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Nov 16, 2017 / Richard Hall

2.3 billion people overweight

Another major study has found that childhood obesity worldwide has multiplied 10 times in 40 years.

124 million 5 to 19 year olds were obese in 2016, compared with 11 million in 1975. Another 213 million were overweight in 2016.

Obesity now affects 6% of girls and 8% of boys. Yet there are also 75 million girls and 117 million boys who are underweight.

Adult obesity over the same period has increased from 100 million to 671 million, with a further 1,300 million overweight.

The World Health Organisation analysis attributes the causes of increased obesity to food marketing, higher pricing of healthy food and government polices.

I have long argued that government policies are lacking. I also accept that food innovation and marketing has been effective. But I disagree that healthy food is any more or less affordable than other food.

Nov 14, 2017 / Richard Hall

Food link to health and death

Good diet, better health. Bad diet, worse life, earlier death.

The evidence of how our food affects our health has never been stronger.

Last month, a study involving 2,500 researchers across 130 countries concluded that:

• Poor diet was associated with 18.8% of all deaths in 2016 – primarily too little wholegrains, fruit, nuts, seeds and fish oil and too much salt.

• High body mass index was the 4th largest contributor to loss of health, after high blood pressure, smoking and high blood sugar.

• 3 of the top 4 factors therefore involve our diet.

Fortunately, there was good news too.

2016 was the first year that less than 5 million children died under the age of 5. In 1990 the number was 11 million.

Nov 7, 2017 / Richard Hall

58 acquisitions in October

58 food and drink mergers, acquisitions and investments were recorded on the database for October.

7 exceeded $500 million and 3 of these reached $1,000 million, led by:

• €1,623 million in soft drinks for PAI private equity based in France and others to buy Refresco based in Netherlands

• $1,600 million for Graphic Packaging to purchase International Paper’s North American consumer packaging business

• $1,000 million in dairy for Canada’s Saputo to acquire Australia’s Murray Goulburn.

Among the 58, 13 were in soft drinks, 10 in alcohol, 8 in ingredients, 6 in packaging, 5 in dairy and 5 in snacks.

31 were international and 27 within national borders, including 14 in the United States and 4 in Australia.

32 countries featured – more than usual. The United States participated in 22, Germany in 6, Australia and the United Kingdom in 5, France and the Netherlands in 4. Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Thailand were involved in 3. Others included Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Peru and Saudi Arabia.

Nov 2, 2017 / Richard Hall

Facts behind Jamie’s restaurant sugar levy

The headlines read that a 10 pence levy on sugar-sweetened beverages in 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants from 1 September 2015 reduced sales by 11.0% after 12 weeks.

What was missing from many reports of the study were a number of contradictory facts and questions.

• Sales recovered by 1.7% in the following 12 weeks.

• What happened since March 2016 ?

• While sugar-sweetened beverage sales had fallen 9.3% at 6 months, sales of diet cola had also dropped by 7.3%.

• More surprisingly, bottled water sales decreased by 6.5% even though its overall market is growing and fruit juice increased by 21.8% even though its overall market is declining. Yet children’s fruit juice was down 9.9%.

Confused ? Well …

• The research didn’t measure other beverage or tap water consumption.

• Nor did it examine the impact of “supporting activity including beverage menu redesign, new products and establishment of a children’s health fund from levy proceeds” plus a dedicated television programme.

So much for the headlines.

Oct 31, 2017 / Richard Hall

43% less packaging in 8 years

This is really an extraordinary achievement. It’s not as if packaging was first invented in 2007. Environmental concerns and lightweighting were well under way long before then.

So a reduction of 42.8% across all materials – glass and HDPE as well as PET – by 2015 is remarkable.

The average amount of bottle material used for packaged water in North America has fallen from just over 34 grams per litre to 19.5 grams per litre.

Among other findings of the new Quantis study:

• Bottled water accounted for 0.11% of all US greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.

• Bottled water’s US carbon footprint is 183 grams of CO2 equivalent per litre, compared with 539 grams per litre for carbonated soft drinks.

• Non-renewable energy usage for bottled water is 0.3% of the US total.

• Solid waste from bottled water is 0.11% of the US municipal total.

• Bottled water requires just 0.32 extra litres of water in production for each litre in a bottle.

Oct 26, 2017 / Richard Hall

Drinks top 12 in France

For retail sales of beverages in France during the 12 months to mid-August 2017, who would you expect to be the top companies ?

According to Nielsen Scantrack, as published in Rayon Boissons magazine, the leader is not Pernod Ricard but Coca-Cola. Orangina Suntory beats PepsiCo and Nestlé Waters beats Danone. Anheuser-Busch InBev and Roxane are the two fastest growing, both achieving growth of 10% or more.


Oct 24, 2017 / Richard Hall

Wasted water

Today, Zenith is hosting its 14th annual Global Bottled Water Congress in Barcelona – a topical place to be.

Our theme is ‘Flowing with purpose’, but there seems to be a staggering amount of water flowing without purpose.

Bottled water companies regard water as their most precious resource, to be protected and conserved with all possible care. Tap water companies clearly have different challenges and priorities, because the extent of wasted water leaking from their pipes is enormous.

Only 8 countries in the world consume more than 120 litres of bottled water per person per year.

Yet this was the average number of litres lost through leaks per property in Britain per day in the past year. Yes, per day.

European Commission analysis shows similarly disturbing leakage figures across Europe.

Surely we can do better than this ?

Oct 12, 2017 / Richard Hall

Refillable bottles from Coca-Cola

This seems as if it’s one to watch.

Coca-Cola European Partners has introduced refillable bottles for students and staff at the University of Reading in England, so they can select from over 100 drinks options using Freestyle dispense machines.

The 591ml bottles, which cost £9.95 including 2 free refills, contain a microchip that allows for pre-payment of £12.00 for 10 servings or £39.95 for unlimited use during an academic term.

The University calculated that it disposed of 650,000 plastic bottles last year. 1,500 refillable bottles have been purchased so far.

Filtered water is available free from the vending machines, whatever bottle people bring.

The project is designed not only to encourage healthier choices and reduce waste, it will also cut emissions from deliveries.

Of course, the initial experiments were made in the United States. This is the first international trial.