I.G.C. raises world wheat carryover

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Larger wheat production, less consumption and growing stocks were forecast by the International Grains Council in its Jan. 21 Grain Market Report. World wheat ending stocks in 2010 were forecast at 197 million tonnes by the I.G.C., up 6 million tonnes from the Nov. 26 report and up 19% from 165 million in 2009.

wheat productionThe carryover would represent a remarkable 67% increase from the recent low of 118 million tonnes in 2008, just two years earlier. Production in 2009-10 was forecast at 674 million tonnes, up 6 million tonnes from November, but off from the record 686 million tonnes harvested in 2008-09. Consumption was forecast at 642 million tonnes, off 1 million tonnes from November but up 3 million tonnes, less than 1%, from 2008-09.

Weather conditions in the Northern Hemisphere were generally favorable for winter grains planting and establishment,” the I.G.C. said in accompanying commentary. “World wheat harvested areas in 2010 are forecast at 221 million hectares, 1% less than in 2009. Assuming trend yields, production is projected at 653 million tonnes, some 21 million less than in 2009 but the third largest on record. In the E.U., where conditions remain favorable for winter wheat, sowings are expected to increase at the expense of barley.

“In the C.I.S., some areas have been exposed to frost damage. Winter wheat plantings in the U.S. were exceptionally low, at 15 million hectares, due to the late harvesting of maize and soybeans.”

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Vitamin D may cut colorectal cancer risk by 40 per cent

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Increased blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 40 per cent, says a study with people from 10 European countries.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, is said to be the largest of its kind to date and adds to the science supporting the apparent health benefits from increased vitamin D. Indeed, a meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2007 reported that higher blood levels of vitamin D were associated with a lower risk of colon cancer.

The link between vitamin D intake and protection from cancer dates from the 1940s when Frank Apperly demonstrated a link between latitude and deaths from cancer, and suggested that sunlight gave “a relative cancer immunity”.

“However, before any public health recommendations can be made for vitamin D supplementation, new randomised trials are needed to test the hypothesis that increases in circulating 25-(OH)D concentration are effective in reducing colorectal cancer risk without inducing serious adverse events,” wrote the researchers behind the new study, from six European countries.

Study details

Using data from over half a million participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer Study (EPIC), the researchers analysed dietary and lifestyle information obtained from questionnaires, and collected blood samples.

During the course of the study, 1,248 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed and matched with 1,248 healthy controls.

Colorectal cancer accounts for nine per cent of new cancer cases every year worldwide. The highest incidence rates are in the developed world, while Asia and Africa have the lowest incidence rates.

It remains one of the most curable cancers if diagnosis is made early.

The EPIC data showed that blood levels of vitamin D below a mid-level of 50 to 75 nanomoles per litre were associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, while blood levels above this were not associated with any additional benefits, said the researchers.

The association was significantly stronger for colon cancer than rectal cancer, added the researchers.

“Additionally, higher consumption of dietary calcium, but not dietary vitamin D, was found to be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer,” they report.

Plausible mechanism(s)?

Commenting on the potential protective action of vitamin D with respect to colorectal carcinogenesis, the EPIC scientists noted that both vitamin and mineral may be involved. “The main proposed colorectal cancer protective mechanisms of calcium action (binding bile acids and fatty acids) could pertain largely to its concentration in the colorectal milieu rather than to a direct vitamin D-mediated effect,” they said.

Controversy

The potential benefits for the vitamin, alone or in combination with calcium, for colorectal health are somewhat controversial, with some studies reporting benefits while others report null results.

Indeed, back in 2006 results from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) stated that daily supplements of vitamin D and calcium ‘had no effect’ on the risk of colorectal cancer. The results were questioned however and independent cancer experts said at the time that the claims should be interpreted in the light of the complexities of the study.

Michele Forman and Bernard Levin from the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, noted that the WHI trial had three overlapping components, with 69 per cent of the women enrolled on the Dietary Modification trial, 54 per cent enrolled on the Hormone Therapy trial, and 14 per cent enrolled on both

“The enrolment in three overlapping trials maximised the participation and size of the WHI trial but created a complex approach with potential confounders for biological interpretation,” said Forman and Levin.

Source: British Medical Journal

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Nestle develops nutritional product for the elderly

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nestle_logoNestle will be rolling out a new product in Europe which aims to address the specific nutritional needs of the elderly population.

Resource SeniorActiv will first be introduced in Switzerland later this year and if successful will be distributed in other European countries in the future.

The food manufacturer has researched the most common deficiencies in older peoples’ diets and produced an oral supplement to help address these.

Nutritional ingredients included in the products include Acti-3, a unique combination of proteins, vitamin D and calcium, prebiotic fibre omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. It is also high in calories to stop the weight loss sometimes experienced by older people.

Richard Laube, chief executive officer of Nestle Nutrition, said: “The older population is growing faster than any other segment… Targeted nutrition can make a big difference and screening for malnutrition is vital to getting a grip on the issue as a whole.”

