Gaps identified in nutrition and health claims standard

FSANZ has called for submissions on a proposal to address an inconsistency identified in the nutrition and health claims standard.

“The proposal addresses discrepancies between standards in the Food Standards Code and also ensures sodium claims about food containing more than 1.15% alcohol (e.g. soy sauce) can continue to be made,” FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon said.

The inconsistency regards the conditions for vitamin and mineral claims between Standards 1.2.7 and 1.3.2.

All FSANZ decisions on standards are notified to ministers responsible for food regulation. The ministers can decide to adopt, amend, or reject standards or they can ask for a review.

The closing date for submissions is 10 August 2015.

 

US catching up to Australian trans fats standards: AFGC

The AFGC CEO said the US is catching up to Australian standards, following the announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration that there will be a three year phasing out of trans fats in the USA.

Dawson said there has been successful work in Australia to cut the amount of trans fats in the Australian diet to extremely low levels by international standards.

“Australians typically obtain around 0.6 per cent of their daily kilojoules from trans fats. Of this, about half come from naturally occurring sources. This is well under the World Health Organization recommendation to consume less than 1 per cent of daily kilojoules in the form of trans fats,” said Dawson.

“The level of trans fats in the Australian diet is low because manufacturers of many products recognised this as an issue more than 10 years ago and took steps to remove them from their products.”

“The food industry’s partnership with the National Heart Foundation “Tick” program has also provided an incentive for manufacturers to reduce the use of trans fatty acid containing fats in their products. “

“Through innovation and reformulation Australian soft margarines have been free of trans fat for over 10 years and a number of companies have moved to take them out of their biscuits and confectionary lines.  There are excellent commercial frying oils now available that are virtually free of trans fats,” Dawson said.

 

Aussies turning to discretionary food: ABS

In every State and Territory, Australians love their treat or discretionary food – food high in energy but low in nutritional value – according to a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The results are from the Australian Health Survey showing different eating habits for each State and Territory. Louise Gates from the ABS says that while the report shows all Australians enjoy a treat there are interesting differences by state.

"The report tells us Australians obtain over a third (35 per cent) of their energy from discretionary foods.” said Ms Gates “Tasmanians and Northern Territorians obtained the highest proportion of energy from discretionary foods at 38 per cent while Canberrans had the lowest at 33 per cent.”

The choice of treat also differs with Northern Territorians' being soft drink with one in three (33 per cent) drinking it, the highest in the country. They were not as keen on confectionary (20 per cent) and snack food (13 per cent), being the least likely to consume these foods.

Tasmanians were the most fond of confectionary with over a third (37 per cent) consuming and snack foods were most popular in New South Wales where 16 per cent of people ate them. On the other hand, soft drink was least popular in Canberra where only 23 per cent of people reported drinking it.

For recommended intakes, Tasmanians had the highest proportion of people, nine per cent, meeting the recommended daily intake of vegetables compared with only five per cent in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Canberra. However, Tasmanians were least likely to meet the recommendations for fruit (48 per cent), while people from New South Wales and Canberra were the most likely (54 per cent).

“We also found 22 per cent of people in the Northern Territory ate fish making them the most likely state or territory to eat fish but least likely to eat fruit (53 per cent).” said Ms Gates

“Tasmanians on the other hand were least likely to eat fish (13 per cent), however they matched South Australians as the most likely to enjoy cheese (36 per cent compared to 32 per cent of all of Australians).

“Canberrans were most likely to enjoy a glass of wine (22 per cent) while in the Northern Territory, beer is the alcoholic drink of choice (21 per cent).

“Adults in Western Australia were most likely to have an alcoholic beverage (39 per cent) and Victorians and Tasmanians were least likely (30 per cent).”

The report also covers food avoidance with Canberrans most likely to avoid food due to allergy or intolerance (21 per cent) and Queenslanders least likely to avoid particular foods for cultural, religious or ethical reasons (four per cent).

“The report also contains new data on food security with rates similar for all states and territories.” said Ms Gates.

“Nationally, four per cent of people lived in a household that, in the previous 12 months, had run out of food and could not afford to buy more, and 1.5 per cent of all Australians were in a household where someone went without food when they couldn't afford to buy any more.”

ABS has compiled a full report for each State and Territory. Further information is available in Australian Health Survey: Nutrition – State and Territory results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.009) available for free download from the ABS website.

