Staff Writer

Hepatitis A cases linked to recalled frozen pomegranate product

SA Health is reminding the public not to consume 180g Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate arils purchased from Coles, following two cases of hepatitis A in South Australia potentially linked to the recalled product.

Last month the owner of Creative Gourmet, Entyce Food Ingredients, initiated a precautionary recall of multiple best-before dates of the product because of a link to a hepatitis A outbreak in New South Wales.

SA Health’s Director of Food and Controlled Drugs, Dr Fay Jenkins, said while there are currently no laboratory results linking the two cases to the outbreak, the cases are an important reminder for consumers to dispose of any affected products.

“We know frozen goods, in particular foods like berries and pomegranate, can sometimes stay in people’s freezers for many months following their purchase,” Dr Jenkins said.

“We would ask consumers to check their freezer and dispose of 180g Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate arils packets with any best-before date up to March 21, 2020, or return them to Coles for a full refund.

“Fresh pomegranate and frozen Australian-grown pomegranate products are not affected.”

There have been 11 cases of hepatitis A linked to the product nationally.

The South Australian cases were in a 33-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman, who were both hospitalised. The woman remains in a serious condition and the man has been discharged.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, vomiting, fever, yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools, and the infection can take from 15 to 50 days to develop.

If symptoms appear, people who have eaten Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate from Coles should consult their doctor as early as possible.

Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice.

ARBS 2018 off to a solid start

ARBS 2018, the air conditioning, refrigeration and building services exhibition, hit the ground running in Sydney yesterday.

Over 300 exhibitors have assembled at the ICC Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour for this year’s event and in excess of 9,000 visitors are expected to walk through the doors.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Air-Conditioning Australia (MHIAA) is one of the exhibitors at ARBS 2018. Among other things, the company is showcasing its Q-ton – an air-to-water hot water solution which utilises CO2 gas as a refrigerant.

Suitable for use by food processors, distillers and other manufacturers, the Q-ton (pictured) addresses two of the biggest issues facing manufacturers, namely energy costs and sustainability.

Given that food and beverage manufacturers use hot water for everything from plant washdowns to pasteurisation, they need an affordable and reliable hot water supply. According to MHIAA the Q-ton is often a wise solution to this need.

Apart from the exhibitors, ARBS 2018 also features an extensive speaker series as well as the Awards Gala Presentation Dinner which take place tonight at the International Convention Centre Ballroom, Darling Harbour.

The categories being contested include:

  • ARBS Young Achiever Award
  • ARBS Project Excellence Award
  • ARBS Product Excellence Award
  • ARBS Software/Digital Excellence Award
  • ARBS Outstanding Industry Education/Training Award
  • ARBS Outstanding Service & Maintenance Award
  • ARBS Hall of Fame 2018

ARBS 2018 concludes tomorrow (May 10) at 4pm.

HMPS aiming to make its mark at ProPak Asia 2018

Known for showcasing the best in the packaging business and now in its 26th edition, ProPak Asia once again takes place from 13 – 16 June in Bangkok, Thailand.

According to reports, the packaging industry is experiencing rapid growth as the e-commerce market continues to boom. In 2016, the demand for consumer product packaging reached 3.4 trillion units and a large part of this was thanks to major influence by the Asian market.

No stranger to the show or to the Asian market, Australia’s leading machine building company, HMPS will once again be exhibiting at ProPak Asia. Standing out from the 1 500+ exhibitors, HMPS will showcase its latest innovations and product launches to wow more than 44 000 anticipated visitors to the show.

HMPS has been setting the standard since the 80s when it designed and developed the first Bag in Box machinery in the world. Since then, HMPS has grown to cover entire end-of-line solutions in the automated robotic space with a strong focus on advanced manufacturing to develop machines which help to significantly improve productivity whilst embracing the future of manufacturing, such as Industry 4.0.

What’s on Show

Keeping its finger on the pulse and offering added customer peace-of-mind, HMPS recently launched its IoT service, HMPSConnect. This leading solution ensures remote machine servicing and troubleshooting from anywhere in the world.

Linh Bui, Export Manager for HMPS said that the company will not only use ProPak Asia as a platform to launch its new machinery, but to also introduce HMPSConnect to this captive audience. “Naturally, we save the best for a show of this magnitude and will be launching our new machinery design at ProPak Asia,” said Bui.

“This prototype will be on display and it sports a solid mechanical design, a smaller footprint, better torsion and less vibration, paired with IoT technologies for ease-of-use” Bui continued. “The added visibility features allow operators to view the operating status and the modular design makes this model scalable for most applications”.

Servicing the Asian market

Since its inception in the 1980’s, HMPS has built long-standing relationships with key customers thanks to its innovations and reliability. “As a service-driven organisation, HMPS prides itself on servicing customers around the world thanks to our technology and team of experts who are able to assist quickly and effectively, regardless of where our customers are based,” said Bui.

“HMPS sees huge potential in the Asian market and our participation in this exhibition once again cements our commitment to Asia as a trading partner.”


Ishida Inspira – the next generation bagmaker

Heat and Control is launching the latest in snack packaging technologies from Ishida with the Inspira, the next generation of vertical form fill seal (VFFS) bagmaker to Ishida’s packaging room line-up. Inspira brings a new level of automation and efficiency to consistently produce quality bags and increase production.

