Europeans Care about Their Food

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Two in five Europeans take a personal interest in food safety and only one in five say it is their main concern when choosing food. For most Europeans, it is one of several factors – together with price, taste, nutrition and food origin – that influence their eating habits and food choices.

The most important factors for Europeans when buying food are where the food comes from (53%), cost (51%), food safety (50%) and taste (49%). Nutritional content is slightly less important (44%), while ethics and beliefs rank lowest (19%). Overall, 41% of respondents say that they are ‘personally interested in the topic of food safety’. Just over one fifth of Europeans (22%) say that safety is their main concern when choosing food.

Two-thirds of Europeans (66%) have changed their consumption after receiving information about a food risk. For 33% the change was permanent; for the other 33% only for a while.

Changes in consumption behavior are more common among women, those in the middle age bands, and those with higher levels of education.

The most frequently cited concerns are ‘antibiotic, hormone or steroid residues in meat’ (44%), ‘pesticide residues in food’ (39%), ‘environmental pollutants in fish, meat or dairy’ (37%) and ‘additives like colors, preservatives or flavorings used in food or drinks’ (36%).

Trust is highest in scientists (82%) and consumer organizations (79%) for information on food-related risks, followed by farmers (69%), national authorities (60%), EU institutions (58%), NGOs (56%) and journalists (50%). Fewer people trust supermarkets and restaurants (43%), food industries (36%) and celebrities, bloggers and influencers (19%).

Just over two in five respondents (43%) say that ‘there are regulations in place to make sure that the food you eat is safe’. Three in ten (28%) know that ‘to decide how risky something could be for you to eat; the EU relies on scientists to give expert advice’.

The study published on World Food Safety Day gives “consumers, producers and governments a chance to focus on an issue that is often taken for granted” according to the United Nations. The survey results suggest that most Europeans (55%) have a high level of awareness of food safety topics and two-thirds have changed their behavior as a result of receiving information about food safety issues.

“I am delighted that finally there is a day that marks the importance of food safety and recognizes the valuable work of women and men, farmers, veterinarians, agronomists, chefs, and so many more, who work hard every day to make sure that the food that goes on our plates is safe. The results of this study show that Europeans have a high level of awareness of food safety topics and care what they eat. This gives us even greater motivation to continue our work in ensuring that our high standards are maintained and also strive to achieve more sustainable production and consumption patterns,” said commissioner for health and food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis.



The FAO Food Price Index rises further

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» The FAO Food Price Index* (FFPI) continued to rise for the fifth consecutive month, averaging 172.4 points in May 2019, up 1.2 percent (2.1 points) from April but still 1.9 percent below its level in the corresponding month last year. While prices for sugar and oils fell, the other sub-indices registered increases in May, led again by strong month-on-month firming of prices of dairy products followed by cereals.

» The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 162.3 points in May, up 1.4 percent (2.2 points) from April. However, at this level, the index remained some 6 percent below its May 2018 value. The small month-on-month increase was entirely driven by a sudden surge in maize quotations in response to diminishing production prospects in the United States. By contrast, wheat price quotations were generally lower in May in view of good global supply prospects and adequate export availabilities. FAO’s rice price index held steady for the third successive month, as a mild increase in aromatic quotations was offset by slight price declines in most other rice market segments.

» The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 127.4 points in May, shedding 1.3 points (or 1.1 percent) from April and lingering well below its year-earlier level. The drop mainly reflected lower values of palm oil, whereas prices of soy, sunflower and rapeseed oils appreciated modestly. The further drop in international palm oil quotations was tied to continued pressure from large inventory levels in leading exporting countries as well as falling mineral oil prices. In the meantime, soy and sunflower oil prices received some support from firm global import demand, while rapeseed oil values were underpinned by concerns over reduced crop prospects in the EU.

» The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 226.1 points in May, up 11.2 points (5.2 percent) from April, pushing the index 24.2 percent higher than at the start of the year and closer to a five-year high. A sharp upswing in cheese price quotations was mainly behind the strong increase in May, with other dairy products represented in the index also remaining above their January levels. The dairy price increase reflected robust global import demand amid tight export availabilities from Oceania, as drought conditions reinforced the seasonal decline in milk production. Concerns over milk production in Europe also provided support to prices.

» The FAO Meat Price Index* averaged 170.2 points in May, up marginally from April and continuing the moderate month-on-month price increases registered since the beginning of the year. In May, pig meat quotations continued to rise due to strong import demand, especially from East Asia, primarily driven by production declines associated with the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in the region. Ovine meat prices also received a push from robust import demand, notwithstanding record export volumes from Oceania, while poultry meat prices remained stable reflecting well-balanced market conditions. By contrast, price quotations of bovine meat eased from the highs recorded in April, reflecting elevated global export supplies.