 

Health-related marketing can be deceiving: CHOICE

A CHOICE investigation has found food companies such as McCain, Weight Watchers, Naturally Good and Mother Earth are serving up health-related marketing messages, even though they perform poorly in the health star rating system.   
CHOICE looked at 117 products from frozen meals to muesli bars and found a mixed bag when it came to how health-related marketing messages on pack translated into the products’ health star performance.
“Phrases such as ‘healthy choice’, ‘natural’, ‘made with wholegrains’ and ‘gluten free’ trick consumers into believing a product is healthy when in fact it can be higher in salt, sugar and saturated fat than a product without those claims,” said CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey.
“Food manufacturers use messages on pack to persuade consumers that their product is healthier or better than other similar products. This is called the health halo effect and is often used as a marketing tool to entice consumers into paying a premium.”
CHOICE analysed the nutritional profile of a range of products marketing themselves as healthy. These products often received the same health star rating as a regular product but came with a hefty price premium.
“When you look at two McCain frozen pasta meals – one promoted with ‘healthy choice’ branding, images of herbs and claims of wholegrains and chia seeds, and the other with regular company branding – consumers would be forgiven for thinking the first one is a healthier choice,” Godfrey said.
“Surprisingly, both products receive 3.5 health stars, with the ‘healthy choice’ meal containing more sugars and sodium per 100g and a price premium of 23 percent per 100g.”
“The sad fact is relying on these messages to make informed choices about how healthy a product is can be highly problematic and leave you paying a price premium unnecessarily.”
“Unfortunately, some of the biggest and much loved brands use marketing messages to confuse and mislead consumers about what they are eating.”
CHOICE also compared Woolworths Select chicken and mushroom risotto with Weight Watchers sweet potato and pumpkin risotto with both products scoring 3.5 stars. However, the Weight Watchers meal comes with an 87 percent price mark-up per 100g.
In the health food aisle, while claims on Naturally Good carob buckwheat crispbread include ‘gluten free’, ‘no added cane sugar’, ‘no preservatives, artificial flavours or colours’ and ‘GMO free’, it only receives a rating of 0.5 stars.
Similarly, on-pack claims of Mother Earth baked oaty slices – golden oats – boast ‘source of fibre’, ‘wholegrain cereals’ and ‘no artificial colours or flavours’, but the product only scores 1.5 stars. Despite the product name Sun Health and ‘gluten free’ claim, their macadamia and honey bars only managed 1 star.
In the crackers category, Tuckers Natural gourmet rosemary and rock salt crackers are littered with claims including ‘naturally better for you!’, ‘yeast free’, ‘100% natural’ and ‘no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours’ yet only score 1.5 stars.     
CHOICE has been campaigning to get health stars on the front of every major product by encouraging consumers to send emails to Mars, Mondelez, PepsiCo, Goodman Fielder and George Weston urging them to reconsider putting health star ratings on their products.

 

7 steps to meet the new Health Claims Standard

Food manufacturers have just seven months left to get to grips with new food labelling laws regarding nutrition and health claims that can be made in Australia.

The Health Claims Standard in the Food Standards Code significantly expands the range of health, nutrition and related claims permitted on food labels and advertisements.

Organisations or individuals who don’t comply with the rules face stiff penalties. There are fines of up to $55,000 for an individual or up to $275,000 for a corporation which are found to be flouting the law.

Food businesses that wish to make health or nutrition claims on their food labels and in their advertising must comply with the Standard from 18 January 2016. There has been a three year voluntary transition period – but January will be crunch time when the Standard becomes mandatory.

The changes will require manufacturers and their marketing departments to carefully consider the claims they make on their food products and in their advertising.

The previous Standard only permitted health claims which stated that increased folate consumption in at least the month before and three months following conception may reduce the risk of foetal neural tube defects in relation to specific foods – this new Standard will open the door to a whole raft of new health and nutrition claims – subject to companies being able to meet criteria set out in the new Standard.

For example, companies that wish to make nutritional claims such as 'good source of calcium' will need to meet certain criteria set out in the Standard, and contain more than the amount of calcium specified in the Standard.

The changes will encourage food industry innovation – and provide more insight to consumers about the range of healthy food choices. At the same time the Standard should reduce the risk of misleading and deceptive claims about food.

When it comes to claims the new Food Standards Code distinguishes between general level health claims and high level health claims. To make any such claims companies will have to ensure they meet the strict criteria set out in the Standard.

So with seven months to go before the Standard becomes mandatory, what do businesses need to do now?

Analyse

Review the new Standard and determine whether your current packaging, advertising and marketing materials are compliant with the new rules regarding nutrition and health claims. Also determine whether there is merit in making additional claims under the new standard. There are more than 200 pre-approved food-health relationships in the new Standard, and 13 pre-approved high-level health claims which food companies could make use of if their products meet the defined criteria. Do packaging and promotional materials need to be replaced to comply with the new rules, or take advantage of the pre-approved claims criteria?

Assess

Assess whether it would make more sense to discard old stock and replace it with new, or recall products and repackage them, expiry dates permitting. This applies to both products made in Australia or those sourced from overseas. This will require careful assessment of both economics and logistics associated with each alternative.

Audit

Make sure you know who is distributing and stocking your products. Conduct an audit of stocks in hand – from 18 January next year all products in non-compliant packaging will need to be removed or repackaged, similarly advertising and marketing materials need to be brought into line with the new Standard.

Alert

Alert advertising and marketing agencies to the new Food Standard and remind them of their compliance obligations with regard to any packaging or marketing materials. Review agreements with agencies, and ensure they are updated with alerts – require agencies to confirm receipt of these alerts in writing to ensure a proper audit trail is maintained.

Ensure that the product claims and associated packaging and marketing materials also comply with other legislation such as the Competition and Consumer Act, the National Measurement Act and Country of Origin Labelling laws which are under review at time of publish.