“This is a very exciting time for Heat and Control and Ishida. We can now offer a completely integrated and automated packaging room solution for the snack industry that can significantly improve efficiency and performance,” said Robert Marguccio, Business Manager – Packaging & Inspection Systems. “The industry has been asking for effective automation and communications between the weigher and bagmaker, and Inspira’s ease of access, predictive maintenance, and ability to work with a wide variety of film makes it easy to operate.”

The rotary motion Inspira offers a consistent, market-leading forming/sealing performance of up to 200 bags/min. With increased flavour and portion demands from the consumer market, product runs can be shorter, allowing for quicker changeovers and shorter down time.

The Inspira offers the highest levels of productivity performance and pack quality, along with reduced environmental impact and improved operator working conditions, such as an increased level of automation, which reduces the risk of human error.  Inspira helps operators to act and to react more quickly and intuitively and to avoid complex decision-making and unnecessary physical exertion. The open structure gives operators easy access to all important parts.

A key element in the overall system is Ishida’s in-line seal checker (TSC). Utilising feedback communications to the Inspira, TSC continuously monitors fill level and compares bags to the targeted value.

The Inspira continues to see Ishida recognised as the dominant high speed VFFS bagmaker within the snacks packaging industry.

2018 budget cautiously welcomed by SME exporters

Last night’s Federal Budget contained some, but not a lot of, good news for SME exporters, according to a leading export-focused industry body.

“Overall, this is positive budget for SME exporters,” said Heath Baker, head of policy at the Export Council of Australia (ECA). “But it’s an incremental step forward, not a major leap.”

“The government has rightly been a champion of trade and has trumpeted its achievements in signing FTAs,” said Baker. “But if you want to grow trade, FTAs are only part of the answer. This budget goes some way to addressing SME exporters’ other needs—but there’s still more to be done.”

The ECA welcomes the $20 million allocated to establish an SME export hubs program, as well as extending funding for the export growth centres. These programs should help many SMEs make the jump into international business and we look forward to seeing the detail.

DFAT’s economic diplomacy efforts receive a valuable injection of $15 million. This will go towards expanding FTA outreach, helping businesses better access DFAT’s economic and security insights, as well as developing a strategy to address the ‘non-tariff measures’ that stop businesses from exporting. Austrade has received a small boost, including $3.2 million to develop a new national brand. Future budgets will need to commit significant money to implementing this brand if it has any chance of succeeding.

Australia’s offshore agricultural counsellors play an essential role in facilitating trade in food and agriculture—adding six new counsellors is a wise investment. We also welcome additional funding for initiatives to increase agricultural access in key markets.

Getting goods out of Australia should become a little easier with additional infrastructure spending, including the $400 million Port Botany line duplication. There’s also a $10.5 million commitment to complete a business case for a ‘single window’ for international trade—but this is slow progress given that implementing a single window was a 2016 election commitment.

Aviation security will tighten, which could complicate exporters’ supply chains. While exporters accept the need to ensure aviation safety, these measures need to be implemented in a business-friendly way, and supply chain participants will need adequate time to adjust.

On the down-side, the Export Market Development Grant is still underfunded. This blunts some of the good measures in place to grow exports, as new exporters will only be able to fully realise international opportunities if they invest in building their brands overseas. Underfunding EMDG means they will lack the certainty and confidence to fully commit to building their brands.

Smartphones the stick needed to eat more carrots

Smartphone apps could be key to addressing Australia’s significant under-consumption of vegetables, especially with men and people who are overweight or obese.

Despite evidence that eating vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer, it is estimated that more than 19 million Australians aren’t meeting their minimum dietary guideline recommendation.

Launched last year, and commissioned by Hort Innovation, CSIRO’s VegEze app uses game-like features to encourage Australian adults to eat more veggies through a 21 day ‘Do 3 at Dinner’ challenge.

More than 4000 people have taken part in the study and of those who have completed the challenge, over 80 per cent are having three vegetables with dinner.

CSIRO scientist Dr Gilly Hendrie said the findings of the research showed that adopting a gamified approach, such as the VegEze app, was an effective way of helping improve Australia’s poor vegetable score-card.

“The app has helped tip the scales the most for obese people, with obese men consuming one extra serve and two extra types of vegetables per day, which is a significant increase,” Dr Hendrie said.

“By the end of the challenge, the percentage of obese men that were meeting the Australian Dietary Guidelines vegetable recommendations had increased four times to 30 per cent.

“Men in general increased their vegetable intake by three quarters of a serve.

“This resulted in 10 per cent increase of number of men meeting the guidelines, but interestingly we only saw an increase of 1.4 per cent for women.”

A report published by CSIRO last year highlighted that women generally eat more vegetables than men, which may account for the smaller increase.

“It’s an encouraging sign of the times to see how technology can drive healthy eating habits, especially for those groups that need it the most, like men and obese adults,” Dr Hendrie said. 

“As Australia’s national science agency, we are focused on delivering solutions that are helping Australians live longer, healthier lives.

“We encourage people to take up the 21-day challenge which is free to download from the app store.”

The VegEze app helps people track their intake and tally up vegetable serves, with daily reminders and rewards to help people stay motivated and on-track.

The app and associated research was funded by Hort Innovation and developed in partnership with digital health solution provider SP Health.

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd said the findings gave Australian vegetable growers a snapshot into the vegetable eating habits of Australians, with the aim to better serve consumers.

