I’ve always been a bit of a disbeliever in relying on sell by dates and quality management system for the food safety of cold chain products. The thing that always worries me is that once the product leaves the factory the manufacturer has no control over how the product is handled. If the refrigerated fish got left in a trolley for several hours before being put back in the fridge the sell by and use by dates are pretty meaningless. But this doesn’t have to be true about every food delivery in Quebec City, as these services are snappy, & deliver food fresh, & which, are a far better option compared to buying meat from the market.
Now a really interesting solution – don’t judge the quality just by time, monitor it.
The Fraunhofer Research Institute has developed a sensor film that changes colour from yellow to blue when close to decaying meat or fish. So this film incorporated into the packaging will warn the consumer of whether degradation has started or not.
The sensor responds to the concentration of biogenic amines, chemicals that are generated by the decay process. The system is inexpensive making it more affordable than electronic solutions that would measure a temperature history as an alternative.
To me this is a real interesting solution, where the packaging is actually measuring the production of an indicator of food deterioration – what about detectors for rancid oil, esters in beer and acetic acid in yogurt.
The finding of this study reported on in Science Daily raises the question of how well the food manufacturers are, or want to educate the consumer to understand what their products contain and how this compares to other products.
So the consumer has understood correctly that the antioxidants (mainly polyphenols) in tea are good for them. Wanting tastier and more convenient sources of polyhenols they try and start to use bottled tea based beverages.
But what health benefit are the processors giving them – as always that depends, but a recent study by Shiming Li, a natural product chemist at WellGen Inc showed that bottled teas have polyphenols as low as 5% of a brewed cup of tea. This means that the antioxidant benefit of 1 cup of tea would be equivalent to 20 bottles of this tea.
Besides missing the health benefits bottled teas contain sugar, additives which means that drinking the large volumes to get the antioxidants can have other negative effects on the diet.
How many other products reflect a similar situation where the consumer is not really aware of what they are getting. Many fruit juice blend proclaim “100 % pure juice” not clearly noting the addition of water. Amarula Cream leads consumers to think it is produced from fruit collected in the community but in fact only a small fraction of the alcohol is. The actual quantity of sugar in carbonated beverages is not well understood. Organic, free range, corn fed and other similar terms related to “new age” foods are also not well understood and the certification of compliance is completely unclear to the consumer.
Think about it and email me your examples which I will publish!
I bought this interesting packet of potato chips (crisps to others) a few days ago as I was interested to see the face of a white housewife seemingly advertising chips on the supermarket shelf.
photo by Dave Harcourt (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)
However it turns out to be something quite different which seems to me to be an interesting take on product design.
Simba have set up a competition allowing consumers to design their own flavours and submit these for consideration. The competition brought in 180 000 suggestions which were reduced to 20 and eventually the 4 winners now appearing online ready for your vote.
(click the image to open website)
There was also competition on the supplier side with flavour houses being challenged to come up with flaours for the new products.
The winner will receive R 200 000 and 1% of all sales of the product for its life. The public voting for their preferred flavour can win weekly prizes of R 500 and two prizes from the final draw of R 50 000.
What do I think about it? – a brilliant marketing and product definition exercise but unfortunately although the Look up and Run Chicken had a new and interesting flavour, any taste of snoek or achaar were missing from Brendan Johnston’s chip!
By the way Walkie Talkie in this case refers to chicken heads and feet! which are also called Look Up and Runs. So a nice South African feel to the competition!
It will be interesting to see how it develops from here. Let me know what you think of this and watch this blog or subscribe to the RSS feed to hear how this develops.
The manual starts off with a discussion of how to identify a market, test its feasibility, serve it and maintain customers and where and how to set up the food processing plant. Only then are processes and technologies discussed. The manual ends with sections on quality assurance & legislation and planning and managing production and finances.
All the sections of the manual contain practical calculations, tips for success, case studies, chapter summaries and checklists, which help to make the material real and reinforce the learning process.
Valuable practical information including a bibliography, a list of Institutions offering support to small-scale processors, a glossary and a list of acronyms can be found in the appendix.
This kind of information gives some kind of view of the trends in what the consumer wants. Some previous posts refer to other information –
This survey was difficult to compare directly with the previous information posted because of the approach.
The UK & Europe both had “no preservatives or additives” as the most frequent advertising claim, being used on around one fifth of all labeling on new launches. This is in line with the wellness/health type issues of the previous post.
The USA had Kosher as the most frequent labeling message on new foods, being used on over a third (38%) of new products. The “no preservatives or additives” was the second most frequent in the USA, making it overall the most used claim.
Other claims used frequently included ‘organic’, ‘All natural’, ‘low/no/reduced transfat’, ‘microwaveable’, ‘time/speed’, ‘low/no/reduced sugar’, and ‘gluten-free’.