• 16 Jan
    UK: No ban yet on energy drinks sale to kids

    UK: No ban yet on energy drinks sale to kids

    The UK’s soft drinks industry has welcomed a parliamentary committee finding that there is not enough evidence to ban the sale of energy drinks to children.

    In August last year, the UK government proposed prohibiting the sale of energy drinks to the under 16s in England as a means of tackling obesity.

    The Science and Technology Committee has since found that “societal concerns could justify a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children”. However, the committee said “current quantitative evidence alone is not sufficient to warrant a statutory ban”.

    Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), said: “The BSDA supported the voluntary ban on the sale of energy drinks to under-16s by retailers as it is in line with our longstanding code of practice, so naturally we welcome the committee’s endorsement of this approach.

    “Our members do not market or promote energy drinks to under-16s, nor do they sample products with this age group. In addition, energy drinks carry an advisory note stating ‘Not recommended for children’.

    BSDA members include Red Bull UK, Coca-Cola European Partners, Danone Waters UK and Ireland, and Mars Drinks UK.


    By Caroline Calder News
  • 16 Jan
    Fruit Juice shots gather pace

    Fruit Juice shots gather pace

    Diversifying could be make a big difference to fruit juice markets if the opportunity to follow the ‘probiotic’ high value shots have anything to go by. Shot-sized health-boosting juices are coming to the market.

    Consumers are increasingly interested in naturally-functional food and drinks. This increase in health consciousness, coupled with busy on-the-go lifestyles, has fueled innovation around smart, nutrient-rich snacking solutions. Tapping into this trend, health-promoting juice shots provide a quick, natural boost of nutrition in small to-go bottles. Though still niche, the share of juice shots in total juice launches in Europe has increased six-fold over the past four years, say Mintel.

    ‘Of all juices described as shots or

    boosters launched between

    October 2015 and September 2017

    in Europe, 39% were launched in Denmark’

    Nordic countries take a leading role in innovation

    Nordic countries, led by Denmark, are taking a prominent role in juice shot launch activity in Europe. Of all juices described as shots/boosters launched between October 2015 and September 2017 in Europe, 39% were launched in Denmark. Germany, Norway and Sweden follow with 13% of launches each. Repeatedly referred to as ‘the healthiest countries in the world’, Nordic countries put a strong focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich and naturally functional diets with brands like ‘Little Miracles’ juice shot series.  While in the UK interesting ‘garage’ brands like Moju drinks are calling the niche ‘performance shots’.

    Ginger dominates the scene in these products, but probiotic-rich ingredients are on the rise.

    Using concentrated doses of fruits, vegetables, plant extracts and herbs, juice shots are designed as a preventive measure to boost consumers’ overall wellbeing, but can also address specific health issues. These include boosting energy levels, supporting the immune system and digestive health, curing hangovers and relieving flu symptoms.

    Often combined with lemon juice, ginger is by far the leading ingredient in juice shot innovation. Dubbed a ‘wonder plant’, ginger has found its way into the diets of health-conscious individuals around the world, as it reportedly helps relieve pain and muscle soreness, lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system. Meanwhile, fermentation is experiencing a revival in the food and drink sector, recognized for turning products into powerhouses of beneficial probiotics and friendly bacteria.  Probiotics are linked with better digestion, improved immunity, and a range of other health benefits, fitting in well with the concept of juice shots. Beyond traditional ‘superfood’ herbs and spices, juice shot brands can profit from embracing fermented, probiotic-rich ingredients.

    Sources: Mintel

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 16 Jan
    March/April 2019 outlook for FCOJ Futures, Jack Scoville

    March/April 2019 outlook for FCOJ Futures, Jack Scoville

    Why is this year looking so different? Writes leading markets analyst Jack Scoville in his March update 

    FCOJ futures have entered a dull period. The weather is changing from Winter to Summer.  The threat of a freeze is disappearing for another year, and it is too soon for the hurricane season to get underway.  Prices have remained stable to weak with the change of the seasons, and this is not what normally happens.

