food ingredients that offer a strong story around provenance.

FruitWorx inclusions by Welch’s Global Ingredients Group are real fruit pieces for snacking and baking products that satisfy all of these criteria. They are made from the Concord grape, a distinctive, dark purple grape variety with a sweet, bold flavor grown in North America by Welch’s nearly 1,000 family farmers. In combination with an exceptional flavor profile, it delivers natural plant nutrients called polyphenols.It is a true American superfruit.

Concord FruitWorx pieces provide the same bold flavor and polyphenols as the fresh fruit from which they were made. In fact, Concord FruitWorx delivers more than twice the polyphenols as the leading brand of sweetened dried cranberries, and three times as many polyphenols as the leading brand of raisins.

Now available to food manufacturers throughout the USA, FruitWorx real fruit pieces are made using a unique technology called ultra-rapid concentration (URC®), which was developed by Taura Natural Ingredients.

Wayne Lutomski concludes: “With URC®, Welch’s Global Ingredients Group is able to deliver the goodness of the Concord grape in a format that’s perfect for a multitude of snack applications, and which taps into the trends highlighted by our survey. As we have found, American Millennial snackers are looking for their snacks to deliver great taste and authentic nutrition benefits. With FruitWorx pieces, snack manufacturers have an opportunity to meet the exact needs of this consumer and bring winning products to the marketplace.”

[1] Survey of 300 male and female snackers in the US aged 18-35, commissioned by Welch’s Global Ingredients Group and conducted independently by Surveygoo in January 2017

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A Positive Future for the UK Beet Sugar Industry

The lifting of European Union (EU) sugar quotas in October 2017 and leaving of the EU, offers exciting opportunities for great British businesses and industries, such as British Sugar and the wider UK beet sugar industry.

According to Paul Kenward, Managing Director of British Sugar: “We are one of Britain’s most globally competitive industries and we are ready to work with farmers, importers and government to design a UK sugar policy that allows our world-leading domestic sugar industry to continue to thrive.”

A new report ‘British Sugar: A homegrown success story’ outlines the significant contribution the UK beet sugar industry makes to the communities in which it operates. Currently, British Sugar partners with 3,500 growers, employs 1,400 people and supports a further 9,500 skilled jobs across the UK. This homegrown success story supplies 60% of the UK’s sugar market.

He continues: “Over the past 100 years we have built a world-class UK beet sugar industry, contributing to local economies and communities, and benefiting UK plc. Our investment of £250 million over the past five years has made our factories the most efficient in the world. Beet sugar yields in the UK have improved by more than 25% in the last ten years. Our focus on improving efficiency and reducing waste has led to a range of co-products. We generate enough electricity to power a city the size of Peterborough; we produce up to 70 million litres of Bioethanol annually; and used our topsoil to landscape the Olympic Park.”

William Martin, Chairman of NFU Sugar, says: “The dismantlement of the EU Sugar regime and Brexit will present opportunities for arable farmers in the beet growing areas of the UK, but the real opportunities will come from beet growers and British Sugar working in partnership to maximize the returns from the market place in a new commercial environment.”

The report, ‘British Sugar: A homegrown success story’ can be downloaded here

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IGD Reveals Top Five Food-to-go Trends

With food-to-go taking a bigger bite of grocery markets around the world, Gavin Rothwell, Senior Retail Insight Manager at grocery research organisation IGD, identifies the top five trends he believes will shape this sector in the future.

  1. The rise and rise of health and wellness

Gavin Rothwell says: “Shoppers are increasingly aware of health and wellness, and food-to-go operators are expanding the variety of flavours and products available to meet this demand. Foods that support active lifestyles and tick the box for dietary needs are performing well, while wearable technology and apps are helping shoppers to better understand the nutritional and calorific value of what they consume.

“UK food-to-go shoppers are especially interested in products that suit particular diets, with 34% looking for a larger range of vegetarian products, 25% more dairy-free products and 23% seeking more vegan or gluten-free options*.”

  1. Targeting new locations

“Many food-to-go specialists are now expanding to reach new types of shopper. For example, both Tossed and Pret are now present in motorway services, while Subway and Greggs are expanding across petrol forecourts, to target the on-the-go shopper.

“Other operators, such as Leon and Tortilla, are also opening stores outside London for the first time, to meet growing appetite for food-to-go outside the capital.”

  1. An increased focus on ‘alternative missions’

“By ‘alternative missions’, we mean food-to-go occasions beyond the classic options of coffee or lunch. Although many retailers and specialists are focusing their efforts on breakfast, this is a relatively small market and spend per trip can be quite modest. We’re therefore expecting to see a broader focus on alternative missions at different times of day – some of this might be for evening meals, but there may also be opportunities at other times of day, for example a post-work snack or post-gym energy boost.

“Snacking provides a great opportunity for food-to-go operators. Almost half (45%) of UK adults have bought a snack on-the-go in the last month**, so the size of the prize is huge.”

  1. Further integration of technology

“Almost all shoppers (92%) think speed and efficiency of service is an important driver of deciding where to shop for food and drink***, so we expect technology to play an even bigger role in food-to-go in the future. Outlets such as San Francisco’s Eatsa and London’s Inamo have completely transferred customers’ entire ordering experience to in-store tablets, and last year Starbucks introduced a remote ordering app – a technology we also expect to really grow in popularity. US salad specialist Sweetgreen is going one step further, converting most of its stores to be cashless.

  1. More fusion between retail and food-to-go concepts

“Grocery retailers across the world are looking at how they can better cater for the food-to-go opportunity. For the likes of Whole Foods Market and Wegmans in the US, it’s already a core part of their offer. However, other super and hypermarket retailers, such as Carrefour with its Bon App shop-in-shop format, are also focusing more on this area.

“For smaller retail formats, Irish retailers are setting a great example in this field. For example, Musgrave’s Centra has been extremely progressive in how it delivers a compelling food-to-go offer, a convenience store and an enticing eat-in area in one single space. We expect more of this to follow in 2017 and beyond, as more retailers look to capture a share of the growing food-to-go opportunity.”

References:

*IGD ShopperVista, Q3 2016, 1,124 GB food-to-go shoppers

**IGD ShopperVista, May 2016, 2,000 UK shoppers

***IGD ShopperVista, Q3 2016, 1,124 GB good-to-go shoppers

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Irish Food Research Presented to Chinese Food Companies

Teagasc, the Irish agriculture and food development authority, recently outlined its dairy and nutrition research to Chinese food companies at seminars organised by Enterprise Ireland in Shanghai and Beijing in China. The seminars were planned to promote Ireland’s dairy product offerings on the Chinese market and to champion Ireland as a location for Chinese investment in the dairy industry.

Representatives from Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, Kerry, Ornua, Aurivo, Carbery, and Dairygold also attended the two seminars. Apart from Teagasc, presentations were also made by representatives from Moorepark Technology Ltd, the APC Microbiome Institute, Food for Health Ireland, Bord Bia, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Embassy in Bejing.

The seminars provided an opportunity to outline to Chinese Dairy and IMF companies details of the exciting areas of dairy and nutrition research happening in Ireland, and how Chinese companies can collaborate with Ireland’s Dairy and Nutrition Centres of Excellence.

Speaking in China, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle outlined some of Teagasc’s innovation in dairy technologies in its food research programme on clover rations in dairy cows on the sensory characteristics and functionality of milk and Teagasc. He spoke about the superior quality of dairy products produced from Ireland’s pasture-based system and recent developments in dairy processing technologies. The integrated research, advisory and education functions of Teagasc were highlighted, along with the benefits of having the animal and grassland, research and innovation programme integrated with its food research programme. Teagasc has a number of Chinese food researchers and PhDs working in Moorepark and is collaborating with similar research institutions in China. Teagasc has recently established a joint research lab with the University of Fujian to extend its research collaborations in support of Ireland’s dairy industry.

John Hunter, Chief Executive of Moorepark Technology Ltd, showed the capacity of the pilot plant facilities available at MTL. Professor Catherine Stanton from the APC Microbiome Institute and Teagasc spoke about how intestinal microbiota influence health and disease and outlined some of the latest findings from the Institute’s research programme.

At the seminars Ireland was promoted as a location for dairy nutrition and infant formula manufacturing, investment by Chinese companies.

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Best and Worst UK Supermarkets Revealed

Waitrose and Iceland have been rated as the best UK supermarkets for in-store and online experience respectively, while Marks and Spencer has topped the first ever Which? convenience store satisfaction survey with its Simply Food stores.

In a Which? survey of more than 7,000 shoppers, Waitrose secured the in-store accolade just ahead of closest competitor Marks and Spencer, with both earning plaudits for their store appearance and quality of own-label and fresh products.Shoppers were asked to rate stores based on drivers such as store appearance, ease of finding products and overall quality of fresh products. When it came to the online ranking, shoppers were asked about relevance of substitutions for products, value for money and delivery driver’s service.The Which? supermarket and convenience store ratings show:

  • Aldi and Lidl share third place and are the only two supermarkets in the survey to be awarded top marks for value for money.
  • Morrisons is the biggest climber from last year’s survey, moving up from eighth to fifth.
  • Asda came last below Tesco (8th) and Sainsbury’s (7th), who were ranked lower due to many of customers’ favourite products not being in stock, difficulty finding items and low scores on value for money.
  • In the online category, Iceland Online came top for the second consecutive year, with customers particularly happy with convenient delivery slots and friendly drivers.
  • Ocado took second spot ahead of other online competitors including Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
  • Despite finishing runners up in the in-store category, M&S had reason to cheer as its Simply Food convenience stores came top in the first ever Which? convenience store satisfaction survey.
  • Budgens, Nisa and Spar occupied the three bottom places of the convenience store survey

Each overall score is based on a combination of customer satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending the supermarket to a friend.

Richard Headland, Which? magazine editor, says: “With concerns over rising prices the competition among supermarkets is fiercer than ever. While value for money remains a top priority, in-store appearance and the availability of quality and fresh products can also go a long way to satisfying shoppers’ needs.”

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Research Reveals a Clear East-West Divide in Attitudes to Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Consumers in Asia are far more likely to be interested in healthy eating than those in the western world, according to a new survey of people’s attitudes to diet and nutrition. Researchers asked 600 consumers in Asia and 700 in the western hemisphere, plus Australia and New Zealand, about their views on a range of nutrition issues. Nearly seven in ten of the Asian consumers surveyed (68%) said they were ‘very interested’ in nutrition and healthy eating, compared with just 38% of the westerners.

Levels of interest in nutrition were highest in India, where 82% said they were very interested in healthy eating, and in the Philippines (71%). But in some western countries interest in a healthy diet was very low. Only 36% of respondents in the UK and 26% in Australia said they were very interested in nutrition and healthy eating, although in the US the figure was as high as 71%.

The survey was commissioned by specialist PR agency Ingredient Communications and conducted by market researchers Asia Opinions[1]. The findings highlight the extent to which views about diet and health differ between East and West. For example, two in five (39%) respondents in Asia considered eating less meat to be important to achieving a healthy diet. But only 25% of westerners felt the same way. Accordingly, a vegetarian or vegan health claim is nearly three times more likely to influence a consumer to buy a product in Asia than it is a consumer in the west (28% vs 10%, respectively).

Richard Clarke, Director of Ingredient Communications, says: “When it comes to healthy eating, East and West are worlds apart, even in this era of globalization. This emphasizes the important of ‘glocalization’. Nutrition businesses need a clear strategy that taps into worldwide mega-trends, but must remain agile enough to adapt their approach in individual markets as required.”

Neil Cary, Founder of Asia Opinions, says:“Asian consumers are well known for their knowledge of and passion for food, and this research shows just how much they care about nutrition and healthy eating. Food tends to play a more central role in Asian culture than in the west, and this is reflected in attitudes to diet and nutrition.”

[1] Online survey of 1,300 consumers (500 in the UK, 200 in India, 50 in the US, 100 in Malaysia, 50 in Australia, 50 in Canada, 50 in New Zealand, 200 in the Philippines, 100 in Singapore) conducted between 19 and 26 October 2016

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IGD Reveals Top UK Grocery Shopper Saving Tactics

New research from IGD reveals food prices top the list of factors UK shoppers think will have the most impact on their financial circumstances in the coming year, with two thirds (65%) saying this will have an impact. Meanwhile, energy bills (58%), petrol prices (53%), not having a wage increase (31%) and interest rates (28%) make up the remaining top five factors shoppers say will have an impact in the year ahead.

IGD’s research also highlights the top tactics being used by savvy shoppers to save money on groceries. Overall, cooking from scratch or with leftovers tops the list of things shoppers do to save money, with 83% claiming they do this. Some 65% have visited two or more stores on the same shopping trip and 63% have made packed lunches.

Meanwhile, 37% of shoppers have taken products out of their grocery basket, in-store and online, before they get to the till to save money. A further 28% have grown their own fruit or veg and over one in five (19%) have skipped a meal to save.

Highlighting savvy shopping habits to bag a bargain in the grocery aisles, over a third (33%) of UK shoppers have shopped at a specific time of the day to benefit from ‘reduced to clear’ reductions and over one in ten (13%) have asked a member of staff to reduce the price of a grocery products that was damaged or at the end of its shelf life. Those in London are the most likely to ask for a reduction, with 18% of shoppers in the region claiming they have done this, compared to just 10% in the Midlands, which is the least likely region to do so.

Vanessa Henry, Shopper Insight Manager at IGD, says: “UK shoppers are really switched on where personal and wider economic circumstances are concerned. It’s therefore no surprise that we’re seeing such a proactive and creative approach to grocery shopping. With food and drink prices continuing to show year-on-year price deflation for the time being it’s encouraging to see that consumers are ahead of the curve by adopting such savvy tactics to save money. Savvy shopping behaviour has become ingrained in the shopper mindset and our research highlights that even when a grocery bargain is not on offer, consumers are not afraid to ask for it. While the reduced shelf may not have been first point of call previously, today’s shoppers are not only actively using it, but timing their shopping around it.”