Also send alerts to product suppliers, retailers and distributors reminding them of the need to remove all old, non-compliant stock by 17 January 2016. Ensure distributors in particular fully understand the changes to the regulation, and the penalties for non-compliance. Again request written confirmation of compliance.

Approve

If you are using any endorsing bodies to approve or certify your product, ensure that you meet the set criteria in the Standard and have advised such organisations of your intention and have their authority and licence to use their trade mark for that product. This is an express requirement of the new Standard. Documents proving that approval must be retained for at least two years after the last product bearing that mark is sold, advertised, or available for sale.

Authorise

Test product formulation to be sure that it complies with the new Standard and any claims being made about the product. This can be conducted by in house food technologists or outsourced to specialist service providers. Ensure proper record keeping of results. The Standard introduces a nutrient profiling scoring criterion (NPSC) which establishes the guardrails for any health or nutrition claims being made. Food technologists may need to assess the NPSC of products.

If you wish to use claims such as “low in fat”, “diet”, “no added sugar” you will need to ensure that the product composition meets or exceeds the criteria set out in the Standard.

Adapt

Once your new compliant packaging and promotional material is prepared, distribute product as soon as possible. There is no need to wait until 18 January 2016 as there has been a three year transition period which has allowed early adopters to move ahead of that deadline.

Finally, establish a process to monitor and deal with any complaints about claims made on the new packaging.

Amy Cowper is a senior associate in the Sydney office of international law firm Bird & Bird.

 

FSANZ proposes exemptions for products bearing Health Stars

FSANZ has called for submissions on proposed changes to the nutrition and health claims standard.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon said the proposal would provide exemptions from claim requirements in the Food Standards Code for trademarked elements of the Health Star Rating system.

“The trademarked energy and nutrient icons in the Health Star Rating system essentially duplicate what’s required in a nutrition information panel,” McCutcheon said.

“The changes in this proposal mean food manufacturers voluntarily using the trademarked elements of the system won’t be disadvantaged by having to also meet claim requirements in the Code.”

The proposal also addresses some inconsistences in current standards, with changes made to make those standards clearer.

All FSANZ decisions on standards are notified to ministers responsible for food regulation. The ministers can decide to adopt, amend, or reject standards or they can ask for a review.

The closing date for submissions is 6 July 2015.

Last month, Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash said she is extremely pleased with the uptake of the Health Star Rating system after Kellogg’s announced its 37 products will display the Health Star Rating on the front of the pack.

FSANZ has also called for submissions on the proposal to consider introducing certain temporary maximum residue limits (MRLs) for residues of agricultural and veterinary chemicals that may occur in food, in order to align standards with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) temporary MRLs for coumatetralyl and warfarin in pork commodities.

 

Naturally Nood Cashew Crush flavour

Product Name: Naturally Nood Cashew Crush flavour

Product Manufacturer: Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing

Ingredients: Cashews (50%) and dates (50%)

Shelf Life: 10 months

Packaging: Available in individual 35g bars using a plastic flow wrap, and 4x35g Multi-Packs in recyclable cardboard cartons

Brand Website: www.naturallynood.com

What the company says:

Naturally Nood is a new range of wholefood fruit and nut snack bars from Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing launched to help Aussies conquer snack cravings.

Naturally Nood bars are made from dates and nuts, with some varieties featuring other fruits or cocoa, all gleefully smooshed together.

The bars come in a range of flavours including Banana Bread, Berrylicious Flavour, Cashew Crush, Cheeky Cocoa, Cocoa & Orange Tango and Cocoa Lamington, and have no boring bits or added nasties like preservatives, artificial colours and artificial flavours.

Naturally Nood snack bars score between 3 to 4 stars under the Health Star Rating System.

 

Regulatory concerns shifting digestive health focus

Digestive or gut health has been a key focus for product activity in functional and health foods for many years, but with the tightening up of claims legislation, particularly in Europe, there has been something of a setback in terms of product activity in more recent times

Over 3.2 percent of food and drinks launches recorded by Innova Market Insights carried digestive health claims of some kind in 2014, up from just 2.7 percent five years previously. This indicates that there is still ongoing interest in the sector, particularly in the USA, where the share rose from 3.3 percent to over 3.6 percent. EU launches using a digestive health positioning fell from 2.4 percent to 2.2 percent over the same period, however.

With the claims situation becoming more difficult, companies are also focusing on the use of specific ingredients, such as wholegrains and fibre, which may already be linked with digestive health in consumers’ minds. High-fibre or source-of-fibre claims were used on nearly 3.4 percent of food and drinks launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in 2014, rising to 4.6 percent in the USA. Wholegrain claims were used on 2 percent of global launches, rising to 3.4 percent in the USA.

Wholegrain claims were particularly in evidence in categories such as cereals and bakery products. Bakery products lead globally, accounting for 21 percent of food and drinks launches using this type of claim, although this is equivalent to less than 6 percent of total bakery introductions. In addition, 5.5 percent of bakery launches used wholegrain claims. The two claims combined featured on 9 percent of bakery launches, rising to 16 percent in the USA.

