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Aug 27, 2015 / Richard Hall

Saturated fat not bad after all

Weighty new research may change the outlook for saturated fat.

It was commissioned by the World Health Organisation. It reviews all relevant literature up to May 2015, citing 179 references. It has 11 authors and some very distinguished peer reviewers. It’s just been published in the British Medical Journal.

Contrary to the generally perceived wisdom of the past 40 years, it concludes: “Saturated fats are not associated with all cause mortality, CVD, CHD, ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes …”

Assessing the implications of these findings, the Global Dairy Platform believes: “This analysis firmly denounces the relationship between saturated fat and adverse health outcomes which will eventually lead to revisions in dietary guidance.”

Could this herald a new dawn for dairy ?

Aug 25, 2015 / Richard Hall

Aqua abuse

Some years ago, I reported a product called Aqua Drops to the UK Advertising Standards Authority because its marketing made claims about hydration, when in fact it was just a boiled sweet. The Advertising Standards Authority said the claim should be dropped. And Aqua Drops has now dropped out of the market.

Now we have a new product called Aqua-tine, “a liquid nicotine drink mix that e-cigarette users are adding to their beverages when they are unable to smoke or vape.” What has it to do with Aqua ? Nothing at all in my opinion.

There is a mere 2.4 ml of liquid in each packet. At least it is not making any claims about hydration. But I do think the name is inappropriate.

Aug 20, 2015 / Richard Hall

Latest summer innovations

Summer is coming to an end, but there’s no let up in quirky innovation. Here are some more recent discoveries I’ve made.

• Cheese ice cream – launched by Adams Foods in the United Kingdom including a cheddar with chutney flavour.

• Blue wine – branded Gik and available online from Spain, with 11.5% alcohol content and colouring from anthocyanin as well as indigo pigments.

• Kendal Mint Cake flavoured liqueur – inevitably from the United Kingdom but now also available in Germany, Switzerland, Thailand and Australia. It has 24% alcohol content and isn’t blue but green.

Aug 18, 2015 / Richard Hall

New sugar guidelines

So the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition has concluded that free sugars should account for no more than 5% of our daily calorie intake.

This is half the previous 10% recommendation. Current average adult consumption is 12% and teenager consumption is 15%.

Radical action will be needed. Balanced and voluntary, I hope.

There was a key comment from the Chief Nutritionist of Public Health England, part of the UK Government Department of Health. She said:

“We’re asking parents to take a big step to establish a lifetime of healthy eating habits for their children by replacing sugary drinks with sugar free and no added sugar drinks, lower fat milks or water.… Sugary drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet but account for almost a third of their daily sugar intake.”

We must listen and act. We cannot ignore this.

Aug 13, 2015 / Richard Hall

Top 10 grocery brands online

Coca-Cola leads the UK rankings for online grocery sales, with Pepsi close behind in 4th place.

One other soft drinks brand joins the overall top 10 – Innocent at 9th.

The remaining top brands include convenience food, a baby product, detergent, bread, cheese and petfood.

The survey was conducted by CheckoutSmart and reported in The Grocer on 25th July.

Aug 11, 2015 / Richard Hall

Over 60 acquisitions in July

July was almost a record month but not quite, with 61 transactions recorded on the international food and drink acquisitions database.

4 involved sums over $500 million, but none over $1,000 million:

• €897 million sales from Spain’s Miquel Alimentacio being taken over by China’s Bright Food Group

• €800 million for Italy’s Lavazza to purchase France’s Carte Noir coffee from Dutch-based Mondelez International

• $680 million for Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods to buy the Russian poultry business of Netherlands-based Agro Invest Brinky

• $640 million for a South Korea packaging joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Sabic and South Korea’s SK Global Chemical.

Of the 61 total, a sizeable 21 were in alcohol, 11 in packaging, 6 in ingredients, 5 in soft drinks, 3 in dairy and 3 in equipment.

An unusually high 48 were across borders and just 13 were within individual countries.

The United States led with involvement in 19, followed closely by the United Kingdom on 18, then the Netherlands on 9; with Brazil, France and Germany on 5; and China, Ireland and Italy on 4.

The biggest sellers were the United Kingdom on 10, Netherlands on 6 and Brazil on 5.

Aug 6, 2015 / Richard Hall

Sugar and sweeteners

DSM recently produced a report on consumer views about low calorie and low sugar products, based on a survey of 5,000 people in Argentina, Mexico, the United States, France and Australia.

69% said they were “concerned about the impact of excess sugar consumption on weight” and 64% agreed that “sugar is a danger to long term health”.

Yet the proportion of people buying low sugar or no sugar products in carbonated soft drinks, flavoured water, flavoured yogurt and juice ranged from just 20% to 41%.

I’d be really interested to learn from the next DSM survey why people aren’t consuming more light and zero drinks as this seems to be such a key question.

Aug 4, 2015 / Richard Hall

Help from healthy beverage index

Following in the footsteps of a Healthy Eating Index, attempts are now being made to devise a commonly accepted Healthy Beverage Index.

The rationale is that US dietary guidelines need elaboration for individual cases and a scoring system for a healthier beverage balance has been outlined in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The researchers felt too much attention was being paid to sugar-sweetened beverages and too little to overall intake quality.

The objective is to reach a score of 100, based on consuming 2.65 litres of liquid per day with an energy value of 196 calories.

The challenge is that the current average US adult score is 56, based on consuming 1.74 litres weighing in at 490 calories.

The optimum “shows water as the major source of total fluids, with skim milk and red wine as beverages contributing energy”, whereas the current pattern “shows water and soda as the primary sources of fluids, with soda and a vanilla latte contributing to beverage energy”.

Whatever the system, it has to reach where it is needed most.