Saturday, January 30, 2010

About 67% of consumers expect to eat out at least as often in 2010 as they did in 2009

Although financial forecasts for the year ahead remain weak, there is a glimmer of hope for foodservice operators weary from month after month of softening sales. Consumers’ declining restaurant visits appear to have bottomed out: 67% of respondents to R&I’s 2010 New American Diner Study say they expect to eat out at least as often in 2010 as they did in 2009; that’s up from 56.9% who were similarly optimistic last year.

Certainly, diners are feeling the effects of job cuts, lower wages and general financial uncertainty. Approximately 60% of the consumers in R&I’s study say the economic downturn affected their dining-out habits in the past year, and the top way they’ve been cutting expenses is by dining out less often. Some diners report trading down to less-expensive restaurants, and many others are adjusting their typical meal orders to trim check sizes.

The New American Diner Study shows evidence that the pressures on people’s wallets are changing their dining behaviors in other ways, too. The percentage of respondents who say they are more likely to order menu items labeled “organic,” for example, dropped to 17.8% from 22.8% last year; similarly, the percentage of those likely to respond to the term “all-natural” has fallen from 37.8% to 30.6%.

Through it all, Americans’ connection to restaurants remains strong: 87.7% of study respondents say they visited a restaurant in the past year. They continue to see restaurants as a primary destination when celebrating special occasions or meeting up with friends as well as when they seek the simple convenience of not having to cook and clean up. Operators who tune in to differences in attitudes among dining demographic groups will find additional opportunities to connect with consumers. One example: All consumers are looking for deals, but R&I’s data reveals that lower price points are the strongest draw for young diners, whereas targeted coupons may hold more appeal for families.

This report outlines more of the findings of R&I’s exclusive research, starting with a general profile of the New American Diner and then spotlighting key differences among young diners, older diners and families. The data offers insights about what today’s diners want and what they respond to—and points out simple ways to keep them coming through the doors.



Friday, January 29, 2010

Food and drink product launches declined almost 30% in 2009

The economic slump paid its toll on US food and drink manufacturers in 2009, according to a recent review of Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD). Food and drink product launches show a substantial decline of nearly 30% from 2008.

“In the last decade, Mintel GNPD has only tracked occasional, small declines in new product introductions for the US market, never a decline as strong as this,” notes Lynn Dornblaser, leading new product expert at Mintel. “We see that a number of small companies, which typically introduce a wide range of products, have been stopping or slowing their introductions due to the economy. Additionally, some categories have simply become so over-saturated that there is little room for new products.”

Despite this declining trend, there are some categories and claims that found a hidden niche in which to excel. Ethical and environmental claims increased from 9% of all product launches in 2008 to 17% in 2009. Specifically in this category, the environmentally friendly packaging claim nearly tripled, growing from 3% of all products launched in 2008 to 9% in 2009.

“The increase in ethical and environmental claims is less about companies introducing new products or changing their packaging and more about manufacturers communicating with their consumers and knowing what’s important to the people who purchase their products,” says Lynn Dornblaser.

Meanwhile, in clear correlation with the recession, products boasting an economy claim have increased by 72% from 2008 to 2009*.

In addition, side dishes was one of the few categories of food and drink that saw an increase in 2009, with 16% more launches than in 2008*. This increase is most likely due to more people eating in and the introduction of products that offer convenient solutions, such as vegetable steam bags.

Still, most categories saw decreases due to the down economy, notes Lynn Dornblaser: “Natural and organic products, which saw large increases in 2008, took a few steps back in 2009 due to their higher price points.”

Food and drink introductions with an all-natural claim decreased from 15% of all launches in 2008 to 13% in 2009. The organic claim, showed a similar decline of 12% to 10% in the same timeframe.

*These numbers are based on a percentage difference from 2008 to 2009, not based on a percentage of total launches.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some 62% of adults aged 25 to 34 and 55% of 18 to 24-year-olds rank a restaurant's proximity to their workplace

Restaurants and foodservice establishments serving up convenience are poised to do well in this post-recession economy. A new report from Mintel suggests that although value has become the mantra of many contemporary diners, convenience still resonates with the out-to-eat crowd, especially those under age 34.

Over half of younger adults rank a restaurant’s proximity to their workplace as very important/important when selecting where to dine (62% of 25-34s and 55% of 18-24s, versus 41% of all respondents). The ability to order online ahead of time is also essential to young, time-strapped consumers (31% of 25-34s and 24% of 18-24s, versus 19% overall). The younger demographics also rank extended hours (i.e. late-night) and speed of service highly in their restaurant selection processes.

