Skip to content
Aug 7, 2018 / Richard Hall

Who’s responsible for our health ?

Another new UK report – there has been a flurry this summer – shows who the public think is responsible for our health.

The report was issued to mark the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service and included the findings from a survey of 2,083 adults aged 15 or over in May 2018.

This is significant because the United Kingdom has the highest obesity levels in West Europe and the report described healthy lifestyles as “the most important influence on people’s health.”

In answer to the question “How much responsibility, if any, do you think that each of the following have for ensuring that people generally stay healthy?”

• 97% said the individual
• 68% said the National Health Service
• 61% said the national government
• 55% said local government and
• 75% said the food and drinks industry.

Yes … food and drink companies are being held more accountable than government.

Aug 2, 2018 / Richard Hall

Obesity rising again

The second noteworthy report of the past two weeks was from Ofsted, the English Office for Standards in Education, on “Obesity, Healthy Eating And Physical Activity In Primary Schools”, which are for children aged from 5 to 11.

This found some quite healthy aspects of what children consume at school:

• 72% of lunches packed by parents included fruit, 49% yogurt and 48% a sandwich or wrap with meat, though 60% included crisps.

• 42% of accompanying drinks were water, 34% fruit juice, 22% dilutables and just 2% carbonated soft drinks.

• 68% of schools surveyed had policies on acceptable drinks.

And yet … And yet the number of severely obese children aged 10 to 11 had risen from 3.17% in 2006/07 to 4.07% in 2016/17, the highest level on record.

Jul 31, 2018 / Richard Hall

Shortcomings of sugar taxes

Two revealing reports on obesity have just been published in Britain.

One is from the much respected, independent Institute of Economic Affairs under the provocative title “Of Course Sin Taxes Are Regressive.”

It doesn’t pull its punches and concludes, as I have already perhaps too often opined myself:

• ‘Taxes on sugary drinks have never been shown to reduce overall calorie intake or obesity in any of the places they have been tried.’

• ‘The impact on overall calorie consumption is usually trivial and trends to be weaker among low income groups.’

• ‘Sugar taxes cost low income households up to 10 times as much as they cost high income groups (as a share of income).’

Jul 12, 2018 / Richard Hall

Dairy brands high in global rankings

Out of 43 countries assessed by Kantar Worldpanel for brand strength of consumer preference, dairy brands came top overall in 10:


This was in spite of global brands having a lower share in dairy than any other sector. Local brands accounted for 80% of dairy spending, with global brands making up the remaining 20%.

Jul 10, 2018 / Richard Hall

Top global food and drink brands

Kantar Worldpanel’s latest ranking of consumer brands has amazing coverage and contrasts.

The analysis encompasses 18,000 brands across 43 countries that account for 75% of the world’s economy. The 5 chosen sectors include beverages, dairy and food but exclude alcohol. To be considered, a brand has to be available in 2 continents. The measure used is active consumer choice during 2016/17.

Among beverages and dairy, the top brands are:
Blog-10JULY2018-Top Global Food and drink brands

In online reach, Yoplait, Wall’s and Tropicana score more highly than any of these, with President also in the top 25.

Global brands account for just 20% of dairy spending, compared to 38% for beverages.

Local brands increased their overall share slightly in 2017 to 64.6%, up from 63.8% in 2015.

Jul 5, 2018 / Richard Hall

58 acquisitions in June

A total of 58 transactions were recorded in the mergers and acquisitions database for food and drink deals in June 2018.

3 topped $500 million, with one of them amounting to over $10,000 million:

• $10,900 million in frozen food for Conagra to buy Pinnacle Foods in the United States

• £1,450 million in packaging for UK-based DS Smith to purchase Spain-based Europac

• $600 million also in packaging for Platinum Equity to gain 51% of Ball’s steel food assets in the United States.

12 of the equity initiatives were funding rounds of various kinds.

Of the 58, 13 were in alcohol, 7 in soft drinks, 5 in packaging, 5 in services and 3 each in dairy, ingredients, meat and snacks.

35 were within individual countries, including 24 in the United States and 7 in the United Kingdom.

23 were international, involving 20 countries.

Overall, the United States featured in 33, the United Kingdom in 17, Spain in 4, France in 3 and the Netherlands in 3.

Jul 3, 2018 / Richard Hall

3 weeks to decompose water bottle

I read it too. A story from Australia. It sounds so good. But I question its wisdom.

The Choose Water bottle has an outer lining of recycled paper and an inner lining of composite material. The bottle “can fully decompose within 3 weeks when left in water or landfill and can be eaten by sea creatures.”

Surely the solution is not to encourage disposal, but instead to collect and re-use ?

More sea creatures will be saved that way than by decomposition.

I have doubts too about shelf life and product integrity, but what about the label and the cap ?

Apparently, “the steel cap on the bottle will also rust and fully decompose in about a year.” I’m not sure that can be true or desirable.

Jun 28, 2018 / Richard Hall

Strong growth for organic

Organic food and drink sales now seem back in strong growth almost everywhere, even where they had slowed or fallen in recent years.

The latest US figures from the Organic Trade Association highlight the successes, but also point to some interesting contradictions.

• 6.4% growth in 2017 to a record $45.2 billion from 24,000 certified organic operations and now accounting for 5.5% of overall retail value.

• Fruit and vegetables the largest segment, up 5.3% to $16.5 billion.

• Dairy and egg in second place, up a much lower 0.9% to $6.5 billion, but organic dairy ice cream was up more than 9% and organic cheese up nearly 8%.

• Beverages in third place, up 10.5% to $5.9 billion, led by fresh juices up 25% to $1.2 billion in contrast to continuing declines for non-organic juices.