Khor Reports' Food Watch: Malaysian nutritionist promoted sugar-laden cereals in 'fattest Asian country'?

Editor's note: This is about snack, fast and ready foods that catch my eye in the shops.

24 Dec 2017: Malaysian nutritionist promoted sugar-laden cereals in 'fattest Asian country'?

Editor's note: NYT points to big food's funding for the likes of Southeast Asian Public Health Nutrition Network, Malaysia Nutrition Society (ads in an education pamphlet feature cereals with more than a quarter weight in sugar) and others. It's good to read about obesity awareness efforts by Rohana Abdul Jalil.  A Malaysia-based nutrition expert said: "Dr Tee's statement is typical of the rubbish that MNC's used to defend their sins. The worst foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates are the cheapest. People feel it may not be right to take so much of them but the nutritionists and the doctors tell them "it's OK". Then of course, they (consume). The nature of sugars and refined carbohydrates is such that anyone who takes them liberally will immediately go into the vicious cycle of taking more and more of them. The only way to stop this vicious cycle is to keep on educating and to legislate good laws."

Amid ‘fattest Asian country’ claim, Malaysian nutritionists sponsored by food giants 23 Dec 2017
In Malaysia — where nearly half the adult population are overweight or obese, and dubbed the fattest country in Asia — nutritionists are being financially supported by major food companies, New York Times (NYT) reported today. The report pointed at the Nutrition Society of Malaysia, whose research on local diets and lifestyle habits was not only financed, but also reviewed by Nestlé, the world’s largest food company whose malted chocolate beverage Milo is popular with consumers here. It was also revealed that the work of the society headed by the country’s leading nutrition expert Dr Tee E Siong, 70, has been funded by among others Kellogg’s, PepsiCo and Tate & Lyle, one of the world’s biggest makers of high-fructose corn syrup.... Tee’s nutrition society had promoted Nestlé’s sugar-laden Koko Krunch and Cookie Crisp cereals, and “Nestlé Healthy Kids,” a 2014 programme promoting breakfast and exercise in 77 schools. In defence, Tee said the real problem is not with the food companies, but what Malaysians eat and their lifestyle....

5 Dec 2017: The fast-food price war is about to get even more intense

Here’s What’s on McDonald’s Revamped Dollar Menu By Craig Giammona December 5, 2017. New lineup will debut on Jan. 4, with items at $1 to $3 apiece. Fast-food chain looks to keep franchisees happy with program. The fast-food price war is about to get even more intense. McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant chain, unveiled its new value-priced menu on Monday, aiming to keep its lead in an industry that’s increasingly racing for the bottom. The lineup, set to go live on Jan. 4, includes items such as chicken tenders, sodas, triple cheeseburgers and the Egg McMuffin.

9 Nov 2017: Nutella reformulation

France, Nutella reformulation: skimmed milk powder 7.5% goes to 8.7%, sugar ticks up 55.9% to 56.3%, fat content drops 31.8% to 30.9% (-1.1%-age). But spokesperson says the added sugar has not increased. Seen as cost-saving exercise on cocoa powder. If the added sugar is over estimated, it could be that fat cut is under estimated? Criticised for ingredient label citing "fruits of the oil palm" and "French beet sugar" as potentially misleading on 5-a-day fruit-veg. News,

25 Apr 2017: Kushikatsu, deep-fried battered meat and veg on a stick

A Dying Man's Lost Recipe Made His Daughter a Multimillionaire by Min Jeong Lee , Hiroyuki Sekine , and Toshiro Hasegawa April 23, 2017 -- Kushikatsu, a dish made by battering skewered meat and vegetables, deep-frying them and then dipping them in sauce... 

29 Mar 2017: KitKat cocoa and milk content upped in sugar reduction push, portion size remains the same, Chipotle menu clean up reduces ingredient count 

KitKat cocoa content upped 13% in sugar reduction push By Oliver Nieburg+, 28-Mar-2017

Nestlé UK & Ireland has upped the cocoa and milk content of KitKat in its bid to cut sugar by 10% across its confectionery range.

Chipotle's Menu Is Now Preservative-Free by Leslie Patton March 28, 2017, 9:00 PM GMT+8 March 28, 2017 -- Chain nixes additives from tortillas after two-year quest. Push to clean up menu brings ingredient count down to 51.

28 Mar 2017:  WHO praises France for ‘straightforward’ nutrition logo, EFSA to recommend daily intake values for added sugar by 2020 

WHO praises France for ‘straightforward’ nutrition logo By Niamh Michail+, 24-Mar-2017
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has praised France for officially backing a voluntary, front-of-pack nutrition logo that “clearly stood out as the most consumer-friendly scheme”.

EFSA to recommend daily intake values for added sugar by 2020  By Niamh Michail+, 24-Mar-2017
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will publish a scientific opinion on how much sugar can be included in a healthy diet by 2020, it has confirmed.

