Tag Archives: Markets

Food Dehydration Options – Free Online Technical Information.

This document, from US Agriculture, is a review of dehydration at a somewhat higher technology level than is often the case on this blog.

The technologies described include batch cabinet dryer, spray dryer and even the freeze dryer. The article also covers business, marketing and regulatory issues and has many link, unfortunately to mainly Amercan information.

ATTRA Dehydration Website

from: ATTRA
(click image for full story online)

The subjects covered by the document are:

  • Types of Dehydration
  • Drying as an On-Farm Added-Value Strategy
  • Product Development and Marketing
  • Regulations
  • References
  • Resources
  • There is an interesting reference to “solar drying” by which they mean drying in the open or what this Blog (and many technologists) terms sun drying. It again raises, this time for a food regulation point of view, the possible contamination of food dried in the open.

    …could not determine how California producers can legally sun-dry in the open or why no one in the health department has “picked up on it yet.” A possible explanation is that existing businesses are sometimes “grandfathered in” when new, tighter restrictions are published.

    I would by the way note that I have not yet managed to get a reply to by query to California Sun Dry about this issue.

    Email me you thoughts and ideas on this and I will publish them in a post!

    Energy Drinks – Market, Formulation and Regulation – Scientific Paper Series

    This is a comprehensive and up to date view of the energy drink market in the USA. Although possible somewhat remote for an African food processor it provides interesting information and also illustrates the level of information required for serious attempts at entering this competitive market.

    Energy Drinks_ An Assessment of Their Market Size, Consumer Demographics, Ingredient Profile, Functiates and Regulations

    from: Wiley
    (click image for full story online)

    The report introduces the target market with the statement

    Athletes initially were the primary consumers of energy drinks. However, as the energy drink market grew and expanded into various niche markets, athletes are no longer the primary target. Today, the majority of energy drinks are targeted at teenagers and young adults 18 to 34 years old due to this generation’s on-the-go lifestyle and receptiveness to advertisements for these types of products (Lal 2007).

    It provides detailed information on a number of commercial products as well as the main active ingredients such as Caffeine, Taurine, Ginseng, Yerba Mate and Guarana.

    Its worth downloading and reading this!

    Candy Bars – Worldwatch Lifecycle Study

    This is a nice “lifecycle Study” from the Worldwatch Institute that provides a bit of history, some process and market information aswell as an environmentalist’s view on issues for chocolate bars (what the American’s call candy bars).



    from: Worldwatch Institute
    (click image for full story online)


    Just 5 or 600 words long these articles give a nice nugget of interesting information on a variety of products.


    Market Research for Agroprocessors – Free Online Technical Manual

    This book by Andrew Shepherd is available via http://bit.ly/FBRDH3.



    from: FAO
    (click image for full story online)


    This review was originally published in Food Processing Africa.

    This 100 page plus manual, published by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, presents a simple and logical look at how a small agroprocessor should go about making sure that there is a market for the product they intend producing. The contents of the manual indicate the scope of the information:

    ✓ Why do we need market research?
    ✓ How much can be sold, where and when?
    ✓ Researching consumer attitudes to your products.
    ✓ How can your product be made attractive to consumers?
    ✓ How should your product be distributed?
    ✓ How should you promote your product.
    ✓ Are your agroprocessing plans feasible?
    ✓ Will your business be profitable, and at what prices?
    ✓ Annex 1 – Questions for market research
    ✓ Annex 2 – A consumer questionnaire
    ✓ Further reading

    The manual introduces each chapter with an outline of the main issues to be covered and provides “hint boxes” which present practical ideas and “word of warning boxes” that identifies particular problems. The sections on collecting information, distribution and advertising contain practical examples and illustrations.

    The last two sections on feasibility and profitability are really important and often don’t get enough attention in the euphoria of a new product. The former goes through all (things such as production and seasonality, location of the farmers and buying costs, price variation, scope for farmers to increase production, labeling, distribution and promotion, licensing and regulations) that has to be in place to run a production business while the latter provides examples of costing and cash flow.

    Each section ends with a “Reaching Conclusions” box, which identifies the new information the user should generate by following the manual. The manual is illustrated with cartoons and contains real examples of checklists for research and a consumer survey in the annexes.

    The book ends with a set of references.

    Almond Industry

    This story gives very encouraging data for the growth of the almond market. Caution is necessary because this situation could already have resulted in increased planting.

    A good overview of how the total number of trees is changing with old trees being removed and new trees being planted.


