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News briefs: Heinz Beanz, ABF acquisition and saturated fats

By Laura Crowley , 16-Jul-2008

This week, Heinz renames its iconic baked beans brand, Associated British Foods meets another hurdle for its acquisition, and the UK Food Standards Agency updates its work on reducing consumption of saturated fats.

Heinz drops 'baked' from beans brand After more than 100 years on the shelves, Heinz has scrapped the word 'baked' from its popular beans products, to be called just 'Heinz Beanz'. While the can will not look completely different, with the firm maintaining its turquoise label, it will include a picture of the product. The back of the new tin will also highlight the nutritional benefits of the beans, having reduced their salt content by 30 per cent after criticism for its high levels. The firm said the reason for the change, which is bound to provoke some reaction from die-hard fans and traditional consumers, was because the full title was considered too long and difficult to pronounce. It will also allow them to link the product to the slogan, 'Beanz means Heinz'. Baked Beans first went on sale in Britain in 1886 and the company now makes 1.5m cans a day. The brand has developed over the years to include varieties such as organic, a lower in fat Weight Watchers version, curried baked beans, and baked beans with sausages and chicken nuggets. ABF acquisition The European Commission has suspended its review of Associated British Foods (ABF) acquisition of some of the assets of GB Ingredients, according to news reports, adding further complications to an already drawn out assessment. This follows an extension to the competition review announced in May, for which no reason was given. This suspension means the Commission is seeking missing information, and will only continue with the review once the parties have provided the necessary materials, said Reuters news agency. ABF announced its intention to buy parts of GB in October 2007. It was able to complete the acquisition of a wet and dry yeast plant in Italy and a 50 per cent share of Uniferm, a German joint venture, relatively quickly. Plans to buy sales and distribution businesses in Portugal, Spain and France have stalled due to concern as it would take the number of suppliers compressed bakers' yeast in those markets from three to two. Reducing saturated fats The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) presented the progress it is making in efforts to reduce the amount of saturated fat consumed in the UK at a meeting for key industry stakeholders yesterday. The average Briton consumes 20 per cent more than the government's recommended amount of saturated fat, leading the FSA to begin a programme directed at its reduction at the beginning of this year. The FSA said it has built partnerships with specific sectors of the industry to help in the reformulation of foods that contribute to the most saturated fat in the diet, such as biscuits, cakes, crisps and confectionery. It is also developing a public health campaign to raise awareness of the health implications of eating too much saturated fat, and to provide tips on how to follow a healthier diet. Corinne Vaughan, deputy head of nutrition at the FSA, said: "The scientific evidence is clear - a diet too high in saturated fat is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and so it's crucial we both encourage industry to reformulate where possible and offer practical advice to the public so we can all choose a healthier diet."


The programme follows on from the FSA's successful salt reduction campaign, which was initiated in 2004. However, the body has said that cutting saturated fat content will be harder than it was with salt because of the technical challenges for food manufacturers.

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