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Apr 28, 2017 / Richard Hall

Bottled water environmental impact

The International Bottled Water Association issued some encouraging statistics to coincide with Earth Day on 21 April. For bottled water in the United States:

• The average weight of a 50cl PET bottle has fallen to 9.25 grams, under 40% of the 23.9 gram average for soda.

• It takes just 1.32 litres of water to produce 1 litre of finished product, the lowest for any packaged beverage.

• Less energy is required than for any other packaged drink.

• Using recycled PET requires 84% less energy than virgin PET.

• Water cooler bottles are re-used 30-50 times and then recycled.

• The share of beverage containers that end up in landfills is 66.7% glass, 13.3% soda PET, 7.9% aluminium and 3.3% water PET.

Apr 25, 2017 / Richard Hall

Food and you – part 2

The UK Food Standards Agency has now issued the detailed tables behind its 4th biennial Food & You Survey, based on interviews with 3,118 adults in 2016. They show what I think is best summarised as less good and less bad than you might expect.

26% miss out on dairy daily and 63% miss out on cooked vegetables daily.

The biggest changes appear to be an increase in eggs 3 or more times a week from 31% in 2012 to 35% in 2016 and a drop in beef, lamb or pork 3 or more times a week from 26% in 2012 to 18% in 2016.

There have been relatively minor changes in the consumption of fruit, vegetables or fish.

I do hope the next survey includes beverages as well.

Apr 18, 2017 / Richard Hall

Food and you

The UK Food Standards Agency has just published its 4th biennial Food & You Survey, based on interviews with 3,118 adults in 2016. It found:

• 96% were not vegetarian or vegan.

• 80% reported no adverse reactions or avoidance of certain foods.

• Of the 20% who did report reactions or avoidance, 22% mentioned dairy and 13% mentioned gluten.

• Of the same 20%, 43% said a food allergy had been clinically diagnosed and 24% said a food intolerance had been clinically diagnosed.

• 74% reported consuming milk and dairy products at least once a day, higher than in previous surveys.

• 92% eat fish 1-2 times a week.

• 85% eat eggs 3-4 times a week.

• 54% eat fruit 1 or more times a day.

• 30% eat chicken or turkey 3-4 times a week.

• 17% eat red meat 3-4 times a week.

Apr 13, 2017 / Richard Hall

Adult drinks without alcohol

Last August, I wrote about leading alcohol companies showing greater interest in adult drinks with less or no alcohol. Since then, there has been a stream of new zero proof drink launches.

Attention is also growing for adult soft drinks that draw on some of alcohol’s characteristics to create a premium experience and justify a super-premium price.

None more so, perhaps, than two restaurants in London charging wine prices for tea in wine glasses, paired with specific dishes.

• Claridge’s now offers four teas at up to £18 for 50cl.

• Club Gascon has selected three teas to accompany a five course meal for £15.

Both restaurants now have a tea sommelier and lavish considerable detail on how they’ve arrived at an even more special brew.

You might ask why it’s taken so long. Water sommeliers have been around for years and Norway’s Svalbardi is on sale at Harrod’s for the equivalent of $99 a bottle.

Apr 11, 2017 / Richard Hall

20 year view of world economy

The Economist published a 20 year view of the global economy on 1st April, giving an even longer perspective on my favourite chart, which I like so much because it summarises world economic growth in a single line.

What it shows is remarkable stability over the past 5 years, with growth consistently close to 3%, though the last quarter of 2016 was a slightly lower 2.8%. This compares with a similar average but more volatility in the late 1990s and early 2000s, then 4 years of 4% plus growth from 2004 to 2007 before a plunge to -2% in 2009 and surge to +5% in 2010.

China and India have gained in importance, contributing over 50% of global growth at the end of 2016. The United States and Europe have become secondary contributors. My sense is that growth this year will be more widely spread, rather than being as dependent on so few countries.


Apr 6, 2017 / Richard Hall

Top 10 new US brands in 2016

Beverages took the top 3 places among all new US food and drink launches last year and 8 of the top 10 places in convenience outlets.

IRI recorded first year sales for hundreds of new products and ranked them for its 2016 New Product Pacesetters report. It found:

• The top 200 brands achieved combined sales of $5,800 million.
• 80% of the brands came from small and medium sized companies.
• The three key success criteria were “prevention, personalisation and pizzazz”.

The top 3 sellers overall were:

1 DairyPure (consolidation of regional brands) $1,163m
2 Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cups $204m
3 Not Your Father’s Root Beer $115m

In convenience stores, energy drinks accounted for 5 of the top 10, led by Red Bull’s summer edition on $149 million.

Apr 4, 2017 / Richard Hall

58 acquisitions in March

The climate warmed up for food and drink transactions in March, with 58 recorded during the month on the global database.

There were 3 involving sums over $1,000 million:

• $3,200 million for the sale of Sealed Air’s Diversey Care services division to Bain Capital

• $1,600 million for FMC Corporation to take on parts of DuPont’s crop protection business at the same time as divesting its health and nutrition business

• $1,050 million for Germany’s Henkel to buy Darex Packaging Technologies from US based GCP Applied Technologies.

Among the 58 total, 10 were in alcohol, 8 in dairy, 8 in ingredients, 7 in soft drinks, 4 in packaging and 3 in bakery.

29 were within national borders – 14 of these in the United States, 8 in the United Kingdom and 4 in Australia. 29 were international, involving 30 countries.

The United States featured in 24, the United Kingdom in 10, Australia in 6, France in 6, Italy in 4, Netherlands in 4, Switzerland in 4 and Germany in 3.

Mar 30, 2017 / Richard Hall

Combating obesity

In The Sugar Debate at last week’s International Food Exhibition in London, I also made two new additional suggestions that could just possibly help. I’d be most interested in your views or other ideas.

• Restaurants could offer a three quarter size portion for three quarters of the normal price.

• A ‘manage with one’ sugar campaign could encourage a reduction from two or three spoonfuls in tea and coffee.

Light touches, perhaps, but we have to go further than current policies.