“Though value remains important to diners in this economy, our survey reveals convenience may be equally as important. Young adults and young families, especially, are pressed for time, making restaurants an easy and often necessary solution for meals. As foodservice establishments struggle for revenue, improving convenience may help them get diners in the door,” states Chris Haack, senior analyst at Mintel.

While 43% of respondents told Mintel they’ve cut spending on delivery and takeout this year, approximately one in six 18-34 year-olds say they’re spending more on these convenient services compared to 2008. In the past three months, 18-34s were twice as likely as the general population to have ordered delivery. Approximately 30% of them picked up food from a restaurant, compared to 20% of all respondents.

Restaurants make mealtime easier, especially for 25 to 34 year-olds, many of whom work full-time or have young children. Nearly half (49%) say they dine at casual restaurants because they’re too tired to cook, while 40% do so because they have no time to prepare a meal. (This compares to 40% and 30% of all respondents, respectively.)

But special occasions, food quality and socialization remain top reasons that younger adults go to restaurants. “Restaurant usage is truly integrated into the lifestyles of adults under age 34. Many people value the fact that they can get quality food with minimal effort at a restaurant. As a bonus, they can spend that meal time with friends or family,” comments Chris Haack.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Emerging global cuisines include Peruvian, Moroccan, Korean, Japanese and New American Southern

Emerging global cuisines are literally opening up a whole new world of culinary experiences to American consumers of all ages due to the nearly infinite range of ingredients, forms and flavors they offer, according to "Emerging Global Cuisines: Culinary Trend Mapping Report" from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts.

According to CCD, emerging global cuisines include Peruvian, Moroccan, Korean, Japanese and New Southern -- a regional American favorite that has recently reemerged on the national table. Driven by a host of forces, such as immigration, international travel, cooking shows, celebrity chefs and chain restaurant competition, these global foods are becoming more familiar and common.

"American consumers of all generations have always been open to global foods and to adopting them into their lifestyles. Now more than ever, a wider swath of global foods is adding relevance across generations -- via flavor adventure, interactive and customizable dining, and authentically healthful dishes and preparations," says CCD CEO Kimberly Egan.

Culinary adventure and the adults of Gen Y. Many global cuisines offer novel interactive experiences, perfect for the open minds and thrill-seeking palates of Gen Y and anyone else looking to customize and play with their food. Wrapping, dipping, sharing and using new dining elements at the table such as chopsticks, Korean tabletop barbecues, and bento boxes can make dining memorable and fun. In addition, snacks, handheld foods and meal kits are burgeoning must-haves for those looking to recreate favorite global dishes at home. Everything from Peruvian causas to frozen Korean fried chicken and bulgogi BBQ wrap kits could cater to Gen Y's varied culinary pursuits.

Easy-to-prepare with an international flair attract Gen X families. Globally oriented but busy Gen X parents are discovering the joys of easy-to-prepare one pot dishes such as Moroccan tagine stews with whole grain couscous or modified Korean bibimbap made with brown rice, vegetables and lean chicken. Meanwhile, parents are increasingly seeking healthful alternatives to chicken nuggets for their children, making room for globally inspired microwavable frozen snacks such as healthful mini empanadas made with beans and corn, miso soup cups, and even blue French fried potatoes that add variety to after-school snacks.

Boomers intrigued by a dose of nostalgia and the promise of healthful, flavorful meals. The pull of nostalgia is strong for Boomers whose appetites could be whet by New Southern dishes that evoke traditional America and offer an extra twist of comfort food appeal, such as breakfast grits topped with eggs and grated cheese, Healthful global foods, such as the grain-like quinoa or the ├╝ber-versatile edamame, may take longer to attract a substantial following of younger consumers, while for Boomers ready-made quinoa salads and stir-fries infused with edamame jibe with the cohorts' current wellness agenda.

For more information on "Emerging Global Cuisines: Culinary Trend Mapping Report," please visit http://www.packagedfacts.com/redirect.asp?progid=76505&productid=2118698

The "Culinary Trend Mapping Report" is co-published by the Center for Culinary Development and Packaged Facts. Individual issues and annual subscriptions are available at www.packagedfacts.com/landing/culinarytrends.asp.