Furthermore, it seems coupon culture is also playing a part in UK shopping habits as 77% of shoppers claim to have used a coupon to reduce their overall bill and 31% to have collected a coupon or receipt from someone else to benefit from a loyalty scheme or special offer in the past six months. Furthermore, one in five (18%) claim to have paid for shopping at the checkout in two parts in order to benefit from a loyalty scheme or special offer.

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Irish Grocery Growth Dips Following Bumper Christmas

The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, for the 12 weeks ending 29 January 2017, reveal that retailers have not sustained the same level of strong growth achieved over the Christmas period. Grocery sales growth fell to 3.0%, down from 4.6% last month.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Dunnes Stores has returned to first place, capturing 22.7% share – only the second time it has managed to reach the top, having first held this position in November last year. This will be welcome news for the retailer but there should be some concern that its sales growth has dipped to 3.6% – the lowest level seen in more than a year.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel.

“The slowdown in overall market growth has led to even stronger competition between the major supermarkets and it’s tight at the top of the market share table – only 0.3 percentage points separate Dunnes Stores, SuperValu and Tesco. This points to a good year for consumers as the retailers battle each other fiercely for their all-important grocery spend, keeping price inflation low. Grocery prices are only 0.7% higher than they were this time last year – which for the average shopper only amounts to an extra 17 cents per trip.”

The supply issues affecting fresh produce in the last few weeks have contributed to the dampening of the overall market. David Berry comments: “Southern Europe might be suffering from continuing rainfall but it’s having a substantial impact on Irish shopping baskets. Courgettes, cauliflower and spinach have all seen volume sales drop by at least 20% while a host of other categories including lettuce and cabbages have been affected to a lesser degree.”

Elsewhere, Aldi continues to set the pace as the fastest growing retailer. Shoppers are now visiting the retailer 8.7 times every 12 weeks, compared to 8.1 times for the same period last year, and this has helped to increase sales by 6.3%. Aldi now captures 10.6% of the grocery market, ahead of the 10.3% from last year.

Meanwhile, almost three quarters of Irish shoppers visited a Lidl store in the past 12 weeks; having encouraged another 26,000 new consumers through its doors the retailer has posted positive sales growth of 2.8%.

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University College Cork Appoints New Head of Food Business

University College Cork has named Professor Thia Hennessy as the new Head of the University’s Department of Food Business and Development. The Department, which is part of the Cork University Business School (CUBS), undertakes teaching and research in the subjects of food business and marketing, international development and co-operative studies.

Professor Ciaran Murphy, head of the business school, says: “Cork University Business School (CUBS) is currently in the midst of an exciting development campaign including the appointment of a number senior staff, the acquisition of the iconic Cork Savings Bank, as well as a plan to construct a new €106 million business school building at a city centre location in Cork. We, at CUBS, recognise the importance of the agri-food sector to the local and national economy of Ireland and it is a key focus of our future development plans. We are delighted that Thia is joining the team and we look forward to building on her extensive experience and industry networks to better support the ongoing growth of the agri-food sector in Ireland.”

Professor Hennessy, an agricultural economist, joins UCC from Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland, where she was head of Agricultural Economics research for the last ten years. While working at Teagasc Thia developed an international reputation in the area of agricultural policy analysis and farm sustainability research. She also headed up the National Farm Survey, the official source of statistics on farming in Ireland. Under the auspices of the Teagasc-UCC alliance, Thia will continue to work with Teagasc in a part-time capacity on agri-food economic issues of mutual interest.

Professor Hennessy says: “I’m delighted to be joining UCC at an exciting time in the development of the Business School. It is also an exciting time for the agri-food industry in Ireland with the ongoing expansion of the dairy sector, the continued growth in food and drink exports and the looming challenges associated with Brexit and climate change. The need for food graduates and more agri-food business research has never been greater. I look forward to building on UCC’s strong reputation for excellence in teaching and research in Food and to strengthening the collaborative research programme that exists between UCC and Teagasc.”

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Scientists Set Sights on Large-scale Output of Sought-after Blue Dye

The ability to mass produce a high-value natural blue dye for use in the food, pharmaceutical and other industries is being developed with help from research scientists. The team will work on scaling the ability to produce large quantities of a blue pigment-protein, called C-phycocyanin (C-PC). The colorant, which is derived from spirulina algae, is the preferred source of natural blue for industry.

It is sought after to replace artificial colourants, which are unpopular with consumers. Global demand for natural blue dye is expected to increase ten-fold in the next two years from the food industry alone, to a market worth about £350 million.

A £200,000 award from the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) will boost a research partnership between industrial biotech firm Scottish Bioenergy and scientists at the University of Edinburgh (pictured), to develop a large-scale process to extract C-PC from the spirulina.

Natural blue dyes are challenging to create as there are few sources of blue pigment in the natural world, and formulations are difficult and expensive to create in large quantities.

Scottish Bioenergy, which specialises in commercial production of C-PC, has been working with experts in the University’s School of Biological Sciences on collaborative projects since 2012. The partnership has been accelerated by ongoing support from Edinburgh Research & Innovation (ERI), the University’s commercialisation and industry engagement arm.

Scottish Bioenergy has recently overcome important technical obstacles and challenges linked to the scale of production.

In this latest project, funded by IBioIC’s Micro Accelerator Programme, the team will identify and optimise techniques for extracting the pigment protein, and to develop economically feasible methods for producing large volumes of C-PC. They will also engineer strains of bacteria to produce high yield and high purity C-PC.

The collaboration is one of three industrial biotech projects at the University which are backed by IBioIC Micro Accelerator funding, which are worth around £1 million in total.

Dr Alistair McCormick of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, who is taking part in the project, says: “We’re pleased to be embarking on the next phase of development for this sought-after pigment protein. This is an interesting scientific and engineering challenge and we hope our results will play a significant role in meeting the demand for this valuable product.”

DC Van Alstyne, CEO of Scottish Bioenergy, says: “This award is a real boost for science in Scotland at a time when there are increasing worries about the impact of Brexit on funding of scientific projects. We are delighted that this funding will enable us to continue working with the University and ERI on developing our capability to produce high quality C-PC to meet the growing demand from food, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. We are grateful for the support from IBioIC and Edinburgh Research & Innovation. The support we’ve received has been excellent and has been a significant contributing factor in our growth so far.”

Dr Lorraine Kerr, ERI’s Commercial Relations Manager, adds: “We are excited to be working with Scottish Bioenergy, who place great value on utilising academic partnerships to help them compete on a global stage. The strength of this industry partnership, and the other projects funded through IBioIC, should demonstrate the depth and quality of the University’s expertise in the industrial biotech sector that’s available to innovative companies, from SMEs to large corporates.”

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The Changing Shape of Socialising

Diageo’s first ‘Future Series’ trend report reveals the shape of socialising in the year ahead. In the report, the team responsible for innovation and future-gazing at Diageo, the world leading drinks company behind brands like Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Baileys and Guinness, isolates three main social trends expected to accelerate into the mainstream in the year ahead.

Diageo worked with a team of cultural ethnographers to study social scenes from around the world and define three trends that will be influencing how we’ll spend our time in 2017:

  • ‘Exceptional becomes the rule’: socialising is becoming increasingly spontaneous and experimental.
  • ‘In with the ‘in’ crowd’: the home is turning into a place to create extraordinary experiences for friends and family.
  • ‘Optimise not compromise’: consumers want greater control and choice over what goes into their body, without compromising on excitement and experience.

Zoe Lazarus, Global Future and Culture Planning Director at Diageo, comments: “At Diageo, we are passionate about creating drinks of the future and helping people celebrate. We have been innovating for hundreds of years and have a strong history as industry pioneers in identifying and responding to trends. Innovation drives our company forward and for us it means staying ahead of trends, continually creating new products, categories and experiences for people to enjoy around the world. Our success relies not only on understating our consumers today, but also on tracking and responding to emerging socialising trends and behaviours that will become the mainstream of tomorrow.’’

Trend 1: ‘Exceptional becomes the rule’

  • Enhanced and enabled by digital technology, socialising is becoming increasingly spontaneous and experimental. The diary is dead. Fixed arrangements make way for spur-of-the-moment socialising that is dictated by the weather, a whim or what’s triggered an online buzz.
  • Our time is precious, and with increased and sporadic working hours, we desire more from our free time and crave unique experiences. 2017 will see immersive and shareable entertainment push the boundaries as people realise a growing desire to demonstrate their individuality through social media.
  • Virtual reality (VR) is also expected to become more prevalent with the number of active VR users forecasted to reach 171 million by 2018 and make immersive experiences more accessible to anyone, anytime. Diageo has already delved into this with an immersive VR adventure that allows whisky fans to discover and appreciate the flavours of its Singleton single malt Scotch whisky.

Trend 2: ‘In with the ‘in’ crowd’

  • In 2017, we will see the home become the place to create and curate extraordinary experiences for friends and family. It will become a destination to host events that previously we would have had to go out to enjoy: our personal theatre, pub and club all turned into one.
  • The huge proliferation of on-demand experiences and services is shaking things up and people can increasingly entertain at home with more and more products and experiences available the touch of a button.
  • Technology will continue to define at-home socialising. Tapping into this opportunity, Diageo recently launched its Johnnie Walker digital mentorship programme. Using their tablet, mobile or Amazon Echo devices, whisky fans are introduced to the brand’s heritage and blending expertise through a variety of unique experiences, heralding a new era of whisky education that can be enjoyed by adults from the comfort of their own home.

Trend 3: ‘Optimise not compromise’

  • However and whatever, 2017 will be the year of choice. Leading a balanced lifestyle is becoming increasingly achievable and aspirational. And it’s not just technology that’s driving this trend. The increasing prevalence of clear nutritional and calorie information on packaging makes it easier to manage our diets.
  • This year, people will continue to opt for products, experiences and attitudes that say something unique about them. Optimising through personalisation is a case in point at The Artesian bar at The Langham in London for example, where bartenders tap into customers’ personal experiences by creating cocktails that capture their mood and essence in a glass.
  • Diageo is offering consumers a wider range of options than ever before with products like Baileys Almande, a dairy and gluten-free version of the original, in North America; Guinness Zero, a non-alcoholic variant of the famous stout, in Indonesia or Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer, a low-carb, zero-sugar option, in the United States.

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New Research Reveals New Information About Sea Trout in Irish Sea

Inland Fisheries Ireland has published a new report called The Celtic Sea Trout Project (CSTP) which addresses significant knowledge gaps around sea trout. This migratory trout has a significant fisheries value however some sea trout fisheries in parts of Ireland and the UK bordering the Irish Sea are suffering decline.

The project, which consisted of a multi-agency partnership investigation into sea trout stocks and fisheries of rivers entering the Irish Sea, aimed to address the knowledge gaps, and identify the causes of decline with a view to supporting potential management solutions. Current understanding suggests that the incidence of sea trout and the composition and status of their stocks is sensitive to changes in the environments in which they live. These life history features and the sea trout’s widespread occurrence, make it a unique and potentially sensitive indicator of environmental change.

The structure of the Irish Sea and the variety of rivers draining to it, ranging from the mountainous rivers of West Wales to the lowland rivers of East Ireland, meant there was a wide range of marine and freshwater environments for the study. Funded under the INTERREG IVA Ireland Wales Programme, the Celtic Sea Trout Project was the first project in Ireland and the UK to combine a variety of disciplines in the study of sea trout and their fisheries on a large scale.

Sean Kyne TD, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, says: “I particularly welcome this report and the exemplary collaboration between Irish researchers at Inland Fisheries Ireland and other bodies and their international counterparts.  The research has resulted in a better understanding of the Sea Trout stocks in the Irish and Celtic seas and this will underpin logical and well-informed decisions on the management requirements that are needed to safeguard these stocks into the future and to ensure the maximum social and economic contribution is secured.”

Dr Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research at Inland Fisheries Ireland, says: “This is a ground-breaking multi-agency partnership investigation which aims to fill some of the information gaps around sea trout conservation. The first study of its kind, the Celtic Sea Trout Project is a wide-scale comprehensive, cross-disciplinary project which has provided valuable insight into many important research needs in this area, which were first identified at the International Symposium on Sea Trout in 2004. Its primary purpose of improving understanding of sea trout stocks in order to support better management in the freshwater and marine environments has been achieved.”

The research will improve the management and long term future of sea trout in the Irish Sea by providing information and advice for management which can be translated into fishery and conservation benefits for countries bordering the Irish Sea. It has also established a wider awareness and long term network of people working to secure the future of sea trout.

Partners in the Celtic Sea Trout Project included: Inland Fisheries Ireland, Bangor University, University College Cork, Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency (England), Isle of Man Government, Nith District Salmon Fisheries Board, Galloway Fisheries Trust, Annan District Salmon Fisheries Board and Buccleuth Estate (Border Esk). Subcontractors included APEM Ltd, Cefas and Fishskill Consultancy Services.

For more information about Inland Fisheries Ireland, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie . To view the full report, visit: http://celticseatrout.com/downloads/technical-report/.

CAPTION:

Pictured were: Dr Willie Roche, Senior Research Officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland; Minister Sean Kyne TD; and Dr Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research at Inland Fisheries Ireland; at the launch of the Celtic Sea Trout Project.