Within the bakery market, biscuits accounted for nearly half of launches using fibre-related claims (excluding wholegrains), ahead of bread. In terms of significance however, bread is a clear leader, with products featuring a high-fibre positioning accounting for 15 percent of bread launches, compared with just over 9 percent in savoury biscuits and just 5 percent in sweet biscuits.

In the biscuits market, probably the key area of activity in high-fibre products in recent years has been in breakfast biscuits, virtually all of which are promoted as high in fibre and/or whole grains, and many of which have variants such as fruit and fibre in their ranges. This started in the UK in 2010, creating a new breakfast biscuits sub-category featuring a raft of new brands. It also heralded a welter of activity in other countries, including Germany, the USA and Australia, as well as a revitalization of existing breakfast biscuit markets in countries such as France and Spain.

“There is clearly still interest in products for digestive or gut health,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “This is reflected in ongoing levels of product activity, despite some of the current regulatory issues affecting health claims, particularly in Europe.”

Companies are tending to move to a more general health and wellness positioning for their products, she said. “They are relying more on existing consumer awareness of ingredients such as probiotics and fibre, the health benefits that they offer and the kinds of food and drinks products that they can be found in.”

 

Vast majority of breakfast cereals set to display Health Star Ratings

Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash said she is extremely pleased with the uptake of the Health Star Rating system.

Yesterday (21 April), Kellogg’s announced its 37 products will soon display the Health Star Rating on the front of the pack.

Kellogg’s joins other cereal companies including Monster Health Foods Company, Food for Health, Goodness Superfoods, Freedom Foods, Greens General Foods (Lowan Wholefoods), Sanitarium, Coles home brand, Woolworths ‘Macro’ brand and Nestle/Uncle Toby’s.

“The Health Star Rating system continues to power ahead with the vast majority of breakfast cereals now set to display the health stars,” Minister Fiona Nash said.

“I’m pleased the system is being adopted by more and more companies and appearing on more and more products. The Health Star Rating system is giving consumers’ choice, with the chance to make fast, accurate judgements on the nutritional content of packaged food.

“I’m extremely pleased with the uptake of the system and the number of products now displaying Health Star Ratings.”

The first Kellogg’s cereals to carry Health Stars will be in stores from June, with all Kellogg’s cereals carrying Health Stars by the end of 2015.

Health Star Rating information for all Kellogg’s cereals is already available on the company’s website.

The Health Star Rating is a front-of-pack labelling system that rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. It provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods.

The number of stars is based on energy, nutrients such as saturated fat, sugars, sodium and protein, and the fruit and vegetable content.

The voluntary system was designed by Australian and state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups.

 

Kellogg’s to roll out Health Star Ratings

Health Star Ratings will appear on Kellogg’s cereal in Australia and New Zealand from early June and will be on the full cereal range by the end of 2015.

More than 70 per cent of Kellogg’s cereals, or 26 products in the range, have a rating of between 4 and 5 health stars, with the total range spanning 1.5 to 5 stars.

The products will roll out on shelves over the coming months with the new packaging in a phased approach.

Kellogg’s senior nutrition and regulatory affairs manager Dr Michelle Celander said the company has been working on the implementation of Health Star Ratings since late last year.

“We are pleased to be adding Health Stars as another way to help shoppers make informed choices for themselves and their families, alongside other important nutritional information on our packs such as serve size and nutrients per serve. With products carrying health stars beginning to reach shelves in the next six weeks, we feel that now is the right time to let Australians know about the packaging updates and Health Star Ratings of their favourite cereals,” Celander said.

Kellogg’s All Bran, Sultana Bran, Guardian, Coco Pops and Special K Nourish variants will be the first to carry health stars.

Health Star Ratings will be rolled out across all Kellogg cereals; the largest portfolio of cereal products of any manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand.

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has celebrated Kellogg’s move by calling it “a great win for consumers.”

“Kellogg’s was one of the biggest food manufacturers in Australia not implementing health stars and we are thrilled that they have listened to consumers and will be rolling out the scheme on all of their breakfast cereals,” says CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey.

In March, CHOICE called upon Kellogg’s and six other food manufacturers to roll out the front of pack health star rating on their products.

“Kellogg’s coming on board with health stars will fill a large gap in the breakfast cereal aisle and now this aisle in the supermarket will be the first one with all the major food manufacturers on board with health stars”.

“While it is great to see Kellogg’s is on board, iconic brands such as McCain, PepsiCo, and Mars are still refusing to serve up the information consumers need.”

CHOICE’s campaign will continue to target the biggest food manufacturers in Australia who are holding out against the star rating system – McCain, Mars, PepsiCo, Mondolez, George Weston and Goodman Fielder.

The Health Star Rating system is a government led initiative that provides an easy way to compare the nutritional profile of packaged foods. The star rating scheme was developed by industry, public health and consumer experts and governments and the star rating takes into account the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fat in products per 100 grams.

 

“Strong evidence” frozen berries caused outbreak: Dept of Health

The Department of Health said there is “very strong evidence” linking Nanna’s recalled berries with an increased risk of developing Hep A.

Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, said rigorous scientific analysis of information from interviews with affected people, comparisons with people who were not ill, as well as tracing the source of berries eaten by affected people, had been extensive.

“There is very strong evidence that consumption of Nanna's 1kg fresh frozen mixed berries led to an increased risk of developing Hepatitis A infection in this outbreak,” Senator Nash said.

“Cases with an identical genetic strain of Hepatitis A virus occurred across Australia reporting the common consumption of that product.

“Although testing of food is an unreliable way to detect Hepatitis A virus, as Patties Foods Limited have noted, the Victorian state Health Department testing of the product in question has now confirmed evidence of Hepatitis A virus at trace levels from a sealed packet of the product.

“Hepatitis A virus was also detected in an open packet of Nanna's 1kg fresh frozen mixed berries from a case.”

On Wednesday (15 April), Patties Foods issued a release announcing they had completed its microbiological and viral testing and found no Hepatitis A or E.coli on recalled products.

Patties will reintroduce Nanna’s and the Creative Gourmet brand berries back to the marketplace under a ‘positive release’ protocol. This means every batch will be tested in Australia for Hepatitis A and E.coli, and will only be released to market when negative test results are provided.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce said “the berries used to generate new product will be sourced from new farms and factories and subject to stricter microbiological testing than ever before.

“This testing includes microbiological testing for Hepatitis A virus, E.coli and coliforms.

“Patties berry products from the Chinese factories and farms associated with the recall are all still being held at the border, in line with directions given to Patties by the Department of Agriculture. The media statement made by Patties does not change the status of these consignments.

“Patties Foods has worked closely with my department throughout this food safety incident to help identify and hold berry product that potentially poses a risk to human health.

“All imported product that was linked to the outbreak of Hepatitis A in Australia was recalled by Patties and will never be put back onto the market.” 

Minister Joyce said new import requirements for frozen berries were underway.

​“More broadly, my department is working with Food Standards Australia New Zealand to ensure that the import requirements for all frozen berries, from all sources, comply with the stringent food safety requirements set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code,” Minister Joyce said.

“I expect that we will be in a position to announce these new requirements in the coming weeks.”

 

Gluten-free gluten launched

Asian food brand Chang’s has launched the world’s first gluten-free gluten…or has it?

Asian food brand Chang’s has announced the launch of the world’s first gluten-free gluten, formulated in “some of Australia’s most confidential gluten-free locations.”

“It’s a scientific breakthrough. We have managed to find a way to extract the gluten from gluten. The result is somewhat of an acquired taste but the thought of eating gluten that is gluten-free will win fans over we are sure,” said Chang’s general manger Elaine Pow.

The product, which Chang’s said has taken years of secret research in some of Australia’s most confidential gluten-free locations, will be available in several flavours: Sweet and Sour Gluten-Free Gluten; Tastes Like Chicken Gluten-Free Gluten; and Mystery Gluten-Free Gluten for those who enjoy a surprise.

The company said the range will be available nationally for a limited time only.

Last year, Vegemite got into the spirit of April Fools, tricking consumers into believing it had launched an energy drink product.

Announced on Facebook, the post reads “Start your day with our NEW Vegemite iDRINK 2.1 energy drink! Will you swap your Vegemite toast for this when you’re on the go?”

 

Natural and organic expo heads to Sydney

A tradeshow devoted exclusively to natural and certified organic food and grocery products will be held in Sydney, 3-4 May 2015.

The Naturally Good Expo is the first large-scale tradeshow and learning event for retailers, distributors and manufacturers of packaged health products in Australia and New Zealand and will be held in Sydney at Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park.

According to event director Andrew Jones, the event is a barometer for where the natural and organic products market is now, and where it is headed.

“There’s been an explosive shift in the way we consume, with today’s mainstream shopper more educated and more passionate about the benefits of eating and living a healthier lifestyle. Coupled with the growing gluten free, vegetarian, paleo and other specialty diet communities, this healthy lifestyle movement has evolved from fad to essential choice wherever consumers make purchase decisions.

“We have moved beyond awareness to a tipping point where there is now high demand for all things natural, organic and sustainable.” Jones said.

“Naturally Good Expo is where you can see and sample what’s new in the market, discover the latest product innovations, identify what’s selling today, and gain an insight into what the health and wellness trends of tomorrow are. The event provides a window into the many categories driving growth of the health and wellness retail market in the region.” 

Naturally Good Expo will feature nearly 200 exhibitors with thousands of SKUs showcasing the biggest selection of natural and certified organic food and beverages, vitamins and supplements, natural cosmetics, skin care and toiletries, and home and pet products.  New products are the lifeline of the retail and grocery industry so there’s been a concentrated effort to ensure a good mix of new products and new companies are represented on the Expo floor.

A Featured Product Showcase will highlight new products and innovations being exhibited at the Expo. Attendees can see the products at-a-glance, then head off to the exhibitors stand to sample the product and learn more about the ingredients and health benefits.

