Brazil primate urges leaders to prioritize food security

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The presiding bishop joined a larger movement being organized by the Anglican Alliance. The full letter follows.Your ExcellenciesMinister Milton Rondó, General Coordinator of International Actions to Combat HungerDr. Gilberto Carvalho, Office of the PresidentGreetings,Brazil has excelled on the world stage as a country that has adopted public policies geared toward diminishing poverty and inequality, as well as policies aimed at the unbreakable tripod of climate change, food security and sustainable development. Worldwide, religions have been committed to involvement on these issues and realities. For Christian churches, such involvement is a requirement of faith, more than just an ethical or humanitarian engagement. For this, during this moment of gathering the richest countries in the world, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil cannot keep from manifesting and expressing our support for the positions of Brazil in these meetings, and to remind them of what is important and cannot be forgotten.Recognizing that in the context of the G20 summit Brazil has communicated its intentions on this topic, we are writing to you to continue prioritizing policies that attend to the needs of people worldwide, to guarantee the right to healthy food and the right to produce without pollutants, and to do so without concentrating solely on export. Also we emphasize the importance of listening and involving not just government and corporate aspects, but also social, civil and religious organizations in this fundamental role, that these spaces can also be used to influence G20 nations to eradicate this scandal—that 1 billion people worldwide live with hunger every day. Australia will have the G20 presidency, and we would like to solicit that the Brazilian government use its influence to persuade its colleagues and Australian partners to include food security on the working agenda, connecting this theme and realities with climate change and sustainable development.For the social civil organizations, food sovereignty and nutrition is of paramount importance in overcoming inequalities. This item was on the agenda of the G20 summit which took place this year in Russia.  The St. Petersburg Development Observatory in Russia gave priority to food security, focusing especially on rural and family farming, and the empowerment of women, who comprise the majority in this type of agriculture. We fully support this type of initiative also in Brazil, with many important government sectors involved, and especially for the social movements which work with small-scale production and rural and family farming, which are statistically proven to be segments that feed this country.At the last meeting of G20 in Moscow, there was a notable lecture made by the Brazilian government called “Comprehensive approach to social protection and food security for sustainable development.” Our country made an impactful presentation indicating a new and radical way that, together with civil society, we deal with these realities of nutritional and food security. We have shared our experience and our learnings in this field especially with African countries, with which we have a historical relationship.During the summit in Moscow, Mr. Miguel Grisbach de Pereira Franco, Ambassador of Brazil, shared an essay entitled “Brazil: policies to improve food security and nutrition through social protection”, which was well received by other participants.We of the Anglican family are present in the majority of the poorest countries in the world, and we consider it a key role in our mission to overcome poverty and injustice, and to have a commitment to assure that no one has to live with hunger in a world of such abundance. We understand this as a priority for the twenty richest countries in the world should take into account in their policies this overcoming of poverty, inequality and hunger that affects so many millions of people on the planet.Faithful to our commitment to human dignity, and with the preservation of the environment, we wish to solicit that the Brazilian government firmly defend positions to the countries of G20 to overcome the disgrace still plaguing us in such high figures in today’s world, that so many do not have access to healthy food!++ Francisco de Assis da SilvaPresiding Bishop of Brazil and Diocesan Bishop in Santa Maria Featured Events Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Rector Tampa, FLlast_img read more

