July's top stories: Vanilla project in Madagascar, Nestlé to further reduce cereal sugar levels

Firmenich, Danone and Mars to invest in vanilla project in Madagascar, and Nestlé Breakfast Cereals is to further reduce sugar content by 10% by the end of next year. Foodprocessing-technology.com wraps up key headlines from July 2017.


Firmenich, Danone and Mars to invest in vanilla project in Madagascar

Firmenich, Danone and Mars announced plans to make a significant investment through Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming (Livelihoods 3F) in a large-scale, innovative vanilla farming model in Madagascar.

Involving 3,000 vanilla producers, the project will focus on increasing farmer’s food security, triple their revenues, and help them to provide sustainable and fully traceable vanilla over ten years.

Madagascan non-governmental organisation (NGO) Fanamby will be responsible for implementing the project as a cooperative, owned directly by the farmers.


New research finds UK consumers willing to spend more on British meat

A new research conducted at the University of Kent revealed that meat consumers in the UK are willing to pay an additional cost for British produce.

The change in consumer behaviour follows the meat scandal in 2013 when it was discovered that numerous processed beef products sold in the UK were found to contain horse meat.

Following tests, some of the products were declared unfit for human consumption. The scandal was first identified by Irish food inspectors.


Nestlé Breakfast Cereals to reduce sugar content

UK-based Nestlé Breakfast Cereals unveiled plans to reduce sugar content by a further 10% by the end of next year.

Made by Cereal Partners Worldwide, Nestlé Breakfast Cereals has already reduced its average sugar content by 15% across the portfolio since 2010.

The company aims to improve the nutrition profile of its cereals through the initiative and plans to achieve this target through a combination of reformulation and by growing the share of lower sugar variants.


Cadbury to enhance production at Bournville facility in UK

Cadbury is set to expand production capacity of its chocolate factory in Bournville, UK, following a £75m investment by parent company Mondelez International.

As part of its expansion, the new production lines installed at the facility will manufacture Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo and Cadbury Dairy Milk Tiffin.

The facility will also manufacture Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo for the first time.


FSS’ new initiative raises awareness about barbeque-related food poisoning

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) launched a new safety campaign that focuses on minimising barbeque-related food poisoning.

Though the new initiative is targeted towards men, who are often the main cooks when it comes to barbeques, the message on good hygiene and cooking practice is applicable to everyone.

The primary objective of this initiative is to raise awareness about the risks related to campylobacter, which is a bug found on raw chicken and the biggest cause of food poisoning in Scotland.


Upstate Niagara to acquire Kraft Heinz cheese plant in New York

Global food and beverage company Kraft Heinz has agreed to sell its cheese plant located in Campbell, New York, US, to Upstate Niagara, a farmer-owned cooperative that manufactures and distributes dairy products.

Financial details of the transaction have not been revealed by either company, and the deal is expected to be completed over the next 30 to 60 days.

The Upstate Niagara Cooperative is owned by dairy farmers of Western New York whose products are retailed and marketed under the Upstate Farms, Bison, Intense Milk, and Valley Farms brands along with their partners’ brands.


New study finds smell of food could lead to weight gain

A new study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, US, found that the smell of food could lead to weight gain and vice-versa.

The finding is based on the results of experiments that saw the connection between temporary elimination of olfactory, smell system, neurones in the noses of adult mice, and weight loss.

UC Berkeley researchers used gene therapy to temporarily destroy olfactory neurones in a set of mice, sparing stem cells, for three weeks.


Retailers urged to work with suppliers to review food safety practices

UK-based consultancy firm Crimson & Co urged retailers to work with suppliers in order to eliminate bacteria from within their supply chains.

The move came after the recent recall involving two ready-made salads from supermarket chain Tesco's due to the presence of campylobacter, a germ that causes fever, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.

Recent figures released by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) indicate that there has been a marginal reduction in the traces of campylobacter found in chicken products.


Cerealto completed acquisition of pasta factory in Italy

Spanish cereal-based product manufacturer Cerealto completed the acquisition of the Italy-based Pastificio Mediterranea pasta factory after obtaining an approval from the Concordato de Alessandria.

Since 2013, Cerealto has been operating Pastificio Mediterranea under a lease agreement with an acquisition option.

The Spanish company will retain all 63 workers working at the facility.


Jamaican Government revises sugar packaging and labelling standards

The Jamaican Government revised standards for the retail sales of brown and granulated sugar in order to improve the way the commodity is supplied to the consumer.

Effective from 1 July, the standards indicate that brown and granulated sugar retailers across the country will have to supply the commodity in heat-sealed, pre-packaged bags.

The packaging also needs to feature labels that should include information such as product and brand names, net content, storage conditions, country of origin and instructions for use.