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FSSAI unveils Food Innovators Network to fine-tune India’s food sector
 
In a bid to support the realisation of the Indian food processing industry’s massive potential for value-addition through government policy and regulatory assistance, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched the Food Innovators Network (FINE) programme recently.

While the country has developed a vibrant entrepreneurial landscape and steadfastly strengthened its position as the third largest start-up ecosystem globally, its food sector has emerged as high-growth and high-profit domain.

In conjunction with the Government’s Start-Up India and Digital India initiatives, FSSAI, through FINE, aims to bring together innovators and start-up entrepreneurs to provide innovative solutions and transform the country’s food safety and nutrition landscape.

The country’s apex food regulator, through the medium of FINE, will engage with entrepreneurs working to address challenges in areas such as affordable and accessible food testing, ensuring availability of healthy food, educating consumers towards nutritious choices and reducing food waste.

It will mentor these start-ups to effectively provide innovative new-age solutions to tackle these challenges through the best of innovation, technologies and business models. Start-ups working in the said areas can apply to be a part of the FINE network by visiting the microsite created. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2018.
As a part of FINE, to support budding entrepreneurs, the regulator is setting up a FSSAI buddy system wherein every start-up in the network will be assigned a buddy from the regulatory body. The buddies will aid the start-ups in navigating their way through the regulatory space, and thus enable ease of doing business.

The event also witnessed the launch of a first-of-its-kind, FoSTaC Plus Course, a spin-off of the Food Safety Training and Certification (FoSTaC) programme by FSSAI. The course, titled Go-to Guide for Food Start-ups, serves as a regulatory walkthrough for start-ups in this sector. It details the procedures related to licensing and registration, labelling and packaging, safety, health and sanitary requirements as well as other statutory and regulatory compliances as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
FSSAI launched FINE during the TiE Delhi NCR Food and Food Services Summit 2018. Speaking about the journey of the apex food regulator over the years, Madhavi Das, chief management services officer, FSSAI, emphasised on the regulators philosophy of Trust but Verify.

She added that the regulator had come a long way from being a mere enforcer of food laws to enabling food businesses to comply with regulations. “Making them responsive would not only improve their business practices, but also improve the entire food ecosystem,” Das said.

She added that as the Indian food industry was poised for huge growth by increasing its contribution to world food trade every year, it is important to understand the dynamics around the start-up ecosystem as they are here to stay.
At the launch of the Food Innovators Network, FSSAI also announced the Eat Right Food Innovation Awards, which would be presented to selected start-ups transforming the food and nutrition landscape of the country in December this year.

The FINE initiative by FSSAI is a reaffirmation that a robust regulatory environment can enable a favorable macro-economic environment to nurture the growth and development of food-based start-ups, and hence, the overall economy of the country.

 

U.K. to ban sales of energy drinks to children
 
The UK government is proposing a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children.

A government consultation outlines a ban that would apply to drinks with more than 150mg of caffeine per litre, and prevent all retailers from selling the drinks to children. It is now seeking views on whether sales of energy drinks to children should be stopped.

While a number of major retailers have already banned the sale of energy drinks to children, it is not a legal requirement and children can
still easily buy energy drinks from convenience stores, other retailers and vending machines.

More than two-thirds of 10-17 year olds and a quarter of six to nine year olds consume energy drinks in the UK, according to the government.

Energy drinks are functional beverages with a stimulating effect and unique combinations of characterizing ingredients including caffeine, taurine, vitamins and other substances with a nutitrional or physiological effect.

They have long come under fire for high levels of caffeine and sugar, particularly given that they often appeal to children and adolescents.

Brazil’s GM sugarcane deemed safe by US FDA
 
The United States Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded that raw and refined sugar produced from Brazil’s first geneticallymodified sugarcane variety is safe.

The insect-protected sugarcane, called CTC20BT, was developed by the Centro de Technologia Canavieira, a 100% national company focused on
research, development, and marketing of varieties of sugarcane and other disruptive technologies.

