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Oct 27, 2016 / Richard Hall

More calories from alcohol than soft drinks

A recent report on consumption patterns in 24 countries shows calories from alcohol generally exceed those from soft drinks, sometimes by a substantial amount.

In South Korea, alcohol consumption averages 168 calories per day, compared with soft drinks at 44 calories per day.

Alcohol calories topped soft drinks calories in 23 of the 24 countries studied including China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom. The UK margin is much narrower, between 106 calories from alcohol and 98 from sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

Only in Taiwan were soft drink calories higher than alcohol calories. The United States was not included in the study.

It’s clear that policy makers have to look at all calories when considering national diets, not just those that have the highest profile.

Oct 25, 2016 / Richard Hall

Changing UK diet

According to the latest National Dietary and Nutrition Survey for Public Health England, British consumers are already responding to concerns about sugar in a big way:

• 23% reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks by children aged 4 to 10 from 130ml per day in 2008-10 to 100ml in 2012-14.
• 8% fall in teenagers’ sugar intake from soft drinks in just two years.

But overall sugar consumption remains higher than recommended for almost all population groups.

The failure to improve on low consumption of fruit and vegetables was also striking, with a minority of all age groups meeting Government 5-a-day recommendations:

• just 8% of 11-18 year olds
• 27% of adults aged 19-64
• 35% of people aged 65 or more.

Teenagers eat an average 2.8 portions a day, compared with 3.9 for men under 65 and 4.1 for women under 65.

The average daily calorie intake was lower than 1 expected at 2,107 calories for men under 65 and 1,595 calories for women under 65.

Oct 20, 2016 / Richard Hall

Eight glasses a day wrongly challenged

An Australian study has concluded that globally accepted guidelines to drink 8 glasses of water a day are unnecessary.

The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute associate professor behind it said people have “died, in certain circumstances, because they slavishly followed these recommendations.”

The research discovered a new “swallowing reflex” that protects us, becoming “inhibited once enough water has been drunk”.

We are advised to “just drink according to thirst rather than an elaborate schedule.”

I fear this is actually very bad advice from the wrong conclusion.

Of course, we have some resistance to all over-consumption. And, of course, extreme over-consumption of anything can be dangerous.

But my understanding is that the full weight of scientific evidence points to us anticipating hunger early, while becoming thirsty late.

So we need these guidelines to encourage us to hydrate. And even low levels of dehydration affect us quite seriously.

The Australian researchers acknowledge this for elderly people.

Academic research is often blown out of proportion by the media. But academics have a responsibility too.

This report was based on just 20 participants and apparently didn’t correlate with other factors.

Oct 18, 2016 / Richard Hall

Facts you could do without

But they make some interesting points. My thanks to Aqua Maestro in the United States and my eldest daughter in Britain.

• Americans now recycle over 1 million single-serve PET water bottles every hour.

• More than 150 US colleges use graduation gowns and caps made from recycled PET.

• The average weight of a 50cl PET water bottle in the United States has halved since 2000 to under 10 grams.

• A pop up bar in London last month handed out free mineral water, while displaying 10 regional varieties of sea water with messages to highlight the dangers of swimming in the sea. An average 22 people are rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution every day.

• 4 members of the Zenith team successfully completed the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s H2Only challenge, raising hundreds of pounds in the process. For 10 days, the only drink they were allowed to consume was water.

Oct 13, 2016 / Richard Hall

Coke and Pepsi save water

To mark World Water Week recently, both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo showed how seriously they have acted on water stewardship and waste.

PepsiCo declared it had provided 9 million people with access to safe water since 2005. Coca-Cola has reached a further 2 million in Africa.

PepsiCo reduced its absolute water usage in 2015, despite manufacturing volume growth.

Coca-Cola announced it had become the first Fortune 500 company to replenish more water than it uses. In 2015, it used 300 billion litres and returned 338 billion litres. The Coke system now uses 27% less water per litre of product than in 2004, just 1.98 litres per litre of product.

Oct 11, 2016 / Richard Hall

52 acquisitions in September

September notched up 52 food and drink industry transactions on the mergers and acquisitions database.

3 involved sums greater than $1,000 million, 2 of them many times more:

• $66,000 million for Germany’s Bayer to buy US-based Monsanto with interests in agribusiness and ingredients.

• $9,900 million sales from the merger of Coca-Cola West and Coca-Cola East Japan to form Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan from April 2017.

• $1,090 million for Coca-Cola Femsa in Mexico to purchase fellow Coca-Cola bottler Vonpar in Brazil.

Among the 52 total, 11 were in alcohol, 8 in ingredients, 6 in packaging, 6 in soft drinks, 3 in confectionery and 3 in dairy.

21 were within national borders and 31 international. 26 featured the United States, 11 the United Kingdom, 6 France, 5 Switzerland, 4 Germany, 3 Australia, 3 Mexico and 3 the Netherlands.

Oct 6, 2016 / Richard Hall

Carton recycling hits 44% in Europe

Carton recycling in the European Union is at last within sight of reaching 50%. From under 30% in 2005, it has risen to 44% in 2015.

That represents a gigantic 16,000 million cartons. Apparently, the combined figure for recycling and energy recovery is an even higher 74%.

The recycling tonnage, however, has fallen slightly. But even that may be a good sign, if lightweighting requires less material.


Oct 4, 2016 / Richard Hall

Global outlook for fruit juice

Tetra Pak’s latest Index report on 100% juice presents an upbeat tone, based on extensive research including a survey of consumers in their thousands across 7 of the world’s top 10 markets. This found that:

• Over 80% of consumers see pure fruit juice as tasty, natural, healthy and refreshing.
• 42% drink it at least once a day.
• 47% is consumed at breakfast.
• More than 90% is consumed at home.
• 63% of respondents were aware of the sugar debate, but only 12% of these reported any doubts.
• For lapsed users, the leading replacement is water on 57% and tea on 36%.

Among other findings, I noted:

• Orange accounts for 46% of global consumption and apple 17%. Coconut has risen to … 1%.
• Premium not from concentrate juices have grown to take 29% of volume.
• Most of the leading national markets are forecast to remain static or declining, with the exception of significant growth from Brazil and China.