“Australian vegetable growers are constantly adjusting their business practices to best cater to shifting consumer demands,” Mr Lloyd said.

“We have seen this in the rise of easily accessible vegetable snacking options such as smaller-sized beetroots and carrots, cauliflower rice and pre-cut celery.

“With this insight into potential gaps in the market, growers can now see where innovations are needed to help Australians eat more vegetables, while giving them the best produce possible.”

Image:  ©Dario Gardiman

How smart is smart packaging?

Smart packaging can help extend food shelf-life, enhance product quality, ensure safety, and monitor product performance through the supply chain. Professor Pierre Pienaar outlines the variations of these products and what they can do.

There are two varieties of smart packaging. The first, active packaging, is designed to extend the shelf life of products. It can do this in a number of ways, such as by releasing or absorbing substances which extend the duration of product quality.

The second type, intelligent packaging, is an extension of active packaging. It can monitor the product’s condition and communicate any changes to the consumer. It should provide more reliable information than just the expiry date printed on the packaging; and should monitor certain aspects of a food product (for example shelf life) and report information to the consumer.

Some of the chief purposes of intelligent packaging systems are improving the quality or value of a product, increasing convenience, and providing tamper or theft resistance.

There are currently three major types of intelligent packaging technologies available, namely sensors (biosensors, gas sensors), indicators (temperature, freshness), and data carriers (barcode, RFID). There is a great variety of indicators in each of these types, as well as much opportunity for further development of this technology.

For example time-temperature indicators (TTI), which are among the most commonly used types, can be classified as biological, physicochemical, chemical, enzymatic, diffusion-based, or polymer-based.

Physical TTI

Diffusion-based TTI is a widely used physical TTI. Fick’s law allows the application of diffusion in TTI. The diffusion rate of a liquid material would be higher at higher temperatures, and its distance of diffusion shows the total influence of environmental temperature. This is the working principle of diffusion-based TTI.

Chemical TTI

The applied principle of chemical TTI is a temperature-dependent chemical reaction. This type of TTI includes polymerisation-based and photochromic-based redox reaction-based TTI, depending on the different reactions it utilises.


This relates to biological reactions referring to enzymes or microorganisms. Enzyme based indicators present colour change caused by the reaction between enzymes and substrate with a pH change. One part includes lipolytic enzyme solution, lipase and a dye with pH indication. The other part is a substrate, predominantly triglyceride. The indicator will be activated when the gap between enzyme and substrate is broken so that two parts are mixed.


This type of intelligent packaging contains thermochromic ink consisting of dye, reagent and solvent. UV light activates the indicator because the ink absorbs photons with certain wavelengths, and activates them to excited states and forms free radicals or ions.

Controlled permeability packaging

Controlled permeability packaging (CPP) is a less expensive alternative to Modified Atmosphere Packaging (Pictured). In this type of packaging, no gas is flushed out or injected, but rather the produce is packaged within a film that controls the quantity of oxygen and carbon dioxide flowing into and out of the package. This type of packaging is suitable for small scale suppliers in developing countries, where pure MAP might result in the product cost being too high for the average consumer. This packaging produces shelf life results close to, but not as high as pure MAP.

CPP could be a good solution to food waste, especially in developing countries where suppliers may not be able to afford MAP machinery and processes, and where consumers may not be able to afford MAP produce.


Nanotechnology is a form of active packaging that utilises bio-nanocomposites consisting of nanoparticles embedded into a biopolymer matrix – with dimensions less than 100 nm.

Antimicrobial nanoparticles

The antimicrobial action of silver nanoparticles is attributable to their high surface area-to-volume ratios which favour their interactions with microbial cells. These silver nanoparticles cause direct damage to the cell membranes of harmful microorganisms, by interacting with negatively charged bio macromolecular compounds with disulphide or sulfhydryl groups and nucleic acids. This results in cell membrane deformation, inactivation of metabolic processes and cell death.


Nanoclays consist of montmorillonite silicate layers also known as nanoplatelets which are in a stacked arrangement with a nanometric thickness of 1 nm and a structural dimension of 100 nm.

These nanoclays are incorporated into the matrices of a polymer to delay the flow of gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide from the external environment to the internal environment. Nanoclays exhibit excellent barrier properties due to their high rigidity, aspect ratio and affinity as a result of the interfacial interaction between the matrices of the polymer and the dispersed nanoclay.


Nanosensors are excellent microorganism detectors as they are able to monitor the safety and quality of food products at various stages of the food supply chain. These sensor systems have the ability to accurately detect food spoilage or microbial contamination in food by interacting with the external and/or internal environment of the food, thus producing a response in the form of a visual signal such as colour indicators on nanosensor labels which correlate with the current state of the food product.

Professor Pierre Pienaar (FAIP, CPP) is Education Director at The Australian Institute of packaging (AIP) and President of The World Packaging Organisation (WPO).

Impact of non-tariff barriers on grains exports exposed

The Government is working with the grain industry to address non-tariff barriers to Australia’s grain exports trade, to reduce costs and increase market access for our grain growers.

Non-tariff barriers or non-tariff measures can include quotas on the amount of a commodity which can be exported to a certain country, difficult or expensive testing or complicated labelling.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud today welcomed the release of the government funded Grains non-tariff measures report led by Grain Trade Australia, GrainGrowers and the Grain Industry Market Access Forum, and said he was looking at ways to boost Australia’s tackling of these issues.