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Two-thirds of Irish Consumers Believe it is ‘Important to Buy Local Food’

A new Bord Bia study has revealed that two thirds of Irish consumers believe it is important purchase local food. The results of Bord Bia’s research into consumer attitudes to local food were presented to over 200 small food and drink producers at Bord Bia’s Small Business Open Day in Enfield, County Meath. Bord Bia also revealed that the number of small food and drink businesses it works with has grown by over 40% (42%) from 400 to 700 in just under four years. Bord Bia estimates that the small food and drink business sector is worth some €400 million.

Opening the conference the Minister of the State at the Department of Agriculture, Food, Andrew Doyle TD told delegates: “The agri-food sector is a key driver of sustainable growth and building solid relationships and having a compelling brand story are key to growing sustainable businesses. Bord Bia will continue to support Irish client companies in this regard, providing advice on market opportunities and emerging trends. The most immediate impact of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union has been sterling depreciation and volatility.  While demand for premium quality, safe food products is increasing long term, today’s advice and information can help companies in very practical ways to hold on to business.”

Bord Bia’s study explores Irish consumers’ definition of ‘local food’, and their attitudes towards ‘local food’, whilst understanding what motivates them to purchase ‘local food’. Speaking about the research findings, Mary Morrissey, Bord Bia’s Food and Beverage Manager, said: “It is encouraging for small food businesses to hear consumers saying they buy local food products at least once a week and that one third are purchasing more today than they did a year ago. Although the meaning of local has evolved since we last studied it in 2010, it continues to be about people, place and small scale, and is now considered now more readily available.” She added: “The fact that Bord Bia has nearly doubled its number of clients is affirmation of the resilience of the small business sector in tackling challenges and in converting ideas and concepts to commercial business. It is clear that the sector continues to offer opportunities for small producers to deliver on demand for local and quality foods directly linked back to the producer. Consumers want to connect with the story of the producer.”

Highlights from the study include:
•       Irish people claim to buy local food at least once a week
•       1 in 3 consumers say they are purchasing more today than they did 12 months ago
•       Two thirds of Irish consumers believe it is important purchase local food
•       Two thirds of consumers perceive local food to be of high quality with natural and 100% ingredients, rendering it better quality than mass produced food.
•       The research highlighted that there are a number of different meanings and associations with local food. Some 3 in 4 consumers understand it to be food made, produced and sourced within their local area, compared to a similar study in 2010 where there was more focus on the producer behind the product
•       Nearly 4 in 5 of people believe that they are supporting the community when purchasing local foods
•       3 in 4 believe that this food is fresher having been produced locally
•       The awareness of the term ‘local food’ has fallen by 16% since 2010 to 77% while the awareness of the term ‘artisan food’ has increased by 26% to 50%.
•       Only half of consumers associate local food with being expensive
•       Further associations with scale mean that local food is often thought of on a smaller scale with homemade associations and not mass produced
•       In terms of product benefits, local food is understood to be better for you thanks to the perceived quality of the ingredients, freshness and health cues.
•       Local food has become more widely available and there is a growing association with gifting and special occasions.

Bord Bia Supports
At the event, Bord Bia provided information on the range of programmes and facilities available to companies and updated the industry on the planned activities for the year ahead. “Today’s seminar aims to remind small food producers of the range of accessible services to develop business. We have designed services in Bord Bia specific to the needs of small owner managed businesses,” said Mary Morrissey. “We provide consumer and market insights; help embed knowledge in key areas such as strategy, sales and marketing and finance, offer access to buyers in Ireland and export markets; help build better brands through workshops and one to one mentoring and invest in their marketing development via our grants programmes. This year, some 200 companies are expected to be approved for grants and marketing assistance totalling €1.2 million, further enabling the development of this sector.”

Conference Overview
The Open Day, themed ‘Disruption – paving a new path for success’, provided an opportunity to share valuable insights into the current market, changing consumer attitudes and new innovative ways of doing business. The business owners heard stories from paid accommodation, frozen food, and food waste to premium dairy, craft beer, and healthy snacking.  The conference presentations focused on how small businesses can interpret changing environmental trends and use them to grow their business.

Karol Keane, Food & Drink Operations Manager, Airbnb, detailed how they have challenged the global paid accommodation model, while James Rutter, Brand and Strategy Director with COOK UK discussed how their business has grown in the frozen food sector facing decline in the UK. Padraig Brennan, Bord Bia’s Director of Markets presented the challenges and opportunities for the Irish food and drink sector in the year ahead.A panel, chaired by Damien O’Reilly, RTE Broadcaster & Journalist, examined ‘disruption’ from an Irish company perspective, featuring Glenilen Farm and Macroom Buffalo Cheese, both from Co. Cork, Metalman Brewing from Co. Waterford, Wyldsson from Dublin and Food Cloud, the food waste initiative. The afternoon concluded with workshops providing small food producers with an opportunity to get the latest industry information including category data and consumer insight from Bord Bia’s sector managers and a deep dive on the local food research. There was also a showcase of resources available to small businesses on offer from Bord Bia and other support agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc.

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Brexit and Alcohol Bill Create Huge Challenge For Irish Drinks Sector

An economic study has found that the combination of a hard Brexit and the Public Health Alcohol Bill (PHAB) will create the perfect storm for the drinks sector, which is the powerhouse of the Irish Agri-Food and Drinks industry. The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), which represents brewers, distillers, brand owners and distributors is calling on the Government to put in place a series of policy measures to mitigate against the risks of Brexit and reduce the unintended consequences of some of the policy measures contained in the PHAB.

The economic impact study was commissioned by ABFI, sets out a series of detailed recommendations and policy measures for the Government to introduce to protect the industry from the combined threat of Brexit and the Public Health Alcohol Bill. The sector is an economic success story with beverage exports of €1.4 billion to 139 markets in 2015  as well as supporting over  200,000 jobs in the wider drinks and  hospitality sector. With an annual wage bill of over €4 billion, it is a hugely important part of the Irish Food and Drinks sector.

The UK is Ireland’s biggest export market for food and drink with exports of €4.5bn in 2015. The result of the UK Brexit vote and subsequent sterling devaluation has led to a surge in cross border shopping, increased prices of Irish products and has increased the cost of Ireland as a tourist destination.

Economist Ciaran Fitzgerald.

ABFI is calling on the Government to introduce a range of policy measures in the medium term to enable the sector to offset the risks posed by Brexit and the PHAB. The Government should:

  • Cut excise duty. Ireland has the most expensive alcohol in the EU which penalises consumers, impacts tourism and negatively impacts the sector’s economic contribution.
  • Reintroduce the ban on below cost selling to disincentives cross-border shopping and tackle alcohol misuse. 
  • Introduce tax and regulatory measures to incentivise companies in the food and drink sector that have huge Irish economy supply chains grow their businesses in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Not impose any additional costs on business, such as structural separation, additional advertising restrictions and health labels which will increase the cost of doing business in Ireland and effectively act as major barriers to nascent craft brewers and distillers.
  • Challenge EU State Aid rules to promote future trade with the UK.
  • Ensure all island geographic indicators for Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream, and Irish Poitín/Irish Poteen are protected and supported.
  • Assist the food and drinks sectors to diversify and gain market access to new markets.

The report’s author, agri-economist Ciaran Fitzgerald says: “Since the Brexit vote last June and the subsequent decline in the value of sterling, the food and drink sector in Ireland has faced enormous challenges in the short term, including a surge in cross border shopping.  In addition, measures proposed under the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill place will exacerbate pressure on a sector that employs 200,000 directly and indirectly. The outcome of Brexit negotiations remains unclear. However, it’s vital that the Government puts in place a series of policy measures which will support the sector, ensure it gains access to new markets, supports new entrants and protects the unique geographic indicators for Irish Whiskey, Irish Poitin and Irish cream that we share with the North.”

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Seafood – Investigation into EU Consumers’ Attitudes Shows Sustainable Supply is Essential

The majority of Europeans say they eat fish because its healthy. Fish consumption is increasing, with 42% Europeans eating fish/aquaculture products at least once a week at home. This underlines the need to ensure sustainable supply of fish to the EU market.

A new Eurobarometer survey on EU consumer choices regarding fishery and aquaculture products reveals that people in the EU eat seafood quite regularly, although how far people live from the sea plays a role in how often they eat fish.

“This survey helps us see how Europeans choose their seafood. This helps inform our policies. We must make sure that Consumers continue to have a wide range of high quality seafood to choose from. That is why we are determined to reach targets on sustainable fishing by 2020,” says European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.

For seafood, there is a strong preference for regional, national and European origin (80%). The majority of consumers indicated that they like to try new products and species, which shows the importance and potential of diversified sourcing. Reducing import dependency by developing sustainable fishing and aquaculture in the EU is again emphasised. 68% of consumers indicated that they would eat more fish if the prices were lower.

People mainly buy their seafood at the supermarket, and they look first at its appearance, then at its price and origin. Europeans trust the content of labels, especially when the information provided is required by law. 66% think the information on products is clear and easy to understand, showing that EU labelling rules are working.

The survey findings are largely confirmed in a new study by EUMOFA, the Commission’s European market observatory for fisheries and aquaculture products. The study, which looked into retailers’ strategies and national campaigns promoting seafood consumption, notes the growing importance of farmed seafood products in the EU market, given the need for retailers to ensure a stable supply. The analysis also finds that various categories of consumers show common attitudes and behaviours across Member States, highlighting the potential for reinforcing the EU internal market for fishery and aquaculture products.

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Gin & Tonic Flies Off UK Supermarket Shelves

Supermarket sales of gin are booming in the UK, according to the latest annual and Christmas sales figures from IRI, the provider of big data and predictive analytics for FMCG manufacturers and retailers. Often referred to as ‘mother’s ruin’, gin has become increasingly popular and is now the biggest growth driver in the Spirits category, a market worth more than £3 billion overall in the UK last year.

IRI Retail Advantage*, which measures actual sales of FMCG products across the UK’s top 9 retailers, reveals that gin is now worth £420 million a year to supermarkets, up 14.5% in value sales (52 weeks to 31 Dec 2016) over the previous year. In the lead up to Christmas, gin sales reached their peak, up 18.3% (12 weeks to 31 Dec 2016) over the same period in 2015, putting £136 million in retailers’ tills over the festive period.

A corresponding rise in sales of tonic water suggests that consumers still prefer a traditional G&T, rather than combining the spirit with other mixers. In 2016, sales of tonic water reached £98 million, up 12% over the previous year, compared to a rise of 5.2% for other mixers. The 12-week period to Christmas saw 13% sales growth, with a third of all tonic water (£28 million) sold during this period.

“Gin is the spirit of choice right now and we don’t see this changing any time soon,” points out Martin Wood, Head of Strategic Insight – Retail at IRI. “According to our data, gin was the strongest contributor, both in Spirits and in the Beers, Wines & Spirits (BWS) category overall. BWS grew by 1.5% during 2016, which might not seem a lot, but with total Food and Drink sales showing overall value decline, it is a vital growth driver and worth a staggering £12.3 billion in total. Christmas was a ‘bonanza’ this year for retailers, with booze sales of £3.7 billion, 3% growth over the same period the previous year, with gin a major contributor and often bought as gifts.”

While gin sales are rising fast, vodka, whisky and brandy have still held their own over the past year. Whisky remains the favourite spirit of choice, but grew by just 0.4% in 2016 (to £1 billion), while vodka and cognac/brandy also grew by 0.4% – to £784 million and £230 million respectively. Supermarkets also saw strong (+8%) sales growth from dark rum products, which are popular for cocktails.

According to IRI, gin is sold overwhelmingly through supermarkets, while vodka also sells strongly in convenience stores. IRI’s Martin Wood believes this is mainly down to the shopper profile; ‘pre-loading’ partygoers buying vodka locally before a night out. But it also reflects innovation and new developments in the sector. “Gin was perceived as a bit old-fashioned a few years ago. But with the growth in craft gins and premium varieties, supermarkets have been keen to invest in market trends and to stock new gin lines and premium brands,” he says.

*All figures quoted are from IRI Retail Advantage (Top 9 retailers: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Co-Op Food, M&S Food, Iceland and Ocado).

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ABP Food Group Part of Winning European Food Innovation Consortium

ABP Food Group, the largest beef processor in Ireland and the UK, has been selected as part of a winning pan-European consortium to lead ground breaking food research. The consortium includes fifty partners spanning market-leading businesses, technology innovators, best-in-class research institutions and consumer facing organisations.

The winning consortium was chosen by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) following a competitive selection process and will work to improve food production levels throughout the supply chain. Over the next 7 years, the partners will invest close to €1200 million matched with up to €400 million, financed by EIT. The project, called EIT Food, will set up four innovation programmes to target a number of important societal food challenges, including:

  • FoodConnects Assistant: Examining the sphere of personalised healthy food and nutrition. • The Web of Food: Researching the digitalisation of the food system. • Your Farm2Fork: Exploring consumer driven supply chain development and new technology adoption in farming processing and retail. • The Zero Waste Agenda: Focusing on transforming the current linear “produce-use-dispose” food model into a circular bio-economy.

Additionally EIT Food will train thousands of students and food professionals through workshops, summer schools and online educational programmes. The consortium includes a diverse range of companies and research institutions from across Europe, these include Robert Bosch, Siemens, PepsiCo, Nestle, Sodexo, John Deere, Givaudin, Matis, Nielsen, Queens University Belfast, Cambridge University and the University of Reading.

Dean Holroyd, Group Technical and Sustainability Director at ABP Food Group, comments: “We are delighted to be part of this prestigious and ground breaking initiative which will help tackle the many challenges facing the food supply chain. From ABP’s perspective, this is a great opportunity to be partnering with leading global players as we look at ways to improve the sustainable production and processing of beef from farm to fork. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues in EIT Food with a view to making a lasting and positive impact on European and global food production.”