18 Mar 2017: More labels in Europe, UK sugar tax, Germans plan to shun sugar

Editor's note: Sugar taxman on the rise. When is the fat tax to come?

Six industry giants to launch UK-style traffic light labels in Europe By Niamh Michail+, 08-Mar-2017 -- Coca-Cola, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever will add nutrition logos modelled on the UK’s traffic light label to their European portfolios. However, critics have slammed the use of portion size as a reference.

UK sugar tax confirmed in Budget 2017 By Rachel Arthur+, 08-Mar-2017 - A UK sugar tax has been confirmed as part of the government’s Budget 2017 today, with the rates set for the two-tier soft drinks industry levy.

Europe's largest dessert market under pressure as half of Germans shun sugar By Niamh Michail+, 10-Mar-2017 -- Germany is Europe’s largest dessert market but with almost half (48%) of the population saying they are actively cutting down or avoiding sugary foods, dessert manufacturers are under pressure to innovate, says Mintel.

11 Mar 2017: What's Really In Nutella

This Picture Shows What's Really In Nutella FEB 26, 2017

2 Dec 2016: Nestle Scientists Find Method to Cut Sugar in Chocolate by 40%

Nestle Scientists Find Method to Cut Sugar in Chocolate by 40% by Thomas Mulier November 30, 2016 — 1:00 PM EST -- New process will be incorporated into products as soon as 2018. Development comes amid government pressure on sugar reduction

4 Jan 2016: Gooey, deep-fried beef envelope ‘vile and amazing’

Americans Eat 554 Million Jack in the Box Tacos a Year, and No One Knows Why By RUSSELL ADAMS Jan. 3, 2017 -- Gooey, deep-fried beef envelope has been on the menu since the 1950s, inspiring legions of fans; ‘vile and amazing’

21 Oct 2016: PepsiCo says most  foods will not exceed 1.1 grams of saturated fat per 100 calories by 2025

PepsiCo pledges to slash beverage calorie counts by 2025 by Jeff Daniels Monday, 17 Oct 2016 -- According to PepsiCo, at least two-thirds of the company's beverages will contain 100 calories or less per 12-ounce serving by 2025. As part of the initiative, the company will increase the focus on zero or lower-calorie products....The CEO also spoke about ongoing efforts to reduce sodium in products, including snacks sold by the Frito-Lay division....By 2025, PepsiCo said three-quarters of its global foods portfolio will contain sodium volumes not exceeding 1.3 milligrams per calorie. Also, at least three-quarters of the foods will not exceed 1.1 grams of saturated fat per 100 calories.... According to the CEO, the company also already made significant strides and is now frying snacks in many countries using "heart-healthy oil." Also, she said in China the company has available to it a new frying technique that can reduce saturated fat levels by about 20 percent while at the same time increasing capacity of the machines by 25 percent....

15 Oct 2016: Yum! Brands wants to remove all palm oil? 70% of its outlets have removed it as cooking oil

Editor's note: Interesting to see how another commodity has been trying to increase attention on fat nutritional issues. I was told, but didn't find article yet that KFC in China will also be cutting down on palm oil usage - but a look at Yum's website confirms the policy. This adds to McDonald's China (see July 2016 news). Yum talks about removing palm oil as a cooking oil, and it has done so in 70% of its outlets, but it is silent on analogue cheese and other uses of palm oil. 

#At top of google search for "palm oil analogue cheese" are these suppliers

How the Sugar Lobby Skewed Health Research Alexandra Sifferlin @acsifferlin Sept. 12, 2016 -- By combing through archival documents from the 1950s and 1960s, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), report that the sugar industry sponsored research that turned attention away from the sweetener’s link to heart disease and toward fat and cholesterol as the bigger culprits....

Taco Bell Will Put China's Appetite for Nacho Cheese to the Test  Leslie Patton   October 14, 2016-- In the U.S., crunchy tacos are made with cheddar cheese -- typically room-temperature -- while quesadillas have a three-cheese blend. “Having food that’s incredibly warm is very important in Chinese culture,” Vaideeswaran said in an interview on Thursday. “It’s warm, it’s melty, and it’s really good.” ...

KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell: Yum! Brands wants to remove all palm oil July 6, 2016 -- From The Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2015 of Yum! Brands, we can understand how hard food giants like Yum! would like to do to get rid of unhealthy oil. They already change from unsustainable source Palm Oil to sustainable source palm oil, and beginning from 2011 they start to take one step further, change from palm oil to High Oleic Sunflower oil, Canola oil, or mixes of them....