Education is a strong focus of the event with more than 30 sessions running across the two days. All sessions are free and provide in-depth information and insights on product and market trends, consumer and shopper behaviour, merchandising, and customer experience. For brand marketers and product manufacturers, there’s a series of education sessions that deliver practical ideas and strategies for business growth. Topics cover getting products retail ready, pricing and margins, building out distribution, brand building, packaging and labelling, and exporting into the two largest consumer markets in the world, Asia and North America.

Admission to the Expo is strictly trade only. The entry fee is $30 however if your pre-register online before 30 April, it’s free. To register or for more information on the event including the full education program, speaker line up and exhibitor list, click here.

 

CHOICE targets manufacturers “refusing” to roll out health star ratings

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has launched a campaign calling on Kellogg’s and 6 other food manufacturers to roll out the front of pack health star rating on their products.

The star rating scheme was developed by industry, public health and consumer experts and governments to help shoppers quickly compare the healthiness of products. The star rating takes into account the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fat in products per 100 grams.

“Food manufacturers have been on notice since June last year to implement the new health star scheme however iconic brands such as Kellogg’s, McCain and Mars are still refusing to serve up the information consumers need,” says CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey.

CHOICE’s campaign targets some of the biggest food manufacturers in Australia – Kellogg’s, McCain, Mars, PepsiCo, Mondolez, George Weston and Goodman Fielder – and calls on consumers to ask for health star ratings on these companies’ products: https://choice.good.do/HSR

“The system works best when shoppers can compare several products in a category, like-for-like. For example, right now you can walk down a breakfast cereal aisle and see a range of health stars already on different brands, but there are some obvious gaps.”

“It’s just not good enough that a major player like Kellogg’s,that sells popular brands Just Right, Special K, Coco Pops and Nutri-Grain, are withholding basic health information and that’s why we have launched this campaign.”

“Kellogg’s should be embracing the new system and celebrating the fact that Just Right and All Bran receive 4 and 5 stars respectively. On the flip side, Australians deserve to know that Nutri-Grain and Coco Pops get 2 and 1.5 stars respectively.”

“We congratulate the food companies that have taken the initiative and have health stars already on their packs. The two retail giants, Coles and Woolworths have stars on their private labels and Sanitarium, Nestle, Uncle Tobys and Lion are all getting involved with products already displaying stars and many more on the way.”

Yesterday (March 16) Australian cereal manufacturers came under fire for promoting health claims on their packaging, despite some products being a third sugar.

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) said these manufacturers are “potentially misleading consumers” by promoting health claims on their packaging.

Companies that have so far failed to roll out health star ratings, and their brands:

  • George Weston (TipTop)
  • Goodman Fielder (Helga’s, Vogel’s, Wonder White, Lawson’s, White Wings)
  • Kellogg’s (Just Right, Special K, Rice Bubbles, Coco Pops)
  • Mars (Dolmio, KanTong, MasterFoods, Uncle Ben's, Mars confectionary)
  • McCain (Frozen veggies, frozen meals, pizzas)
  • Mondolez (Kraft, Belvita and Philadelphia)
  • PepsiCo  (Smiths, Quaker, Doritos, Red Rock, GrainWaves)

Kellogg’s cereal brands and their Health Star Rating:

  • Just Right 4 stars
  • Special K Original 4 stars
  • All Bran Original 5 stars
  • Coco Pops 2 stars
  • Crunchy Nut 2 stars
  • Fruit Loops 2 stars
  • Mini-Wheats Little Bites Original 4.5 stars
  • Nutri-Grain 2 stars
  • Rice Bubbles 3 stars
  • Sultana Bran 4 stars

 

Cereal comes under fire for sugar content

Australian cereal manufacturers are being criticised for promoting health claims on their packaging despite being a third sugar.

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) said these manufacturers are “potentially misleading consumers” by promoting health claims on their packaging.

The OPC analysed the labels of 20 popular breakfast cereals and found that the majority of products carried healthy sounding claims such as a ‘source of fibre’, ’69 percent wholegrain’ and ‘no artificial flavours’ – though for some, sugar made up more than 35 percent of the ingredients.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the OPC, believes consumers deserve the right to a clearer picture about what they are eating and the Coalition is urging all cereal manufacturers to adopt Australia’s voluntary Health Star Rating labelling system,

Martin says: “For example, many breakfast cereals contain high levels of sugar, but manufacturers use all sorts of creative phrases on their labels to give consumers the impression they’re a nutritious choice for breakfast. It’s as though they are prepared to tell consumers only half the story. 

“Many parents would be horrified to learn that for every three mouthfuls of Nutri-Grain, one is just sugar, while a small bowl contains twice as much sodium as a small packet of chips.

“The Health Star Rating System was introduced more than a year ago to help consumers compare the overall nutritional quality of products at a glance. The system helps consumers better understand a product’s overall health rating so they can make informed choices, but our research has revealed very few cereals, as yet, carry the star label,” Martin says.

“Nutrition panels can also provide helpful information if people know what the information means. When it comes to sugar, for example, knowing foods containing over 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams are considered ‘high’ in sugar helps people decide whether that’s a product they want to eat.  Similarly for salt, a product with over 400mg of sodium per 100 grams is considered high in salt.