In recent years Nestle has placed an increased focus on the growing health and functional foods market. The company’s nutrition department is built around the infant nutrition, healthcare nutrition, performance nutrition and weight management departments.

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Lonza – Carnipure – L-Carnitine

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Carnipure is a special grade of the L-Carnitine health ingredient produced by Lonza, a Switzerland-based life sciences company.

Food-and-Feed-Additives-L-Carnitine-L-TartrateL-Carnitine is a natural nutrient that helps to metabolize fat and produce energy.

It is usually synthesized in the liver but may not be produced in sufficient amounts by babies, adolescents and adults with certain diets or health issues.

The health ingredient may be helpful in weight management, intense exercise programs, pregnancy and cardiovascular health.

Carnipure comes in several different versions and can be used in food and pharmaceutical applications.

Properties

Carnipure L-Carnitine has numerous health benefits for end consumers. It is produced using a process based on fermentation and is kosher-certified.

It works by shuttling long chain fatty acids into the so-called furnace of the cell, the mitochondrion, within which the acids are burned to produce energy.

For food products, Carnipure comes in three main versions: crystalline, tartrate and ALC.

• Carnipure crystalline is described as being highly hygroscopic, meaning that it can be used in liquid products.

• The tartrate version of Carnipure is the most popular version of the health ingredient and contains L-Carnitine and natural GRAS L-tartaric acid. As it has a citric taste and is non-hygroscopic, it is suitable for use in a range of solid items.

• Carnipure ALC represents the acetyl derivative of L-Carnitine and can cross the blood-brain barrier to become a source of acetyl groups when it comes to the synthesis of acetylcholine.

In terms of pharmaceutical applications, there are three further products – EP pharma, USP pharma and L-tartrate pharma.

Ingredient applications

Carnipure crystalline can be used in liquids such as:

• Sport drinks

• Syrups

• Whey drinks

• Infant formula

• Ampoules

• Clinical drinks

Carnipure tartrate, meanwhile, is suitable for use in solids like:

• Powder mixtures

• Chewable products

• Capsules

• Bars and tablets

Carnipure ALC is most suited to so-called brain foods.

For pharmaceutical applications, Carnipure EP pharma, USP pharma and L-tartrate pharma are used as APIs.

History

V S Gulevich and R Krimberg first discovered L-Carnitine in muscle extracts in 1905. Its chemical structure was confirmed in 1927, but it was not until the 1950s that Gottfried Samuel Fraenkel discovered the role of the substance in fat oxidization.

He isolated L-Carnitine from the liver and named it vitamin BT. It eventually became commercially available in the 1980s.

Lonza patented a method for producing the ingredient in 1983.

L-Carnitine became independently certified as a safe dietary supplement in 1993 and the US Food and Drug Administration inspected and approved Lonza’s production facilities for the substance seven years later.

The following years saw much research carried out into the energy metabolism and other functions of the health ingredient.

Recent studies have focused on the benefits of L-Carnitine for pregnant women.

Company information

Basel-based Lonza is one of the biggest suppliers of products to the pharmaceutical, healthcare and life sciences industries in the world.

The organisation was founded in 1897 as Lonza AG Electricity Works in Gampel, Valais, when it used its energy to produce calcium carbide and acetylene and eventually moved into the manufacture of B-group vitamin niacin in the 1950s.

Lonza then expanded into the US in 1969 and began to exclusively produce substances for pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies in 1982. It has since grown both organically and through acquisitions.

Its current specialisms include large and small molecules, niche bioproducts, peptides and amino acids

The company is also involved with endotoxin detection, cell-based research and cell therapy manufacturing and additionally operates in the nutrition, hygiene, personal care, preservation and agro sectors.

Lonza has three main divisions: Custom Manufacturing APIs, Life Science Ingredients and Bioscience. Its biggest geographical market is North America, followed by the European Union.

It is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange under the ticker symbol LONN.

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Details of Cadbury deal emerge

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cadburyDetails of the deal between British confectioner Cadbury and Kraft have emerged which show the US food manufacturer paid the equivalent of 850p per share.

It is thought that the deal was finally clinched in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday January 20th, with Cadbury accepting an offer worth £11.9 billion from Kraft.

kraft_llogoThe Times reports that Cadbury’s chairman Roger Carr, turned down offers of 830p and 840p per share before a deal was finally agreed.

However, the move has already been criticised by Legal and General, Cadbury’s largest UK shareholder.

Mark Burgess, the head of active equities at Legal and General Investment Management, said: “We are disappointed management have recommended the offer for this iconic and unique British company.”

He added that the firm was “grateful” for the way it was consulted with but “the final offer fails to fully reflect the long-term value of the company”.

The board of Cadbury had been urging shareholders to reject Kraft’s previous offers, branding them “derisory” and “inadequate”.

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Northern Foods sales up on bakery operations

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northernfoods-logoLike-for-like sales at Northern Foods PLC during the third quarter ended 26 December were flat compared with a year ago, reflecting the company’s planned exit from marginal frozen pastry contracts. For the nine months ended 26 December, like-for-like sales were up 1.9%, led by good growth from the company’s chilled and bakery operations.