About the Center for Culinary Development - CCD is a full-service food and beverage strategic innovation company that successfully blends culinary creativity with consumer insights, trends and marketing expertise. Visit www.ccdsf.com, or contact Kara Nielsen at (415) 693-8900 x110, kara@ccdsf.com.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Green Tea Alters Effect of Smoking on Lung Cancer

Drinking green tea could alter the effect of smoking on lung cancer, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer Jan. 11-14.

Researchers enrolled 170 patients with lung cancer and 340 healthy patients as controls. They administered questionnaires to obtain demographic characteristics, cigarette smoking habits, green tea consumption, dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, cooking practices and family history of lung cancer. They also performed genotyping on insulin-like growth factors as polymorphisms on the following insulin-like growth factors: IGF1, IGF2 and IGFBP3, which have all been reported to be associated with cancer risk.

Among smokers and non-smokers, those who did not drink green tea had a 5.16-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea per day. Among smokers, those who did not drink green tea at all had a 12.71-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea per day.

Researchers suspect genetics may play a role in this risk differential. Green tea drinkers with non-susceptible IGF1 (CA)19/(CA)19 and (CA)19/X genotypes reported a 66-percent reduction in lung cancer risk as compared with green tea drinkers carrying the IGF1 X/X genotype. Heavy smokers carrying susceptible IGF1, IGF2 and IGFBP3 genotypes also had a higher risk of lung cancer compared with nonsmokers carrying non-susceptible IGF1, IGF2 and IGFBP3 genotypes.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Global bottled water sales increased 2% in 2009

In terms of price it is very difficult for bottled water to compete with tap or municipal water and consequently many commentators felt that waters would be particularly exposed to the global recession. Canadean's recently published Global Bottled Water Report however suggests that final year figures for 2009 may see the worldwide market for bottled water increase by around 2%. Although this does represent a slowdown, it is encouraging for the industry that the category can maintain growth in even the most testing of trading environments.
    Share of the Global Bottled Water Market

% Share
2008 2009P 2010F 2011F 2012F
Asia 20.8 22.6 24.4 26.0 27.3
China 8.5 9.5 10.7 11.7 12.7
Rest of World 69.3 66.6 63.7 61.2 58.9

Source: Canadean

The market would have fared significantly better if one discounts North America, which in 2008 dropped from double digit growth the year before into decline. In North America a combination of consumers switching to more economical filtered tap water and concerns over the environmental impact of bottled water have triggered the downturn in sales. In the US some government offices are banning packaged water from government offices and events while various other states are attempting to add bottled water taxes. North America accounts for 18% of global sales and the performance here is harming the overall global picture; in 2009, without North America the global water market was forecast to increase by a healthier 4%.

The biggest market for waters, West Europe, which accounts for nearly 30% of world volumes, is also set for negative 2009 results. Spain and France, two of the heavyweight markets, are responsible for much of these losses. In Spain it is the slump in on-premise sales which is responsible for the extent of the projected losses as the recession keeps consumers at home. In France three factors have been affecting still water consumption: environmental (packaging and transport), tap water campaigns and of course economic issues related to the price of mineral water.

Asia will once again be the main global driver in 2009 and within Asia it will be China that boosts the regional and indeed the global performance. Canadean's Quarterly Beverage Tracker suggests that the Chinese water category jumped by 18% in quarter 3 last year and is set for another big increase in volumes. The market has been aided by hot weather in certain important parts of China and intense price competition which has kept prices low. An improving economy is very significant and it is perhaps no surprise that the Chinese quarterly GDP growth rate was 8.9% year on year, which was 1.0% higher than Q2-09. There remains plenty of slack in the Asian market with per capita two and half times less than the global average.

With the help of Asia, the bottled water category seems to have ridden out the worst of the global recession, but Canadean consultants do not expect the pre-recession growth rates to return. Canadean expect the water market to settle back down to a growth rate of 5% after 2009, a marked slowdown on the 7% seen in 2007 or the 9.5% jump in 2006. What will be encouraging for the water industry is that Canadean anticipate every region in the world to be registering water growth in 2010.

Canadean's Global Bottled Water Report is part of a series of global soft drinks reports on eight separate categories. It is compiled using Canadean's extensive global soft drinks databases, contains current and forecast data and can be purchased in total or by section. For more information on this product please contact Debra Richards on tel: +44(0)1256-394-227, email soft@canadean.com or visit http://www.canadean.com.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Packaged Food Trends 2010

A growing number of food companies will sport the “free range” with humanely-raised protein products in 2010, according to market research firm Datamonitor, which released a statement of 10 emerging packaged-goods trends expected to blossom in the next year. Among 10 emerging trends expected to blossom are new generation superfruits, like baobab, borojo, maqui and yumberry; growth in the use of sustainable ingredients like bamboo; eco-friendly packaging; natural and organic; and a renewed “back to basics” approach when it comes to product ingredients.