    History shows that prices usually rally at least a little bit at this time of year. This seems a little counter intuitive as this is usually a tranquil weather period in Florida with warm and dry weather.  What usually happens is this:  Speculators buy the market in the late fall in anticipation of a freeze even in Florida that could kill the fruit.  Futures usually rally into the start of the Winter season due to all of the speculative buying.  The calendar turns to the new year and no freeze appears.  The producers start to sell futures to fix prices and speculators start to reduce their long position exposure as they start to lose money.  Most of the prices are fixed and the speculative positions are liquidated by the end of the Winter.  So, a short covering rally becomes possible and some of the processors also fix prices once the lows have been made.  The market goes higher even though there is no apparent reason for this to happen.

    This year has been different. Futures markets have traded sideways to down at a time when you might normally look for a rally.  Why is this year so different?  There are a couple of reasons.  First, USDA shocked the market by estimating Oranges production in Florida at about 72 million boxes.  This is an incredible recovery from last year when the state only produced about 35 million boxes.  Production last year was hurt by bad weather and the Greening Disease that really cut production potential.  The weather has been dry this year, but there has been enough rain and irrigation has been used to help production prospects.

    The Greening Disease seems to be an afterthought now after the market saw its devastating impacts last year. No one is talking about the disease now even though there is no known cure for it and it should still be prevalent in Florida.  The disease is not affecting production if it is still around!  Production levels in the state are back close to normal levels after the big problems last year.  The disease came from Brazil when one of the most powerful hurricanes ever hit both South and North America several years ago, and it has affected Brazil production for years.  But, the US production has been less affected and seems to be recovering

    Demand remains a problem for the market. Many people have switched away from juice due to ideas of too much sugar in the juice and other bad health effects they perceive.  They are popping pills for  Vitamin C and only drinking juice on occasion.   This trend has been going on for years and has been a very detrimental one for the producers in Florida, where the vast majority of the juice in the US is produced.  The US has hurt itself in the world market.  The largest importer of FCOJ in the world is Europe, and we have a trade and tariff war going on with the Europeans.  FCOJ exports to Europe have really suffered, and the EU is sourcing more and more juice from Brazil.  Florida producers hope that the US comes to an agreement with the EU sooner rather than later so this important market opens up again.  Right now, however, the US government is focused on coming to terms with China and a deal with the EU is on the back burner.

    By Caroline Calder News
  • 16 Jan
    IFU working hard for members, with multiple communications channels

    IFU working hard for members, with multiple communications channels

    Looking back at the last 12 months with the IFU, Caroline Whibley spoke to John Collins, Executive Director for the International Fruit & Vegetable Juice Association (IFU)

    CW: What were the aims of the IFU when the organisation was originally set up and how have they changed as time and other factors have come along to challenge the organisation?

    JC: Although officially established as an organisation by European and International fruit juice producers in 1949, the first congress was held in Paris in 1948, where the association is today proudly registered. Ever since then it has been a core activity to hold industry events for the review of economic and technical matters plus an opportunity for those in the industry to network.

    Though I was not around in 1948 it must be certainly easier to maintain a regular international network today than ever before with the advent of the internet, e mail, social media and availability for fast international travel. This is also reflected in the frequency and reach of our events in 2018.  We held 5 roadshows in conjunction with the SGF in Africa, co -hosted with AIJN and SGF the Juice Summit in Antwerp, a Juice Conference in Thailand, a Technical Workshop in Cologne and supported many other events around the world including China, Thailand and Canada.

    Since 1949 we have seen the development of International Organisations and another core activity has been for IFU to represent the International Juice community at their functions. The IFU is for example a registered NGO at the Codex Alimentarius which was formed in 1968 by the FAO and WHO as the organisation to establish international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice which contributes to the safety, quality and fairness of this international food trade. As codex standards are adopted into national legislation and used for international trade is very important for us to monitor developments but also seek members advice to provide sound scientific input. In 2018 IFU monitored the work of 13 committees, attended 6 and followed 21 electronic working groups. This is only possible with the voluntary support, commitment and dedication of our member experts. The IFU really is driven by industry experts for the industry.