“Our grains industry is big business, with 75 per cent of Australia’s grain exported, creating $14.6 billion in export revenue in 2016-17,” Minister Littleproud said.

“With the successful reduction of tariffs under free trade agreements, we now need to work on reducing barriers besides tariffs.

“I’m looking at ways to give our 16 agricultural counsellors overseas more grunt as they deal with these issues every day.

“While many non-tariff measures are in place to meet legitimate biosecurity, food safety and consumer information requirements, they can also restrict trade and increase costs.

“Not only do these measures vary across the different commodities, but they range from complicated technical barriers to trade like testing and labelling requirements through to import quota restrictions, import licensing systems and complex sanitary and phytosanitary measures like maximum residue limits.

“We want our farmers to have the best chance to get the best price for their high quality produce, bringing more money back through the farmgate to keep our regional communities strong.

“We are committed to working with producers, exporters and importing countries to ensure the trading system is fair and transparent, and will work with industry on their priorities following this report.”

The grains industry will now discuss the full report, before seeking to meet with the Government about the industry’s key strategic trade measure priorities moving forward. ​

Precision ST75 thermal flow meter measures chiller air flow to reduce operating costs

Building, plant and process engineers responsible for managing large HVAC and other process cooling equipment systems will find the ST75 Series Air/Gas Flow Meter from Fluid Components International (FCI) provides precise direct mass flow measurement for  accuracy, repeatability and dependability.

The energy efficiency of HVAC and other process cooling equipment systems in large commercial buildings, manufacturing plants and industrial processes relies on precision air flow metering.  The ST75 Series Air/Gas Flow Meter features an advanced solid-state thermal dispersion mass flow sensing element for years of accurate, trouble-free service measuring air flow in chiller systems and duct work.

The ST75 Flow Meter operates over a wide air flow range that also includes mixed gas environments from 0.07 to 950 NCMH, depending on line size. For variable demand cycles due to weather or production requirements, the ST75 meter is factory preset to 100:1 turndowns.

With built-in process temperature compensation for accuracy, the precision ST75 Flow Meter maintains consistent performance in high temperature climates and rugged plant environments.  It features highly dependable accuracy to ±1% of reading with ±0.5% repeatability in line sizes from 6 to 51 mm.

The ST75 Flow Meter’s precision flow element has a no-moving parts design, which employs platinum RTD sensors embedded in equal mass thermowells with its microprocessor electronics calibrated to laboratory standards for air and a wide variety of other gases.  This no-moving parts design provides extra reliability where process safety is a concern.

Ideal for crowded equipment areas in HVAC mechanical rooms or on the factory floor, the compact ST75 model comes in a choice of either inline or insertion mounting configurations and features remote mounting capabilities for hazardous plant environments.  The model ST75AV features a built-in Vortab flow conditioner where lack of pipe straight-run is a potential issue. The transmitter, which includes a full digital display, can be mounted up to 15 meters away from its thermal mass flow sensor in piping or ductwork and connected via two 0.50-inch FNPT or M conduit connections.

The ST75 Flow Meter’s fully scalable dual 4-20mA standard outputs are user assignable to flow rate and/or temperature and a 0-1kHz pulse output of total flow.  The instrument can be ordered for input power with either 18 to 36 Vdc or 85 to 265 Vac, with or without a built-in LCD digital display.

The durable ST75 Flow Meter withstands process temperatures from -18 to 121°C.  It operates at pressures up to 16.5 bar (g) with a standard t-fitting (NPT female) process connection.   With a tube process connection, the meter withstands 41 bar (g).

Offering direct-flow measurement for higher performance at a lower cost with proven thermal dispersion technology, the ST75 Flow Meter eliminates the need for additional pressure and temperature sensors, flow computers, or other devices that are required with orifice plates, Venturis, Vortex shedding, and other volumetric meters.  The ST75 meter also requires virtually no maintenance for both a low installed cost and low life-cycle cost.

The ST75 Series electronics are housed in rugged, IP67 rated enclosure with dual conduit ports in either NPT or M20 threading. The models ST75A and ST75AV include HART as well as NAMUR compliant 4-20 mA outputs and SIL compliance rating. The complete instrument carries global Ex agency approvals for Division l/Zone 1 installations

Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management delivers strong ROI

Sage, the market leader in cloud business management today launched an independent study that has revealed the significant savings made by businesses in three major industries after they implemented Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management. Sage commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a series of Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) studies[1] and objectively examine the potential return on investment (ROI) that organizations may realize by deploying Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management (formerly Sage X3).

The research found that as well as receiving significant ROI within a short amount of time, businesses found savings in labour, inventory levels, and improved productivity resulting in thousands of hours saved globally.

Key Findings include:

  • For Distribution industries study finds 237% ROI with payback within 4 months
  • For Manufacturing industries study finds 218% ROI with payback also within 4 months
  • For Service industries study finds 197% ROI with payback within 5 months

Nick Goode, EVP of Product, Sage said “We understand our customers do not have limitless resources, this means return on investment should be part of every company’s decision-making process when purchasing an enterprise management solution.  Companies expect expenditure to produce a visible return. Working with Forrester, we have set out to support smart companies recognize that identifying benefits is a prerequisite for assessing an investment’s value. We are positive of the value Enterprise Management brings to our customers and are proud to be able to demonstrate this.” 