Meat makes a play to be the “new boss” in 2010, which explains more product launches over the past few months including meat-flavored lollipops, potato chips, chocolate candy and vodka. In the beverage arena, they predict functional protein-enhanced exercise recovery drinks aimed at weightlifters and power athletes will be popular, and so will shot drinks with health claims for energy and relaxation. The gluten-free movement also will strengthen next year with major consumer packaged goods companies now jumping on the bandwagon.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The "restaurant-within-a-restaurant" concept, where diners sit inside a restaurant kitchen, is profiled

Don’t expect coddling from “Top Chef” contestant Bryan Voltaggio just because you’ve paid $121 to sit two feet away while he runs the kitchen at Volt in Frederick, Maryland.

The owner/chef isn’t being rude. He’s just concentrating on preparing the 21 delightful dishes served to diners at Table 21, inside the kitchen of his restaurant about 50 miles from Washington and Baltimore.

The “restaurant-within-a-restaurant” concept, also found at Jose Andres’s six-seat Minibar in Washington’s Cafe Atlantico, gives chefs a chance to show off their artistry and, in least one case, their mastery of liquid nitrogen.

At Volt, four diners sit inside the busy kitchen, so close to the action they could be asked to dice an onion or two. At Minibar, six people sit on bar chairs in front of a counter. Behind the counter is a small kitchen crammed with so many cooking gadgets that it looks like a combination of “Iron Chef” and “Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

Andres has more unusual ingredients (sea urchin), odd combinations (cotton candy-wrapped eel) and techniques to transform the familiar into the exotic (honey and freeze-dried yogurt). It’s a carnival filled with novelties, highlighted by a mojito in a gelatin bubble.

‘Top Chef’

Voltaggio’s presentation has fewer jaw-dropping fireworks, but offers more meals in miniature and individual items that you might want as an entree.

Kitchen diners at Volt, located in a converted red-brick mansion in Frederick’s historic district, are surrounded by waiters and cooks, most of whom have large arm tattoos like Voltaggio.

Voltaggio finished second to his brother Michael on the sixth season of “Top Chef,” where chefs compete before a panel of judges. At Volt, Voltaggio personally and quietly directs the cooks, inspects each plate of food and hands them to waiters with directions on where to deliver them.

Diners at Table 21 get to taste a tiny version of virtually everything on his menu. While nibbling, they can watch the cooks pull brioche out of a large toaster and delicately place sizzling pieces of sea bass on artfully arranged plates.

The standouts are dried prosciutto chips with potato foam; sweet and smoky slow-braised pork belly with calypso beans; monkfish with ruby quinoa and black trumpet mushrooms; and a guacamole macaroon with intense avocado flavor. Voltaggio concentrates on local ingredients, and the cheese ravioli with butternut squash is a savory example.

Dragon’s Popcorn

Andres’s Minibar, which costs $120 a head, is on the second floor of the three-story Cafe Atlantico. On a recent weekend, the two chefs on duty (Andres wasn’t there) described their backgrounds, their mentors and their favorite restaurants in almost nonstop patter.

They assembled and presented the dishes, describing them and suggesting how many bites were needed to consume them. Sometimes they urged speed, lest the dainty dishes melt or explode.

The food, like the atmosphere, can be exotic.

For instance, there’s an “olive oil bon-bon’ that looks like a hard-shelled balloon and “dragon’s breath” caramel popcorn, prepared with liquid nitrogen so that when you munch on it, steam pours out of your mouth. If that’s not weird enough, sample some chocolate-covered bacon.

Philly Cheese steak

More down to earth is salmon wrapped in pineapple and a twist on the Philly cheesesteak -- cheese-filled brioche topped with thin slices of beef. The corn with Huitlacoche features Mexican truffles so dark and earthy you may be tempted to pick up a shovel.

Volt is chilly and professional, while Minibar is friendly and a touch eccentric. Volt’s food fulfills, while Minibar’s entertains. Combine the two and you’d have the perfect dining experience.

Volt Restaurant is at 228 North Market St., Frederick, Maryland; Information: +1-301-696-8658; http://www.voltrestaurant.com.