» The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 176 points in May 2019, down 5.8 points (3.2 percent) from April. The latest monthly decline in international sugar prices was largely driven by the prospects of increased sugar output in India, the world’s largest sugar producer. In addition, weaker international energy prices negatively affected international sugar prices by encouraging producers to process sugarcane into sugar instead of ethanol. Reports that Brazil sugar production in 2018/19 marketing year, which ended on 31 March 2019, registered a fall of 17 percent year-on-year, were not sufficient to offset the downward pressure on prices.

* Unlike for other commodity groups, most prices utilized in the calculation of the FAO Meat Price Index are not available when the FAO Food Price Index is computed and published; therefore, the value of the Meat Price Index for the most recent months is derived from a mixture of projected and observed prices. This can, at times, require significant revisions in the final value of the FAO Meat Price Index which could in turn influence the value of the FAO Food Price Index.

Download full dataset: Excel, CSV

Download full dataset: Excel


Dawn Foods launches Donut 2.0 Project

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Global bakery leader Dawn Foods launches Donut 2.0 Project to respond to increased consumer demand for unique baked good offerings.

Dawn Foods, a global manufacturer and ingredients supplier to bakeries around the world,   announced – on National Donut Day – its Donut 2.0 project. For nearly 100 years, Dawn has partnered with bakers around the world to help them push boundaries and deliver original tastes and flavors to their customers. Now, in recognition of the company’s upcoming 100th anniversary in 2020, Dawn will unveil a new donut concept that will delight consumers and drive the industry for years to come.

Kicking off June 25, Dawn Foods will bring five award-winning pastry chefs together to compete for their chance to partner with Dawn to create a groundbreaking new donut texture at the company’s Innovation Studio in Jackson, Mich. The chefs include James Beard award recipients and chefs from Michelin star restaurants.

“Donuts are in our DNA. Dawn developed the first industrial donut mix nearly 100 years ago and today, this innovative and entrepreneurial spirit continues to drive our thinking,” said Carrie Jones-Barber, chief executive officer of Dawn Foods. “Consumers are looking for new experiences with traditional classics. We know the donut is undergoing a fun, exciting revival and no one is better poised than Dawn to take the opportunity to deliver on this. Through Dawn’s Donut 2.0 project, our goal is to help our bakery customers wow consumers with a new donut they’ve never seen before.”

The pastry chefs will showcase their concepts side-by-side to a panel of judges, including Miles Jones, Chairman of the Board and former R&D Director, Chief Marketing Officer Angie Goldberg, Sr. Director of Global Market Research & Insights Jennifer LaPaugh, Director of Research and Development Ben Brue and V.P National Technical Sales Paul Caske. Judging criteria for each chef will include taste, texture, creativity and originality, appearance, and feasibility.

The five Donut 2.0 pastry chefs include:

  • Chef Sharyn Harding – Executive Pastry Chef, Heirloom Hospitality, Detroit
  • Chef Sandra Holl – Owner and Executive Pastry Chef, Floriole Café & Bakery, Chicago
  • Chef Jove Hubbard – Executive Pastry Chef, Chicago Athletic Association
  • Chef Mathew Rice – Executive Pastry Chef, Niche Food Group, Nashville
  • Chef Toni Roberts – Executive Pastry Chef, the Wit Hotel, Chicago

“Donut mashups are more popular than ever,” said Melissa Trimmer, senior application chef at Dawn Foods. “Similar to the hit phenomena around the CronutTM, consumers are looking for more mashups and ‘new’ takes on old favorites. This contest brings together some of the most talented pastry chefs around the country with the skills and determination to discover the next donut sensation.”

Following the competition, the winning chef will return to the Innovation Studio and work together with Dawn’s R&D team to transform their concept into a commercial mix for bakers. Then, the new donut prototype will hit shelves in early 2020.

The Donut 2.0 program is the latest example of Dawn’s commitment to delivering fresh ideas and innovative thinking to help their customers continue to grow and thrive. Recently, Dawn released its Gourmet Donuts offerings, which includes 12 new unique donut recipes for customers to create unique donuts from materials they use daily to increase profitability and drive repeat sales from consumers.

For updates on the program, please follow along on Dawn’s Facebook and Instagram.



Inside Pan Pepin’s master plan for expansion

Looking out the window on final descent toward San Juan, Puerto Rico, a few blue tarps are the last visual reminders of the devastation left from Hurricanes Irma and Maria that rocked the island in 2017. Driving through the streets reveals a city in full swing with restaurants serving up local cuisine and rooftop bartenders crafting mojitos over a breathtaking ocean view.

And in the town of Bayamon, the lush landscaping of Pan Pepin’s campus-style headquarters reflects the island’s beauty, not the destruction it survived.

In fact, this producer of bread, buns and tortillas barely missed a beat. While cranking out products to feed islanders in need, Pan Pepin also resumed construction for its new facility to house a bread line mere weeks after the disaster. That certainly says something about the strength of not only the bakery but also the Puerto Rican culture.

