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Market /Business

Commercialising Cactus Pears – Free Online Information

If your community has large areas of cultivated cactus pears or if it is a good climate for cactus pears but little is grown, this manual could be of real value to you.

Commercialising Cactus Pears - Free Online Information

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This 150 page manual with 13 pages of reference, will surely give you all you need to know about the utilisation of cactus pear. You can then build your business by integrating this information with you knowledge of your community using you entrepreneurial skills.

A quick scan through the chapters of the manual illustrates the breadth and detail of the information.

Chapters of   /http://www.fao.org/docrep/019/a0534e/a0534e.pdfCommercialising Cactus Pears

The manual is available for free download, however, if you have problems please email me and I will make sure you get a copy.

High Pressure Processing

I have posted information on High Pressure Processing (HPP) before covering the process, linking to a factsheet and describing a product. HPP is a relatively new process that has advantages in the consumer preference for freshness and health that have been developing recently.

 

Food safety and quality drive demand for high pressure processing

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This article gives a few of the major points found in a recent market investigation.

  • The USA is the leading market for HPP products
  • The East, although an attractive market, has certain constraints based on consumer habits
  • Equipment sales are projected to reach $600 million by 2018
  • Product sales are expected to reach 2,2 billion in the same year
  • Beverages, ready to eat meals, raw proteins and raw pet food have been the successful products to date.

Is this the next big thing in African Food Processing? – I doubt it is likely to become a widely used technology. We still need to catch up with more standard capital intensive technologies as our middle class develops and demands more quality.

However, where we are developing new markets for the indigenous plants of Africa, there is surely an opportunity for HPP to retain flavours and beneficial chemicals tahtt will appeal to wealthy consumers.

Herbs, Spices and Essential Oils Manual – Free Online Information

This is a really impressive manual published by UNIDO.

Cover of the Herbs, Spices and Essential Oils Manual

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The manual covers the following subjects with the focus being on the post production processes used including a very informative section on essential oils.

  • Major spice crops in world trade
  • Economic Impact and Trade
  • Products
  • Post-Production
  • Operations Losses
  • Pest control 
  • Economic and Social Considerations

Food Processors are well equiped with knowledge and equipment that could be adapted to the production of herbs, spices or essential oils. They, therefore, have an opportunity to consider changing or expanding their business.

Do Germans Spend 20 Times More Than Chadians on Food?

Hungry Planet, a recent book by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, presents the food consumption of households around the world. The results are presented in the form of a picture of the family and the food they ate in a week, just like this German family.

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In each case the total cost of the food is given (in this case $500) as well as demographics of the country and some information on favorite foods. Besides just being interesting and revealing eg this German Family drinks 4 bottles of wine in the week while the French family appears to drink only one, it gives a view of food culture an food processing.

Revealing and concerning is the difference between first and third world countries and in particular, Central African countries. The family from Chad spends only $2,50 on food, just a 20th of the German Family!

click the image to visit the website

This is quite startling, although the environmental impact is probably even more interesting given the almost complete lack of processed food, besides post harvest processing, and one way packaging in the food of the Chadian family. While the German family shows that in a week they used around sixty glass, plastic and board beverage containers.

Not much scope for a Food Processor in Chad!

The answer to the question in the title is that we can’t tell from these single images. However, we can be sure that the general differences highlighted are an indication of the food culture differences. We also know from the research on waste, that a significant fraction of the food (maybe a quarter) shown in the German home is probably wasted, while very little of that reaching the Chadian household is.

 

 

Fairtrade Shebeen Style?

FAIRTRADE has been a great success based on its rapid growth in turnover. There are, however questions that linger around the benefit to farmers compared to the turnover as well as other issues.

Shebeen generating funds to development

from: Shebeen
(click image for full story online)

A new idea that also allows the consumer to generate income for development is the Australian Shebeen. This food and drink outlet carries products that are linked to specific developing countries e.g. Tuskers from Kenya, Valdivieso Pinot Noir from Chile and Mumma Ho’s Vietnamese meatball.

