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									In brief
FSA lists colour-free products The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published a list of food products that have been voluntarily reformulated to remove six food colours associated with hyperactivity in young children. The colours have been in the spotlight since last year, when the so-called Southampton study identified the behavioural link. At the end of last year, UK ministers backed a voluntary ban proposed by the FSA to phase out Tartrazine (E102), Quinoline Yellow (E104), Sunset Yellow (E110), Carmoisine (E122), Ponceau 4R (E124) and Allura Red (E129) from food products by 2009, in parallel with action at an EU level. Packaged food product lines free from the colours include Heinz’s Weight Watchers products from Heinz; HP Lea & Perrins from Heinz; and Vimto drinks, Panda drinks, and Sunkist drinks from Vimto Soft Drinks. On the restaurant side, McDonald’s has said it is complying with the voluntary ban. – Beauty yoghurt turns sour After little more than two years, Danone has pulled its beauty-from-the-inside spoonable yoghurt, Essensis, from French retail shelves, despite a re-launch in 2008. The French food giant was quoted in the UK Financial Times, citing the impact of the burgeoning economic recession as a major factor in its decision that took effect on 1 March. The “dermo-nutrition“ product remains on market in Spain, Belgium and Italy. Essensis, whose core audience was predominantly young women, promised better skin health via a proprietary blend called ProNutris and containing vitamin E, green teaderived antioxidants, probiotics and borage oil.

For the skin benefits to be fully achieved, Danone recommended daily consumption of the yoghurt. However, this fact, coupled with a premium, failed to excite a majority of consumers, despite its claim that it could “nourish your skin from within“. – Drinking yoghurt sector slows Sales of drinking yoghurt are showing signs of a struggle, as growth slowed down in Europe at the end of last year, according to a new market report. Out of the 29 packaged food categories tracked by US-based research firm, Sanford C Bernstein, it said 22 saw positive sales growth. However, the slowest growing category was drinking yoghurt, which was down 9%, followed by gum which dropped 7%, according to the report called European Food: Sales growth and share gain for December 2008. The figures add weight to analysts’ predictions that despite rapid growth in sales volumes and value over recent years, manufacturers of yoghurt drinks are set to face some difficulties. The report said that Danone, a major player in the drinking yoghurt category, “saw a marked deterioration in growth in the period to -2,1% from 3,9% in the last period“. – Polyoak acquires plastics division Polyoak Packaging (Pty) Ltd, one of the leading rigid plastic packaging manufacturers in Southern Africa, has purchased the rigid plastic production unit of Huhtamäki Oyj in Roodekop, South Africa. This unit, with its dedicated injection moulding assets and a staff compliment of 55, will be incorporated into the Dairypack Tubs division of Polyoak Packaging.



Dairypack Tubs specialises in the design and manufacture of injection moulded, thin-walled containers for ice-cream, yoghurt, cheese, butter, spreads and other food markets. The transaction follows Huhtamaki’s strategic review of rigid plastic consumer goods operations. Huhtamaki will continue to manufacture food-service, moulded fibre and flexible packaging in South Africa. “This is an exciting development for us and fits well into our growth strategy“, says Polyoak Packaging’s MD Jeremy Mackintosh. “A dedicated thin-walled tubs manufacturing facility in Gauteng, is going to be very useful in our quest to further improve our service levels to our customers.“ – Press release Smart label can indicate freshness A “smart“ barcode for food packaging can inform consumers and retailers whether refrigerated food products such as chicken, milk and beef are no longer fresh. Smart packaging, including freshness and timetemperature indicators (TTIs) for use in supply chains for foods that are highly temperature sensitive, is a growing trend. The University of Rhode Island (URI) said the system was developed by a partnership of two URI chemistry professors and the food safety company, SIRA Technologies. According to the development team, the barcode label is based on the employment of an ink that is nearly invisible, but which turns red when the food is contaminated, with the change in colour on the barcode preventing the product from being scanned at the checkout counter. IDTechex is carrying out research into this new technology in order to establish common needs across industries, gain economy of scale and make the products affordable, he added. – Lutein-fortified milk passes test Fortifying fermented milk with lutein, may be a suitable vehicle to boost intakes of the

compound, according to a new study from Spain. The fortified milk product could raise blood levels of lutein to the top end of the reference ranges in the US and European populations, according to results of a human study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Researchers from Madrid’s Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro, report that these raised blood levels are relevant for different health benefits, including eye health. Lutein, a nutrient found in various foods, including green leafy vegetables and egg yolk, has a ten-year history in the dietary supplement market as a nutrient to reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration (ADM). The global lutein market is set to hit $124,5 million (€93 million) in 2013, according to a 2007 report from Frost & Sullivan, with skin health offering a major new avenue for the carotenoid. – Woolies supports water neutrality Woolworths is the first retailer to join the World Wide Fund’s (WWF) water neutral scheme. The scheme, launched late last year in association with the South African government’s “Working for Water“ programme, seeks to encourage corporates to become “water neutral“. Woolworths aims to become water neutral by eliminating invasive water-thirsty alien plants on supplier farms and in protected areas such as the Tankwa Karoo National Park. The project will release enough water into South Africa’s water system to offset the water used by Woolworths operations each year. The project is a 20-year commitment. According to Rodney February, programme manager of the WWF water neutral scheme, approximately 7% of South Africa’s average annual run-off is used by alien and invasive plants. By assisting to eliminate these plants, Woolworths makes a meaningful contribution towards conserving water resources well into the future. – Press release M&J


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