“Most employees were back to work within a couple of days, even though they were dealing with the aftermath at home,” recalled Mario Somoza, president of Pan Pepin. “That’s a testament to their commitment and resilience.”

Truly understanding how Pan Pepin accomplished all of this with a mere two-month setback on the 52,000-square-foot facility in the wake of destruction requires a closer look at a story that goes back further than the storms.

Growth beyond the odds

Despite the vibrant surroundings, running a bakery on an island with a little more than 3 million people is not without its challenges.

Outsiders may think of Puerto Rico and picture paradise. While there’s some truth to that — not many manufacturing facilities have a koi pond outside the entrance — the reality is not about living a lavish island life. Pan Pepin has worked hard to grow despite more than a decade of economic hurdles.

“We’ve had an economic crisis on the island for the past 12 years,” Mr. Somoza said. “It’s already had an impact with the people emigrating to find new opportunities in the U.S. Then the storms hit and made it worse.”

Mr. Somoza estimated that nearly a million people have left the island representing a 20% decline in the population.

“That’s fewer mouths to feed, which causes the market to contract,” he said.

Still, Pan Pepin found itself at capacity and ready to expand. In 2010, the company leased two buildings next door, which had been part of a window manufacturing company, and purchased them two years later. Initially the plan was to install a new bread line in one of the acquired buildings; historically, that’s how Pan Pepin addressed growth.

“The way the company had always grown was ad hoc,” Mr. Somoza said. “It was per need; the company added capacity when it needed and where it could. You can easily fall into that mode of, ‘We need another line, so let’s throw it in there.’”

This is the logical mentality for life on 3,000 square miles of land where greenfield expansion opportunities don’t often present themselves.

But then the company talked to its equipment vendors who cautioned that the quick route wouldn’t be so easy considering the massive renovations necessary for both buildings.

“Our need wasn’t urgent, yet, so we could step back and say, ‘What really makes sense here?’” Mr. Somoza explained.

And, thus, the master plan began.

A total makeover

Pan Pepin makes all its products in Bayamon for four distribution outlets in Aguadilla, Hormigueros, Ponce and Humacao in addition to shipping out of the headquarters (each depot distributes to roughly 20 sales routes, and Bayamon delivers to about 60). In addition to its own branded products, the bakery also distributes Dave’s Killer Bread for Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods and produces Nature’s Own, Healthy Choice and Milton’s bread, all through licensing agreements with Flowers, Chicago-based Conagra and Milton’s Craft Bakers, Carlsbad, Calif., respectively.

The company owns its fleet of 150 step vans, eliminating the need for third-party distributors. Managing this much traffic flow led to a flurry of inefficiency on the main campus, where production and distribution were happening in four buildings on both sides of a main thoroughfare.

This was just one revelation that came from the master plan developed by ArchUD. While the first phase involved tearing down one of the acquired buildings and replacing it with improved employee parking, the new building, now known on campus as Planta A, was designed as part of Phase 2.

“Before, our reality was a movement of people, finished product, raw materials, mechanics, employees moving in multiple directions like a spider web,” Mr. Somoza explained.

Today, production is much more streamlined. All bread and bun production — two bread lines and two bun lines — are housed in three facilities on one side of the street, while a tortilla line (with another on the way) lives in a building on the other side. Near the tortilla bakery, another older building eventually will be available to produce new items should Pan Pepin expand into other product categories.

Before that happens, though, Phase 3 will involve adding one loading dock that will connect all bread and bun lines so that finished product can leave immediately and head to the depots throughout the island.

The beauty of the master plan is in its flexibility.

“The architect told us, ‘You can do this all over a three-year period or a 20-year period. You can spread it out however you want based on resources and what’s going on,’” Mr. Somoza recalled. “The plan adapts.”

And if recent history is any indicator, adaptability is key … you never know what can change when you’re sitting inside the eye of a storm.

Survival and startup

Pan Pepin had just hit the mid-point in Phase 2 when Maria and Irma delivered a one-two punch, but the bakery’s damage was relatively small compared with what other buildings and businesses suffered.

“The thing was a bunker,” Mr. Somoza recalled. “The hurricanes came and went, and we didn’t lose a single nail, screw or panel.” This was thanks in part to the building’s concrete precast panels ArchUD had designed.

The only structure that was a total loss was the ­bakery’s frozen warehouse.

Through a combination of timing and luck — and perhaps a bit of divine intervention — Pan Pepin not only resumed regular bakery operations within two days, but it also returned to work on Planta A construction two weeks later.

Once it was back underway, the biggest challenge was securing external resources such as forklifts, cranes and even shipping crates to execute the install. Throughout the island, these items were being used for recovery efforts.

