Top 7 from 7: The key global food industry news of the past 7 days (Oct 22-29)

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Top 7 from 7: The key global food industry news of the past 7 days (Oct 22-29)
From ethnic flavor trends to infant gut microbiotas and acquisition news from Doehler and Kerry, a lot has happened over the past seven days. Here’s a round-up of the top seven global food and beverage news items to get you updated!


1. Ethnic flavor trends

What are the fast-growing food and beverage product attributes winning over consumers? According to Innova Market Insights​, it’s ethnic flavors, plant-based formulations, and use of traditional processing methods (e.g. small batch, stone ground.

The explosion of flavor varieties in new product launches continues to grow, registering a 20% CAGR between 2013 and 2017.

“There’s has never been so much variety and spread in the choice of authentic cuisines from around the world,”​ Sarah Browner, Innova market analyst in food trends & innovation, said during a recent webinar.

“Especially in the snack and ready meal sectors, we’re seeing a lot of ethnic flavors coming into these categories.”

However, products featuring ‘American flavors’ declined 7.2% in the 2013-2017 period, whereas the number of launches featuring Mediterranean flavors increased 13.8%.

According to Innova, four of the top fastest growing sauces and seasonings feature a form of an ethnic root (Mexican, Indian, Spanish, and sriracha chile).

Consumers are seeking out plant-based food and beverages, with 44% of US consumers having increased their consumption of meat substitutes/alternatives over the last years and the firm expects that number to grow in the coming years, says Innova.

“As a result of consumers increasing their plant-based diets, we see that plant-based flavors will continue to grow,”​ Browner added.

2. Infant gut microbiota and obesity

A new study published in mBio​ (a journal from the American Society for Microbiology) found that the gut microbiota composition at two years of life is associated with body mass index (BMI) at age 12.

In addition, the BMI (body mass index) at age 2 was not significantly higher in children who later became overweight/obese, indicating that gut microbiota composition may be the earliest warning sign for detecting obesity.

“The gut microbiota might play an important part of the obesity prediction algorithm, to identify at-risk kids early in life, before they start to gain any excess weight that might put them at risk for later obesity,"​ said lead author Maggie Stanislawski, PhD, and research associate at LEAD Center at the University of Colorado School of Public Health.

3. Animal-free collagen?

San Leandro, California-based Geltor is aiming to launch animal-free collagen proteins for the food industry in 2020​.

The company already produces collagen proteins via microbial fermentation for the cosmetics industry. The collagen protein Geltor makes is nature identical to collagen from animals, but it can also produce proteins with tailored nutritional and functional properties (eg. different stiffness or melting properties or amino acid profiles), said co-founder Alexander Lorestani, who studied medicine at Rutgers and bacterial pathogenesis at Princeton and started Geltor​ with molecular biologist Nikolay Ouzounov in 2015.

There are three things potential customers have honed in on – whether they are in cosmetics, confectionery, sports nutrition or other industries Geltor is targeting - he added:

“The first is that they have been operating with a very limited toolkit [with animal-derived collagen] and we can offer highly customized proteins.

“The second is that companies want to remove animal derived ingredients and often collagen or gelatin are the only animal derived ingredients in a formulation.

“The third, is that many companies have aggressive CSR or sustainability goals and they want to find sustainable sources of collagen [which is currently sourced from cows, pigs and fish].”


4. Kerry continues to acquire…

M&A © Getty Images pichet_w
© Getty Images / pichet_w

Ireland’s Kerry remains on the acquisition trail​, and recently acquired California-based Fleischmann's Vinegar Company Inc and Oman-based AATCO Food Industries LLC for c. $415m (€365m).

The moves will boost its foundational technology portfolio and strengthen its position in foodservice and developing markets, said Kerry.

Fleischmann's Vinegar is the world's largest industrial vinegar producer and has manufacturing facilities in Washington, New York, Maryland, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama and California.

AATCO Food Industries is a leading provider of culinary sauces to the foodservice channel, with manufacturing facilities in Sohar, Oman, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Nashik, India. 

5. Doehler acquires Nutrafood

Another deal announced last week was Germany’ Doehler acquisition of Italian nut and seed processor Nutrafood​, which manufactures products using nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts, pecans and pistachios. It has two application laboratories, one for vegetable milks and one for creamy fillings and spreads.

The deal will allow Doehler to meet current customer demand for nut-based products, particularly for liquid applications such as dairy drink alternatives, said René Krebs, Doehler’s head of cereal and dairy. 

“Doehler comes from a fruit background but we see some strong growth coming out of non-fruit plant-based nutrition. The nut category was the missing piece in our raw materials, and we wanted access to industrial forms of nuts such as pastes and ingredients.”

“We served this market before but now we can serve it even better, and the synergy between Nutrafood and Doehler is very strong,”​ he added.


6. Organic confectionery growth in Japan

Chocolate cocoa © Getty Images Ivenks
© Getty Images / Ivenks

Did you know that organic confectionery was the fastest-growing category in Japan’s overall organic packaged food market? According to a new report​, organic packaged food in Japan grew 1% in terms of value, achieving sales of US$371 million (42 billion yen).

Organic confectionery saw the greatest growth, with sales growing by 4% to reach USD$3.5 million (400 million yen) last year.

“Underpinned by growing interest in artisanal-style products and broader concerns about the provenance of food, encouraging small-to-mid-sized players to introduce organic chocolate,”​ said the report.

However, organic products only accounted for 2% of total health and wellness packaged food value, signaling that organic food remains a niche market.

7. African swine fever hits China

Our final news item of the week concerns the Chinese Government’s confirmation of another case of African Swine Fever (ASF)​ in Zhenxiong County, Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province. It is the first time the disease has hit the Yunnan province.

The local government has started emergency response procedures, including setting up a blockade, culling, treatment, disinfection to treat all the sick and culled pigs harmlessly. All pigs and their products are prohibited from being transferred out of the blockade, and pigs are prohibited from being transported.

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