Peter van Bladeren, Vice President Nestec, Global head Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for Nestlé and Chair of the Interim Supervisory Board of EIT Food, says: “EIT Food is committed to create the future curriculum for students and food professionals as a driving force for innovation and business creation; it will give the food manufacturing sector, which accounts for 44 million jobs in Europe, a unique competitive edge.”

EIT is an independent body set up by the EU in 2008 and modelled on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The organisation has already put in place collaborative research models between business and research institutions in the areas of Climate, Digital, Health and Sustainable Energy.

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English Children Consuming Half Daily Recommended Sugar Intake at Breakfast

Children consume half the daily recommended sugar intake before the morning school bell rings, according to Public Health England (PHE). Children in England consume more than 11g of sugar at breakfast time alone, almost 3 sugar cubes. The recommended daily maximum is no more than 5 cubes of sugar for 4 to 6 year olds and no more than 6 cubes for 7 to 10 year olds per day. By the end of the day children have consumed more than 3 times these recommendations.

A survey conducted for PHE’s Change4Life campaign found that parents are unsure what makes up a healthy breakfast for their children. It found that of those parents whose child was consuming the equivalent of 3 or more sugar cubes in their breakfast, over 8 in 10 parents (84%) considered their child’s breakfast as healthy.

Some of the main sources of sugar at breakfast time include sugary cereals, drinks and spreads. Away from the breakfast table children are also consuming too much sugar, saturated fat and salt in items such as confectionery, biscuits, muffins, pastries and soft drinks These all contribute to an unhealthy diet.

PHE’s new Change4Life campaign urges parents to Be Food Smart and take more control of their children’s diets. A new Be Food Smart app has been developed to highlight just how much sugar, saturated fat and salt can be found in everyday food and drink that their children consume.

The free app helps and encourages families to choose healthier options and works by scanning the barcode of products allowing parents to compare brands, and features food detective activities for children and mini missions the whole family can enjoy.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist, Public Health England, says: “Children have far too much sugar, and a lot of it is before their first lesson of the day. It’s crucial for children to have a healthy breakfast, but we know the mornings in a busy household can be fraught. That’s why we’ve developed our Be Food Smart App, taking some of the pressure off parents and helping them to choose healthier food and drink options for their children.”

The campaign also helps parents identify the health harms of children eating and drinking too much sugar, saturated fat and salt, including becoming overweight or obese and developing tooth decay. Recent reports show that childhood obesity in England has reached alarming rates. More than 1 in 5 children start primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third by the time they leave.

Sara Stanner, Science Director at the British Nutrition Foundation, says: “When analysing a number of breakfasts from families across England, we were concerned to see the high amount of free sugars and low amount of fibre in many of these. We know a healthy breakfast can make an important contribution to children’s vitamin and mineral intakes and its consumption has been linked to many positive health outcomes. There are plenty of healthier options available so we need campaigns like Change4Life to help busy parents make the right choices for their families.”

PHE is currently working with retailers, food manufacturers and other organisations in the food industry to reduce the amount of sugar by 20% contained in products children consume. Eight in 10 parents (81%) surveyed support this action and believe food manufacturers have a responsibility to reduce sugar in their products.

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Overseas Investors’ Appetite For UK and Irish Food and Drink Firms Grows

According to the latest research conducted by business and financial advisory firm Grant Thornton UK LLP, overseas investors are demonstrating an increased appetite for UK and Irish firms in the food and beverage sector.

Grant Thornton’s analysis shows a jump in the number of UK and Irish businesses acquired by overseas investors, accounting for over a third (34%) of deals (13 of 38) completed this quarter. This compares to 18% of deals in the previous quarter (8 of 44), and 24% of deals (13 of 55) in Q1 2016. With the weakening of the pound following the EU referendum result, overseas investors’ interest in UK companies has been heightened by the fact they can pay 15%-20% less for assets.

The largest deal in the last quarter was the acquisition of Tyrrells by US-based Amplify Snacks for £300 million, also reflecting the current demand in the market for premium snacks.

Overall, the total number of deals recorded in Q3 2016 declined a modest 14% compared to the previous quarter, with 38 deals versus 44.  This also represents a 38% fall when compared with the same quarter in 2015 which reported 61 deals. The total disclosed deal value for this quarter was £560 million, with no mega-deals reported.

Trefor Griffith, head of Food and Beverage at Grant Thornton UK LLP, comments: “We have seen continued interest from overseas investors this quarter, which has been an increasing trend in the food and beverage sector in recent years. With the EU referendum result prompting the recent devaluation of sterling we have seen a further boost in appetite as the UK has become more price competitive and attractive to overseas investors. The sterling’s recent drop in value also offers further opportunity for the sector through exports. A more competitive exchange rate can help boost British companies’ export performance which, when focused on and prioritised effectively, is proven to drive companies’ success.

“Although Brexit negotiations have yet to commence, the impact on the labour market is already being felt. The sector relies heavily on overseas labour and finding enough skilled workers is already a challenge as the majority of domestic workers are reluctant to take on manual labour in the sector. If a significant number of EU workers leave the UK, then we will see an increased pressure on wage levels as labour shortages become even more acute.

“Despite a slight decline in deal activity this quarter it is too early to draw conclusions as to whether this is due to the EU referendum result, since many deals would already have been underway prior to the vote. Although some transactions may have been put on hold due to the current uncertainty, many companies are unlikely to postpone their development plans for at least two years while we wait for negotiations to conclude. Food and beverage is a resilient sector and the underlying drivers of M&A are strong and so we expect that this slow-down in activity to be temporary.”

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Increasingly Health-conscious Consumers Present New Opportunities For Superfoods Beyond Conventional Sectors

Superfoods, typically of high demand in the food, drink and beauty sectors, will soon see a distinct shift towards more diverse categories, driven by increasing health-consciousness, according to consumer insight firm Canadean.

The company’s latest report finds that consumers are more conscious of their health than ever before and aim to improve it proactively through healthy living rather than reactively through the use of conventional medicines. This health-consciousness, in conjunction with consumer willingness to experiment, explains the development of superfoods into uncommon sectors, allowing products typically not associated with health to benefit from the inclusion of superfood ingredients.

Lia Neophytou, Associate Analyst at Canadean, explains: “Our research shows that 63% of consumers believe plant botanicals or extracts will have a positive impact on their health. The increasing trust that consumers have for formulations including superfood extracts is therefore widening the possibility for manufacturers to incorporate superfood ingredients within their products across several sectors.”

Additionally, as unprocessed goods hold an allure for health-conscious consumers, products formulated with the lowest possible number of ingredients are appealing. This drives the inclusion of superfoods across fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors, given that they are antioxidant-rich, high in nutrients, and capable of delivering multiple benefits using fewer ingredients.

Neophytou adds: “Though superfoods are mostly utilised by manufacturers within food and drink products, there is growing evidence of superfood products emerging within alternative sectors, according to Canadean’s research. Citing the e-cigarette industry as an example, consumers seeking to mitigate the perceived harmful effects associated with traditional tobacco products through engagement with e-cigarettes, no longer necessarily have to face a trade-off between flavor and health, with the potential to replace chemical flavoring with natural superfood flavorings an option.”

Canadean believes the desire for more functional products by consumers who aim to proactively manage their health will drive the proliferation of superfoods into an increasingly eclectic range of industry sectors. The advanced properties of superfoods will ultimately allow manufacturers to create products in a variety of sectors that consumers can purchase and feel satisfied will aid health management.

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Dairy Crest Announces Animal Nutrition Research Partnership

Dairy Crest has entered a research partnership with Danisco Animal Nutrition, part of DuPont’s Industrial Biosciences business. DuPont is a leading global science and innovation company.

Under the partnership agreement, Danisco Animal Nutrition will support further product development and trials, commencing in January 2017. These trials will ascertain the efficacy of Dairy Crest’s galacto-oligosaccharide “GOS” for use in poultry and swine. The trial results will influence further discussions on a potential arrangement for the distribution and sale of GOS in animal feed applications by DuPont.

Dairy Crest has been producing GOS, a prebiotic used in infant formula, at its Davidstow plant since March. The company has also been at the forefront of exploring other market opportunities for GOS. At its interim results announcement in November, Dairy Crest showed the positive impact GOS had in academic research trials on the growth of chickens and pigs. GOS works by stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut to help animal development.

Dairy Crest’s chief executive, Mark Allen, comments: “This marks an important step in the development of GOS for uses beyond Infant Formula. I believe the potential opportunities for GOS in the animal feed market are exciting. I am therefore delighted to be working with DuPont, a company which has enormous experience in developing innovative products for animal feed.”

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SuperValu Joins Dunnes Stores in Top Spot in Irish Grocery

The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, for the 12 weeks ending 4 December 2016, reveal tight competition at the top as SuperValu and Dunnes Stores draw level to share the crown of Ireland’s largest grocer. SuperValu and Dunnes Stores now capture 22.5% of the Irish grocery market each.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Having reached the number one spot for the first time last month, Dunnes now shares that position with SuperValu – a real testament to just how competitive this marketplace is. Just 0.7 percentage points now separate the three largest retailers as we enter the all-important festive period.
“SuperValu has posted a positive 1% increase in sales during the past 12 weeks, with shoppers spending an extra €1 on average every time they visit a SuperValu store.”

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel.

The now longstanding ‘Shop and Save’ campaign continues to deliver results for Dunnes. Nearly 64% of households have visited the retailer over the past 12 weeks, returning just over once a week and spending €39.50 per visit – an increase of almost €3 compared with last year. This is good news for brands in Ireland: Dunnes is the only retailer which has delivered stronger growth for brands – up 5.7% – than own label goods, which increased by a more modest 3.3% over the past 12 weeks.

David Berry continues: “In the past quarter we’ve seen evidence of Tesco’s turnaround, with sales showing positive growth for the first time since March this year. An additional 10,000 households have chosen to shop with Tesco in 2016 and are returning to the retailer more frequently – a clear positive sign for the grocer.

“Lidl increased its sales by 4.3% – ahead of the overall market which is growing by 3.7% – leading to a slight increase in market share for the retailer. Meanwhile Aldi continues to post positive results, demonstrating the strongest growth of all the retailers with sales up more than 6% year on year.”

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Zoonoses Report – Listeria Infections Stable But Frequently Reported Among the Elderly

European experts have noted an increasing trend of listeriosis since 2008, but they highlight that the number of affected people stabilised from 2014 to 2015. Infections were mostly reported in people over 64 years of age. These are some of the findings of the latest annual report by EFSA and ECDC on zoonotic diseases, which also includes the latest trends on salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, and foodborne outbreaks in the European Union.

Listeriosis affected about 2,200 people in 2015, causing 270 deaths – the highest number ever reported in the EU. The proportion of cases in the over 64 age group steadily increased from 56% in 2008 to 64% in 2015. Additionally, in this period, the number of reported cases and their proportion has almost doubled in those over 84 years.

“It is concerning that there continues to be an increasing trend of Listeria cases which mostly occur in the elderly population. ECDC is working together with Member States to enhance surveillance for food- and waterborne diseases, starting with Listeria, as earlier detection of relevant clusters and outbreaks can help prevent further cases,” says Mike Catchpole, Chief Scientist at ECDC. “This is a public health threat that can and needs to be addressed.”

Dr Marta Hugas, Head of Biological Hazards and Contaminants at EFSA, says: “Listeria seldom exceeded the legal safety limits in ready-to-eat foods, the most common foodborne source of human infections. However, it is important that consumers follow manufacturers’ storage instructions and the guidelines given by national authorities on the consumption of foods.”

In 2015, there were 229,213 reported cases of campylobacteriosis. This disease remains the most commonly reported foodborne disease in the EU, showing an upward trend since 2008. Campylobacter is mostly found in chickens and chicken meat.

The number of cases of salmonellosis, the second most commonly reported foodborne disease in the EU, increased slightly – from 92,007 in 2014 to 94,625 in 2015. The increase observed in the past two years is partly due to improvements in surveillance and better diagnostic methods. However, the long-term trend is still declining and most Member States met their Salmonella reduction targets for poultry populations.

Salmonella is mainly found in meat (poultry) intended to be cooked before consumption.

Foodborne Outbreaks

There were 4,362 reported foodborne outbreaks in 2015. The most common cause of outbreaks was Salmonella associated with consumption of eggs. However, the number of Salmonella outbreaks has fallen by 41 % since 2010.

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Christmas Comes Early For Premium Own Label Grocery Lines in the UK

The latest UK grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks ending 4 December 2016, reveal a particularly strong performance for premium own label ranges in the run up to the festive period. Shoppers are spending 13% more on these lines than they did last year against a backdrop of continued slow growth for supermarkets overall, where year-on-year sales increased by just 0.7%.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Top-tier private label finds its way into 12% of shopping trips, with 88% of consumers now buying from these lines. In the past 12 weeks, 6.3% of own label purchases were from premium lines such as Tesco Finest and Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference, well ahead of the 5.7% recorded last year. We’ve seen particularly impressive performances from Morrisons’ The Best, which saw sales increase by 35%, and Asda Extra Special which grew by 15%. Over Christmas it’s likely that premium lines will record their highest ever sales figures as even more shoppers trade up to treat their loved ones.

“Despite widespread anticipation of higher prices shoppers are yet to feel the pinch of rising inflation, with a typical basket of everyday groceries 0.1% cheaper than this time last year. However, some categories are beginning to see prices increase, with fresh fish up 5.3% year-on-year, chilled ready meals up 2.3% and beer up 2.1%.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.

“Prices are still falling overall despite shoppers now spending less on promoted items than they did this time last year. Some 36.9% of spending was on offers during the past 12 weeks, down from nearly 40% in the 12 weeks to December 2015. Promotional activity has dipped across all five of the biggest retailers, reflecting ongoing efforts to simplify shopping and offer more of an everyday low pricing model, which relies far less heavily on promotions.”