Cafe Atlantico is at 405 8th St., Washington. Information: +1-202-393-0812; http://www.cafeatlantico.com.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Packaged Food Trends 2010

A growing number of food companies will sport the “free range” with humanely-raised protein products in 2010, according to market research firm Datamonitor, which released a statement of 10 emerging packaged-goods trends expected to blossom in the next year. Among 10 emerging trends expected to blossom are new generation superfruits, like baobab, borojo, maqui and yumberry; growth in the use of sustainable ingredients like bamboo; eco-friendly packaging; natural and organic; and a renewed “back to basics” approach when it comes to product ingredients.

Meat makes a play to be the “new boss” in 2010, which explains more product launches over the past few months including meat-flavored lollipops, potato chips, chocolate candy and vodka. In the beverage arena, they predict functional protein-enhanced exercise recovery drinks aimed at weightlifters and power athletes will be popular, and so will shot drinks with health claims for energy and relaxation. The gluten-free movement also will strengthen next year with major consumer packaged goods companies now jumping on the bandwagon.

U.S. retailers' focus on cutting prices and increasing store brand assortment is positively impacting unit sales,

U.S.-based store brands are benefiting big time from the current economic downturn. As consumers continue to turn to better prices and value, retailers have clearly stepped up their game by enhancing their brands overall product quality and by adding strong marketing muscle behind store brand initiatives. But a Nielsen review of U.S. department-level price gaps between store brands and manufacturer brands shows that retailers may be hurting themselves in the long run—and missing out on opportunities to collaborate with manufacturer partners to drive stronger category sales.

Retailers may be hurting themselves in the long run…

Within food, drug and mass-merchandisers (including Walmart), Nielsen reports that the price gap between store brands and manufacturer brands is considerable—especially for non-edible departments such as health & beauty and general merchandise where gaps ranged from 74% and 63% respectively. Food departments have a smaller percentage gap—store brand prices in the deli department were 22% lower than branded and up to 50% lower in the dairy department. Since the same period in 2006, price gaps have widened in four of seven departments (deli, frozen foods, dry grocery, dairy, non-food, general merchandise, health & beauty).

Within food, drug and mass-merchandisers (including Walmart), Nielsen reports that the price gap between store brands and manufacturer brands is considerable—especially for non-edible departments such as health & beauty and general merchandise where gaps ranged from 74% and 63% respectively. Food departments have a smaller percentage gap—store brand prices in the deli department were 22% lower than branded and up to 50% lower in the dairy department. Since the same period in 2006, price gaps have widened in four of seven departments (deli, frozen foods, dry grocery, dairy, non-food, general merchandise, health & beauty).

Closing the Gap
Are retailers losing category dollars because of aggressive store brand pricing or greater focus on store brand versus brands? While it is recognized that that department-level price gaps can be driven by differences in category mix, brand and/or size mix (an examination of gaps on an individual category-by-category and product-by-product basis is recommended), these differences are significant and suggest that retailers are not maximizing category sales.

Consider this: an increase of just one cent in store brand prices translates to roughly $400 million dollars in sales across all departments measured by Nielsen. In departments and categories with extreme price gaps, the potential to enhance category sales can be significant. With the ongoing price compression in the industry causing declining category and same-store-sales, retailers would be wise to think about shifting focus on raising prices on some of their own brands.

Prices Alone Not Enough
Prices alone are not the key to shopper’s hearts. Price is top of mind for all retailers right now, but Nielsen’s annual Shopper Trends study reports that strong shopper relationships are built on at least four other factors that are equally important to driving commitment. When the purse-strings relax as the economy improves, those other factors will separate the strongest grocery retailers even further from the pack. Shopper Trends is an annual survey of Shopper Equity for the top retailers in the grocery channel*, conducted across more than 55 countries globally. The U.S. shopper survey included feedback from over 29,000 American shoppers across all 48 contiguous states.

The survey found that the most successful retailers are the ones who are complementing current pricing strategies with a strong commitment to other shopper needs and building a stronger platform for long-term success. The five over-arching areas that the study identified contributing relatively equally to shoppers’ emotive equity in the U.S. are:

  1. Store accessibility
  2. Store format and wide selection
  3. Pricing and value for money
  4. Stocking quality products
  5. Efficiency and loyalty program

The importance of these other factors also explains why every shopper is not doing their weekly grocery stock-up in a discount chain, despite the pressure of a recession. Consumers still want to have a pleasant experience and there is tremendous value in making that process convenient and easy for them.