Functional flour

first_imgH ere’s the idea. Launch a new premium speciality flour, maybe a gluten-free mix made with the ancient grain amaranth, milled under a full moon to the sound of harpsichord. Make a fat margin. Invest in your business. Never look back.Here’s the reality. Launch a new premium speciality flour, perhaps something with added health benefits, although with the recent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) rulings on nutrition and health claims, you cannot afford to prove it and label it as such. Sell it for the same price as your standard flour mix, as part of an ongoing battle to maintain the sales volumes your company needs to survive and to stop your customers straying to alternative suppliers.In the current economic climate, suppliers report that speciality flours are not a silver bullet to guarantee profitability. But that said, the market is booming as suppliers develop new healthy or functional speciality flours and mixes to give their customers a point of difference in a competitive marketplace.National Association of British and Irish Millers (nabim) director Alex Waugh summarises: “Every business it does not matter what sector it is in wants to find cost-effective products that are not just commodities, and the milling and flour sector is doing that as much as anyone else. Flour is not something that can be cut out, so sales remain steady. But adjusting the flour can give you something different in your range. It is more about maintaining your business in the competitive sales environment than increasing margins.”Indeed, the last few years have seen an explosion in seeded mixes, flours from non-wheat grains, lower salt, sugar, higher fibre, best of both and gluten-free recipes, to name just some areas of innovation. James Smith, sales director of food ingredients company Edme says his company develops bespoke mixes, which allows them to offer something different to customers. Buying in blends can be quite cost-effective for customers, as bakers or millers would have to keep high levels of stock to make their own, he says.He says: “Health is a key driver of new product development. We offer a variety of seeded blends. We have done quite a few oat-based blends recently. Oats have been popular, as they offer high levels of beta glucan, which helps the immune system and lowers bad cholesterol. We think barley flour will be the next big thing, as barley offers even higher levels of beta glucan than oats do.”The company has also looked at gluten-free blends recently, as sales in that sector continue to grow. Edme is already in the early stages of developing allergy-friendly mixes, Smith says.However, with health, the focus is on what he terms “soft” changes, such as developing reduced salt or sugar blends or added-fibre options. He comments: “Although we supply all the major bakeries, as well as the craft baking sector, we are a small company and it is difficult for us to go down the health claims route with our products.”Expensive approval processIt is now very expensive for suppliers to go through the process of getting health claims approved, as EFSA works on the framework for the new EC Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims. EFSA has been very exacting in setting out the process of evaluation a product needs to go through to ensure that any claims made on food labelling and advertising regarding nutrition and health are meaningful and accurate. Smith says: “It has to be our customers who substantiate claims. We supply the product. The work being done by EFSA has certainly changed our thinking on products with health claims and put a dampener on new product development.”The company is exploring areas of new product development, such as Continental and ethnic mixes, he says. And it is looking at mixes for pies, for example, or for par-baked or bake-off products aimed at the convenience food market. But Smith also reports that there is no great margin enhancement for the supplier in offering added-value products, such as speciality flour mixes. “There is a always huge churn of new products and the focus is on keeping volumes up and trying to get the orders coming in with overall bread sales in decline. We have to look at where the future lies and constantly tailor products to meet customers’ emerging needs.”Oxfordshire based miller FWP Matthews, meanwhile, reports that speciality flours can be a difficult sell, even if the customer wants “something different”. The miller recently launched a Nutri-Gold flour, a strong white flour that has aleurone added, the single layer of large cells found under the bran coat. FWP Matthews also offers a version made with French flour for baguettes, Nutri-Or.FWP Matthews marketing manager Angela Francis explains it is the first time the aleurone has been extracted from the bran anywhere in Europe. This type of flour is only available in the US, apart from through FWP Matthews. The blend is different from a “best of both” flour, as it is properly white rather than using finely ground bran which gives a brown hue to the dough, Francis says. And the ingredient aleurone is rich in protein, as well as containing about 20% of the vitamin B1, 30% of the vitamin B2 and 50% of the niacin of the grain.But Francis says that take-up has been slow so far among the craft and artisan bakers that her company serves, partly as the flours have a price premium, due to the expense of the process of extracting aleurone from the bran. Nutri-Gold is about 20% more expensive than the company’s standard flour. She says: “You have to market the product quite carefully to get the message across to customers. Really this product would probably be better-suited to the supermarket, aimed at mothers looking for sandwich options for children, rather than in the craft channel.”She says that although craft bakery customers always ask what new flours the company can offer, in fact standard white flour is the best-seller, followed by Cotswold Crunch and Cotswold Eight Grain. “People come to us with very vague ideas, but they tend to stick with what they know; there is a risk in changing your flours, even if you want to invigorate your range. It is a tricky one. We do offer flours such as gluten-free, but we buy those in.”Meanwhile, trade body the American Peanut Council says savvy bakers should look at peanut flour as the next big thing in speciality flours. It offers manufacturers a cost-effective way to formulate high-protein foods that are healthy and gluten-free. Louise McKerchar, European marketing director, comments, “Health-conscious consumers are more aware than ever of protein’s benefits, which include weight management and satiety. However, protein-fortified products often suffer from taste and textural issues. Peanut flour can help manufacturers overcome each one of these challenges, thanks to its textural properties, versatility and healthy, flavoursome profile.”Also reflecting current health trends, functional ingredients company National Starch Food Innovation offers a range of gluten-free ingredients, including a ’fibre rich’ Hi-maize wholegrain, derived from maize and available as a fine or course flour. It says that there are an estimated 500,000-plus people who are gluten-intolerant in the UK.Those following a gluten-free diet run the risk of not taking in enough fibre, a nutrient normally provided by food made with gluten-rich cereals, such as wheat, rye and barley. National Starch’s Hi-Maize flour has three times more fibre than other allergen-free flours available on the market, it says.In fact, the Hi-Maize ingredient has been one of only a small number of products to have a health claim approved by EFSA, which recently issued a positive opinion substantiating the benefits of consuming resistant starch from high amylose maize (Hi-maize) in relation to healthy blood sugar levels. Hi-Maize can be used in a variety of bakery applications, including muffins, wafers, waffles, and pizza bases, National Starch says.And European bread improvers specialist Gb Plange is adding a splash of colour with its new functional mix. It is about to introduce Energie Solpan golden yellow Bread Mix during Bakers’ Fair Autumn (Bolton Arena, 2 October 2011). The “sunshine” mix contains pieces of corn and is enriched with vitamin D. Marie Parnell, general manager at Gb Plange, says: “It’s really important that craft bakers can profit from the popularity of speciality breads and the fast-growing, functional foods market. Solpan ticks all the boxes when it comes to delivering distinctive taste, flavour and health benefits, which will add value to any bakery offering.” It’s a simple marketing message delivered in an eye-catching fashion: yellow bread = sunshine = source of well-recognised vitamin D. Given the difficulties described by suppliers in getting health messages across to consumers, the high churn of new flour mixes and the fact the main thing any retailer appears to want is a speciality product which stands out, this could be a winning new product.Think back to the example set by quirky “tiger bread”, the white bread with a cracked “tiger effect” paste top, launched by Asda in 2006. Kantar Worldpanel figures show it is still the UK’s best-selling bake-off line and that Tesco’s 800g tiger loaf was the number one selling bake-off in-store bakery line overall in the UK by value and also by volume in 2010.Tigers, sunshine. Perhaps one day someone will come up with a marketable idea involving harpsichords and moonlight.last_img read more