Yum Brands, accessed 15 October 2016:

  • ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES - PALM OIL POLICY -- Yum! Brands is committed to implementing its global nutrition policy that includes removal of palm oil as cooking oil in restaurants by 2017. In extenuating circumstances and by exception, markets that will not meet our nutrition policy timeline will source 100 percent of their palm oil used for cooking from responsible and sustainable sources by the end of 2017.
  • NUTRITIONAL IMPROVEMENT - PALM OIL -- For over four years now, KFC U.K. and Ireland has consistently been removing palm oil from their products and replacing with sunflower, rapeseed or soya oils. This began in 2011 when they stopped frying in palm oil, switching to high oleic rape and sunflower oils.... At the end of 2014, KFC Germany phased out of palm oil as a cooking oil, using a new oil mix consisting of sunflower and rapeseed oil with a higher content of unsaturated fatty acids. In addition, their fries are pre-fried in a palm-free oil blend...  Taco Bell committed to only using sustainable palm oil in their ingredients by the end of 2015, replacing unsustainable palm oil with RSPO-sustainable palm oil or other oils, like canola. With hash browns, they partnered with their suppliers to ensure that only 100 percent canola oil was used.

Food Companies Scramble to Cut Palm Oil From Supply Chains - McDonald’s push poses major test of industry’s ability to trace, eliminate contentious materials By Erica E. Phillips And Betsy Morris April 29, 2015 --  A McDonald’s Corp. announcement in April that a “comprehensive” supply chain sustainability plan will focus on reducing deforestation in its beef, poultry, coffee and palm oil sourcing will provide perhaps the biggest test of companies’ ability to trace and eliminate contentious materials from their products....The fast-food giant joins Dunkin’ Brands (Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins) and Yum Brands Inc. YUM -0.21 % (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), in pledging to source only sustainable palm oil. It’s part of a broad, new effort by food providers to target ingredients to meet demands from health- and socially-conscious consumers. ... Just this month, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. CMG -1.38 % said it would stop using genetically modified ingredients in its fast food restaurants. And PepsiCo Inc. PEP 0.86 % announced it would drop the artificial sweetener aspartame from Diet Pepsi. ....

15 July 2016: McDonald's to use blended oil in China for healthier diet (switching away from palm oil) and Kerala India wants to tax fat at branded fast food, China's plan to cut meat consumption by 50%, China instant noodles  

McDonald's to use blended oil in China for healthier diet 2016­ 07­ 15 ­­ McDonald's stores in China will change the cooking oil they use starting next year, despite an increased cost, and introduce new menu items including fruits and vegetables, the Beijing Times reported on Friday. Phyllis Cheung, the CEO of McDonald's China, said the fast­food giant is testing new cooking oil and plans to replace the current palm oil with a mixture of sunflower seed and canola oil. The reasons behind the change are to optimize the nutrition structure, dramatically reduce the consumption of saturated fatty acids, and improve heath....Cai Meiqin, the vice chairperson of the Shanghai Nutrition Society, said McDonald's focus on less salt, better oil, and a more balanced diet fits well with the overall theme of "The Dietary Guidelines for Chinese Residents" released this year.

China instant noodle production industry analysis and professional survey 2011-2020 illuminated by new report WhaTech Channel: Industrial Market Research Published: 12 July 2016 -- Instant noodles can be divided into fried ones and fried-free ones by production methods, which including bag instant noodles, bowl instant noodles, cup instant noodles,. by packaging. The popularity of instant noodles has a close relationship with the accelerating pace of modern life.... In terms of the product structure, the total output volume of instant noodles fell off in 2014 and 2015. However, the annual output volume still maintained more than 9 million tons.... The proportion of the output volume of middle and high-end products kept gradually increasing. On the contrary, that of low-end products which accounted for the major market share was gradually declining. To a certain extent, the total output volume of instant noodles went down.... Chinese instant noodle market is mainly dominated by Master Kong, Uni-president, Jinmailang, Baixiang and Nongshim. The market share of top 5 enterprises accounts for more than 80%....Major raw materials of instant noodles include wheat powder and palm oil. In the next few years, it will be less possible for prices of raw materials to rise significantly.... The instant noodle consumption per capita in China is beyond top 5 all over the world. The urban residents are major consumers. The consumption per capita of rural areas is less than 1/3 of that of urban areas. With the accelerating urbanization and increasing resident income in China, the instant noodle market has a bright prospect.

India Taxing Fat: Bad News For McDonald’s & Yum By Dimitra DeFotis July 13, 2016 --  McDonald’s (MCD) has only seven restaurants in Kerala while Burger King launched its first outlet in the coastal Kerala city of Kochi a few weeks ago, the BBC adds. But the India tax trend isn’t great news for Yum Brands (YUM), which reports earnings after the close Wednesday. Yum operated 372 KFC restaurants in India in 2015, along with 432 Pizza Huts and 7 Taco Bells.

China's plan to cut meat consumption by 50% cheered by climate campaigners - New dietary guidelines could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1bn tonnes by 2030, and could lessen country’s problems with obesity and diabetes

Food waste: First global standard launched 06 Jun 2016 | By Megan Tatum

Scientists at the Oxford Martin School this year found that the widespread adoption of vegetarianism around the world could bring down greenhouse gas emissions by nearly two-thirds.