Do’s and Don’ts
Manufacturers who think that store brand success will fade when the economy improves are likely in for a rude awakening. Best-in-class retailers and manufacturers are those who collaborate on category and total store assortment, pricing, promotion, and advertising decisions.

Retailers:

  • Don’t let price gaps get too large or risk declining category sales.
  • Don’t de-list high-penetration, high-frequency or strong niche brands or risk driving shoppers to retailers who do carry them.
  • Do promote store brands with brands where there is limited shopper overlap to drive category sales.
  • Do promote store brands along with non-competitive or complimentary branded offerings to build larger baskets.
  • Do select credible suppliers and hold them to high standards.

Manufacturers:

  • Do branded versus store brand pricing analytics and show retail partners which branded offerings make good promotional partners.
  • Do proactive assortment analytics to demonstrate why your brands align well with store brand assortment.
  • Do take a collaborative approach to how you assess branded versus store brand risks and opportunities – retailer focus has never been greater.
  • Do explore options for using excess capacity for store brand production.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bakers across the U.S. are experimenting with gourmet flavor combinations and unorthodox ingredients in doughnut

Pomegranate thyme and bing cherry balsamic may sound like salad dressings, and lemon chamomile creme custard may evoke thoughts of fancy teas, but they're actually cutting edge flavors in the latest fad to hit the baking scene — doughnuts.

So much for glazed and jelly.

Fresh off the nation's fascination with cupcakes, bakers across the country are experimenting with gourmet flavor combinations and unorthodox ingredients in doughnuts, everything from meats to Cocoa Puffs breakfast cereal.

At Glazed Donuts Chicago, for example, mint leaves spring from the holes of iced mint mojito doughnuts. Baker Kirsten Anderson also adds grape jelly to the dough of her peanut butter and jelly doughnuts.

"You're taking a relatively inexpensive item and you're turning it into a luxury item," says Anderson, whose seasonal offerings also have included butternut squash and white chocolate blueberry doughnuts.

"So maybe people can't afford the best house or the best car, but they can go out and buy a piece of indulgence at a price they can afford."

Paul Mullins, author of "Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut," calls them "designer doughnuts," and says the trend defies the stereotype of doughnut shops as smoke-filled of laborers lingering over burnt coffee and bad doughtnuts.

And fancy doughnuts are increasingly common. Designer doughnut shops, bakeries and related businesses have proved popular with young urbanites on both coasts, as well as large cities such as Chicago, Mullins says.

"The chefs, they're really skilled, they are really creative," he says. "These designer doughnuts by regular Krispy Kreme-standards are pricey, but by haute cuisine standards, $5 or $6, that's not that much."

The doughnut-makers are playing with consumers' notions of creativity and curiosity, Mullins says. "What in the world does a chamomile doughnut taste like? I don't know if I'd want it on an every-week basis, but I'd give it a shot."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spending on information technology by food stores worldwide will increase by 3.1% to $15.6 billion

Spending on information technology by food stores worldwide will increase by 3.1% to $15.6 billion this year, according to a new report from IDC Global Retail Insights here.

“Grocers will need to continue to innovate to meet consumers’ needs,” said Leslie Hand, research director for IDC Retail Insights and a co-author of the report, “Worldwide Retail Industry 2010, Top 10 Predictions.”

Overall, the report predicts that despite the sluggish economy, “retailers will launch aggressive technology investment programs to support new business models while reducing traditional IT costs.”

Hand, who previously worked for Ahold in IT for eight years, told SN that food retailers “will be able to make tactical reductions in their IT infrastructure to become leaner in their technical capabilities while at the same time funding some projects to do better forecasting and analytics and provide better customer service.” To become leaner, retailers will look at their hardware investments and “perhaps do more virtualization and consolidation of multiple instances of applications while improving the way they manage item data,” she said.

Applications that retailers will emphasize include demand forecasting, replenishment, order management and price/promotion optimization—those that offer a one to one-and-a-half year ROI, she added.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Sugary Drinks Not Linked to Obesity

Beverage habits among adolescents include increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and decreased consumption of milk; therefore, researchers from the University of Minnesota examined the association between beverage consumption and weight gain.

Researchers tracked increases in body mass index (BMI)among 2,294 teens a found drinking low-calorie soda, drinking little milk or no white milk, and poor eating habits led to increases in body size and weight. The researchers said there was no association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, juice consumption and adolescent weight gain over a 5-year period.