The US FDA focused its safety assessment on data that showed the highly refined sugar was compositionally identical to sugar produced from conventional varieties. The Agency focused on sugar because it is the main sugarcane-derived product imported to the US from Brazil.

Earlier this year, a similar approval for sugar from Health Canada earlier this year. The sugarcane was first approved for cultivation in Brazil by CTNBio-Brazil’s National Biosafety Technical Committee, in June 2017.

MEPs vote to ban Bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging
 
Members of the European Parliament have voted on an amendment to a report calling for a ban on the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in food contact materials.
The report from the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, urges the European Commission
to draw up EU wide regulations for all food packaging. It also calls on regulators to recognise that pregnant and breastfeeding women are particularly vulnerable to the effects of hazardous chemical exposures, including exposures to ‘cocktails’ of chemicals from different sources, even at low doses.
Breast Cancer UK has already responded to EU Commission proposals to lower migration levels of BPA in food contact materials and urged the Commission not only to ban BPA but to extend the ban to other bisphenols which may be used as BPA substitutes.
BPA has already been banned from use in all food packaging in France, and is banned in packaging of foods intended for children under three years old in Sweden, Denmark and Belgium.
Breast Cancer UK has written to UK MEPs asking them to support this report and the amendment calling for an EU-wide
ban on BPA.
A bill has also been introduced in the US House of Representatives looking to ban bisphenol A (BPA) from food
containers.

First bioplastic made from cheese waste
  Researchers in Spain and Portugal have made the first bioplastic from a cheese byproduct. The material is polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), obtained by a microbial fermentation bioprocess of whey, which is created during cheese production. It will be used as a biodegradable packaging material, called Wheypack, that can be tailored to specific dairy products.
One goal of the LIFE WHEYPACK European project was to obtain cheese packaging that is 100% biodegradable, which would enable a lower environmental impact, fulfill the requirements of product protection, and also be economically viable.
The project's second goal was to figure out what to do with all of the surplus whey derived from cheese-making. In Europe alone, the annual production of whey from cheese makers reaches 75 million tons. Most of the thin, milky fluid produced by the European dairy industry during milk and cheese processing returns to the food chain for manufacturing other dairy products, but about 40% is discarded and must be managed as a waste.
Instead, the Wheypack bioplastic process turns this waste into a product dairies can use. The circular economy, or closed-loop, project makes it possible for the generators of the waste, the dairy industry, to make a profit by the production of the new PHB biodegradable packaging tailored to the needs of their products.
The project is funded by the European Union's LIFE program, which supports environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU. It is coordinated by the AINIA technology center in Spain, a private non-profit experienced in food and packaging technologies. The PHB is obtained from the whey surplus of Central Quesera Montesinos, a Spanish cheese manufacturer. Other partners include the AIMPLAS Plastics Technology Institute in Spain, and the EMBALNOR packaging company in Portugal.
Most commercial plastics are synthetic polymers derived from petrochemicals, and they do not biodegrade easily or quickly. In contrast, the PHB bioplastic is completely biodegradable. To create the bioplastic, the different types of whey from the production processes of the different varieties of cheeses of Central Quesera Montesinos were identified and characterized. Those with the best aptitude for carrying out the fermentative bioprocess were then selected, and the AINIA research team applied bioproduction technologies to produce the PHB bioplastic.
The resulting PHB is being compounded and additivated by researchers at AIMPLAS to improve its properties for use as a food packaging material that can be processed with the same technology as polypropylene-based material. EMBALNOR is currently moving to design and develop final packaging with this additivated bioplastic material: PHB-based trays that will be produced by injection molding. Finally, trays will be tested with cheese products.
According to the project report's executive summary , this PHB packaging will have the same features as packaging
made of traditional petroleum-based plastic packages, but with a 35% smaller carbon footprint. Compared to untreated industrialized whey byproducts, using these byproducts for PHB packaging production reduces biological oxygen demand by 75% and chemical oxygen demand by 40%. Using the surplus whey byproducts instead of purpose-grown crops as raw materials cut the polymer production costs by up to 50%.