Customer feedback on Enterprise Management

To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with customer investment in Enterprise Management, Forrester conducted in-depth interviews with four customers for each of the core verticals. Forrester interviewed customers from Manufacturing, Distribution and Service Industry, each with at least two to three years of experience using the solution.

Interviewed customers reported that the workflow automation and alerts functionality within Enterprise Management encourages users to adhere to policies and speeds up processes. In the past, an employee would have to chase approval of a purchase order. With Enterprise Management, the automated workflow alerts notify the appropriate staff, and approvals are done in a more reasonable amount of time.

With documentation and office collaboration functionality in Enterprise Management, every vendor invoice is scanned into a document management system, and PDFs are uploaded into Enterprise Management and attached to the records. Invoices are now accessible by anyone who needs to see them, including business units and purchasing, receiving dock, and accounts payable employees. With Enterprise Management, employees don’t have to search physical file cabinets anymore; they just access them via Enterprise Management on their computers.


To download the exclusive Forrester TEI report, please visit

[1] The Total Economic Impact™ Of Sage’s Enterprise Management For Distribution, Manufacturing, and Services Organizations, commissioned studies conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Sage in February 2018.

Adelaide Hills Distillery wins at 2018 San Francisco Spirits Awards

Adelaide Hills Distillery secured multiple wins at the 2018 San Francisco Spirits Awards, with a Double Gold for ‘The Italian’ – Australian Aperitif, Gold Award for Something Wild Beverages Collaboration, Green Ant Gin; and a Silver for 78 Degrees gin.

The awards are only a glimpse at the ongoing commitment the business has made to deliver unique quality experiences in the craft spirits world while showcasing its dedication to environment and customers alike.

From this commitment, Adelaide Hills Distillery has been on a journey to bring one of the world’s most unique spirit experiences to its customers through the construction of a purpose-built distillery and ‘distillery’ door (cellar door) based in the Adelaide Hills. The goal for this was simple in concept: build one of the world’s most environmental and sustainable facilities whilst pursuing and increasing the quality of its beverages.

“The construction and commissioning of this world class facility allows Adelaide Hills Distillery to continue to grow while balancing higher production volumes with consistent quality and reducing our impact on the environment. We are now well poised to deliver our award-winning spirits in Australia and overseas,” said Sacha La Forgia.

AHD are celebrating this achievement of launching the distillery with the release of new bottles and packaging. Part of this fresh new packaging is to further cement our Australian identity. Gunnery will now be known as ‘Gunnery Australian Spiced’ highlighting it core of unique Australian spices.

The distillery will also make the contentious move to drop the name ‘The Italian’ from its San Francisco Spirit Awards winning “Best Aperitif”. This has been renamed ‘Bitter Orange – Australian Aperitif’ to ensure its consumers understand the quality and depth of Australian ingredients that are mindfully sourced to sustainably make this award-winning liqueur.

Ensuring air quality in food & beverage manufacturing

Compressed air plays an indispensable role in the food and beverage sector and is used in a broad range of applications including Product Transportation and Storage; Packaging, Filling and Capping; Cooling, Spraying and Cleaning; and Fermentation and Aeration.

However, while they are critical for all modern food and beverage manufacturing facilities, if not used appropriately compressors can actually have a detrimental effect. Contaminants emitted by compressors can affect food safety standards.

“Generally, there are three types of contaminants in compressed air – oil, moisture, and particles,” said William Chan, product manager at CAPS Australia. “Oil and many types of particles are detrimental to consumers’ health while moisture can lead to the growth of bacteria, either in equipment or the end product.”

Chan advises that food and beverage manufacturers who want to avoid air quality problems should follow a two-step process.

The first step is to select an appropriate compressor. There are two types of compressors on the market, oil lubricated compressors and oil free compressors.

“With oil lubricated compressors you actually inject oil into the compression process, which means you actually pass this contaminant (lubricant) downstream. If the compressed air isn’t ever in contact with any of the end product, in theory food makers can use this technology without risk,” said Chan.

However, in applications where the compressed air does come into contact with the end product, oil free compressors should be used. “Oil free compressors do not inject any lubricants in the compression process, which means we can safely say that one of the three contaminants has been reduced,” said Chan.

The second step to ensuring air quality is in the correct choice of drying technology which is the means by which moisture is removed from compressed air. “Once again, if the compressed air does not come into contact with the end product then the user can potentially use a refrigeration dryer instead of a desiccant dryer,” said Chan.

In applications where the compressed air does come into contact with the end product, a desiccant dyer is the best option.

CAPS Australia offers both lubricated compressors and oil-free compressors. All of these oil-free models comply with the ISO 8573-1 Class 0 2010 standard. This Class 0 certification is the most stringent class of air quality and certifies that the air discharged by the compressor is free of added oil aerosols, vapours and liquids.

In addition, the company supplies refrigeration dryers, desiccant dryers, as well as filtration products, storage products and nitrogen generators. As Chan explained, nitrogen is used as a preservation agent, for example inside packets of chips or wine bottles, to maintain freshness and preserve taste.

Asked how CAPS Australia can help food and beverage manufacturers decide what’s right for them, Chan said the company offers site audits as well as energy audits. They can help fitout businesses with the right equipment and guide them with regard to energy saving potential.







Budget to see craft beer tax cut

Craft brewers and distillers will no longer pay additional tax, allowing them to compete on fairer terms with large beverage companies.