“The vendors were more than willing to do whatever they could to help, and they hung onto the equipment until we could work it out,” he said.

Thanks to that high level of support from equipment suppliers, including AMF Bakery Systems, Shick Esteve and Shaffer, a Bundy Baking Solution, just to name a few, the new line started up only two months past the original deadline.

Although the timeline experienced just a minor setback, the installation was not without its hurdles. Perseverance and partnership from the vendors as well as Ron Foster, the Dallas-based third-party installer, were about the only ways to survive an install without electricity.

The entire high-tech, fully automated bread line was installed solely on backup generators. In fact, when Pan Pepin celebrated the facility’s grand opening, several areas, including parts of Bayamon, were still without power, even though it had been more than a year since the hurricanes. The lights — and line — turned on just in time to do the testing and training before the bakery officially started up.

“That was in November 2018,” Mr. Somoza said. “We started up the day after the opening, and we’ve been running ever since.”

Putting it on automatic

Pan Pepin was running at 90% capacity when the master plan began, and although the expansion was based on that need as well as the need to replace the company’s original bread line, efficiency became a natural byproduct.

“One thing we discussed at the outset was moving the volume products to this line so we can minimize changeovers and make it as efficient as possible,” Mr. Somoza said.

This way, the older lines would focus on smaller-volume and variety products.

The automated line also helped solve workforce issues. While many old-school bakers remained on the older lines where products are still made with more manual processes, the company strategically moved a few workers who showed interest in tackling new technology to the new line, where output speeds can reach up to 150 loaves per minute over a 7-hour process.

“We were able to add a lot of capacity and just add a few people to the line,” Mr. Somoza said. “It’s almost tripled the capacity that we had on the old line, but we didn’t have to triple the staffing.”

Running three products on one pan — white, whole grain white and whole wheat — the bakery boasts some of the most modern technology in the industry today; that’s obvious before anyone steps foot in the building. Towering outside stand Shick Esteve’s two 50,000-lb white whole grain flour silos and two 100,000-lb standard white flour silos that signal to all who enter big things are ahead.

The company’s first Shick Esteve system also includes two tanks for liquids, a super sack system for the whole wheat flour and a bag dump station for minors, all new technology for Pan Pepin. This system has helped streamline the bakery’s method of bread production because it identifies the formulas for the sponge and the dough, which prevent confusion as to which ingredients go into each of the Shaffer mixers — one 1,600-lb for the sponge and two 2,400-lb for the dough.

All ingredients are pneumatically conveyed on the Shick Esteve system, in which each recipe is loaded, and progress can be tracked on Allen-Bradley control screens.

“On the other line, we needed to use bags by hand,” said Victor Rodriguez, director of operations. “But now, you can put the quantity you need in the formula and just use one button. That’s it. It’s easy, it goes faster, and you have a lot of consistency with the final product. It’s the same, every time.”

Another major advancement in the new facility is the AMF fully automatic fermentation room.

“This was a big deal for us,” Mr. Somoza attested, noting that tripling capacity would have introduced an exorbitant amount of labor to move the troughs.

“We were used to dealing with about 1,500-lb dough sizes on our other lines. Now, we’re talking about 2,400 or 2,500 lbs. It’s about employee safety because you don’t want to move those heavy troughs, but we’re also much more consistent.”

Moving troughs from the 1,600-lb sponge mixer through the fermentation room and up to one of the two Shaffer 2,400-lb dough mixers is a carefully orchestrated slide-puzzle. After the sponge ingredients are mixed, they are dumped into the trough and moved into the fermentation room on a first-in-first-out basis.

While the sponges ferment for a few hours, it’s just a matter of waiting.

After a trough leaves the fermentation room, it’s hoisted up into the dough mixer, and the sponge is dumped while the trough automatically slides back and is sprayed with oil before it reaches the sponge mixer to start that slide-puzzle over.

Keeping things moving

The fermentation system stays on an automatic loop, which ensures accuracy and consistency. Meanwhile, back at the mixers, finished dough exits and runs through a Shaffer chunker.

Afterward, dough chunks pass through a Mettler-Toledo metal detector before traveling to the hopper of an AMF ADD two-pocket divider with rounder and flour duster. Here, a curling chain ensures every dough ball is evenly coated with flour.

“This is important,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “You need to be sure all the dough gets flour so that when you go to the sheeter, you won’t have a sticky dough that will get stuck in the rollers.”

Next, the dough balls head toward the Shaffer sheeter-moulder-panner system. The moulded pieces are dropped into six-strap pans and conveyed to the 13-tier AMF spiral proofer for an hour, which gives the dough just enough time to rise while still leaving room for the oven spring.

During Baking & Snack’s visit, Mr. Somoza pointed out that after panning, the loaves run the “wide way” for the remainder of the process. While it’s typical to run wide into the proofer and oven, Pan Pepin runs its loaves this way throughout the processes on the recommendation of a fellow baker who noted that this was an efficient way to save conveyor space.