US 2015 Dietary Guidelines released
 
The government’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released Jan. 7 with strong warnings about sugar, a less than expected slap at meat and an acknowledgement that some oils are healthy.
The guidelines suggest Americans should consume:
•A variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other vegetables
•Fruits, especially whole fruits
•Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
•Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
•A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, and nuts and seeds
•Oils, including those from plants: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower. Oils also are naturally present in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives, and avocados.
Some things worth noting from deeper in the guidelines:
•There was some speculation the guidelines could create some warning about chemical non-nutritive sweeteners, especially aspartame, but instead they noted: “aspartame in amounts commonly consumed is safe and poses minimal health risk for healthy individuals without phenylketonuria.”
•Dietary cholesterol does not play a major role in blood cholesterol, a reversal of previous thinking. This makes egg people happy.
•A little caffeine is OK. “Moderate coffee consumption (three to five 8-oz cups/day or providing up to 400 mg/day of caffeine) can be incorporated into healthy eating patterns.”
There are five overarching guidelines:
•Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Eating patterns are the combination of foods and drinks that a person eats over time.
•Focus on variety, nutrient-dense foods, and amount.
•Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake.
•Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
•Support healthy eating patterns for all.

Transparency key in GM labeling
 
Amid public debate about whether food companies should list genetically modified (GM) ingredients on their labels, a Cornell University study finds that consumers are more supportive of labeling decisions when they believe the company considered the public’s input in the process.
The study, published in the Journal of Risk Research, bolsters longstanding research into the impact of perceived fairness and transparency surrounding any decision-making process, known as procedural justice. For the study, researchers asked 450 participants to read one of four fictitious news articles detailing an agro-food company’s decision about labeling the GM content of their food products. The mock articles varied on four key points: the decision whether or not to label the presence of ingredients grown from GM seeds, and whether or not the company considered the public’s input as part of their deliberations. Participants then gave their reactions on a six-point scale regarding the legitimacy of the process and whether they support the company’s decision.
While the study found people reacted more positively to a decision when they believed the company engaged the public, any decision that led to labeling was deemed more favorable compared to either non-labeling process. That pro-labeling attitude is in line with other research and opinion polls showing a preference for GM ingredients to be displayed on packaging.

Researchers in India use curcumin to create ‘functional ice cream’
 

Researchers from the National Dairy Research Institute in India sought to bring the health benefits of turmeric’s main metabolite-curcumin-into one of the world’s most popular treat: Ice cream. Powdered turmeric, a key ingredient in making curry, can be found in spice cabinets across South Asia. Research pointed that, as people are looking for naturally occurring bioactive components in plants, the bioactives of turmeric is a valuable source of nutrients for functional foods.

Despite soaring sales of curcumin supplements, curcumin’s application as a functional food ingredient hasn’t been widespread-the researchers attribute this to “poor water-solubility, extremely low absorption and bioavailability, and rapid degradation under neutral and alkaline pH conditions.” Published in the latest edition of Food & Function, their study found that the hydrophobic curcumin can actually be dissolved to add nutrition to functional foods when it has been nanoencapsulated using sodium caseinate.

To make the curcumin bioactives dissolve, the researchers turned them into nanoemulsions, which are “transparent heterogeneous mixtures of oil in water and are stabilized by emulsifiers,” they wrote. For this study, the researchers used casein to emulsify and encapsulate the curcumin, this is because, compared to whey protein, casein can form a thicker interfacial layer around the lipid droplets, and because it is easily degraded by the enzymes of a stomach. Another advantage is that the food industry already widely uses sodium caseinate (NaCas), so the study could simulate a feasible functional food design.