Treasure Scott Morrison said in a statement that the Turnbull Government will increase the amount beverage companies can claim back on their excise and extend the concessional draught beer excise rate to smaller kegs, typically used by craft brewers.

The alcohol excise refund scheme cap will increase from $30,000 a year to $100,000, from 1 July 2019 for all brewers and distillers.

This additional tax relief, on top of the Government’s legislated tax cuts for small and medium businesses, will allow craft brewers and distillers to compete on fairer terms with large beverage companies.

Currently, draught beer sold in kegs exceeding 48 litres is taxed at lower rates compared with beer sold in smaller kegs. This is unfair for smaller brewery businesses. Extending the concessional draught beer excise rates to kegs of 8 litres or more will level the playing field for craft brewers, which typically use smaller sized kegs, to distribute their beer to pubs, clubs and restaurants.

There are around 380 craft brewers in Australia located across each State and Territory, employing the equivalent of almost 2,400 people. These brewers are predominantly small businesses and could benefit both from the increase to the excise refund cap and extended access to the concessional draught beer excise rate.

There are also over 100 domestic distillers, supporting around 1,600 jobs that could benefit from the changes.

$7.4 million investment boost for international wine tourism

Wine regions across Australia stand to benefit from a $7.4 million investment boost for 21 international wine tourism projects, including $2.8 million from the International Wine Tourism Competitive Grants Program – a component of the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, said the response to the competitive grants program had been positive, with regional communities banding together to submit exciting wine tourism projects for their districts.

‘Our regions have really embraced the opportunity to expand and enhance Australia’s diverse and unique wine tourism experiences.

‘It’s about growing the reputation of Australia’s food, wine and tourism experiences.

‘Together with targeted marketing campaigns in China and the USA, the grants are creating a platform for the commercial success of our local brands and investing back into local jobs’, she said.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the 21 successful wine tourism projects will diversify our wine tourism offering and create a lasting impression of Australian wine, in terms of visitor enjoyment and satisfaction.

‘It is important for the growth and success of our wine regions that we deepen engagement with international tourists and these successful projects will help attract more visitors to experience Australia’s wine offering’, he said.

Tribal Breweries growing with Thai joint venture and local craft beer acquitsion

Tribe Breweries has announced a marked growth in its branded portfolio. Expanding into the international craft beer market, a joint venture has been established with local Thai partners BB&B, to create a new beer brand – Chao Siam, whilst locally, the company has acquired leading gluten free craft beer brand Wilde Gluten Free.

Through Tribe’s partnership with BB&B, the company has created a nationally distributed Thai beer with a range that has been specifically developed for the local Thai market, including a Wit Bier and an IPA. BB&B are one of the oldest and largest Thai premium alcohol importers and distributors.  Tribe has been able to tap into their market expertise and vast distribution channels.

Stefan Szpitalak, Head of International Markets and Co-Founder of Tribe Breweries says, “Working with local artisans to create great brews that speak directly to their audience is what Tribe is all about. Branching out of the Australian market with new brands and sharing our craft beer journey throughout South East Asia is an exciting milestone for us.”

Of the creation of Chao Siam, Tribe and BB&B engaged with local Thai University students to help create the brand, making Chao Siam a truly unique Thai-Australian collaboration.

Pongchalem of BB&B says, “Chao Siam means ‘Thai People’, and with so many foreign brands in our market place, we are so proud to work on a project that has been created for and with our people.”

Thai drinkers in many ways are just beginning their craft beer journey, and Tribe’s partnership will enable them to shape the Thai craft beer market.

Stefan continues, “I grew up in Thailand and then went on to spread my time equally there and in Australia. I spent years exploring the vast culture, even becoming a monk as a rite of passage. My personal connection to Thailand is very meaningful to me and our company. Seeing this project come to fruition has been a dream of mine ever since we launched Tribe Breweries.”

With the founders of Tribe Breweries having a deep history and personal association with Asia, the team are looking to increase their footprint in key Asian markets and help forge craft beer penetration in the region. Tribe are already achieving their international expansion plans, with a strong export presence that has grown 500% in 1 year. They currently export to Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and South Korea, with Vietnam and half a dozen additional markets to be online by the end of CY18.

Expanding their branded portfolio and building upon their current success, Tribe Breweries has also announced their acquisition of nationally distributed Wilde Gluten Free. Over 5 years ago, founders of Wilde, Chris and Narelle Gordon, developed a gluten free recipe with Tribe’s team. Since then, Tribe has helped them grow exponentially to become one of the top gluten free beers in Australia.

Tribe has acquired Wilde to elevate the brand’s positioning and presence in the market. They will continue to make Wilde at the Smeaton Grange facility and hope to grow the distribution of the brand both nationally, through their strong relationships with independents and other retailers, and internationally through its channels and export track to the Asian market.


Reborn TPP good news for Australian wine and cheese makers

The Trans Pacific Partnership has been reborn as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Matthew McDonald examines the new agreement and what it means for our food and beverage industry.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which originally was to include 12 Pacific nations, seemed dead in the water early last year when the then newly elected President Donald Trump declared that the US would not be involved in the deal.

However, at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January, the 11 remaining nations –  Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei – agreed to a new deal known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Then in March, all parties signed the deal (which is also being called TPP-11). Broadly, it cuts tariffs and puts in place common laws and regulations. It is a framework under which separate 18 new bilateral deals between participating countries will sit. Australia, for example, has made new deals with Canada and Mexico.