Aldi was the only retailer to record double-digit sales growth over the past 12 weeks: its premium Specially Selected brand helped the discounter increase sales by 10.0% year on year. As a result, Aldi’s share of the grocery market has increased by 0.6 percentage points to 6.2%. The next fastest-growing retailer was Iceland, with an 8.6% sales uplift contributing to a 0.2 percentage point increase and bringing the grocer’s share of the market to 2.2%. Other retailers growing sales over the past 12 weeks include Lidl, which saw a 5.7% uplift, Co-op, which saw an increase of 2.0%, and Waitrose, up 1.1% year on year.

Fraser McKevitt continues: “Tesco’s volumes sales are growing faster than its value sales, particularly in the meat and fresh produce categories. Its value sales remain ahead of the market, increasing by 1.6% year on year as the retailer grew its market share to 28.3%. Sales at Sainsbury’s fell by 0.6%, with market share down 0.2 percentage points to 16.5%, while Asda saw sales fall by 4.7% at a marginally slower rate than in recent months. Reflecting a smaller store estate, Morrisons’ overall sales declined by 1.4%, but the retailer saw particularly strong performance online – recording its highest ever sales in that channel.”

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Nearly Three Quarters of Consumers Will Pay Extra For Ingredients They Recognise

As many as 73% of consumers are happy to pay a higher retail price for a food or drink product made with ingredients they recognise and trust, according to new research. In a survey of 1,300 consumers across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, commissioned by specialist PR agency Ingredient Communications[1], more than half of respondents (52%) said they would spend over 10% more on a food or drink product that contained ingredients they recognised and trusted. Meanwhile, nearly a fifth (18%) said they would pay 75% or more extra.

In addition, overall, more than three quarters of respondents (76%) said they would be more likely to buy a product that contained ingredients they recognised and trusted.

The findings of the survey, which was conducted by leading online market researchers Surveygoo, underline the growing importance of clean and clear labelling and the use of ingredients that are familiar to consumers. They also suggest that there is a significant opportunity to harness the potential of co-branding between food and beverage manufacturers and their ingredients suppliers.

Richard Clarke, Director of Ingredient Communications, says: “Co-branding of ingredients in the food and beverage industry is still fairly unusual, and yet our survey suggests it would resonate with many consumers. We have seen the power of the ‘Intel Inside’ concept in the home computer market. If it works for selling laptops, then why not food and drink? Co-branding can develop consumer trust and provide a clear signpost for differentiation, which can be converted into higher spend, loyalty and repeat purchases.”

He adds: “Marketing finished products that contain ‘branded’ ingredients that consumers recognise could be key to commanding a substantial price premium in-store. One barrier to co-branding is a perception among food and beverage companies that it reduces their ability to shop around among suppliers of raw materials to achieve the best price. However, with consumers willing to pay such large price premiums for products made with ingredients they know, this factor might easily be offset by increased sales and profits.”

Consumers in the US were willing to pay the highest prices – with 44% stating that they would pay 75% or more extra for ingredients they recognised and trusted. This was followed by consumers in India (32%), the Philippines (29%) and Malaysia (26%), indicating a strong preference for recognisable ingredients among consumers in Asia.

Neil Cary, Founder of Surveygoo Market Research Consultancy, says: “Our survey reveals significant convergence in the way consumers across the globe share similar priorities in sourcing and consuming high quality foods. However, there are also key differences between markets. Willingness to pay more for recognisable ingredients is strongest in the US, highlighting the importance of clean and clear labelling in the American market. Asian consumers also put a very high value on the quality of their food and are willing to pay a premium for the best ingredients, even though average incomes are lower.”

The survey found recognition of ingredients to be one of the biggest drivers of product choice, with more than half of respondents (52%) considering it to be an important factor. This was comparable with an ability to see nutrition information on-pack (considered important by 53%) and acceptability of price (55%).

An ability to recognise ingredients by name was rated more important than both an ability to tell that a product was high quality (selected by 32%) and taste (50%).

[1] Survey of 1,300 consumers (500 in the UK, 200 in India, 50 in the US, 100 in Malaysia, 50 in Australia, 50 in Canada, 50 in New Zealand, 200 in the Philippines, 100 in Singapore) conducted between 19 and 26 October 2016

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Prosecco Bursts Champagne’s Bubble With Faster Sales Growth Across Europe

Prosecco sales across Europe hit €789 million in 2016, compared to Champagne sales worth €1.4 billion, according to the latest figures from IRI, the provider of big data and predictive analytics for FMCG manufacturers and retailers. But while Champagne is outstripping its lower-cost rival by almost double in the market value overall, the figures show that Prosecco continues to be the fizzy drink of choice among consumers, with 77 million litres bought — 25% more than Champagne and with growth of 24% in value and 23% in volume.

The Champagne market continues to grow slightly in value, up 0.9% in the year to 30 September 2016, but down 0.3% in volume. Ironically, of all of the countries analysed – including the UK, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands and Germany in Europe, the United States and Australia/New Zealand – France, home of champagne production, is the only one with volume declines, at -1.2%. However, France remains the number one market, worth €921 million, accounting for around 66% of all Champagne sales measured in Europe.

Despite recent IRI figures showing that Champagne prices have fallen in the UK, down 7% since the EU referendum in June, the UK Champagne market is worth around a third of a billion Euros (€333 million). However, this is now dwarfed by Prosecco sales of €600 million, over three-quarters of all sales for the tipple in Europe, and growing in the UK by a staggering 25% in value and volume.

Tim Eales, Strategic Insight Director at IRI, comments: “It’s official: we’re all celebrating far too much according to our figures! Whilst Champagne growth appears to be slowing significantly across most of Europe, although up in other parts of the world, Prosecco continues to grow and grow in almost every market apart from the Netherlands. Even Cava, which seemed to fall out of favour with the rise in popularity of Prosecco a few years ago, has seen value and volume increases in most countries this year.”

IRI’s data shows that the sparkling wine market as a whole, which includes Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and other sparkling wines, is now worth almost €4.6 billion in sales value across Europe, with a further €1.7 billion across the US/Australia/New Zealand. The UK, France and Germany are the standout markets, where in each country, sales are worth more than one billion Euros.

Based on consumption per head, France is way ahead on Champagne and the UK is way ahead on Prosecco. However, Australians each drink roughly the same amount of Champagne as the Brits do, and twice as much as they drink in New Zealand. The popularity of Champagne and Prosecco is low in the United States, relative to European marketplaces, but both are showing marked growth during this most recent timeframe.

Additional highlights:

  • The Champagne market in Europe is worth €1.4 billion, growing by 0.9% in value, but down 0.3% in litres.
  • All countries show Champagne volume growth, except for the largest market, France.
  • Champagne litre sales in France are 4.5 times higher than next biggest country, the UK, but at prices less than two-thirds of the UK price.
  • The lowest average price for Champagne is in Germany, with the US, NZ and Australia more than twice the German price.
  • Prosecco is worth €789 million in Europe, growing by 24% in value and 23% in volume.
  • UK Prosecco sales are worth €600 million, growing by 25%. Only the UK and the US spend more on Prosecco than Champagne.
  • Prosecco is cheapest in Spain, almost a quarter of the UK price. Spain drinks 200 times more Cava than Prosecco.
  • Cava is growing volume quickly in most countries, especially in France and the UK, but declining in its home country of Spain.
  • The UK drinks 2.5 times more Prosecco than Italy and pays almost twice the price per litre.
  • Germany has the highest sales for all sparkling wine, at €1.34 billion, with the UK second at €1.27 billion, but Germany is not drinking much Champagne or Prosecco.
  • The highest promoters of sparkling wine in Europe are Italy, Germany and the UK. Italy and Germany are uncharacteristically high.

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UK Cheese Market Returns to Growth

Research by Kantar Worldpanel has found sales of traditional cheddar in the UK are down 4% year-on-year, while blue cheese sales are up 8%. Cheddar is still the largest section of the market, 53% of all cheese sold, but UK consumers are increasingly enjoying continental and blue cheese.

Overall, the cheese market has increased in value by 0.6% – this is an improvement on last year’s decline of -1.1%. Shoppers are buying more per trip and more often, but there has been a consistent decrease in the average price per kilo.

Kantar Worldpanel divides the cheese market in seven slices: cheddar, continental, mini portions, territorials (such as Caerphilly, Cheshire), blue, processed and soft white. Mini portions have seen the strongest growth in both value and volume.

Looking at which supermarkets are selling more cheese, Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl are over-trading the most. Collectively, these stores represent 18% of the cheese market, compared to 14% of the grocery market.

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€17.6 Million Strategic Research Partnership Between Origin Enterprises and University College Dublin

Origin Enterprises, the Irish agri-services group, and University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland’s largest university, have announced the establishment of a dedicated digital, precision agriculture and crop science collaborative research partnership, supported through the Science Foundation Ireland (‘SFI’) Strategic Partnership Programme. This is a €17.6 million five-year research programme.

The collaboration encompasses a strong multi and inter-disciplinary approach, combining the leading expertise of UCD in data science and agricultural science with Origin’s integrated crop management research, systems capabilities and extensive on-farm knowledge exchange networks.

A cornerstone of the partnership will be the creation of scalable, dynamic and integrated crop models which incorporate consistent and real-time data driven and data analytical approaches that optimise sustainable crop performance through enabling enhanced predictive intelligence capabilities at field level.

Origin’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom O’Mahony comments: “We are delighted to join forces and collaborate with UCD, a world-leading academic institution in agricultural science with excellent credentials in multi-disciplinary research. We are particularly pleased with the support of Science Foundation Ireland under its Strategic Partnership Programme, the aim of which is to foster and develop partnerships of scale.”

He adds: “The collaboration provides Origin with a development platform which accesses the very substantial intellectual capacity, advanced data analytics, sensing technologies and modelling resources of UCD.  The merging of conventional crop science and agronomic application with digital technology and prescriptive data analytics will enhance Origin’s knowledge-intensive offering along with improving the capacity to scale our service.”

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, says: “This is a very exciting research partnership announced today between Origin and UCD, which will put Irish research at the forefront of new and innovative approaches for future farming systems. The multi-disciplinary research teams at UCD will use our research expertise in data science and agriculture, together with Origin’s industry experts, to address the issue of crop sustainability, a major global food security challenge.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, SFI and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland, says: “The SFI Strategic Partnership Programme supports unique research partnerships with strong potential for impact on the Irish economy. Investing in research that enhances the agri-food industry while protecting our natural resources is vital for Ireland’s future. Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support this partnership between UCD and Origin. Combining the resources and expertise from these organisations will secure Ireland’s international position in the field of data-driven agriculture. The proposed integrated crop model will have global implications in the sustainable production of crops, addressing the challenge of food production for a rapidly expanding global population.”

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New Appointments in Teagasc Food Research Programme

Teagasc (Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Development Authority) has just put in place a new structure for its food research programme. The Food Research programme is headed up by Dr Mark Fenelon and is located across two campuses at Ashtown in Dublin and Moorepark in County Cork. As part of the re-structuring, a new Food Quality and Sensory Science department has been introduced, increasing the number of departments from four to five.

Dr Fenelon says: “Restructuring, while facilitating the introduction of new scientific areas, also extends the existing research, and should allow Teagasc to provide better support for the growing number of external stakeholders.”

The following people have just been appointed to manage these food research Departments:

  • Ms Ciara McDonagh – Head of Food Industry Development Department;
  • Dr Geraldine Duffy – Head of Food Safety Department;
  • Dr John Tobin – Head of Food Chemistry & Technology Department;
  • Dr Eimear Gallagher – Head of Food Quality & Sensory Science Department;
  • Dr Paul Cotter – Head of Food Biosciences Department.

Director of Research at Teagasc, Dr Frank O Mara comments: “Teagasc has recently completed a Technology Foresight exercise focused on identification of key technologies capable of driving competitiveness and sustainable growth within the Irish agri-food sector.  This strategy coupled with increased input from industry and other state agencies, including funding agencies, provides the template from which Teagasc will continue to build its food programme and increase its impact.”

Dr Mark Fenelon adds: “Core areas of research are being strengthened with the inclusion of new themes within the programme that align Teagasc food research priorities with the Food Wise 2025 strategy for the Irish Agri-Food industry. These include life- stage nutrition and healthy eating, application of sensory science and flavour chemistry, emerging technologies and food fermentation.”

CAPTION:

Ms Ciara McDonagh, Head of the Teagasc Food Industry Development Department; Dr Eimear Gallagher, Head of the Teagasc Food Quality & Sensory Science Department; and Dr Geraldine Duffy, Head of the Teagasc Food Safety Department

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Cargill Opens Innovation Centre in China to Create Food of the Future

Cargill has pulled together its resources and expertise across broad areas in food, including animal protein, edible oils, sweeteners, starches, cocoa, and texturizing solutions, to start Cargill ONE, an innovation centre designed to create innovative food products and new flavours for its customers in China. Situated in Shanghai, Cargill ONE employs nearly 50 researchers, scientists, nutritionists and chefs who will work with customers to develop nutritious and safe food that meet the changing tastes of consumers.

Cargill ONE is Cargill’s first innovation centre in Asia that brings together so many of its different product lines. It will focus on three main areas of innovation: taste and flavours, food ingredients and menus that appeal to changing consumer demand.

Todd Hall, senior vice president of Cargill, says: “Product innovation is one of the cornerstones of our evolution from a grain warehouse to a global leader in food and agriculture over the past 151 years. We have multiple innovation centres around the world specializing in distinct food groups, such as animal protein, sweeteners, food texturizers, feed and such. Cargill ONE is our first innovation centre in Asia that pulls together all this knowledge from our many businesses to offer a one-stop consultancy to our customers in China.”