Other McDonald's news:

THE MCDONALD’S OF THE FUTURE OFFERS UNLIMITED FRENCH FRIES Why can’t the future start now? BY EMILY JANE FOX APRIL 15, 2016 -- McDonald's promise of unlimited fried potatoes... A new 6,500-square-foot McDonald’s franchise in St. Joseph, Missouri, which is billing itself as the McDonald’s of the future, is one reason to hope. The fast-food joint will be outfitted with armchairs and couches in “earthy tones,” according to St. Joseph News-Press. Customers will order on “larger than life” kiosks that that will allow them to customize a wide array of menu items—from personalized burgers and chicken sandwiches, all the way to dessert items. The t: all-you-can-eat french fries....

McDonald’s struggles to attract bidders for China franchises - US group would prefer companies with more fast food experience, JULY 13, 2016 by: Don Weinland in Hong Kong and Lindsay Whipp in Chicago -- McDonald’s is struggling to attract the calibre of bidders it envisioned in the sale of its China and Hong Kong franchise, according to people familiar with the situation.

McDonald’s Said to Narrow Bidders for $2 Billion China Franchise by Vinicy Chan  Jonathan Browning July 7, 2016

India Taxing Fat: Bad News For McDonald’s & Yum By Dimitra DeFotis July 13, 2016 --  McDonald’s (MCD) has only seven restaurants in Kerala while Burger King launched its first outlet in the coastal Kerala city of Kochi a few weeks ago, the BBC adds. But the India tax trend isn’t great news for Yum Brands (YUM), which reports earnings after the close Wednesday. Yum operated 372 KFC restaurants in India in 2015, along with 432 Pizza Huts and 7 Taco Bells.

McDonald's: No Trans Fats in China Fries -- McDonald's admitted last week that its French fries contain a third more trans fats than it previously thought, according to results of a new testing method it used in the US in December. Tests showed that levels of potentially artery- clogging trans fats in a large portion of fries had increased from six grams to eight, bringing total fat content up to 30 grams from 25. Often used by restaurants and in packaged foods, trans fats are believed to cause cholesterol problems and increase the risk of heart disease. McDonald's China also admitted that although their food tastes the same in all their restaurants, there are still tiny differences in the ingredients used in different countries. McDonald's said its Chinese restaurants use palm oil to make the French fries, which contains no trans fats....

McDonald’s Maintains Edge in Fast-Food Restaurant Traffic: Chart by Nick Turner May 13, 2016

28 June 2016: India health dept inspects McDonald's, Subway, Pizza Hut, Dominos for using oil oil etc.

Rajasthan: 3 McDonald’s outlets under govt scanner for ‘using old oil’ Besides McDonald’s, the health department also inspected other fast food outlets, including Subway, Pizza Hut and Dominos. By: Express News Service | Jaipur | Published:June 28, 2016

23 June 2016: It Took McDonald's 6 Months to Swap From Margarine to Butter - Bloomberg

It Took McDonald's 6 Months to Swap From Margarine to Butter—and That Was Fast by   Leslie Patton June 22, 2016 -- The switch back to the original recipe (with butter) for the Egg McMuffin occurred in September, just before the national introduction of all-day breakfast... McDonald’s also recently changed its English muffins, now baked with unbleached flour instead of the bleached version....  “The change to butter was extremely fast. That’s probably the quickest change that we’ve made.”.... In late August, Grassland Dairy Products Inc. found out it needed about 2.4 million pounds of butter for the swap. The family-run operation started working overtime. The company’s three facilities went to seven days a week, up from six. And the dairy also had to push its cardboard-box supplier to make the McDonald’s packaging in just four weeks instead of the usual eight....

30 May 2016: Ramen Rater top noodles include...

Editor's note: Took some of these to friends in the UK. Also, friends in HK were asking to be reminded of these top instant noodles.

31 March 2016: Back to natural ingredients in soda drinks - including real sugar. Clean label concept - remove artificial anything.

Editor's note: Difference performance of HCFS - cheaper and as a sweetener it peaks earlier, sugar has a more rounded profile and lasts longer on the tongue.

Soft-Drink Makers Have New Secret Ingredient: Sugar! To boost flagging soda sales, companies are touting ‘real sugar’ as an appeal to all things natural

Why Real Sugar Is Returning to Soda 3/30/2016 10:58AM  Sugar is infiltrating the soda aisle, as manufacturers try to boost soft drink sales by losing high fructose syrup. WSJ's Anne-Marie Chaker joins Lee Hawkins to discuss. Photo: F. Martin Ramin for The Wall Street Journal

21 Feb 2016: Calorie Counts Really Do Fight Obesity 

Calorie Counts Really Do Fight Obesity FEB 19, 2016 By Cass R. Sunstein  It finds that if we divide Americans into subgroups -- the normal, the overweight, and the obese -- we’ll find that calorie labels have had a large and beneficial effect on those who most need them...Deb and Vargas used an ingenious empirical strategy, exploiting county-level variations in the dates of implementation of calorie labeling laws to specify their effects. ... In all three subpopulations, men’s BMI was significantly reduced after the introduction of calorie labels. The reduction was largest among the obese, next largest among the overweight, and smallest for those with a normal BMI. For women, the effect was statistically significant only for those who were overweight.