It then distributes “100%” of its profits to “Not for Profits” in the country of origin of the food or drink bought.

I really like the idea, but it needs more information and transparency to understand its real benefit. Does $2 really go to development for each beer drunk as reported in one story?

  • what are profits – e.g. how are salaries, disbursement and reinvestment set
  • how are “Not for Profits” selected and what is the cost of this
  • how do normal developed country products contribute
  • is this a once off or is it scalable – i.e. when do we see an Australian she been in Soweto
  • I will be following up on this over the next while.

    National Mission on Food Processing – Free Online Information

    The National Mission on Food Processing is an Indian web site that provides very detailed information for food processing entrepreneurs on a wide range of food products.

    A webpage offering detailed food processing business information

    from: National Mission on Food Procesing
    (click image for full story online)

    The site provides wide ranging information including product and process descriptions as well as costing and financial analysis. It is focused on the needs of smaller and start up entrepreneurs, although the information would be valuable to any processor. Some 110 product are covered in this manual.

    Unfortunately, the information and especially the suppliers and costing is developed for application in India. However, it is still a useful source of information for any entrepreneur.

    Tired of “One Third of All Food Produced is Lost or Wasted”

    Its true that “One Third of All Food Produced is Lost or Wasted” but it does get a bit boring when we hear it over and over along with a means of reducing it which is simple and obvious. This is made worse by the fact that these means of reducing loss are often very daunting and require actions that you have little effect on.

    click the image to visit the website

    This CTA briefing paper does a good job of summarizing the various places and ways in which these losses can be addressed. It for example shows that consumers in upper income communities need to take care of their actions and reduce losses – something that's hard for the individual to impact on and where no progress is evident. But we should all keep enthusiastic about it and do whatever we can to reduce waste even if our little effort is not going to be significant on its own.

    As a Food Processor, a way of looking at this and keeping up the enthusiasm is to see the other benefits of saving food, which are not always considered. Whatever you do to reduce losses in you plant doesn't only reduce losses of food it

    • Reduces agricultural input usage
    • Increases sustainability of you business
    • Saves you money, when the action required (as is often the case) does not require extra cost
    • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
    • Reduction in water and energy consumption

     

    DTI Presentation – South African Food Processing Industry

    This presentation by the DTI contains interesting information on Food Processing and the Food Processing Industry in South Africa. Although it is rather old, much of the information is still of value.

    click the image to visit the website and download the document

     

    Swings and Roundabouts in Brewing

    Its interesting that the heart of beer development outside of Europe could be argued to have started in the US moved to Britain and then back to the US and that the UK is now moving towards learning from the US.

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    This 3 or 4 page article is a very nice overview of the current status and of the history of how things developed in the US and the UK.

    Canned Food – Growing Consumption

    What at first glimpse seems to be a rather crude processing technology that produces mass market foods, is growing in the UK and seems to be attracting attention.

    click the image to visit the website

    At first glimpse it also appears to be an energy intensive process, but it needs to be compared to the energy input along the whole value chain and over time. I also needs to be seen as a cooking process, a preservation technique and as food packaging.

    Some time ago I did a Google Plus post on a recent study that claimed the nutrition provided by canned beans was cheaper than that fom dried beans. I noted that this seemed unlikely and undertook to follow up on it. I contacted the author and received the paper on which the report was based. The reason was clear, in calculating the cost of nutrition from dried beans the cost of preparation time was included. This is the correct approach but the time calculated for dried beans was not just for the preparation and cooking, but included the hours that the beans were soaked in water. Canned obviously beans did not have such a cost included and the total cost worked out to be lower than the dried beans.

    This just shows how careful one needs to be in these kinds of evaluations. Other issues that could be important when convenience, considering canned foods is the low cost of storage, the long shelflike and the reduced in home cooking needs. On the negative side the high cost of packaging and the limitations on the products that can be offered through canning.