When loaves exit the proofer, lids drop onto the pans before they enter the AMF Bake-Tech MidiSaver continuous oven, which bakes about 150 loaves per minute.

“It’s a very nice oven,” Mr. Rodriguez said.

After baking, the Stewart Systems depanner keeps the process moving on this continuous one-pan loop. The depanner pulls off the lid and sends it to the return. Then it pulls out the bread, and the pans go through a pan cleaner and start the process over at the moulder, while the finished loaves head up the AMF BakeTech Continuous Cooler, where they cool for an hour until reaching 100°F. At that point, the bread passes through a Mettler-Toledo metal detector and is then ready to be packaged.

This is another area where automation has stepped things up for the bakery, with three packaging lines running simultaneously. First, loaves pass through a Bettendorf-Stanford slicer.

This was Pan Pepin’s first experience with Bettendorf-Stanford; the bakery learned about the equipment at the 2016 International Baking Industry Exposition on the recommendation of another baker. The slicers actually suffered damage due to the setbacks caused during the hurricane recovery, but Matt Stanford, president of Bettendorf-Stanford, personally oversaw the equipment’s rebuild and made a trip to Bayamon to ensure first-hand that the reinstall went off without a hitch.

After slicing, the bread is packaged with a Bettendorf-Stanford bagger. Then it is sealed and tied with a Burford Corp. TEC200R tamper-evident closure system. The two steps maintain freshness of the product for the consumer.

Final stages … for now

The cycle is complete, and packaged loaves are loaded into trays and taken to the shipping dock, the final addition to this phase of the master plan and what will become the first step in Phase 3. At that time, the dock will be the line that literally connects all buildings that house bread and bun production.

From here, products are sent either to the four other depots for distribution or directly to customers on the North Coast and in the San Juan metro area, the territory that the Bayamon plant serves.

Then there is one final stage in production, and it’s the final “technological first” in the facility: the AMF automated tray washing system. On the dock, incoming trays are returned and stacked perpendicular to one another before entering the tray wash room. As they are loaded onto this fully automated system, a robotic arm lifts, rotates and unstacks the trays before each one is conveyed around and inverted to release any crumbs or debris into a garbage disposal.

Then the trays run through the washing system and are dried and conveyed back to the packaging area, where they’re ready to once again receive the finished loaves. This system, which also came on the recommendation of other bakers, has streamlined efficiency at the back end of the process. Eventually, Mr. Somoza said, the bakery will build a permanent wall between the tray washing room and the stale receiving area. But that’s for a later phase.

Phase 3, which is expected to be an eight-month project, is on hold until 2020.

“Initially, we thought about straight-away, as soon as we finish Phase 2, we’ll get into Phase 3,” Mr. Somoza said. “But now, because we’re working on the new tortilla line, we’ve kind of said, ‘We need to take a breather from this.’”

As the sister storms proved, everything can change on a dime, and the outcome, good or bad, is sometimes beyond anyone’s control. That’s the beauty of the master plan: It can change as circumstances change. With the challenges the market faces on the island, especially with the shrinking population, Pan Pepin must be prepared for anything.

“We have to be able to respond faster to customer demands and be more innovative with the products we’re going to sell,” Mr. Somoza expressed.

“Other than that, our basic goals remain the same — create a positive work environment that will allow people to create the highest quality product possible.”

That’s how, despite all odds, Pan Pepin will stand strong.



DSM invests in innovation for cognitive performance products in APAC

Royal DSM is to collaborate with SLS Nutraceuticals, a subsidiary of Senescence Life Sciences Pte Ltd. to deliver supplementation solutions that aim to help maintain cognitive performance of an individual living under the stressful modern lifestyle well into advanced age. The collaboration will grant DSM Nutritional Products the exclusive distribution rights of SLS Nutraceuticals’ products; Edge and Revive and the proprietary ingredient complex, NeuroShield. The companies will also collaborate on further clinical trials focused on brain health and cognitive performance. The Asia Pacific (APAC) region is a key focus area, with subsequent expansion beyond.

“DSM recognizes that with the changes in demographics, especially in Asia Pacific, there is a demand for solutions and innovation that can help to maintain cognitive performance,” Carmel Power, Director, Personalized Nutrition, DSM Nutritional Products Asia Pacific, tells NutritionInsight.

The products have been formulated with the aim of bringing together western neuroscience with eastern traditional medicines. The products provide consumers with a sustained approach towards optimizing adult brain performance and supporting healthy brain aging. DSM will provide an end-to-end solution to customers in the supplement and food and beverage space, with broad and fast market access for consumers.