20 Feb 2016: Trying Nestle La Cremeria. Confectionery news. Mcdonalds foodie blog! McDonald’s is starting to steal market share with all-day breakfast

Editor: Talking about food blogs, on ramen / instant noodles, there's the great blog by Hans Lienesch, The Ramen Rater: Soon, I've to actively search for more great snack/fast/ready food bloggers! Readers, if you have any faves, please alert me too!

On Nestle and other chocolate confectionery

Editor: Just tried out something form Nestle La Cremeria range. Was actually looking for the Nestle Kit Kat cone, but out of stock. Ended up paying RM12 for something in Tesco RM10.95. Tasted quite nice, but they were quite mini (111 calories). Ingredients feature cocoa and milk products quite prominently (ingredients list: sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, palm oil, glucose syrup, cocoa mass, cocoa powder, wheat flour, colourings, emulsifiers, stabilisers, flavourings, salt).

Pictures of product labels by Khor Reports

This what Nestle has on its website on the product:

Confectionery news:

  • 'Expand and expand': Magnum chocolate harbors global ambitions after premium refresh By Oliver Nieburg+, 10-Feb-2016 Unilever’s Magnum chocolate range has entered retail outlets across Western Europe after a recent rebranding and plans further global expansion, says contract manufacturer Kinnerton Confectionery 
  • Nestlé nutrition expert talks ‘difficult’ task of cutting sugar in confectionery By Oliver Nieburg+, 21-Jan-2016; KitKat maker Nestlé reports progress in reducing sugar across its confectionery portfolio but won’t reformulate to a lower threshold until sugar’s link to obesity and type 2 diabetes is substantiated.
  • Mars to ditch all artificial colours from its entire global food portfolio By Niamh Michail+, 08-Feb-2016 Food giant Mars has pledged to phase out all artificial colours from its global food and drink portfolio in the next five years.

Useful food sector news links:


On McDonalds

Editor: Thanks to a WSJ feature, I found the McDonald's Foodie blogger - James McGowan. Links below. So, I've put extract of this review of the Japan chocolate fries (see 3 Feb below). Now, I'm just curious what are the ingredients in the chocolate sauce from McDonalds Japan! 

A McDonald’s Foodie Dishes on Chain’s Foreign Fare - James McGowan blogs about regional menu items; Singapore truffle fries are a hit, but Kuala Lumpur lychee pie is crummy

James McGowan, McDonald's Foodie blog:

McChocolate Potato (マックチョコポテト) - Sapporo, Japan - February 2016

Consumed on 09 Febuary 2016
Location - McDonald's Ssukino Station, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Price - 60JPY = $0.53USD with combo purchase. 330JPY = $2.93USD ala carte.
Calories - 572kcal;

McDonald’s all-day breakfast is causing a crisis in the fast-food world by AKIN OYEDELE MARKETS FEB. 19, 2016; Sales at McDonald’s US locations open for at least one year rose for the first time in two years in the fourth quarter thanks to the company’s new all-day breakfast offering. And as competitors announce results, they’re admitting that McDonald’s is starting to steal market share. Read more at

18 and 19 Feb 2016: Nestle +4.2% on volume and +2% on price for 2015 revenue, sees similar in 2016 with softer pricing; Asia Oceania Africa zone rose +0.5%, India noodle sales recommence

Sales in the Asia Oceania Africa zone rose 0.5 percent in 2015. A recall of Maggi noodles in India resulted in that market’s first quarterly loss in 15 years...Nestle recommenced sales of one flavor, Marsala, in India in November, and added a chicken version this month, according to Martello. She said normally it would take about three years to return to pre-crisis sales levels, though she won’t let her team take that long.....  Nestle expects to conclude an agreement on a planned ice cream joint venture this year, and it will consider making acquisitions to help fill gaps...

Nestle Sales Rise at Slowest Pace in Six Years on Asia by  Corinne Gretler February 18, 2016. KitKat maker forecasts similar revenue growth this year. CEO Bulcke says will be harder to raise prices in 2016...Revenue increased 4.2 percent on an organic basis, the Vevey, Switzerland-based maker of Nespresso coffee and Gerber baby food said in a statement Thursday. That matched analysts’ median estimate. The 150-year-old company trailed its target of about 4.5 percent.... The KitKat maker forecast organic sales growth this year in line with that of 2015, plus improvements in margins and underlying earnings per share in constant currencies. Nestle’s long-term average goal of 5 percent to 6 percent growth has been out of reach in half of the eight years that Paul Bulcke has been chief executive officer...Pricing boosted 2015 sales by 2 percentage points....  “We anticipate that our trading environment in 2016 will be similar to previous years with even softer pricing,” Bulcke said in the statement....