What’s in it for Australia

From an Australian perspective, farmers and the service sector are the big winners.

In terms of agriculture, our beef exports to Japan (which were worth $2 billion in 2016-17) will be boosted by tariff reductions; and there will be new access for dairy products into Japan, Canada and Mexico.

In addition, Australia will have new access into the Japanese, Canadian and Mexican sugar markets; and there will be an elimination of all tariffs on sheep meat, as well as an elimination of many tariffs on seafood and horticulture.

Also, our cereals and grain exporters will gain new access into Japan. Significantly, for the first time in 20 years, this will include rice products.


However, agriculture isn’t the only winner. The CPTPP will eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs in the free trade area. Australian cheese makers, for example, can look forward to the scrapping of a range of tariffs into Japan which currently cover over $100 million of trade.

Also, Australian wine makers, who were already on a high following the recent release of record-breaking export figures for 2017, will further benefit from the news that the CPTPP will see the elimination of tariffs on wine. CEO of Wine Australia, Andreas Clark told Food & Beverage Industry News that the two core benefits for the sector are reduced tariffs and a specific annex for wine and spirits.

“The annex is an exciting part of the partnership as it provides an opportunity to remove a range of technical barriers that can impact our exports. All the parties involved in the CPTPP have agreed on a cooperative framework to remove some of these barriers, which will help streamline trade,” he said.

“The Australian grape and wine community has seen many benefits from our existing free trade agreements with the USA, Japan, Korea and China – among many others – and the CPTPP may allow additional benefits to flow back to grape and wine businesses across the country.”

Clark’s positive reaction was echoed across Australian industry.

“The deal covers 11 nations that together constitute around 30 per cent of the global economy, and four of Australia’s top 10 export markets for food and beverages. The economic weight of the TPP and common set of rules established among 11 countries will greatly support Australian food exporters, providing Australian jobs and economic growth,” said Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) CEO Tanya Barden.

She pointed out that the deal will result in greater alignment and harmonisation across the region on regulation and behind-the-border trade issues and added that this is particularly relevant to the food industry, which generally face onerous import controls that differ from one nation to another.

“The parliamentary process for reviewing international trade agreements will provide an opportunity to review the TPP agreement in great detail. At the forefront of that review must be the promotion of jobs, investment and growth for Australia’s economic prosperity,” said Barden.

What are the negatives?

While the Opposition has been mostly positive about the deal, sections of the Labor Party claim some Australian workers could suffer as a result of the CPTPP. They say the establishment of labour market testing for any foreign workers are crucial. Opposition leader Bill Shorten has called for the Productivity Commission to conduct an independent analysis of the deal first. He said that if modelling shows the deal is good for the nation and Australian jobs, Labor would back it.

One important feature of trade deals not often noted by the lay person is the fact that they aren’t all about free trade. They are also investor rights agreements. As such, the deal includes an investor-statement-dispute-settlement mechanism (ISDS). This has raised fears that, as the result of the CPTPP, corporations could sue the Australian Government if Australian laws adversely affect their performance. Many point to Philip Morris suing the Australian Government for introducing plain cigarette packaging as an example of what could happen.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo responded to the fears by saying Australia will retain the right to make its own legislation and that the fears were unfounded.

2018 PIDA Awards – winners announced

The winners of the 2018 Packaging & Processing Innovation & Design Awards (PIDA) were announced at a ceremony on the Gold Coast last night.

The PIDA Awards recognise companies and individuals who are making a significant difference in their field across Australia and New Zealand, and are the exclusive feeder program for the prestigious WorldStar Packaging Awards.

The awards ceremony, which took place at the Marriott Hotel Surfers Paradise was held in conjunction with the 2018 Australian Institute of Packaging Conference. That event concludes this afternoon.

The full list of winners –

2018 Design Innovation of the Year Award – Beverage Category

8Kangaroos by ILNAM Estate and Polatote by Lactote (joint winners)

Machinery/Equipment category: Container Deposit Systems Australia (CDSA) Vision & Sorting System by SAGE Automation.


2018 Design Innovation of the Year Award – Food Category

Radix Nutrition foil packaging breakfast pouch by Cas-Pak Products

Machinery/Equipment category: Scott LEAP suite of technologies fully-integrated lamb processing system developed by Scott Automation & Robotics, in conjunction with Silverfern Farms and Meat & Livestock Australia.


2018 Design Innovation of the Year Award – Health, Beauty & Wellness

Flip-cap closure with ring-peel induction seal liner by West Wadding.


2018 Design Innovation of the Year Award – Domestic & Household

Precise Pour for continuous pour, anti-clog and tamper-evidence by Caps and Closures.


2018 Sustainable Packaging Design Award

Materials & Packaging category: ICEE Containers biofoam PLA insulated boxes.

Machinery & Equipment category: CogniPRO Link for the meat processing industry by Sealed Air Australia.


2018 Industry Packaging Professional of the Year Award

Craig Wellman FAIP, CEO of Wellman Packaging.


2018 APPMA Scholarship

Nathan Leong MAIP, a packaging and product technologist, Primo Smallgoods.


2018 Packaging Council of New Zealand Scholarship

Jaco Scheepers, packaging technologist, Synlait Milk.


2018 Young Packaging Professional of the Year Award

Regan Foster AAIP, director of Omniverse, Foster Packaging.