“APAC is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world and, within this area, health-conscious consumers are looking for the latest innovations to keep fit and healthy. SLS Nutraceuticals partners with DSM to tackle the fastest-growing category in this region and in nutrition at large – brain health,” says Dr. Shawn Watson, CEO and Founder of Senescence Life Sciences Pte Ltd.

A recent DSM Global Health Concerns survey showed that brain health and cognition are amongst the main concerns of consumers in APAC. Amid dramatic demographic shifts in the region, consumers are growing older and living longer meaning that a large portion of a population is collectively and rapidly experiencing aging. This, in turn, has significant social and economic implications. It is estimated that by 2030, medical costs associated with an aged society will reach US$20 trillion.

The DSM Global Health Concerns study 2019 sought to quantify awareness and attitudes towards dietary supplement usage. Data shows that there is a significant increase in usage in the EMEA region compared to previous research (37 percent in 2019 vs. 28 percent in 2017), with products primarily taken to boost overall health (56 percent), improve immunity (46 percent) and increase energy levels (41 percent).

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that implementing nutritional intervention strategies as part of a long-term, preventative approach could help to address the health challenges of today’s Asian society.



Study shows higher cocoa prices could end child labour in Ghana

Ghana could end child labour on cocoa farms by increasing the prices it pays impoverished farmers by about 50%, a U.S. study said on Wednesday, as global efforts to end child labour stall.

Paying just 3% more at the farm gate could stop children in Ghana doing the most hazardous tasks, like using machetes, or working more than 42 hours a week, researchers said, as the illegal practice is driven by poverty and rarely prosecuted.

“We figured there has to be some kind of incentive, on top of the laws, to get the farmers to stop using child labour,” said Jeff Luckstead, an agricultural economist at the University of Arkansas, co-author of the study in the journal PLoS ONE.

“It’s a really difficult issue because these are very poor farmers … They don’t have many options – they can’t just go and hire people,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

A PLoS spokeswoman later added that while the underlying conclusions of the report were all accurate, some of the numbers cited in the study were under review with an update to follow shortly. No further details were given.

Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa grower, with more than 700,000 children producing the crop, often doing dangerous jobs on family farms like carrying heavy loads or using sharp tools, the anti-slavery group Walk Free Foundation says.

Big chocolate makers have been under pressure to clean up their supply chains since reports of child labour on West African cocoa farms emerged in the 1990s, with major names like Mars and Hershey promising to only buy ethical cocoa by 2020.

The International Labour Organization has said the world is unlikely to meet a target of ending child labour by 2025, which is part of 17 global development goals agreed in 2015 at the United Nations.

Researchers came up with the price premiums by analysing data between 2003 and 2015, including household budgets, cocoa prices and production and children’s education and leisure time.

While recognising a 50% price increase was “implausible”, the study suggested that Ghana could become more competitive globally if it could certify its cocoa as “child labour-free”.

All cocoa produced in Ghana is sold to the regulator, COCOBOD, which paid farmers 7,600 cedi ($1,435) per tonne last year. Ghana exports almost 20% of global cocoa output of some 4.8 million tonnes a year.

Most cocoa farming families live below the World Bank’s poverty line of $2 a day, according to the charity International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), fuelling child labour.

But Genevieve LeBaron of Britain’s Sheffield University, who was not part of the study, said the key to ending poverty among cocoa farmers was not necessarily raising COCOBOD’s prices but fairer distribution of profits within the chocolate sector.

The global chocolate industry was worth about $85 billion in 2018, and is projected to jump to $102 billion by 2022, according to leading research firm Mintel.

“If you look at the annual profits of the largest cocoa and chocolate confectionary companies in the world, there’s plenty of money in that supply chain that could be redistributed downwards along the value chain,” said the politics professor. ($1 = 5.2947 Ghanaian cedi) (Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking and slavery, property rights, social innovation, resilience and climate change.



Domino Uses Artificial Intelligence to Create Better Pizza

Ordering a pizza online can sometimes be a shot in the dark, especially if you have a complicated preference for toppings.

But Domino’s Australia has taken steps to ensure your slice will never be delivered in a less than perfect condition by introducing artificial intelligence to its cooking process.

The takeaway chain has revealed its plans to equip every store in the country with an ‘electronic eye’ which will sit above the pizza cutting bench and provide automated quality assurance.

Domino’s’ new ‘pizza checker’ instantly checks the quality of the pizzas by verifying the type, toppings, crust type and temperature; and displays it online for customers.

The futuristic technology will also ensure toppings are distributed evenly and fairly by scanning the entire face of the pizza.

And if a pizza ‘fails’ the scan, the employee will be forced to remake it until it passes the electronic test.

It is now being trialed at a Domino’s store in Brisbane and will be rolled out across all locations across Australia in 2018.

‘Pizza Checker will dramatically improve the quality and consistency of handmade pizzas – cooked and cut to perfection, correctly topped with only the highest quality, freshest ingredients consistently,’ Domino’s Group CEO Don Meij said.