5 Feb 2016: On roti canai and croissants

Editor's note:I was talking to a KL school chum who related the story of his roti canai experience in Sydney. He said it felt "crazy" to queue up there to eat, but to his surprise it was better than any roti canai in KL! I asked an oil chemist who said it was likely better milk fat added. Indeed, my friend said the Sydney roti canai was "more flaky, like a croissant." I emailed the shop and had this reply: "our roti is hand made and cooked to order, using quality ingredients... and cooked with canola oil." 

source: Khor Reports' photo of value set breakfast eaten by your editor this morning (contact me, I'll let you know where!). RM2.50 for everything you see in the photo!

source: screenshot of menu page,; "Roti canai A$6. The original roti. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside...."

4 Feb 2016: Yum news on Taco Bell mobile-phone app and Pizza Hut's US$5 value menu

Yum's Tops Profit Estimates After Taco Bell, KFC Sales Grow by  Leslie Patton  February 4, 2016; The results bring some momentum to a fast-food company that will soon be relying more heavily on domestic sales. Yum said in October that it would spin off its China business, in part to focus on reviving growth of its U.S. locations. Still, total revenue was lower than projected, hurt by slow growth at its Pizza Hut chain. ...Taco Bell, which is concentrated in the U.S., has had success recently with its mobile-phone application, which allows customers to pay and order ahead. The chain also is trying out delivery service and introducing new fare, including Fritos tacos, to the U.S. this year....Yum’s Pizza Hut division, meanwhile, is trying to appeal to value-conscious diners with its $5 menu. Its same-store sales inched up just 1 percent last quarter, missing the 1.5 percent gain that analysts had estimated....The company bowed to activist pressure last year and agreed to separate its China unit from the rest of its operations. The spinoff will make the Chinese business a franchisee of Yum in the country.... Yum gets more than 50 percent of revenue from China, but the country has brought challenges in recent years. In 2014, a supplier was accused of selling expired meat. Now, Yum is facing market turmoil and an economic slowdown in the Asian nation.....

3 Feb 2016: Lui sha croissants in Singapore and McDonalds Japan chocolate fries

Editor: I forgot to mention that the NY baguette winner Maison Kayser also has a outlet in Scotts in Singapore. More on croissants for this posting. Please also refer to 15 Jan posting below on Nutella croissants in NY. I cribbed item below from the great Singapore-based economist-cum-foodie, Dr Song! I'm asking him about the price. Answer: S$6.50 each. Compare with New York Nutella croissant US$4.50/S$6.30 @1.40.

"Chef Andy has golden custard lava cake at Five & Dime (297 River Valley) and now Antoinette’s Chef Pang is doing golden custard croissant at his outlet at Penhas Rd. Although salted egg lava croissant is the HOT HOT item now, personally I still prefer a couple of good old lui sha bao any day. Hahaha. But I must say the freshly baked flaky buttery croissant with the generous smooth creamy-yet-not-too-runny molten liu sha is also very shiok. Best to fresh. I like the balance of sweetness & salted egg yolk mix. But super sinful treat! U rock Chef Pang! You have certainly add value to the plain old butter croissant with this sweet savoury pastry." Excerpt from Dr Song's facebook plus photo also from his page:

Link to Antoinette: 

McDonald's Offers Japan Chocolate Fries While It Mulls Unit Sale by Monami Yui  February 3, 2016

30 Jan 2016: Tesco Malaysia online shopping for tomato ketchup

Editor's note: Interesting to see the different options and prices. These are from Tesco Malaysia online, accessed this evening.

27 Jan 2016: Bloomberg - When Fast-Food Startups Strive to Improve the Way Communities Eat 

When Fast-Food Startups Strive to Improve the Way Communities Eat BY Lucas Shaw January 26, 2016; Locol, a new restaurant in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, aims to provide a financially strapped community with healthy, tasty, and inexpensive quick meals...Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson conceived Locol as a new breed of restaurant chain, a bid to prove that food can be fast and delicious, affordable and healthy—all while feeding underserved communities. They opened the first branch of the chain in Watts, a relatively poor neighborhood saturated with unhealthy fast-food restaurants such as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Burger King.... Burgers at Locol are served in a bun much thinner than what you'll find at Burger King, while the patty, a blend of beef, grain and soy, is thicker and loaded with protein. At $4, the burger also comes loaded with leafy greens; this isn't the thin slice of wilted lettuce you'd find in a Big Mac. It’s more, and it’s better. One fast-food staple you won't find on the menu is a carton of French fries. Instead, sides (or "yotchays'") include spicy corn chips, messy greens, and flatbread. No sodas, either. Those have been replaced with agua frescas, a blend of fruit, seeds, flowers, or cereals with sugar and water that is popular in Latin America....