Sources:

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Manhattan chefs are reimaging French bouillabaisses, Italian cioppinos and brodettos

During the dark, dreary days of winter, we all crave a savory soul-warming dish. This season, Manhattan’s clever cooks bring us a fishy alternative to stews and soups, reimaging flouncy French bouillabaisses, intense Italian cioppinos and brodettos and South American caldeiradas and vatapas. Here are our favorites.

Caldeirada de Peixe
Vermilion, 480 Lexington Ave.; 212-871-6600
The seafood stew at Vermillion (right) is a culture clash in a bowl. “It’s a take on a traditional Brazilian seafood stew that has Indian flavors, too,” explains chef Maneet Chauhan. She starts with a broth of anchovies, garlic, peppers, clam juice, tomato puree, coconut milk and garam masala (a combo of 21 spices made in-house), cooked for a couple of hours. Then she adds a cornucopia of seafood to the mix, before serving the $26 entree with a side of tomato rice.

“This is the one dish on our menu that people afraid of spice really love,” Chauhan says. “We don’t overseason it: It’s hearty, but because it’s got clam juice and coconut milk, it has a light flavor.”

Dorade Royale
Gilt, 455 Madison Ave.; 212-891-8100
Justin Bogle’s haute dish is inspired by bouillabaisse, and “is not strictly a bowl of fish stew.”

“We’ve taken the components and broken them down to a light, modern interpretation,” says Bogle, who fills a plate with roasted dorade, clams in lemon vinaigrette, steamed mussels wrapped in lardo, squid-ink gnocchi and uni aioli floating in a broth. It’s served as part of the prix-fixe menu (three courses for $89).

Fulton Fish Market Cioppino
Bar Americain 152 W. 52nd St.; 212-265-9700
Bobby Flay is no stranger to briny stews. “When I had Bolo restaurant,” says the celebrity chef and restaurateur, “we would do one in a saffron or squid-ink broth.”

His latest version, served at his Midtown eatery, is a version of cioppino, which hails from San Francisco. “It comes from the Italian immigrants working the docks. They’d use the scraps of the fish, add tomato sauce, broth made from fish bones and make it garlicky and spicy,” Flay explains.

His dish ($34) features lobster, red snapper, clams, mussels and crabmeat, and is so popular that he serves at least 150 each week.

“The secret is anchovy butter: I finish the broth with it and fresh parsley,” he says. “And because it’s a San Francisco dish, we serve grilled sourdough to sop up the broth with.”

Brodetto di Pesce
Marea 240 Central Park South; 212-582-5100
A soup made on Italy’s Adriatic coast inspires Michael White’s $45 dish. “Brodetto means short broth,” explains White. “Ours is a bit more refined than in Italy: There, it’s very thick and tomato-based, but it’s a little unattractive. And we don’t put in smaller fish with bones because [Americans] don’t want to mess around with bones.”

White does put in langoustines, however, as well as scallops, prawns, clams, snapper and toasted bread. The result is a fabulously hearty meal.

“It warms the soul. It’s a crowd-pleasing thing, very versatile,” says White. “And we would create lots of havoc if we took it off the menu!”

“This is the one dish on our menu that people afraid of spice really love,” Chauhan says. “We don’t overseason it: It’s hearty, but because it’s got clam juice and coconut milk, it has a light flavor.”

Dorade Royale
Gilt, 455 Madison Ave.; 212-891-8100
Justin Bogle’s haute dish is inspired by bouillabaisse, and “is not strictly a bowl of fish stew.”

“We’ve taken the components and broken them down to a light, modern interpretation,” says Bogle, who fills a plate with roasted dorade, clams in lemon vinaigrette, steamed mussels wrapped in lardo, squid-ink gnocchi and uni aioli floating in a broth. It’s served as part of the prix-fixe menu (three courses for $89).

Fulton Fish Market Cioppino
Bar Americain 152 W. 52nd St.; 212-265-9700
Bobby Flay is no stranger to briny stews. “When I had Bolo restaurant,” says the celebrity chef and restaurateur, “we would do one in a saffron or squid-ink broth.”

His latest version, served at his Midtown eatery, is a version of cioppino, which hails from San Francisco. “It comes from the Italian immigrants working the docks. They’d use the scraps of the fish, add tomato sauce, broth made from fish bones and make it garlicky and spicy,” Flay explains.