After various tests using different oils to dissolve the curcumin-butter, palm, olive, MCT-60, and sunflower oil maximum solubility was found in MCT-60, a medium chain triglycerides-60. The team made their ice cream from scratch. Dry ingredients (skim milk powder, stabilizer, emulsifier, and sugar) were mixed with the liquid ingredients (milk and cream) at 70 to 72C. Afterwards is the homogenization process around 65C, when the curcumin nanonemulsion is added. The mixture is then pasteurized at around 85C, and cooled between 0 to 4C. After 24 hours of ageing in freezing temperature, flavour (mango) and color was added, before freezing and packaging it at below freezing temperatures (around-18C).


Eating more pulses increases fullness, can help manage weight
  Eating about one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils can increase fullness, which may lead to better weight management and weight loss, a new study from Canada has found.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of all available clinical trials found that people felt 31 per cent fuller after eating on average 160 grams of dietary pulses compared with a control diet.
Pulses have a low glycemic index (meaning that they are foods that break down slowly) and can be used to reduce or displace animal protein as well as "bad" fats such as trans fat in a dish or meal.
Pulses make people feel fuller and was true across various age categories and Body Mass Indexes.
Although the analysis found pulses had little impact on "second meal food intake," the amount of food someone eats at his or her next meal, these findings support longer term clinical trials that have shown a weight loss benefit of dietary pulses.
Another recently published systematic review and meta-analysis found that eating on average one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils can also reduce "bad cholesterol" by five per cent and therefore lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Adequate omega-3 intake can improve attention, literacy in children
 
A new Australian study suggests that increasing the omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in red blood cells by dietary supplementation may improve attention, literacy and behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The randomized controlled trial measured the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) concentrations in red blood cells and behavior of 90 children with ADHD who received EPA-rich fish oil supplements, DHA-rich fish oil supplements or safflower oil as control for four months. The study results showed that increased red blood cell levels of EPA and DHA in participants supplemented with the omega-3 fatty acids were associated with improvements in spelling, cognitive problems, attention, hyper-activity, and behavior in general. Decreasing the levels of omega-6 fatty acids in favor of omega-3 fatty acids was also seen to improve the ADHD symptoms.

The researchers commented that this study highlights the importance of confirming interventions such as increased nutrient intakes with changes in blood nutrient concentrations.

The researchers added that DHA is as important a contributor as EPA to ADHD improvement. Recent research indicated that increased DHA levels in red blood cells were associated with improved literacy in children with learning difficulties.

Global functional food future very optimistic
Market researcher Canadean has released a new report "Global Functional Food Survey-Trends and Insights 2014–2016" which evaluates the optimism levels about the future of the global functional food and drinks market.

The report assesses the prevailing business environment for functional food and drinks by identifying key drivers and major barriers influencing the functional food and drinks market, and highlights key growth boosting issues, identifies major focus areas for functional food and drinks product development, and projects change in the sales of functional food and drinks and change in the demand for functional food ingredients in the future. It also provides information about the key brick and mortar and remote retailers that will boost the sales of functional food and drinks over the next three years.

Key conclusions from the report include:
+ Canadean believes that younger adults aged 25-34 will be the key demographic group that will drive functional food and drink sales over the next three years.
+ The US and China will be the two "hot-spot" areas where demand for functional food and drink will intensify most.
+ 'Energy/sport drinks', 'cereal and energy bars' and 'juice and soft drinks' are the product categories that will witness the biggest increase in demand.
+ Demand for functional food and drinks in grocers, hypermarkets, and supermarkets will outpace demand in specialist health stores.
+ Across most regions, demand for omega-6, probiotics and dietary fibres will grow in 2014–2016.
+ Online sales of functional food and drinks are also expected to increase.
+ Consumer education programs will be the most effective strategy for the expansion of functional food and drinks into new markets.
+ 'Clear product description', 'quality cues to customers', and 'maximum brand massaging' are the crucial packaging/labelling trends for the growth of functional food and drinks.
+ The majority of executives across all regions anticipate social media as the key channel for the marketing communication of functional food and drinks.