25 Jan 2016: Nestle KitKat cones

Just had a rather good experience with these ice cream cones.  The ice cream part and chocolate parts certainly tasted superior to something I had yesterday from another maker. Bought in multi-pack in supermarket, I think a lot fresher than previous experience with buying it as a single cone.

 source: Tesco Malaysia website screenshot

Malaysia ingredient list: sugar (brown/white), vegetable oil & fat (palm, coconut, hydrogenated palm, illipe, shea), wheat flour, milk solids (cow's milk), cocoa powder, glucose syrup, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, colouring, emulsifiers (contain soya lecithin & E476), stabilisers (contain E500ii, E170), flavourings, yeast, salt. Containts emulsifiers, stabilisers as permitted food conditioner, contains permitted colouring, flavourings. All additives are of plant or synthetic origin. May contain traces; peanuts and other tree nuts.

Useful to compare with the UK Tesco website info for product country variation.

source: Tesco UK website screenshot

Also, came across Nestle's suggested recipe for DIY: Chocolate KIT KAT ‘n Cream Ice Cream

  • 1 tin NESTLÉ Sweetened Condensed Milk or 397 g
  • 600 ml whipping cream, UHT
  • 200 g dark chocolate, melted
  • 4 bars KIT KAT Chunky, chopped

23 Jan 2016: Baguette basics - flour, water, salt, and yeast. Commercial loaf can use 200 ingredients? 

Editor's note: Had a great chat with fats specialist a few weeks ago and we got to talking about a commercial bread loaf having some 200 ingredients nowadays. Notable that you don't get the dry mouth feel so much anymore, thanks to added ingredients, including those from palm oil. Fascinated to read about baguette competition, and that it's about how 4 key ingredients (and others) get put together.

Inside America’s First ‘Best Baguette’ Competition - And the winner is: carbs. by Rebecca Greenfield January 23, 2016; ... It takes just four ingredients to make a baguette: flour, water, salt, and yeast. The slender loaves generally come in at 55 centimeters to 65 centimeters long. A good baguette has a crisp, crusty outside and a holey inside; color and smell are important, too. A representative from Bien Cuit, a Brooklyn bakery, describes the difference between two variations of baguettes as if he were a gluten sommelier. The type of flour and fermentation time effects the way the bread tastes, feels, and even smells, he explains. Longer fermentation is better but harder to control. An older American couple lifts a slice to their noses. They can smell the difference, they say, before ripping the pieces apart with their teeth. ... In celebration, he smacks two baguettes together in the air. "When we break the bread, we say it sings like a bird," he says of his award-winning baguette, which you can find at Maison Kayser and 80-some outlets around the globe. (His loaf was crowned Best of New York in 2013 by the critics of New York magazine as well.) The two runners-up—Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bakery and Jerry Jan of Breads Bakery—were awarded a special Jury Prize, while Epicerie Boulud was anointed Most Original Bread (Raspberry Sourdough), Orwasher’s Bakery named Best Specialty Bread for their Levain Local, and Clemence Danko of Choc O Pain took a fan

15 January 2016: Rising meat mountain - Darden expects meat costs to decline for a few years. America new dietary guidelines, data shows added fat calories rose +50% for 2000s vs 1990s, Nutella croissant @$4.25

Editor's note: Fascinating to see data that calories from added sugars peaked in America in 1999; pointing to the rise of sweeteners. But added fat calories rose tremendously, about +50% for 2000s vs 1990s.

Longest Cattle Rally Since 1960s Burger Boom Ends as Herd Grows by Megan Durisin and Lydia Mulvany, January 14, 2016; Americans eat more pork, poultry just as beef supply expands. Goldman sees further slide after price plunged most since 1981. A mountain of meat has ended the longest rally in U.S. cattle prices since at least the 1960s, when baby boomers and McDonald’s Corp. ushered in the American burger boom.... Not only have ranchers added to their herds, but consumers are being inundated with increased supplies of cheaper pork and poultry. Ground-beef prices are down from a record high 11 months ago, and buyers like Darden Restaurants Inc., owner of the LongHorn Steakhouse chain, expect to see costs for the meat decline for at least a couple years....

The Most Beautiful, Addictive Croissant in New York Is Stuffed With Nutella - François Brunet’s take on the classic pain au chocolat is unreasonably delicious by Tejal Rao January 14, 2016; The Nutella croissant went on the menu at Épicerie Boulud just a week ago, and since then I’ve been finding all sorts of excuses to pass by and and pick some up. You can find them at the Plaza Food Hall, too, but finding them isn’t guaranteed: Only 60 or so are baked each morning ($4.25 each)....As it bakes, this dark shell gets superbly crisp, and each slash puffs open to reveal a pattern of swirls—even, precisely built layers of butter and rich, yeasted dough.... The edges are crackling and the insides tender, holding the scent of butter and chocolate—generous, sticky smudges of Nutella along with long, dark chocolate tablets. It's like any truly great pain au chocolat, just way more ostentatious, and unreasonably delicious... When it comes to croissants, he says, "I'm looking for flakiness, for layers, for something very airy inside. That's it."... Brunet is a fourth-generation baker, and his father still teaches baking back home in Brittany, France... 