His dish ($34) features lobster, red snapper, clams, mussels and crabmeat, and is so popular that he serves at least 150 each week.

“The secret is anchovy butter: I finish the broth with it and fresh parsley,” he says. “And because it’s a San Francisco dish, we serve grilled sourdough to sop up the broth with.”

Brodetto di Pesce
Marea 240 Central Park South; 212-582-5100
A soup made on Italy’s Adriatic coast inspires Michael White’s $45 dish. “Brodetto means short broth,” explains White. “Ours is a bit more refined than in Italy: There, it’s very thick and tomato-based, but it’s a little unattractive. And we don’t put in smaller fish with bones because [Americans] don’t want to mess around with bones.”

White does put in langoustines, however, as well as scallops, prawns, clams, snapper and toasted bread. The result is a fabulously hearty meal.

“It warms the soul. It’s a crowd-pleasing thing, very versatile,” says White. “And we would create lots of havoc if we took it off the menu!”

Monday, January 04, 2010

Tea prices reached record levels in 2009

Tea prices reached record levels this year but should ease in 2010 as weather patterns returned to normal in the main tea-producing regions of Asia and Africa, FAO said.

The FAO Tea Composite price, the indicative world price for black tea, reached a high of $3.18 a kilogramme in September amid droughts in India, Sri Lanka and Kenya underpinned by increased demand, compared to an average price of $2.38 per kilogramme in 2008.

The concern is that tea producers could over-react to the current high prices by planting more crops, threatening an over supply in the market, FAO said.

“Some producing countries, such as India, have acted responsibly and announced that they would not be expanding current tea areas beyond what is required for replanting and rehabilitating existing tea gardens” said Kaison Chang, Secretary of FAO’s Inter-Governmental Group on Tea, the only international tea authority.

“The return of normal weather patterns in the main producing regions indicates that the tight global market situation should begin to ease alleviating the pressure on world tea prices in the New Year,” he said.

Although consumption growth outpaced production between 2005 and 2009 (an estimated 0.8 percent as opposed to -0.6 percent, respectively) the gap between consumption and production growth was largest between 2007 and 2009, when it reached 3.4 percentage points, coinciding with the surge in prices.

Some of the price increases were passed along the value chain to consumers as retail prices increased by five percent across supermarkets in Europe.

Habit forming


The fact that demand for tea remained robust, despite the global recession, supports the assertion that tea consumption is “habit forming” and is relatively price inelastic for most blends except higher priced quality teas.

In addition, the share of household income spent on tea purchases is relatively small. Supply response to high tea prices has been delayed as it requires investment decisions that have long-term implications: it takes at least three years before a tea bush can be harvested.

Higher tea prices have not affected the consumer in developed countries because of intense competition in the beverages market.

However in developing countries manufacturers are likely to transfer a larger share of the price increase to consumers, as tea procurement costs account for a significant share of the final retail price.

In India, for example, average retail tea prices were quoted about 15 percent higher in September 2009 than in the same month in 2008. In Pakistan retail prices increased by 12 percent in September 2009 compared to September 2008.

Looking ahead to 2010, the return of normal weather pattern in the main producing regions indicates that the tight global market situation should begin to ease alleviating the pressure on world tea prices.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Prebiotic Fiber Promotes Weight Loss

has the potential to promote weight loss and improve glucose regulation in overweight adults, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009; DOI:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27465). The randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial randomly assigned 48 otherwise healthy adults with a body mass index (in kg/m2) greater than 25 to receive 21 g/d of oligofructose or a placebo (maltodextrin) for 12 weeks.


There was a reduction in body weight of 1.03 ± 0.43 kg with oligofructose supplementation, whereas the control group experienced an increase in body weight of 0.45 ± 0.31 kg over 12 weeks. A lower area under the curve (AUC) for ghrelin and a higher AUC for peptide YY (PYY) with oligofructose coincided with a reduction in self-reported caloric intake. Glucose decreased in the oligofructose group and increased in the control group between initial and final tests. Insulin concentration–Independent of other lifestyle changes, oligofructose supplementation, a prebiotic fiber, s mirrored this pattern. Oligofructose supplementation did not affect plasma active glucagon-like peptide 1 secretion. According to a visual analog scale designed to assess side effects, oligofructose was well tolerated. Suppressed ghrelin and enhanced PYY may contribute in part to the reduction in energy intake.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy new year from the staff of Capico International

May 2010 be prosperous and Peace come to our world