Sanitarium, Uncle Tobys. Coles and Woolworths have already incorporated the voluntary Star Rating System on their packaging

Cereal offenders – OPC survey results

Average sugar content of all 20 cereals analysed was 19.8g per 100g – that’s almost 20 per cent sugar. This equates to about 5 teaspoons of sugar.

Cereals with front-of-pack health claims that also contain high levels of sugar include Kellogg’s Coco Pops (36.5g per 100g) , Kellogg’s Nutri Grain, Kellogg’s Just Right (28.7g) and Uncle Toby’s Fruity Bites Wild Berry (24.8g). 

The cereals with the most sugar were Kellogg’s Frosties (41.3g per 100g), Kellogg’s Froot Loops (38g) and Kellogg’s Coco Pops (36.5g) – all of which are heavily promoted to children.

Top 5 cereal brands sold in supermarkets by value (according to Retail World, December 2014) are: Weetbix, Nutri-Grain, Uncle Toby’s Plus, Coco Pops, and Special K.

 

Yummia’s Fruit & Vegetable Yoghurt

Product Name: Fruit & Vegetable Yoghurt

Product Manufacturer: Yummia

Ingredients:

Sweet potato & cinnamon yoghurt: Yoghurt (48%), (Milk, Skim Milk Powder, Culture), Sweet Potato Puree (42%) (Sweet Potato 98%), Antioxidant (300, Sugar, Cinnamon (0.2%)

Apple & Carrot yogurt: Yoghurt (48%0, (Milk, Skim Milk Powder, Culture) Apple Filling (23%) (Apple, Sugar, Water, Thickener, (1442), Acidity Regulators, (330, 331) Preservative (202), Antioxidant (300), Carrot Puree (23%) (Carrot (98%), Antioxidant (300), Sugar

Strawberry and beetroot yogurt: Yoghurt (48%), (Milk, Skim Milk Powder, Culture), Strawberry filling (23%), (Strawberries (50%), Sugar, Water, Thickener, (1442) Acidity Regulators, (330, 331) Flavour, Preservative, (202), Colour (124), Beetroot Puree, (23%) (Beetroot (99%), Acidity Regulators (330), Sugar.

Shelf Life: 28 days

Product Manager: Mia McCarthy

Brand Website: www.yummia.com.au

What the company says:

Yummia is excited to announce the launch of its new yoghurt range. In an Australian first each yoghurt product comes with not only fruit but vegetables in each tub! Flavours include Strawberry & Beetroot, Apple & Carrot, Sweet Potato & Cinnamon. Each pot comes with a spoon added for extra convenience. Yummia's yoghurt range has 1/2 serve of vegetables per serve and come with a 5.0 star health rating!

 

Probiotic Telescoping Straw to be released

Ganeden Biotech and CapAble AB have created a probiotic straw to be sold to food and beverage manufacturers to attach to their product.

The straw can be applied to Tetra Pak and other shelf stable beverage containers and used in both refrigerated and shelf stable milk or juice boxes, pouches and bottles.

The straws will have 1 billion CFU of GanedenBC30 and Ganeden Biotech predicts it will have an impact on the Children’s Beverage Market.

Michael Bush, Ganeden’s Senior Vice President said “Beverage manufacturers around the globe are asking for solutions to incorporate our patented probiotic into shelf stable beverages and the use of the GanedenBC30 LifeTop Straw enables integration into shelf stable beverages of all types.”

By 2018 the Probiotic market is expected to reach $36.7 billion globally, with about $30 billion from functional foods and beverages. 93 percent of today’s consumers are familiar with the term “Probiotic” and associate it with good health.

The new probiotic straws will allow the healthy bacteria to be available in beverages throughout the store, including shelf stable SKUs. “As consumer demand for probiotics grows, so do the delivery forms available. Not everyone can or wants to eat yogurt or take pills; these straws offer a new option for consumers to get probiotics,” Bush said. “A child can get their daily dose of probiotics from a juice pouch in her lunch box.”

 

Food grade sheep collagen launched

A new functional ingredient has hit the market, with Holista Colltech Limited launching the world’s first food grade sheep collagen, under the brand Ovinex.

Food grade oral collagen, often referred to as collagen peptide is made by enzymatic cleavage of the much larger collagen molecule under specific conditions of time, temperature and acidity/alkalinity.

“Sheep as a source of collagen is unique and does not present the cultural and religious barriers seen with collagen from cows and pigs,” said Holista Colltech Limited CEO, Dr Rajen Manicka.”

“Ovinex is also Halal certified and we have tremendous protection of our differentiation in terms of a strong patent and several related proprietary technologies.”

The global collagen peptide market is segmented into Bovine, Porcine, Marine and Chicken.

“We expect massive demand for this product in application such as bone and joint health, pet food, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, food and beverages, the wound healing market and regenerative medicines,” Manicka said.

Geographically the collagen peptide market is segmented as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world.

North America accounts for the largest market share in the global collagen peptide market in 2013, owing to large number of R&D practices, strong awareness about nutraceuticals and wide use of cosmeceuticals.