ACCC calls for regulatory reform to assist dairy farmers

The ACCC has released the final report arising from its dairy inquiry, which includes the key recommendation that a mandatory code of conduct be implemented to improve contracting practices between dairy processors and farmers.

The inquiry was initiated by Treasurer Scott Morrison, in response to large and retrospective reductions in milk prices imposed by two major dairy processors in April 2016. The inquiry involved extensive investigations, consultation and data analysis over a period of 18 months.

“A mandatory code of conduct would address problems arising from the large imbalance in bargaining power and information that exists between dairy farmers and processors,” ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said.

“Currently, processors can impose milk prices and other terms of milk supply contract terms that are heavily weighted in their favour. Some milk supply contracts also contain terms that restrict farmers’ ability to change processors for a better offer.”

“These issues ultimately harm dairy production efficiency and reduce the effectiveness of competition between processors,” Mr Keogh said.

The ACCC explored ways to address these concerns and found the existing provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act (2010), the dairy industry’s voluntary code of conduct, or a prescribed voluntary code would be inadequate.

“A mandatory code would improve the quality of information and price signals available to dairy farmers, enable fairer allocation of risk and enhance competition by removing switching barriers. While introducing a code won’t fully correct the bargaining power imbalance, it will reduce some of the negative consequences,” Mr Keogh said.

The inquiry also analysed the impact on the dairy industry of $1 per litre milk, first introduced by major retailer in 2011.

“Dairy farmers are understandably frustrated the retail price of milk has declined in real terms, since retailers adopted their milk pricing policies. The price set by retailers is arbitrary and has no direct relationship to the cost of production for the supply of milk,” Mr Keogh said.

“In examining the impact of this on farmgate prices, however, the ACCC found almost all contracts for the supply of private label milk allows processors to pass through movements in farmgate prices to supermarkets. Therefore, there is no direct relationship between retail private label milk prices and farmgate prices.”

“Therefore, if supermarkets agreed to increase the price of milk and processors received higher wholesale prices, processors would still not pay farmers any more than they have to secure milk,” Mr Keogh said.

“Given this, the ACCC believes that increases in the supermarket price of private label milk are unlikely to increase the farmgate prices received by farmers, unless farmers have improved bargaining power in their negotiations with processors.”

The ACCC also recommends increased transparency in milk price offers made by processors to farmers, and the removal of barriers to farmer’s switching, such as delayed loyalty payments and extended notice periods.

Healthy millennials changing Aus food culture – report

Millennials are now the largest healthy eating consumer group in Australia (32%), showing that this age group is breaking with previous generations to embrace more fresh, healthy food choices.  Healthy-eating commercial consumption accounted for $5.8 billion and 644 million visits, creating a 14% traffic share within foodservice in 2017, finds a new CREST report released by leading global research company, the NPD Group.

Health-lead visits have stayed relatively stable over time. However, growth for health-motivated meals has outpaced the industry growth both this year and long term. QSR has seen 2% growth in a year, and healthy eating 6%, according to the NPD Key Foodservice Trends Report.  The meaning of healthy eating has evolved. No longer does it revolve around low calories or low fat. Clean eating and transparency around ingredients are now more important. Interestingly, Australian owned and grown is seen as most important to the millennial generation when considering healthy eating (36%), followed by locally grown (31%) and no additives or preservatives (24%).

The NPD report also finds that this generation has created a ‘healthy indulgence’ culture into Australian foodservice.  This includes a large shift to ‘natural’ food and beverages; with high protein and no additives or hormones being the most sought-after factors.  Health-lead visits have stayed relatively stable over time. However, growth for health-motivated meals has outpaced the industry growth in both recent years and long term. QSR has seen 2% growth in a year, and healthy eating 6%.

“Providing easy access to healthier meals made with high quality, local ingredients steering away from ‘low-fat and low calorie’ options are a ‘must have’ for the most health-conscious generation of Australians.  These health-lead, quality assured meals and snacks can no longer be an option in foodservice, but a ‘need-to-have’ offering within the industry,” says Gimantha Jayasinghe, NPD Deputy Managing Director. “Foodservice operators seeking to gain more visits and grow their bottom line should carefully consider their offerings to attract the most health-conscious generation.”

The growing numbers of Millennials searching for quality, healthy snack option does not solely rely on in-store purchases.  The increasing reliance on tech within the foodservice space is key when attracting a new generation of consumer.  Whilst still in its infancy in Australia, digital ordering of food services has doubled in volume in the last five years.  Within that time, it has grown from $643,000 in 2013 to $1,369,000 in 2017.  In 2013, 67,000 Australians were using online food services, and this has jumped to 134,000 in 2017, the NPD report found.

Convenience is the number one traffic driver when using online services (35%), and consumers are willing to pay more for the privilege.  The higher costs associated are usually attributed to delivery charges or spending more to hit the delivery amount required.

Jayasinghe commented: “The tech space is growing rapidly as digital convenience tools continue to evolve.  Mobile Apps is one area of tech that is second nature to many of us, especially the Millennial generation, and this includes the food industry.  Those within the industry need to consider their digital platforms going forward if they wish to stay competitive in the foodservice space and to appeal to the new generation of consumer.”

Customers prefer to order via a dedicated restaurant app, rather than ordering via traditional methods or just the internet.  63% of consumers use internet digital orders versus 72% of us preferring a mobile app based ordering system.