How Americans Got So Fat, in Charts - The amount of calories we eat has jumped since the 1970s, and waistlines have grown accordingly by  John Tozzi January 7, 2016; Americans should eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while cutting back on added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat, according to new dietary guidelines published by the federal government Thursday. The guidelines, which influence school lunch menus and federal nutrition policy, also recommend eating more seafood in place of other proteins like meat, poultry, and eggs....  Our poor nutrition has contributed to a generations-long national weight gain. Today two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Half are afflicted with chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure that can often be prevented with better diets.... We didn't get this way overnight. The average calories available to the average American increased 25 percent, to more than 2500, between 1970 and 2010, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It's not like we added an extra meal to the day: Rather, an evolution in the type of foods we eat led to steady growth in calories......

6 January 2016: Bloomberg - Rethinking Food Delivery in America - Munchery is one of dozens of technology startups around the world trying to solve the challenge of mealtime planning with the tap of an app

How a Vietnamese Refugee Is Rethinking Food Delivery in America - Munchery CEO Tri Tran opens up about his harrowing journey to Silicon Valley. January 5, 2016  by  Brad Stone; .... Munchery is one of dozens of technology startups around the world trying to solve the challenge of mealtime planning with the tap of an app. GrubHub in the U.S., Just Eat in Europe, and in China, to name just a few, all connect Internet users with restaurants and their takeout menus. Critics derisively call the proliferation of these businesses the “lazy food economy,” but Munchery is different. It cooks and delivers its own relatively healthy fare. The company is in four cities—San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle—operating industrial kitchens in each. One recent afternoon in San Francisco, chefs and their assistants, wearing white caps and long-sleeved smocks, toiled over trays of grilled salmon atop brown rice with edamame and sweet carrots ($10.99) and pork belly buns with hoisin sauce, shredded cabbage, and pickled daikon ($10.95)....

3 January 2016: Hong Kong trip observations, end December 2015

source: Khor Reports blog photo
Nissin has potato crisps with flavor same as their cup noodles. Spicy seafood crisps pictured above. Nissin Foods HK Cup Noodles page:

source: Khor Reports blog photo
Chestnut milk drink featured milk and coconut milk (no palm oil / PKO products) - nice and festive!
Glico's Pocky sticks! About them: And here's google image search of ingredient listing (screenshot):

source: Khor Reports blog photo
About the Tsui Wah restaurant group: and their top 10 dishes, We had the breakfast set which included the instant noodles with ham and abalone, eggs and (real) buttered toasted buns and HK milk tea. We went to the newly renovated Wellington Street branch, Menu listing here (but breakfast sets are not shown here): 

source: Khor Reports blog photo
At Sheung Wan's popular Sang Kee Congee Shop, beef with instant noodles and HK milk tea (heavy on condensed milk - I didn't have a chance to check ingredient listing for this in HK) in a breakfast set, which also comes with eggs and bread. I guess with the high cost in HK, there has to be a minimum ticket to each meal - it was pretty big, and good enough to share. Famous for its congee. Trip Advisor link:

source: Khor Reports blog photo

20 October 2015: Mcdonald's starts to offer all-day breakfast

Editor's note: Not sure about Southeast Asia.

Four Reasons McDonald's All-Day Breakfast Is A Headache for Franchisees - Breakfast sandwiches are cheaper than many of McDonald’s other burgers and chicken sandwiches, so by offering full-time breakfasts, McDonald's has essentially created a new lower-priced alternative to its lunch and dinner fare. In Chicago, for instance, an Egg McMuffin is $3.29, a Big Mac is $4.39, and a grilled chicken sandwich is $4.79. Hash browns also sell for 19¢ less than a small order of fries. If customers decide they want eggs for lunch instead of a burger, total sales figures will drop. "We are trading customers down from regular menu to lower-priced breakfast items," said a franchisee in the Nomura survey....;

4 August 2015: Checking out breakfast at Mcdonalds in Singapore. 

The cheapest set option is SGD 3 (the lowest price set in Malaysia would be RM 4;  SGD3=RM8.40 @2.80).  Tea comes with (real) milk and Rainforest Alliance Lipton tea bag. Note they use a canola blend oil on sat (saturated) fats health concerns and par frying is done with sunflower blend. Thus, Nuggets get 30 pct less sat fats.

source: Khor Reports blog, 4 August 2015 at Macdonalds in Singapore

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