“The Asia-Pacific, driven largely by China, Taiwan and Japan, is estimated to grow strongly and emerge as the most promising and fastest growing market during the forecast period from 2014 to 2020. This growth is expected to be driven by factors such as the strong use of collagen in traditional Chinese Medicine, steadily increasing industrialisation and increased awareness towards nutrition and well-being,” Manicka said.

 

Does gluten-free beer have potential in Australia?

The rise of gluten-free is showing no signs of slowing down, and there’s a new player on the block: beer.

Overall growth in the beer manufacturing industry is stagnant, with and craft/premium beers dominating growth, according to the IBISWorld Beer Manufacturing industry in Australia market research report.

The industry is worth $5 billion overall and grew at only 0.1 per cent in 2010-15.

According to Euromonitor International, the gluten-free food market was worth A$246m in Australia in 2014, with an annual growth rate of 54 percent.  What’s more, it’s anticipated to reach A$437m in value by 2019. And now it’s entering beer.

Can this momentum be replicated within the alcoholic drinks arena?

Spiros Malandrakis, Euromonitor International Senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst says it already has.

“Cider’s meteoric rise in the US market is largely relevant to the category’s naturally gluten-free attributes (alongside the savvy promotional campaigns underscoring the fact as a unique selling point). Spirits are also naturally gluten free – even though some recent launches seem to have only just got the memo and wear it as a badge of honour,” Malandrakis says.

In the UK, a brewery which claims to the be the UK's first to produce only gluten-free beers is due to open in Edinburgh next year.

The Bellfield Brewery is currently testing a premium gluten-free IPA beer before its release next year. A stout, a lager and other styles of beer will follow shortly. Having established a small-scale brewing site in Edinburgh, the company is now seeking GBP250,000 to scale up production to meet what its founders claim is a largely untapped market.

Does gluten-free beer have potential in Australia?

Although only making up a tiny proportion of the Australian beer market so far, there is good reason to believe that gluten-free beer might soon be an important growth market, says Daniel Grimsey, Senior Research Analyst, Euromonitor International.

Gluten-free beer in Australia would “potentially appeal not only to coeliac disease suffers, and those on a gluten-free diet, but also craft beer enthusiasts,” Grimsey says.

The major brands in Australian gluten-free beer are Schnitzer Brau (brewed in Offenburg, Germany) and O’Brien (brewed in Wendouree, Victoria).

“Gluten-free beer is typically produced with other non-gluten cereals such as sorghum and millet, giving it a similar appeal to other non-barley beers such as wheat beer, which grew by 13 percent in 2014.   There’s even an opportunity for gluten-free beer to play a similar role to that of low-carb beer, offering a health & wellness option that craft beer currently does not have.

“Its success of course, will all depend on how it tastes,” Grimsey says. 

 

Child dies after drinking unpasteurised milk

A two year old and four children became ill after drinking unpasteurised milk labelled as for “cosmetic use only.”

Unpasteurised cow’s milk is banned for human consumption, but since the milk is categorised as a “cosmetic” product, The Department of Health is unable to recall them.

Several brands of the unpasteurised milk being sold in Victorian health food stores are responsible for the gastroenteritis outbreak, The Herald Sun reports.

A Mornington Peninsula child, 3, died during the past month after drinking Mountain View Organic Bath Milk. The case has been forwarded to the State Coroner.

Another four children aged one to four, from Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs and the Mornington Peninsula, has recovered from serious illnesses after drinking other brands of unpasteurised milk.

An investigation linked all the cases to raw milk. The Health Department will today issue a major health warning about the products.

The packaging for the unpasteurised milk is quite similar to regular milk, and is often sold in fridges next to drinks, but they carry the disclaimer “cosmetic use only”.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Rosemary Lester, has issued a warning about the dangers of drinking raw cow’s milk and written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Consumer Affairs Victoria asking for it to address the matter.

“If this was a food it is something we would recall.

“The sale of unpasteurised milk for human consumption is illegal in Victoria. However, all five cases drank unpasteurised milk sold as ‘bath’ or ‘cosmetic’ milk,” Lester said.

“There are people who are drinking it and feeding it to their family knowing it is not for human consumption.

“It is part of the movement that (believes) if something is raw and natural it must be good. But … no matter how carefully it is produced, raw milk can contain harmful bacteria and parasites,” she said.

 “There have been three cases of Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) and two cases of cryptosporidiosis.

“HUS is a rare but serious condition caused by bacteria that affects the kidneys and the bloodstream. Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection that commonly presents as gastroenteritis with watery diarrhoea.

“Unpasteurised milk increases the risk of contracting gastrointestinal illness because it can contain pathogens such as Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes.

“Since the 1940s it has been compulsory to pasteurise cow’s milk in Australia. Milk is heated for a very short period of time effectively destroying any disease-causing bacteria which may be present in raw milk.

“Everyone is vulnerable to illness caused by the pathogens present in raw milk, but the risks are even greater for young children and for the elderly, those with underlying health problems, immunocompromised or pregnant,” Lester said.

No matter what precautions are taken by dairy farmers during milking, there can be no guarantee that the milk will be free from harmful bacteria.