The rapid socio-economic development in China is quickly changing the diet of the Chinese consumer and the way they view their food. At the most basic level, people need to know their food is 100 per cent safe. Cargill takes an uncompromising approach to food safety and has in place the strictest standards to ensure that all its food products are absolutely safe. Cargill ONE will deliver the food and flavours that the Chinese consumers want in their diet in a safe, healthy and nutritious way. The centre will also be a platform for public education on food safety and nutrition.

Hall adds: “Cargill ONE builds upon our vision to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. It also demonstrates the value that we place on China and our commitment to our customers here. I believe that in time, we will extend our service at Cargill ONE to other markets across Asia Pacific.”

Chris Mallett, Vice President of R&D at Cargill, says: “Cargill ONE is the future of food. It a window for us to better understand what consumers want today and tomorrow, and help our customers be ready with the food their consumers want in the future.”

These new facilities represent another major step in a series of recent investments that Cargill has made in R&D and innovation around the world and demonstrates our continuous commitment to our customers and a realization of our vision to be the most trusted partner in agriculture, food and nutrition.

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Wageningen University & Research and TNO Start Consortium on Personalised Nutrition and Health

A society in which every individual can – and wants to – make a conscious choice to follow a nutritional program that precisely fits with what the individual needs. The Personalised Nutrition and Health consortium, an initiative of Wageningen University & Research and TNO, is researching the technology and knowledge needed to make personalised nutritional and health advice possible on a large scale. Tailor-made advice helps people learn and maintain healthy behaviours, and therefore has significant potential for the society to prevent nutrition-related issues, such as obesity and diabetes.

Scientists from a wide variety of disciplines are working together in the international consortium: from life scientists and behavioural scientists to data analysts and sensor technology specialists. Partners include Philips, Google Food, health insurance company  Menzis, Dutch retail giants Albert Heijn and Jumbo, dairy producer FrieslandCampina, data provider PS in foodservice, ICT companies Noldus Information Technology and SmartWithFood, and eHealth companies VitalinQ Lifestyle Support, Sense Health , NIPED and Vital 10. The aim of the consortium is to convert the technology and knowledge into effective, personalised and scientifically supported products and services. Those products and services, in turn, will help people make healthier choices in what they buy, how they prepare food, and what they consume, but will also match their personality and social environment.

personalisednutritionWith the insights gathered from research, participating partners can, for example, develop tailor-made shopping lists, or apps with which users can closely monitor their health or can be advised and motivated to adapt their behaviour. The tremendous amount of information that users provide in these ‘do-it-yourself’ health monitors can also be used to promote the health effects of certain products, or for further research into nutrition, health and behaviour. Partners along the entire value chain – from farmers and food manufacturers to caterers and retailers – can add value for their consumers and contribute to a healthier society.

Within the consortium protecting the privacy of consumers, consumer trust of the (nutritional) advice and making free choices by consumers are important subjects of the research programme.

The Personalised Nutrition and Health consortium is a long-term, public/private partnership within the Agri & Food Top Sector. The consortium is being matched with other, more fundamental projects within this sector, which are being funded by organisations such as the Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TiFN) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The consortium’s research consists of sub-projects that last around two to three years. Partners – including both multinationals and small- and medium-sized enterprises – can participate in either a part of the program, or in the entire program.

The consortium is open to new partners.

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Europe’s Brewers Keep Trade and the Economy Flowing

At their recent sixth annual Beer Serves Europe event, The Brewers of Europe emphasised how their 7,500 breweries not only underpin economic growth in Europe but also make a significant contribution to trade with the rest of the world. Two new publications, the 180-country study Beer Connects Europe with the World and the 2016 edition of Beer Statistics, highlight how beer is accompanying Europe’s economic recovery and flowing increasingly towards fast growing areas of the globe.

Total consumer spending on beer was over €110 billion in the EU in 2014, an indication that a recovery from the 2008 crisis was in place. The latest statistics confirm that the European brewing sector is now firmly on the path to prosperity. Consumption and production are not just stable, but improving with year-on-year rises in European Union countries from 2014 to 2015 of 1% in consumption and 1.4% in production. Meanwhile beer is growing at the fastest rate among the top 10 food and drinks products in the EU by export value. Next year, at current rates of growth, beer will be up from 10th place to 6th place.

“The Brewers of Europe are proud of the major part they play in the European economy, generating considerable employment and boosting trade both within the EU and beyond. Supportive policies will enable brewers to continue contributing to the overall competitiveness of the European economy and sustained growth,” says Pavlos Photiades, President of The Brewers of Europe.

Beer is Back For Good

The European brewing sector is a key actor for job creation and the economy and is playing its part in supporting the delivery of the Europe 2020 Growth Strategy. Beer adds the equivalent of the GDP of Luxembourg, or around €51 billion, annually to EU output and over €11 billion in excise revenues for governments. The sector provides over 120,000 direct jobs in the EU alone, but nearly 95% of beer-generated employment occurs outside the brewing companies themselves: every one of these jobs is the catalyst for further jobs across the entire value chain, creating over 17 jobs in the wider economy, making a total of 2.3 million.

BrewersofEurope2In addition to continued investment by Europe’s brewers in establishing European beer brands around the world, in 2015 European beer exports rose to 82 million hectolitres, an increase of 7% year-on-year. In 2008, exports beyond the EU accounted for 16% of the total. In 2015 the proportion has more than doubled to 35%.

Maximising Micro: The Brewers of Europe’s Inclusive Agenda

A sure sign of confidence and trust in the sector is the continuous rise in new breweries opening across the EU since 2008 and the total has almost doubled since 2010. There were 588 new microbreweries established in the year from 2014 to 2015, a rise of 13%. The trend attests to the high level of consumer interest in the diversity and variety of Europe’s many different beer cultures.

Pavlos Photiades explains: “Europe’s brewing sector is experiencing a Renaissance. Alongside the major global companies, medium-sized undertakings are demonstrating a tremendous capacity for innovation while smaller breweries are reaching out to new generations. The Brewers of Europe is home to all and we want all indeed to feel   at home. This is our roadmap for the next couple of years. Europe is the cradle of modern beer. I am greatly encouraged by the inventive ways European brewers are contributing to the vitality of the sector with the constant introduction of new styles and flavours.”

Beer is also unique amongst the main alcoholic beverage categories for its range of alcoholic strengths. Within the rich spectrum of choice the sector offers consumers, the market for non-alcoholic and low alcohol beers has doubled from 2000 to 2015. Beers below 3% ABV now represent around 6% of the overall European beer market, reaching 14% in some countries. They are proving ideal for occasions where people wish to a have a great tasting drink but either cannot, or do not wish to, consume more or any alcohol, for example before driving or when pregnant.

Sustainable Exports

According to the European Commission, beer is affirming its place among Europe’s top export products, with double digit growth (+18%) in beer exports from 2014 to 2015. The top destinations are US, China, Canada, but over  the  past 20 years EU brewers have extended trade to 123 countries around the world. EU brewers are also among the  top three import partners of 97 countries outside the EU.

Pavlos Photiades.

Pavlos Photiades.

Average annual growth over 20 years of 8% has tripled the annual quantity of beer traded globally and these flows  can only increase: the European Commission predicts that 90% of economic growth in the future will occur outside the EU. The global beer network can be a good indicator of the openness of countries in facilitating knowledge, people and investment flows. European brewers are powerful world players leading the way in investing into emerging markets, contributing to growth and prosperity for both Europe and the world.

However, beer trading is more than economic exchange: it is an exchange of culture and prestige and a force for sustainable development in emerging countries. By setting up production locally, contract farming schemes and investments by the brewing sector generate a high level of employment, improve supply chain management and  raise grain productivity – while enforcing solid standards and human rights.

The success of the EU brewing sector relies on the EU connecting its internal market to the rest of the world. Brewers are also often well placed to lead the charge for fairness in trade agreements, calling for equivalent treatment of products and pushing for elimination of the type of tax discrimination that particularly affects small businesses.

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Nestlé’s Groundbreaking Material Science Makes Less Sugar Taste Just as Good

Using only natural ingredients, researchers have found a way to structure sugar differently. So even when much less is used in chocolate, your tongue perceives an almost identical sweetness to before. The discovery will enable Nestlé to significantly decrease the total sugar in its confectionery products, while maintaining a natural taste.

“This truly groundbreaking research is inspired by nature and has the potential to reduce total sugar by up to 40% in our confectionery,” says Stefan Catsicas, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer. “Our scientists have discovered a completely new way to use a traditional, natural ingredient.”

Nestlé is patenting its findings and will begin to use the faster-dissolving sugar across a range of its confectionery products from 2018 onwards.

The company expects to provide more details about the first roll-out of reduced-sugar confectionery sometime next year.

The research will accelerate Nestlé’s efforts to meet its continued public commitment to reducing sugar in its products.

It is one of a wide range of commitments the company has made on nutrition. This includes improving the nutritional profile of its products by reducing the amount of sugar, salt and saturated fat they contain, while at the same time as increasing healthier nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and whole grain.

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Dairy Crest’s Partnership With Harper Adams University Wins Times Higher Education Award

Dairy Crest, in collaboration with Harper Adams University, has won the Most Innovative Contribution to Business-University Collaboration award at the Times Higher Education Awards 2016, held in association with Santander Universities. The awards, now in their twelfth year, shine a spotlight on the outstanding achievements of institutions, teams and individuals working in UK higher education.

This new award was given to the business that demonstrated the most imaginative and effective partnership with a university or universities.

With its decision to relocate research and development and technical staff to Harper Adams University, Dairy Crest achieved impressive results and is a worthy inaugural winner of this award.

Dairy Crest’s research and development (R&D) and technical team were the first to explore the possibility, with the help of Harper Adams, of moving on to the University campus. Dairy Crest management approved the plan and, after an investment of £4 million to create a new innovation centre on Harper Adams’ campus, 40 R&D staff have taken up residence at the university.

Mark Allen, chief executive of Dairy Crest, comments: “Developing an effective innovation pipeline is extremely important for Dairy Crest. We have invested £4 million in the new purpose-built, state-of-the-art Innovation Centre for our research and development and technical departments. By locating the Dairy Crest Innovation Centre on the Harper Adams University campus, we are building a partnership with a centre of excellence in food, farming and science education. This Award is a fantastic recognition of a unique partnership which we believe will help drive our important innovation agenda forward. It is also great for Dairy Crest to be working with some of the brightest students who represent the future of food and farming in the UK.”

The Awards judges noted: “Embedding research scientists in one of the country’s top agricultural Universities was a pioneering collaboration in an industry with traditionally low R&D.”

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Dunnes Becomes Ireland’s Largest Supermarket

The latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, for the 12 weeks ending 6 November 2016, show Dunnes Stores is now Ireland’s largest grocery retailer. The retailer increased its market share to 22.6% during the past 12 weeks to clinch the top spot – up from 22.0% this time last year.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Dunnes’ strong performance is largely down to its continued success in encouraging larger shopping trips via its innovative “Shop & Save” promotional campaign. Persuading shoppers to add one extra item to every basket – worth €3.20 on average – may not sound like much, but across the country this adds up to an additional €2.8 million each week. Growth across a wide range of categories has contributed to the retailer’s overall sales increase of 6.7% year on year, with toiletries, alcohol, frozen food and confectionery performing particularly well.”

Now capturing 22.4% of grocery spending, SuperValu continues to enjoy a positive performance with an increase in sales of 2.3% year-on-year. More shoppers have chosen to visit the retailer this year but they have also spent more, parting with an additional 80c per trip on average.

Tesco remains on an upward trajectory, with value sales falling by just 0.6% in the past 12 weeks and volume sales increasing compared with last year: the grocer’s market share now stands at 21.4%.

David Berry continues: “Lidl’s share of the market has increased slightly to 11.4%, with sales growth of 5.3%. Aldi’s strong performance continues with sales growing by 6.6% year on year – leading to a healthy increase in market share from 11.1% last year to 11.3% in the past 12 weeks. Aldi has seen the biggest boost to its shopper numbers during the latest quarter with an extra 40,000 households visiting the retailer and also returning more often.”

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Almonds are Number One Nut in New Product Introductions Across Europe

According to Innova Market Research’s latest Global New Product Introductions Report, almonds are now the number one nut in new introductions in Europe with a 48% regional share and a new record high of 42% globally. Germany, the UK and France follow the US as the top leading countries introducing new almond products. With 4,313 new almond products, Europe saw a double-digit growth of 16% increase in 2015.

This is the first time almonds have taken the top spot in Europe with the lead being particularly driven by increased consumer demand in the snacks and bars sectors as well as growing interest in lactose-free and gluten-free – the leading health claim in UK almond introductions. The demand for almonds can also be attributed to their role as natural, nutrient-rich ingredients with appealing taste and crunch and extensive versatility as well as their consistently safe, stable supply.

Country-specific increases include a 34% increase in snacking new product introductions in France, while Germany has seen a huge 107% increase in spreads. Almonds are the number one nut in the UK leading in 4 of the 5 leading categories for almonds, with particular increases of 33% in bakery introductions and 15% in bars.

almondseuropeno1Dariela Roffe-Rackind, Director for Europe for the Almond Board of California, says: “Across Europe, consumers are increasingly seeking convenient, healthy snacking solutions they can feel good about. Food manufacturers are recognising that this need for convenience and desire for natural, unprocessed foods can be met by the versatile and nutritious almond.”

Globally, almonds continue to lead new product introductions around the world and over multiple categories, widening the gap with other nuts. Almond product introductions grew 8% in 2015, despite a 4% decline in overall food introductions and a 7% decline in nut introductions. Compared to other tree nuts, almond introductions hold top spots across the categories of confectionery, bakery, snacks, bars and cereals, substantiating endless opportunity in new product innovation.

Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Research, explains: “More foods are considered a snack today and flavour innovations continue to deliver excitement in the industry. We are seeing almonds used in an even wider variety of snacking products, including protein snacks, fruit and vegetable products and yogurt snacks – catering for indulgent, convenient snacking for a multitude of occasions.”

California is the top producer of almonds with 83% of global production and Western Europe is the second largest shipment destination behind North America. Almonds are California’s largest agricultural export and second most valuable crop.

 

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Over Half of Irish People Eating Specialised Diets

Due to dietary or health and wellness concerns, over half of Irish consumers now avoid certain ingredients in what they eat and drink, according to new data from Nielsen. Fifty-two percent eat a diet that excludes or limits consumption of some foods or ingredients. Antibiotics/hormones are the most common ingredients avoided (64%) followed by artificial additives, such as flavours and preservatives (62%) and sugar sweeteners (59%). Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and genetically-modified organisms also feature in the five most avoided.

Health Concerns

Over one in four (27%) households contains someone who suffers from food allergies or intolerances, although this is much lower than the global average (36%). The most common ingredients avoided in Ireland for these reasons are eggs and lactose/diary (both 47%), poultry (30%), gluten (28%) and grains (25%).

nielsenirelandnovember2016

Indeed, sales of “Free From” products rose 15% in Ireland last year which Matt Clark, Nielsen’s commercial director in Ireland points out mirrors what’s happened in the UK this year which has seen a 19% rise to £754m annually1. He notes: “It’s one of the fastest growing categories and, consequently, supermarkets are extending ranges. If this growth rate continues, ‘Free From’ would be a £1 billion market in the UK alone within two years – the same size as today’s mineral water market.”

Clark points out four “macro-trends” that are driving people to pay more attention to what they consume: “People are adopting a more back-to-basics mind-set, focusing on simple ingredients and fewer processed foods; they’re also taking a more active role in their own health care, which includes better nutrition, itself a reflection of the rising trend in chronic-disease rates. Finally, consumers are increasingly educated due to the internet providing access to more health information than could ever have been dreamed of in the past.”

Relating to the rise in disease and illness rates, a third of Irish people say their dietary choice is specifically due to helping prevent conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol or hypertension. The World Health Organization says chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer are expected to account for 73% of deaths globally by 2020, up from about 60% in 2001.

What Can Retailers and Manufacturers Do?

Nearly half of people with specialised diets or family members with food intolerances say product offerings don’t fully meet their dietary needs. All-natural (51%) and low/no sugar (41%) products top the list that consumers wish there were more of on shelves, followed by no artificial flavours/colours (39%), organic and low/no salt products (both 36%).

“Consumers need help from manufacturers and retailers when it comes to changing diets to address various concerns, particularly as some are prioritising ingredients over brands,” says Clark. “It’s a win-win for both groups as it provides the industry with a significant opportunity to drive new and alternative product portfolios that people want to buy for the long-term – boosting the bottom line and building a loyal shopper base.”

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“Clean Supreme” Leads Top Trends For 2017

Growing calls for transparency throughout the supply chain are taking clean & clear label to a new and supreme level. This comes as the inherent benefits of plant-based products are being actively marketed to more health conscious consumers. “Clean Supreme” and “Disruptive Green” lead Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends list for 2017.

“Interest in naturalness and clean label continues to feature strongly,” according to Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “It has become somewhat of a running theme through our trends forecasts in recent years. In 2008, ‘Go Natural’ led our trends list, and since then the theme has featured each year in different forms, such as ‘Processed is Out’ in 2011, ‘From Clean to Clear Label’ in 2015 and ‘Organic Growth for Clear Label’ in 2016. This year, clean & clear is a theme weaving throughout the entire list, but is specifically the case for trend #1 (‘Clean Supreme’).”

innovamarketinsightsgraphicdecember2016

Innova Market Insights has revealed its top trends likely to impact the food industry in 2017 from its from its ongoing analysis of key global developments in food and drinks launch activity worldwide.

The top five trends for 2017 are:

  1. Clean Supreme: The rules have been rewritten and clean and clear label is the new global standard. The demand for total transparency now incorporates the entire supply chain, as a clean label positioning becomes more holistic. Trending clean supply chain claims include “environmentally friendly,” which has shown a CAGR growth of +72% from 2011-2015 and “animal welfare,” which has grown at +45% per year during this period.
  2. Disruptive Green: As plant-based milks, meat alternatives and vegan offerings have rapidly moved into the mainstream, consumers are looking for innovative options to take the inherent benefits of plants into their daily lives. Even dairy companies are now leveraging the functional and technical benefits of plants in new product development, driving more variety and excitement into their category. Innova Market Insights has reported CAGR of +63% for new product launches with a plant-based claim from 2011-2015.
  3. Sweeter Balance: Sugar is under pressure, although it remains the key ingredient delivering the sweetness and great taste that consumers are looking for. The quest to combine taste and health is driving NPD, as the industry faces the challenge of balancing public demand to reduce added sugars and create indulgent experiences, while at the same time presenting clean label products.
  4. Kitchen Symphony: Italian Lasagna is no longer enough – we want Melanzane Aubergine Al Forno! The connected world has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable of other cultures. As a result, there is growing demand for greater choice and higher levels of authenticity in ethnic cuisines. At the same time, pride in local and regional foods is also seeing an upsurge in some countries, with a resulting rise in availability and authenticity of local cuisine.
  5. Body in Tune: Consumers are increasingly personalizing their own nutrition intake, making food choices based around what they think will make them feel better. They are also experimenting with free from products and specific diets like paleo and low FODMAP. At the same time, consumers continue to increase their intake of foods and beverages with ingredients that they consider to be healthy, like protein and probiotics.

The other trends identified by Innova Market Insights are:

6 Plain Sophistication

7 Encapsulating Moments

8 Beyond Pester Power

9 Fuzzy Borders

10 Seeds of Change.

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Tesco Continues to Grow UK Market Share

The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks ending 6 November 2016, reveal a second month of good news for Tesco, which grew at its fastest rate in three years. This is ahead of overall supermarket sales, where year-on-year sales increased by 0.8% for the second consecutive month.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, comments: “Tesco’s 2.2% growth is a considerable improvement on the numbers it was delivering this time last year, and indeed in 2014. Branded sales did see an increase but most of the gains were made through its own-label products, both at the cheaper and more premium ends of the price spectrum. Tesco’s Farm Brands continue to benefit from sales growth in fruit and vegetables, while the premium Tesco Finest range has grown by 6% in the past 12 weeks, notably in crisps, fresh meat and chilled convenience. Much of Tesco’s growth has come from more affluent shoppers returning to the store, and average spend per trip is up by 2.1% to £20.69.”

“Grocery prices have now been falling continuously since September 2014 and on a like-for-like basis goods are still 0.5% cheaper than last year, although this does represent a significant reduction in the rate of deflation since this summer. We’re likely to see prices starting to creep up again in December, unless retailers choose Christmas to unleash a new round of price cuts. Although it’s tempting to link any potential price increases to Brexit and the devaluation of sterling, it’s worth remembering that deflation has been easing since December last year, well before the referendum.”

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.

At Iceland sales grew by 8.3% this period, well ahead of the overall industry and increasing market share by 0.2 percentage points to 2.1% as a result. Fraser McKevitt continues: “Much of Iceland’s growth is from its chilled and ambient lines, though there are still notable successes in the freezer aisles such as fish, ready meals and its product tie-ins with Slimming World and Pizza Express. Iceland’s recent high-profile store opening in Clapham, London – clearly targeted at millennials – supports the retailer’s wider strategy of steadily moving its product range upmarket.”

Sales at Sainsbury’s declined by 0.7% this period, contributing to a 0.3 percentage point fall in market share to 16.3%. Asda’s rate of decline slowed slightly to 5.0%, though increased sales in its premium own-label lines were a bright spot this period. Morrisons too saw a boost in premium own-label thanks to its ‘The Best’ line, though total sales fell by 2.4% in line with the context of a smaller store estate.

Although the discount retailers are growing at their slowest rate since 2011, both Aldi and Lidl are still attracting new shoppers – vital to any supermarket’s growth and helped by continuing store openings. Aldi grew sales by 10.2%, with 547,000 more shoppers visiting over the 12 weeks – a bigger increase in visitor numbers than any other retailer. Lidl sales increased by 6.1% – a slower rate than in recent months but still signficantly faster than the overall market.

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Mintel Identifies Six Key Global Food and Drink Trends For 2017

Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, has announced the six key trends set to impact the global food and drink market – highlighting ingredient and food and drink product trends set to make an impact over the coming year. 2017 will be a year of extremes, from “ancient” products including grains, recipes, practices and traditions to the use of technology to create more and better tasting plant-enhanced foods.

Expect to see a rise in both “slow” and “fast” claims as well as more products designed to help people calm down before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while they rest. Opportunities will exist for more products to leverage the reputation of the tea category and use chamomile, lavender and other herbs in formulations as a way to achieve a sense calm before bedtime. There will also be a valid excuse for nighttime chocolate indulgence. In 2017 and beyond, expect to see more of the unexpected, including fruit snacks made with ugly fruit and mayonnaise made with the liquid from draining chickpeas, which has been dubbed aquafaba.

Looking ahead to 2017, Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Analyst Jenny Zegler discusses the top food and drink trends set to impact global markets.

 

MintelFoodIN TRADITION WE TRUST

Consumers seek comfort from modernised updates of age-old formulations, flavours and formats.

People are seeking the safety of products that are recognisable rather than revolutionary. The trust in the familiar emphasises the opportunity for manufacturers to look to the past as a dependable source of inspiration such as “ancient” product claims including ancient grains and also ancient recipes, practices and traditions. Potential also exists for innovations that use the familiar as a base for something that’s new, but recognisable, such as cold-brew coffee.

POWER TO THE PLANTS

The preference for natural, simple and flexible diets will drive further expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations.

 In 2017, the food and drink industry will welcome more products that emphasise plants as key ingredients. More packaged products and recipes for home cooking will leverage fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, botanicals and other plants as a way to align with consumers’ nearly omnipresent health and wellness priorities. Technology will play a part, already we have seen one company use artificial intelligence to develop plant-based alternatives to animal products including milk, mayonnaise, yogurt and cheese.

WASTE NOT

The focus of sustainability zeros in on eliminating food waste.

More retailers, restaurants and philanthropic organisations are addressing the sheer amount of food and drink that is wasted around the world, which is changing consumer perceptions. In 2017, the stigma associated with imperfect produce will begin to fade, more products will make use of ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste such as fruit snacks made from “ugly” fruit and mayonnaise made from the liquid from packaged chickpeas, and food waste will be repurposed in new ways, such as power sources.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

The time investments required for products and meals will become as influential as nutrition or ingredient claims.

Time is an increasingly precious resource and our multitasking lifestyles are propelling a need for short-cut solutions that are still fresh, nutritious and customisable, already we have seen so-called “biohacking” food and drink that offers complete nutrition in convenient formats. In 2017, the time spent on – or saved by – a food or drink product will become a clear selling point, inspiring more products to directly communicate how long they will take to receive, prepare or consume. 

THE NIGHT SHIFT

Evening is tapped as a new occasion for functional food and drink formulations.

The increasingly hectic pace of modern life is creating a market for food and drink that helps people of all ages calm down before bedtime, sleep better and restore the body while they rest. Products can leverage the reputation of the tea category and use chamomile, lavender and other herbs as a way to achieve a sense calm before bedtime, while chocolate could be positioned as a way to wind down after a stressful day. Ahead, there is potential for more evening-focused innovations formulated for relaxation, satiety and, taking a cue from the beauty industry, food and drink that provide functional benefits while the consumer sleeps

MintelSportsNutritionBALANCING THE SCALES: HEALTH FOR EVERYONE

Healthy food and drink are not “luxuries.”

Inequality is not just a political or philanthropic issue — it also will resonate more with the food and drink industry. Many lower-income consumers want to improve their diets but the access to — and the cost of — healthy food and drink is often an impediment. More campaigns and innovations are to be expected that will make it easier for lower-income consumers to fulfill their healthy ambitions, including apps to help people make use of ingredients that are on sale and, in a tie-in with Mintel’s 2017 Global Food & Drink Trend Waste Not, a value-priced box of “wonky” veg.

Jenny Zegler, Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, comments: “This year’s trends are grounded in current consumer demands for healthy, convenient and trustworthy food and drink. Across the world, manufacturers and retailers have opportunities to provide more people with food and drink that is recognisable, saves time and contains servings of beneficial fruits, vegetables and other plants. In addition, Mintel has identified exciting new opportunities for functional food and drink designed for evening consumption, progressive solutions for food waste and affordable healthy food for low-income consumers. Opportunities abound for companies around the world to capitalise on these trends, helping them develop in new regions and more categories throughout the course of the next year and into the future.”

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UK Catering Firms to Overcome Brexit Uncertainty

The majority of UK catering companies are in surprisingly good shape to cope with any Brexit fallout, a new report from market analysts Plimsoll Publishing argues. Having carried out a financial health check on the UK’s 1477 top catering firms, the new report has found that 486 firms are performing well in current market conditions and are well prepared for any uncertainty in the sector.

Plimsoll’s senior analyst, David Pattison, says: “Much like how your doctor would check your health and recommend action, we have done the same with each of the UK’s top 1477 catering companies. Since the decision to leave the European Union, the market has been dogged with speculation and uncertainty. However our latest research suggests the majority of catering firms are surprisingly well placed. Having said that, however, that’s not to say there will not be an impact, but they are in good shape to cope and respond to any upheaval.”