    CW: And what about product changes over that period?

    JC: Since 1949 fruit juices have become more widely available and in a variety of formats. We have seen the development of packaging to provide shelf stable bottles and cartons, enabled the development of  short shelf life chilled distribution products, innovative processing techniques such as HTST heat exchangers,  HPP and PEF, the development of exotic fruits processed into juice and the shortening and transparency of global supply chains. All these developments have provided a rich variety of topics to be discussed and reviewed at IFU events and we expect that to continue in the future.

    CW: How has the last 12 months been – what did you set out to do and what do you feel you have succeeded in? What does success look like?

    JC: The IFU has been building upon the core and more strategy in 2018. We held the first Juice Conference in Bangkok on the 28th May and attracted over 140 attendees with c70% from the region. It was a huge success where attendees could listen to expert presentations on the local and international markets, product and processing developments and packaging.  Sponsors could display their products and services in an exhibition area and there was an opportunity to network at 2 evening events.

    In conjunction with the SGF we held 5 roadshows in Africa in Nigeria, South Africa with our member The South African Juice Association, Egypt, Kenya and finally with our member The Algerian Beverage Association in Algeria. In total over 500 enthusiastic participants enjoyed the events.

    Working groups

    Our new Science and Technology Commission chair after seeking the views of members has facilitated the formation of new working groups to develop nutrition and scientific research and produce a series of Best Practice Guidance documents. The first one on fruit washing is available on our new website: www.ifu-fruitjuice.com, in addition the new service provides an opportunity for members to network via our social link facility which also includes an app for smart phones and tablets. Unique for the juice industry.

    The legislation commission monitored the work of 13 committees, attended 6 and followed 21 electronic working groups, a record year for participation and engagement. By providing expertise and in conjunction with other industry organisation the lead level in grape juice was adopted on an ALARA basis and the lead level in tomato puree was revoked.

    The methods of analysis commission have developed and filmed 4 e-learning videos about some of the simple tests carried out in juice operations.

    The micro biological working group has been revising the method for the determination of alicyclobacillus. The group are now putting the finishing touches to the method and it will be available in early 2019.

    New commission

    A new Marketing Commission was established during the year which will guide the association with the development of conferences, workshops and communications.

    Industry awards

    We gave 2 IFU awards this year too: Significant contribution award to Prof Helmut Dietrich, past Chair of the IFU Science and Technology Commission and long-time supporter of the juice industry and IFU. Author of the nutrition policy paper which provides an extensive scientific review on the nutrition benefits of juices. This is available to the public on the IFU website. Plus, an Innovation Award to PepsiCo and Citrosuco for their development of NFC orange and the aseptic bulk supply chain.

    This year we will have 2 new awards:  The Commission Excellence Award. The aim is to provide a way for IFU to praise and recognise commission members that voluntarily give their time and expertise to achieve IFU objectives and support the industry as a whole. Also the new Student Excellence Award. The objective is to provide an annual award to a student that has completed an outstanding thesis or project of interest and application to the juice industry.

    CW: You were founded in 1949 – so 70-year anniversary in 2019 do you have any plans?

    Yes, we do. This year we will hold the Juice Conference in Cancun – Mexico. There will 3 days of celebrations on the 28th, 29th and 30th May. More details to come but it will be an exciting experience.

    CW: What were the best quotes you heard from speakers or members?

    Roadshow and technical workshop quotes:

    “Yet again a very rounded selection of speakers. Always something to take away from the event to share with colleagues”

    “Very good presentations. Many good questions due to the fact that people can ask through the app.”

    “Surprising high attendance, excellent networking”

    “I really enjoyed the varied subjects that were discussed from agriculture, processing of fruits, legislative frameworks, quality analysis, monitoring and management, packaging and marketing.”

    “It was multi-faceted and holistically interesting as the topics spanned from quality and assurances to analysis methodology to machinery and sustainability. The breaks were also well timed, and the availability and quality of the food and refreshments was good.”


    By Caroline Calder Features