According to Canadean, the report identifies strategies that will be crucial for expansion of functional food and drinks into new markets over the next three years.

Global coffee output at record high in 2012-2013
 
Global coffee exports touched a record 110.2 million bags in the 2012-13 marketing year on significant rise in shipments from Brazil, Indonesia and Colombia, the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) said.

Exports from India, on the other hand, fell marginally in the same period. World coffee exports stood at 107.71 million bags in the 2011-12 marketing year, that runs from October to September, the global body said.

Despite a slight decrease in September, total exports for 2012-13 reached a record volume of 110.2 million bags.

Of the total exports, Arabica variety of coffee comprised of 68.5 million bags, while Robusta shipments were 41.7 million bags in the same period.

Barring India and Vietnam among top five coffee exporters, the shipments from Brazil, Indonesia and Colombia remained robust in the 2012-13 marketing year.

Export from Brazil, the world's largest coffee exporter, increased to Rs. 30.94 million bags in 2012-13, as compared to 28.86 million bags in the same period last year. Similarly, shipments from Indonesia, the world's third largest coffee exporter, also increased around 20%, while shipments from Colombia rose 20% too in the review period.

However exports from India, the world's fifth largest coffee exporter, fell to 5.16 million bags in the 2012-13, from 5.36 million bags in the previous year. The shipments from Vietnam, the world's second largest coffee exporter, also dropped in the review period.

Supplies were sufficient to meet the export demand as total world output in 2012-13 is also estimated at a record volume of 145.2 million bags, the report said.

India's tea production set to cross 1 billion kg again
 
India's tea production is expected to cross the one billion kg mark by a wide margin this year too, and is likely to be around 1,185 to 1,190 million kg, higher than last year's 1,126.33 million kg.

Tea production in India, the world's second-biggest producer of the brew, had breached the one billion kg mark in 2012.

According to the recent report of ITA, India’s production of the crop in the January-September period this year increased by 53.61 million kg to 861.57 million kg from 807.96 million kg during the same period last year.

During the first nine months of calendar year 2013, tea production in north India was 690.88 million kg, while in south it was 170.69 million kg.

In the January-September period this year, India’s largest tea producing state Assam’s crop was at 447.13 million kg, higher than last year’s 432.95 million kg.

North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty said that for the full year also production in 2013 should be higher compared to last year in Assam, on the back of better climate and less pest attacks. Assam alone produces about 53% of India’s total production of tea, the favourite brew of the country.

India eyes membership of World Wine Trade Group
  The Indian Grape Processing Board (IGPB), set up under the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, was invited by the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) as an observer for the first time at an international level meet of the group.

India is also the first country from Asia to become the member of the Paris-based International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). The invitation to IGPB indicates the world is recognising and watching the Indian wine industry and is eager to involve India in the WWTG, according to Jagdish Holkar, chairman of IGPB.

IGPB will initially participate as an observer and initiate contacts and then apply for membership, he said. The move will help the Indian wine industry gain international recognition and also boost export of Indian wines, he added.

Headquartered in the US, WWTG comprises eight non-EU wine producing countries who now account for almost a third of total global wine exports, a share which has risen rapidly over the past decade.
Members include New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, South Africa and the US; some other wine producing nations, such as Brazil, China, Mexico and Uruguay, attend as observers.
WWTG works to facilitate the international wine trade. The body also consists of new world wine producers and this will help India in promoting its wines. The OIV membership helps India get access to state-of-the-art scientific knowledge about vines, wines and grapes.

Indian wine has been gaining recognition in international markets. Sula Vineyards' 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, won a Silver Medal at the first Decanter Asia Wine Awards. York Winery's 2012 Chenin Blanc and 2012 Sauvignon Blanc won a bronze medal in the 2012 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition. Ritu Wines won 4 Bronze medals.
 
 
 
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