The study has identified and analysed the vital areas of business performance that lead to success or failure. These factors have then been applied to the 1477 companies to highlight the fittest and those showing signs of serious financial weakness. Depending on the overall financial health, each company was given one of five health ratings:

  • 486 firms rated as Strong – these firms are the fittest in the industry and are showing strong financial health.
  • 129 firms rated as Good – these firms are improving financial health and can aspire to those rated Strong.
  • 174 firms rated as Mediocre –these firms could go either way, they need to fine-tune their business so they do not slip back and improve.
  • 174 firms rated as Caution – these firms are showing the early signs of weakness, early prevention measures need to be put in place.
  • 332 firms rated as Danger – These firms are showing a serious weakening in financial health, urgent plans are required to treat these weaknesses.

plimsolllogoDavid Pattison continues: “Nobody at this early stage will know the consequences of the Brexit vote, however companies who are rated as Danger have two options: they can hold their nerve and hope to trade their way out, or they can put a survival plan in place and look to consolidate their business. Once you take notice of the warning signs, then directors need to act.”

Copies of the report are available to buy by clicking here. Alternatively call Chris Glancey on 01642626419 or email chrisg@plimsoll.co.uk

Posted in Enterprise, Reports, ResearchComments Off on UK Catering Firms to Overcome Brexit Uncertainty

Minimum Pricing to Impact Over Half of Alcohol Sales in Scotland

At least 50% of alcohol sold in Scotland does not meet the impending minimum price legislation. Spirits will be the most impacted as 69% of volume currently sold is below the 50p per unit threshold, according to measurement company Nielsen who analysed till sales (EPOS data) in nearly 1,200 stores in Scotland. Beer is the next most impacted (67% of volume is below the threshold) followed by cider (51%), while only 3.5% of wine sales would be impacted.

When looking at the top 50 selling products in each category, instead of total volume sales, 76% of the most popular spirits don’t meet minimum pricing compared to 74% in beer, 54% in cider and 12% in wine.

nielsennovember2016

“Wine is, by far, the least impacted and so has the most to gain from minimum pricing,” says Marika Praticó, senior client manager at Nielsen.“Overall, wine will need to raise prices by the least amount, thus, it becomes more affordable relative to other alcohol.”

Blended scotch and vodka are the two categories impacted most by minimum pricing legislation. Blended scotch, overall, will require prices to rise 20% to meet the threshold, whilst vodka requires a 16.3% rise.

Praticó notes that enforced price rises aren’t necessarily bad for the spirits industry; in fact it could result in increased revenue, as long as demand doesn’t fall beyond a certain “tipping point.” She explains,“This break-even figure is 12.5%, as long as any potential decline in demand doesn’t exceed this the industry will benefit thanks to the higher price point. Should demand fall by more than 12.5%, that’s when their revenues will decline.”

Implications

Nielsen’s analysis also raised four potential implications of minimum pricing legislation on retail behaviour.

As with wine, premium brands, particularly in spirits, are likely to benefit as the price differential between them and cheaper brands diminishes so, “it’s a good time for people to “trade-up” to the more expensive brands, which is likely to have a negative impact on supermarkets’ own-label offerings,” says Praticó.

She also expects a “near extinction” of major price-saving deals offered by retailers in spirits, beer and cider, as the likes of two-for-one deals would mean the effective price paid for each unit of alcohol would fall below the threshold.

In terms of shopper behaviour, there could well be an increase in cross-border alcohol shopping among the Scottish to England and Ireland, where prices would be cheaper, “mirroring what many Britons already do with the annual Calais run.”

Another implication Praticó notes is that there’ll also be the “inevitable stockpiling” of alcohol before the legislation comes into force which could well mean “a bumper Christmas for alcohol retailers.”

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Tetra Pak Identifies Food and Beverage Opportunities in Senior Market

Tetra Pak has released a consumer study to highlight opportunities in the food and beverage market for seniors, those aged 60 and over, the fastest growing consumer group in the world. Libby Costin, VP Global Marketing at Tetra Pak, says: “Seniors spend 20% of their income on food and beverages. They havemore disposable income than previous generations, and are poised to become one of the most important consumer groups over the next decade with a total spending power of US$10 trillion by 2020. This creates a huge opportunity for manufacturers to respond to their needs.”

This report is the latest edition of Tetra Pak’s annual Consumer Generations Whitepaper series which analyses consumers by their age, needs and spending habits. It investigates senior consumer trends in food, packaging and shopping experience, and identifies product opportunities for producers, based on insights from 27 countries across developed and developing markets such as Japan, the US and Brazil.

Key findings:

  1. 32% of Seniors actively look for products and services that help them live a healthy lifestyle.
  2. They prefer traditional tastes to ‘experimental’ ones. This extends beyond the product to the packaging, which they want to look and feel traditional, rather than appear overly radical or be ‘different for different sake.’
  3. Seniors are loyal shoppers. Once they find a brand that satisfies them, 30% usually don’t experiment with new ones. They also tend to shop closer to home, and in smaller stores.
  4. Seniors demand greater quality, with 92% finding product quality very important, and they are willing to pay more for it.
  5. Generally, they dislike being made to feel “old” by marketers. They prefer products and packaging that are subtle: ones that are ageless but appeal indirectly to their demographic, rather than those that appear directly targeted at them because of their age. For example, they find “For Seniors!” branding unappealing.

Implications for the food and drink industry

Seniors have more time on their hands and greater spending power compared with other demographics. This has led to the emergence of significant opportunities for producers who can respond to the habits of the fastest growing consumer age group around the world.

  1. Offer products with healthy ingredients. Seniors value a healthy, active lifestyle, and use food and/or drinks to improve their health. They are willing to pay a premium for products that meet those needs.
  2. Fortify food and drinks with additional minerals and vitamins. Seniors are heavy consumers of vitamins and supplements. Food and drinks that are fortified with additional minerals and vitamins aimed at promoting stronger bones, or better digestive or cardiovascular health are of significant interest. There is a particular opportunity for foods and products which meet these needs in developed markets, where there are higher incomes and a greater awareness of senior-specific health issues.

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1 in 5 Irish People Eat Out Once a Week

The Irish are a nation that loves to dine out. That’s according to a new survey* by OpenTable, the world’s leading online restaurant booking platform and part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), which finds that 1 in 5 Irish diners enjoy eating out at least once a week. According to the OpenTable poll, Italian is Ireland’s favourite food with almost a third (31%) saying it’s their cuisine of choice when dining out, this was followed by traditional Irish fare (16%) and Thai food (15%).

The top five cuisines for dining out are:

  1. Italian (31%)
  2. Irish (16%)
  3. Thai (15%)
  4. Chinese (13%)
  5. Indian (8%).

Unsurprisingly it is the weekend when the majority (40%) of Irish diners choose to go out to eat, although 15% say they prefer to dine out during the week. It also seems that great food really is the way to someone’s heart, with 1 in 5 saying going out for dinner is their preferred type of date night with their partner.

Spending Habits and Tipping Culture

When it comes to spending on dining out, the average amount reported by those surveyed is between €50-€100 per restaurant meal (47%), while 43% say they try to keep their spending under the €50 mark. However, over half admit they would be more likely to spend more if they were dining out on the company tab!

The OpenTable dining research goes on to reveal that 40% of people usually tip 10% at the end of a meal and only a third said their tip was determined by the level of service in the restaurant. While tipping 20% may be more common in countries such as the United States, only 5% of people polled say they would leave that level of gratuity on their bill.

opentablelogoTalk of the Table

Family life is the hot topic around the dining table on a night out according to 45% of respondents, while 13% admitted to discussing work when dining out. They say you should never talk about money and it seems that Irish people agree with none of those questioned saying they would talk about money over dinner.

Restaurant Reviews and Recommendations

Selecting the perfect restaurant can be a tricky task and 41% of people surveyed said they usually turn to a friend or a colleague for a recommendation, while 16% say they base their choices on restaurant reviews.

The location of a restaurant is an important factor to diners (20%), but it seems that the quality of the food trumps this with 71% of respondents admitting they would be happy to travel to go to a good restaurant.

Adrian Valeriano, Vice President Global Sales and Services at OpenTable, comments: “At OpenTable we give diners all over the world flexibility and choice to make a reservation at any time of night or day online. Whatever the occasion, whether it is a birthday, anniversary, romantic evening or just a cosy supper in your local neighbourhood, diners can search, discover and make a reservation in some of the world’s best dining destinations whether this is in Dublin or any of our other world class culinary locations. It’s clear from our research that the Irish love to eat out so we are really excited to help them enjoy memorable dining experiences.”

Since launching in San Francisco in 1998, OpenTable has seated more than 1 billion diners, representing approximately $45 billion spent at partner restaurants.

* Survey carried out online among 354 Irish adults aged 18+ (82% female 18% male)

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Are Sustainable Proteins Nutritious Enough?

Are proteins derived from sustainable sources, nutritious enough? This question is central to research conducted by the public-private partnership Sustainable Future proteins: focus on nutritional and health-promoting qualities. The research, coordinated by Wageningen University & Research, will provide a scientific basis for the development of high-quality foods with sustainable proteins, and will provide ways for companies to rapidly and efficiently screen novel proteins.

The global population will increase from 7 billion in 2016 to more than 9 billion people by 2050, according to estimates by the United Nations. At the same time, prosperity is increasing in large parts of the world, doubling the demand for food. “If we want to ensure we produce enough food for all these people, then we must move towards a diet with sustainable proteins, derived from plant sources and waste streams,” says Marloes Groenewegen, Program Manager Healthy and Tasty Food at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research. “The question is whether we can develop sustainable protein beside animal protein in foods without sacrificing nutritional value.” Current knowledge about sustainable proteins is limited to little more than the energy value and amino-acid composition. “But we do not know to what degree these proteins are broken down into amino acids and how these components are absorbed by the body,” she illustrates.

Five Sustainable-protein Sources
The research by the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Sustainable future proteins: focus on nutritional and health-promoting qualities will provide insights into the digestibility of a number of sustainable-protein sources such as peas, potatoes, animal plasma, edible fungi and insects. The digestibility of proteins and peptides formed during digestion is being studied and compared to milk, soy and egg protein.

In addition, the biological activity of the peptides formed in the gastrointestinal tract is under investigation: how do they affect the immune system, the composition of the intestinal microbiota and the intestinal barrier? The PPP is also looking at whether combined provision of these proteins leads to higher nutritional values and increased biological activity. The researchers are working with advanced in-vitro digestion models and are evaluating proteins and protein combinations in a clinical study using volunteers.

Rapid Screening
The PPP will provide an integrated toolbox that allows manufacturers to quickly and efficiently evaluate the nutritional value, digestibility and biological activity of novel proteins. “Existing methods for the measurement of digestibility and biological activity are laborious and time-consuming, and often must use animal experiments”, says Harry Wichers, Professor of Immunomodulation at Wageningen University & Research and scientific coordinator of the project. “We will develop a user- and animal-friendly alternative.”

Topsector Agri&Food
Sustainable future proteins: focus on nutritional and health-promoting qualities has 10 partners: Nutricia Research, AVEBE, Darling Ingredients, BASF, Roquette, QUORN, PROTI-FARM, Mimetas, Wageningen University & Research, and Utrecht University (Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences). The PPP is a long-term public-private collaboration, co-financed by the Dutch Topsector Agri&Food; the research program runs until 2020. The consortium is open to partners offering additional proteins, knowledge and expertise.

Posted in Ingredients, Nutrition, Research, SustainabilityComments Off on Are Sustainable Proteins Nutritious Enough?

Cooking Process Can Reduce Fat in Dairy Sauces By Up to 20%

Scientific research from the University of Lincoln has shown that food manufacturers can reduce fat in dairy based sauce products by up to 20% by processing with the disruptive Steam infusion Vaction™ technology. Under certain operating conditions, when passing dairy ingredients through the Steam Infusion Vaction™ unit, a fat mimetic is formed which mimics the fat properties in sauces. On bechamel, cheese and hollandaise sauce a creamier mouth feel is achieved while maintaining the sauces viscosity compared to cooking with a traditional steam jacket.

Traditionally to offer consumers a luxury, indulgent mouthfeel a butter or cream is addition is required giving the final product a high dairy fat content. The findings provide interesting areas for new product development that can offer “healthy indulgence”.

The Steam Infusion Vaction™ technology is a disruptive device that sits within a cooking vessel and uses steam as the motive forces to uniquely heat and mix food products. The University of Lincoln has researched the patented Vaction™ cooking technology under an Innovate UK funded project to scientifically identify the product development and operational opportunities of the device.

Many food manufacturers have already switched to cooking dairy based sauces with the technology. Bakkavor has been using the Steam Infusion technology to cook a dairy based porridge, Janet Prescott, Manufacturing Manager explains: “We are very happy with the retrofit of OAL’s Steam Infusion technology to manufacture porridge. We have been able to quickly master how to maximise the benefits of the Steam Infusion system and we’re confident that the technology offers the flexibility to cook a wide variety of products to delight our customers.”

Janet Prescott adds: “The system is very fast and has reduced our cooking energy consumption by 15%. It’s a quality piece of equipment that’s definitely “cook proof”. Since the installation, our engineering team haven’t had to touch the system.”

The recently released whitepaper highlights other areas of differentiation to traditional manufacturing including the prevention of Maillard reactions and retention of “homemade” colours and flavours. The Vaction™ unit creates a partial vacuum within the unit preventing exposure to high temperatures and browning of a product. Gas Chromatography-Gas Spectrometry (GCMS) identified a difference in flavour profile, whilst layperson taste panels recognised an improvement in flavour between a conventionally cooked and Steam Infusion sauce. Both highlighted the preservation of delicate “fresh flavours and prevention of “over processed” notes. The explanation for “homemade” flavours comes from the shortened cooking times and prevention of burn on contamination.

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