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Apr 17, 2014 / Richard Hall

Add beer to barbecue meat

We’re coming up to the barbecue season in Europe, but grilled meat is not as healthy as it might be.

New research from Portugal, where Zenith held its Global Soft Drinks Congress last week, has found an answer. Marinade with beer.

It’s all to do with anti-oxidants and apparently dark beer is much more effective than light beer.

Apr 15, 2014 / Richard Hall

Water discovery

Scientists have been looking for life in other parts of the Universe for decades. The presence of water has been deemed a defining factor.

As with the proverbial no 11 bus, you wait for ages and suddenly three prospects come along at once.

The leading contender is one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus. It is reported to have an ocean of liquid water 10 kilometres deep under a 30-40 kilometre thick layer of ice.

This echoes The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.

Apr 8, 2014 / Richard Hall

36 acquisitions in March

A somewhat slower month for food and drink transactions recorded on the mergers and acquisitions database, but still more than one per day and with five involving sums over $1,000 million:

• $10,200 million sales from Brazilian sugar trader Copersucar combining in a 50:50 joint venture with Cargill

• $5,700 million for Singapore’s Temasek to buy A S Watson from China’s Hutchison Whampoa, including its bottled water business

• $4,600 million sales from the banana merger between US Chiquita Brands and Ireland’s Fyffes

• $1,010 million for two North American bakery purchases by Switzerland’s Aryzta

• $1,000 million for Goldman Sachs and Vestar to acquire US baker Hearthside Food Solutions.

Of the 36 total, 8 were in soft drinks, 6 in alcohol, 4 in ingredients and 3 each in bakery, dairy and packaging.

18 were international and 18 within national borders. The United States took part in 14, the United Kingdom in 8, Canada and China in 4, and Italy and Switzerland in 3.

Apr 1, 2014 / Richard Hall

Water into wine

I do realise it is April Fool’s Day today, but this was reported in the French LSA magazine last week and is claimed to be available through Amazon.

The appropriately named Miracle Machine literally turns water into wine, including a wine aroma.

The trick is a concentrate priced at 2 euros. The catch is the cost of the machine at 499 euros.

Miracle or mirage ?

Mar 27, 2014 / Richard Hall

From water enhancers to milk enhancers

It was only a matter of time.

It always seemed to me that adding flavour to water from pocket-sized syrup packs had to be the opening for a broader opportunity.

Why not cocktails, coffee or dairy ?

Well, it’s already begun to happen with milk. The first example I’ve seen was the launch of MilkSplash in the United States and was reported on earlier this week.

Mar 25, 2014 / Richard Hall

Bottled water vs cola

The prospect of bottled water sales overtaking cola in Britain has been heralded in the latest issue of The Grocer magazine. Danone’s Head of Category Development has said it will happen by 2017.

The retail figures for 2013 are impressive:

• bottled water value up 10.5%, soft drinks value up 3.9%
• 4% more households buying bottled water and 9% increase in average weight of purchase.

But can it really happen ? According to Nestlé, it already has – in the four weeks to 20 July 2013 – though only by volume rather than value.

Mar 18, 2014 / Richard Hall

Beer-based sports drink

All kinds of things are happening to beer. Fruit flavours. Spirit mixes. Now recovery ale.

A Canadian company called Vampt will shortly be launching Lean Machine as an alternative post-workout drink.

High in protein and low in alcohol at just 0.5%, Lean Machine is designed to “have the properties of a sports drink without the dehydrating effects of alcohol.”


Mar 13, 2014 / Richard Hall

47 acquisitions in February

February was an energetic month for food and drink transactions, with 47 recorded on the database including 3 over $1 billion:

• C$1,830 million for Mexico’s Bimbo to buy Canada Bread
• $1,300 million for China’s Cofco to take a 51% stake in the Dutch Nidera agribusiness
• $1,250 million for Coca-Cola to gain a 10% share of US Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Of the 47, 10 were in packaging, 6 in dairy, 6 in ingredients, 4 in alcohol and 4 in soft drinks.

27 were within national borders and 20 international, spread across 20 countries. The United States featured in 24, the United Kingdom in 13 and China in 5.