‘The end result is an improvement in the accuracy of pizza orders as it guides the cook process through perfectly and holds us accountable to the high standards we expect to go out the doors and that our customers deserve.

Domino’s partnered with software company Dragontail Systems which supplied the Google AI software, named DRU.

The pizza chain is the first big business to use Dragontail’s technology, after it was tested at a small pizza establishment in 2016.




The Rise of the Bakery Industry in India at all Levels

As one of the largest segments in the food processing sector in India, the bakery industry offers huge opportunities for growth, innovation, and job generation. Separated into three categories, bread, biscuits, and cakes and pastries, the bakery industry reached a market value of USD 7.22 billion in 2018. As the second largest producer of biscuits after the USA, India is a key player internationally, and with the entrepreneurial spirit of Indian companies and individuals it is one of the most exciting regions for the bakery sector.

Changing consumer habits and lifestyle are shaping the bakery industry in India. Part of a global trend, there is greater demand for healthier products and alternatives, particularly when it comes to bakery goods which are now more commonly consumed daily as opposed to being a treat. With high consumption rates, customers want baked goods that are ‘guilt-free’ and are increasingly seeking gluten-free products, or goods made with alternative ingredients such as multigrain and whole-wheat. Alongside healthier options, millennials in particular are always seeking new flavours and experiences, making flavour innovation key.

With the recent influx of international cafe and bakery chains, on-the-go food has become increasingly popular. With hectic lifestyles, Indian consumers are prioritising convenience, and as breads and biscuits are fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), bakeries are a go-to option.

While there is demand and appetite for bakery products, the Indian bakery industry faces certain challenges. The industry is generally divided into organised and unorganised, with more than 2,000 organised or semi-organised bakeries, and 1,000,000 unorganised bakeries. Operational efficiency is a major issue in the industry, as is the lack of technology and skilled workers.

Although there are obstacles which are causing losses, there has been a boom in entrepreneurial endeavors in the bakery industry in India. Home baking has always been a popular pursuit, but with new technological innovations individuals have been able monetise their efforts. Founded by two women, provides a network for home bakers, the majority of whom are female, to promote and sell their products. On a smaller scale, local What’s App groups have become popular to supply neighbours and locals with baked goods, which highlights the power of networking technology.

Organised bakeries in India are also utilising social media to provide targeted and cost-effective marketing. Lacking the large budgets of international chains, local bakery cafes are eschewing traditional marketing to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and social media engagement. Tapping into the artisanal market, smaller bakeries can concentrate on quality over quantity, while larger Indian chains such as Barista and Mad Over Donuts rely on creating larger quantities but with strong branding and associated trust.

At every level in the bakery industry in India there are challenges and opportunities. While the rise of local home bakers is encouraging, there are issues of hygiene practices and standards, and organised bakeries are also incurring losses due to lack of operational efficiency and skilled workers.

Despite certain difficulties, the forecast for the Indian bakery industry is positive with a projected market value likely to exceed USD 12 billion by 2024 expanding at a CARG of 9.3% during 2019 to 2024. Alongside these predictions, India occupies a unique position in the market as flavour innovation continues to grow in importance on a global scale. Indian traditions and access to interesting and unusual flavour combinations will allow them to continue to excel and innovate in this market.



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Private-label manufacturer Biscuit International is seeking to expand its presence across Europe with the acquisition of Netherlands-based peer Aviateur.

The proposed transaction is subject to antitrust approvals and clearance by the works council, with the financial terms not disclosed. Biscuit International said the deal will solidify the firm’s “position as a major player in the European private-label sweet biscuit market” following a number of other recent acquisitions.

Biscuit International, which is owned by French private-equity firm Qualium Investissement, snapped up Arluy in Spain last year, along with Northumbrian Fine Foods in the UK and Netherlands-based Stroopwafel en Co. The previous year it bought A&W in Germany.

Aviateur is a family-owned business with an annual turnover of EUR105m (US$118.6m) located in Broek op Langedijk, Noord-Holland. Chief executive officer Richard Kornet, commercial director Ron Leeuwenkamp and finance director Eric Voschezang will stay on with the business.

Giampaolo Schiratti, the CEO of Biscuit International, said: “The proposed acquisition of Aviateur is a win-win situation for both companies. Aviateur is a very well-established company in the Netherlands and would be an excellent addition to our group, both in terms of product portfolios and skill sets. The transaction would be a considerable milestone in our pursuit to create an ever more diversified, high-quality product portfolio for the benefit of our European customers and their consumers.”

Once the deal is completed, Biscuit International said it will produce 170,000 tonnes of biscuits and waffles from 20 factories in Europe, adding that pro-forma sales amounted to more than EUR500m in the last 12 months, of which around two-thirds came from outside France.