    Flickr Photo Download_ 2006-11-23 - 7668 Thanksgiving - almonds.jpg

    from: flickr
    (click image to visit the story)


    Australia’s almond industry has shown a 60 per cent growth in the value of exports this year.

    Julie Haslett, CEO of the Almond Board of Australia, said the increase in the global demand for almonds has contributed to the growth of Australia’s horticultural exports.

    “World almond consumption has been growing at an average rate of nine per cent per annum over the last 10 years,” she explained. “Assuming a reduced annual growth rate of five per cent, the world’s demand for almonds is expected to exceed available supply within three years. The Australian almond industry is getting ready for this next surge in demand.”

    Currently, 60 per cent of the Australian almond crop is exported to more than 40 countries around the world, making it Australia’s third largest horticultural export worth $120 million in 2008-2009. Strong export demand for Australia’s almonds is being driven by India and the Middle East, with the value of export sales to these regions having almost tripled since last year.

    Organic Foods in the Food Crisis

    The movement in the Organic food market is important to Africa is we do intend increasing the use of Organic as a selling point, but also because it is an indicator of how people in Europe are going to react to increasing food prices.

    Tesco, the UK chain, decreased it’s prices in August 2008 by up to 25 per cent, “in response to feedback from consumers who are feeling the effects of the credit crunch” Tesco believe
    consumers were already less willing to pay the premium price of Organic Foods, in the face of higher prices on basic commodities and the general economic downturn.

    Late in August USA Today reported on declines in the growth of Organic food in the USA, which they linked to their premium price.


    Organic food sales feel the bite from sluggish economy - USATODAY.com.jpg


    At the end of August the Guardian reported on data collected for it by market research group TNS.


    Shoppers lose their taste for organic food | Environment | The Guardian.jpg

    from: Guardian
    (click image for full story online)


    The information showed the UK suffered the worst decline in sales over the last 10 years. Although the Soil Association had different data they acknowledged the fact that the consumers situation was definitely effecting sales.

    The Private Sector Development Blog of the World bank noted the decrease reported on by the Guardian , but added that the effect on purchases from Developing Countries will be lower because most Organic Food is purchased from Developed Countries.

    Another article by the Guardian wondered whether this quick reversal in the face of the economic downturn indicates that the Organic movement is just a fad.

    On the other hand the Dane’s consumption of organic foods seems not to be effected by food price increases.


    Gloomy Economy Doesn_t Stop the Danes From Eating More Organic _ TreeHugger.jpg

    from: Tree Hugger
    (click image for full story online)


    Tree Hugger believes this is a result of an older organic system and the fact that retail is wider spread, down to the corner store.

    Interesting is the fact that Restaurants & Caterers can be certified at bronze, silver and gold levels, depending on the content of organic ingredients in their food.

    The final question is what effect will the current financial crisis, assuming its is going take years to correct, have on the development of the Organic Sector over the short and medium terms.

    Mali’s Mangos

    This image and text identifies the problem of the mango resource in Mali. It is one of a series of 10 pictures assembled by the BBC describing various aspects of the mango and its contribution to livelihoods in Mali.

    BBC NEWS | In pictures_ Mali_s mangos, Feast or famine-1.jpg

    from: BBC News
    (click image to look at the series)


    The text reads:

    The simplicity of the mango business is a problem. Mali is one of West Africa’s biggest producers, with around 1.2m sq km under cultivation – 50% of which is exported.

    But in years when the rains are poor the mangos are scarce, and in years of plenty the fruit rots on the trees or is eaten by animals.

    “Of course there is waste, and the price falls when we have too many mangos. We need to get better organised, and look further than Sibi for markets,” says local official Dioma Doumbia.

    Highlighting a different aspect of the food waste issue that this blog will be discussing more with time. Click here to see the posts to date

    Kiwi Fruit & the Food Industry

    Kiwi Fruit production continues to grow in response to the demand for high content of polyphenols, vitamins C and E, and folate.

    Italy number one for antioxidant-rich kiwi supply.jpg

    from: Food Navigator
    (click image for full story online)


    For example Italy remains the worlds largest producer having achieved a 9.1 per cent volume growth, creating a market worth 297 million euros at basic prices, up a considerable 15.3 per cent on the year before.

    Current global production stands at around one million tonnes, with Italy contributing over 400,000 tonnes to this figure in the year 2006 to 2007. New Zealand is next in line with about 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes, followed by Chile and a handful of other producers.

    Although only a few percent of the volume of for example oranges this is quite an amazing development for a fruit that entered the market in the 1960s.

    The article describes considerable developments in the ingredient, nutraceutical and even cosmeceutical markets.