“Northern Foods has delivered a resilient Christmas trading performance,” said Stefan Barden, chief executive officer. “Market conditions remain competitive, but at this stage of the year, our sales and profit expectations for the current financial year remain unchanged and in line with market expectations. With a strong balance sheet, we are well placed going forward.”

The company’s bakery division had underlying revenue growth of 1.4% in the third quarter, reflecting strong performance in biscuits, which was offset partially by lower volumes in puddings.

“Our Fox’s brand continued its momentum with the re-launch of ‘Rocky,’ supported by an innovative TV, radio and on-line campaign, which attracted 1.4 million new customers to the brand,” Northern Foods said. “Our market leading Christmas pudding manufacturer increased marketing investment behind the Matthew Walker brand, which will support our strong position next Christmas.”

In the chilled division, underlying sales grew 5.4%, driven by strong demand for sandwiches and salads.

Frozen underlying revenue eased 10.5% due to the elimination of low-margin sales, as well as the simplification of the company’s manufacturing footprint and investment in the McDougall’s pie brand.

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Neapolitan Pizza with Traditional Specialty Guaranteed

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pizza_napolitana

Neapolitan Pizza

The Neapolitan Pizza has obtained the certificate of Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG), which it was asked for nearly two years.

This pizza has specific characteristics that make it different. To talk about a Neapolitan Pizza, it is necessary to satisfy the following requirements:

– Pizza dough reposed at least six hours

– Amount of mass between 180 to 250 grams

– Thickness of 0.4 cm

– Edge of no more than 2 cm

– Diameter of 35 cm

Its preparation is bathed with tomato paste, from the center of the mass extending to the outside, is watered with a trickle of olive oil, slices of buffalo mozzarella Campana DOP and basil and ultimately must be cooked in a wood oven at about 485ºC.

The TSG certificate makes no reference to origin; the aim is to highlight a traditional composition of the product or a production method.

In Spain, Jamón Serrano, Panellets, Oil cake and Milk Farm have this TSG Certificate.

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Food manufacturers ‘quietly reduce salt levels’

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Food manufacturers are taking a different approach to making their products healthier and marketing them to consumers, reports the Wall Street Journal.

salRather than producing specialist products which are advertised as having low sodium content, companies are quietly reducing the levels of salt in their flagship brands. Health organisations in the US and Europe want to reduce people salt intake by at least 20 per cent by 2014.

Douglas Balentine, Unilever NV’s North American director of nutrition and health, told the newspaper that by gradually reducing the levels of salt in their products without telling the consumer, which lets them get used to the new taste over time, they avoid the mindset that lower sodium varieties taste worse.

The Campbell Soup Company recently announced that it would be reducing the levels of salt in its SpaghettiO’s products to conform to US government guidelines.

Cereal manufacturers General Mills and Nestle committed to cutting down sodium levels in their ranges of products aimed at children to single digit amounts and Kellogg’s and Sara Lee have both made similar pledges.

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Kraft, Cadbury’s defence is ‘underwhelming’

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cadburyActivity is heating up around the British confectionary brand Cadbury after the publication of a defence document on January 12th stating that Kraft’s takeover offer was “even more unattractive”.

Reports have emerged through the Reuters news agency that sources close to the Italian company Ferrero and the US food manufacturer Hershey have ruled out either company putting in a rival bid.

This leaves Kraft’s bid, which was updated last week, the only offer on Cadbury’s table. The board of Cadbury responded to the offer when it published its end of year results stating that it was “even more unattractive” than when it was originally made and urging shareholders to reject the bid.

kraftKraft has hit back at the statements calling Cadbury’s defence “underwhelming”.

It said: “They have said very little that is new and have ducked the issue of their profitability in 2010. We continue to believe that the certainty and upside potential provided by our offer remains the best option for Cadbury’s shareholders.”

Bloomberg has also reported that Cadbury boss Todd Stitzer believes it is important to the brands future to remain whole, rather than being broken up by an acquisition, if it wants to continue to compete in the global market place.

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Nestle has launched a new research and development centre

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nestle-logoNestle’s new center, R+D Santiago, will lead the research and development worldwide in biscuits and cereals snacks, and will focus on innovation and product renewal. This will bring together specialists from different areas as nutrition, technology, product development and quality control.

The center will develop new technologies that will help further reduce levels of sugar and fat so that cookies are lighter, without losing flavor or consistency. In addition, the R & D Santiago center will develop biscuits with bioactive ingredients to improve digestive health, and fortified products to supply micronutrient deficiencies in countries where it is required, adapting to local tastes and needs.

Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestle, said that the center “will offer to our consumers in Latin America and elsewhere, tasty, healthy and nutritious cookies. R & D Santiago will benefit from the synergies between research and development and production of biscuits, to be located in the industrial complex of Nestlé in Maipú, which employs more than one thousand two hundred people.

The new center will work closely with the global network of R & D of Nestlé, which has 28 Research, Development and Technology Centers and about five thousand workers. It will participate in local government initiatives, and develop collaborative partnerships with universities such as Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad de Chile.

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