Ronald Komen, the majority shareholder in Aviateur and its COO, added: “In Biscuit International, we have found a financially strong and very experienced partner, which would allow Aviateur to reinforce and expand our international position. The company and its management team have a track-record of acquiring and successfully integrating family-owned businesses, allowing them to achieve previously unattainable growth.

“I’m therefore convinced that this transaction would allow Aviateur to enter the next phase of its development for the benefit of its clients and their end-consumers in markets including notably France, UK and Italy as well as for our employees.”



Tate & Lyle increasing emphasis on innovation

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Tate & Lyle, P.L.C. plans to increase its emphasis on innovation and new products after finding success in its Promitor brand soluble fiber ingredients and stevia-based ingredients in recent years. A Food and Drug Administration ruling this year should open the way for more innovation in the company’s Dolcia Prima brand allulose, a rare sugar.

Tate & Lyle wants to work more closely with its customers earlier in project cycles and to build external relationships to benefit innovations, said Nick Hampton, chief executive of the London-based company, in a May 23 earnings call to discuss fiscal-year results.

“We are shifting the balance of our innovation portfolio towards projects with faster paybacks, helping to deliver a 24% increase in the value of the innovation pipeline this year,” he said. “We are also broadening our open innovation network. We have contacts with over 170 start-ups or research institutions during the year, resulting in five signed agreements to work on early-stage development in areas such as sweetener testing and new sources of fiber.”

Sugar and calorie reduction represent about one-third of the projects in Tate & Lyle’s customer pipeline, Mr. Hampton said.

“An increasing number of these projects are for customers using our soluble fibers because they not only allow the amount of sugar to be lowered but also provide nutritional benefits, such as digestive health, low-glycemic response and calcium absorption, all without impacting taste,” he said.

Tate & Lyle’s fiber ingredients over the past two years have experienced a 15% compound annual growth rate in volume, which includes a 30% C.A.G.R. in emerging markets, he said. The two-year C.A.G.R. in volume was 57% for Claria brand starches.

In stevia-based sweeteners, Tate & Lyle last year acquired a 15% shareholding in Sweet Green Fields, L.L.C., Bellingham, Wash., a stevia ingredients company. Tate & Lyle’s stevia volume increased 78% in the fiscal year.

The F.D.A. in the April 18 issue of the Federal Register said it will use enforcement discretion to allow allulose to be excluded from the total sugars declaration and added sugars declaration on the Nutrition Facts Label of products. Previously, allulose counted as total sugars and added sugars.

“This decision clears the way for U.S. customers to use allulose to deliver calorie and sugar reduction in their products,” Mr. Hampton said. “We have a number of customer projects which are now being reactivated, and we remain encouraged by the medium to long-term prospects for allulose.”

He said customers are starting to test formulations with Dolcia Prima allulose.

“It’s really too early to say how that’s going to play out,” Mr. Hampton said. “I’m wary of giving you a point of view on that until we see customer interest turning to real innovation projects and therefore sales.

“One of the things I think we’ve learned in the last five years with any new sort of world ingredient, it takes a little bit longer to scale than we thought. I mean Promitor is a good example. One of our Promitor variance dropped off our definition of new products this year because it kicked the seven-year mark, but it’s still growing very strongly …”

He said of allulose, “I think we need to think about the medium to long-term potential of it, not the kind of the next six months. It’s not the right way to think about it.”

Sales of new products, which comprise products launched within the last seven years, represented 11% of fiscal-year sales within Tate & Lyle’s Food & Beverage Solutions, said Imran Nawaz, chief financial officer, in the May 23 call.

Companywide, Tate & Lyle recorded profit of £309 million ($391 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, which was up 4% from £296 million in in the previous fiscal year. Sales in the fiscal year were £2,755 million ($3,484 million), up 2% from £2,710 million.

Food & Beverage Solutions recorded adjusted operating profit of £143 million ($181 million), up 5% from £137 million in the previous fiscal year. Sales reached £889 million, a 5% increase from £850 million in the previous fiscal year. Volume in Food & Beverage Solutions increased 3% in North America and 15% in emerging markets. Volume dropped 2% in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Within Food & Beverage Solutions, adjusted operating profit for sucralose was £61 million, up 10% from £55 million. Sales increased 12% to £164 million from £146 million. Sucralose volume rose 16% thanks to improved production efficiency at a facility in McIntosh, Ala., and optimization of inventory levels.

“Overall, on sucralose, while the market demand for sucralose continues to grow, we do expect the market prices to continue to moderate, reflecting the increase of the industry supply from Chinese manufacturers,” Mr. Nawaz said.

Primary Products had adjusted operating profit of £305 million, up 2% from £300 million in the previous fiscal year, and sales of £1,702 million, down 1% from £1,714 million. Within Primary Products, inflationary headwinds, partially offset by mix management and cost discipline, led to 5% lower profit in sweeteners and starches.