Staff Writer

New lolly range inspired by Peters

Allen’s has teamed up with Peters in its first-ever lolly collaboration to launch an all new range of ice-cream flavoured jellies, inspired by Frosty Fruits and the classic Drumstick.

Allen’s Frosty Fruits lollies include flavours – Tropical, Watermelon & Pineapple, and Orange & Pink Grapefruit. The Drumstick range features popular classics, like  Vanilla, Super Choc and  Boysenberry.

Nestlé General Manager – Confectionery, Martin Brown, said Allen’s is thrilled to launch the playful lolly partnership, bringing the best of two delicious worlds together for fans across the nation.

“The experts at Allen’s have worked tirelessly to bring the magic of Peters’ beloved ice-creams into the confectionery aisle, creating a whole new flavour experience for our lolly lovers,” said Brown.

Squeezing the myths on OJ pasteurisation

Despite recent declines in demand, the Australian orange juice market is forecast to be worth almost US$5621 million this year as 5 million people drinks their way through 4.6 glasses a week2. In fact, orange juice still accounts for around two-thirds of the total juice market3. While sales of UHT orange juice have fallen among older consumers, younger people are actually buying more with sales from juice bars and of premium products rising2. With chilled products in particular attracting premium customers, the most effective technique to help satisfy discerning consumers is ‘flash pasteurisation.’

With or without pulp, the challenge for manufacturers of fresh orange juice is the speed at which the flavour and quality alters and deteriorates after the orange is squeezed. Like any fruit, oranges are perishable commodities and need to be pasteurised to stop the product spoiling. If there is to be an acceptable shelf life, the juice has to be pasteurised to destroy microorganisms and stop enzymatic activity.

There are various ways to delay these chemical changes. At HRS Heat Exchangers, thermal treatment, also known as ‘flash pasteurisation’, is the preferred technique for making premium quality juice. “Oranges are complex fruits,” explains Matt Hale, International Sales and Marketing Director at HRS. “The flavour and quality is determined by hundreds of compounds, among them limonene, pectin methylesterase (PME), hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). What’s more, the exact composition varies according to the type of orange, climatic conditions and ripeness when picked.”

Chemical changes begin to occur as soon as juice is squeezed. Some compounds react with oxygen in the air; others are affected by enzymes that are released during squeezing. With oranges containing natural yeasts, squeezing triggers fermentation which results in the multiplication of any bacteria present.


Critics of pasteurisation argue that the process destroys the flavour of juice and alters the nutritional value. However, by minimising the thermal treatment time, HRS is assisting juice production plants to optimise juice quality and taste.

The HRS series of MI/MR Pasteurisers uses a food-grade multi-tube corrugated tube heat exchanger to speed up the heat transfer in pasteurisation systems. These corrugated tubes create extra turbulence in the fluid as it flows through the tubes.

Matt explains more: “The result of this extra turbulence means that the orange juice can be heated up to pasteurisation temperature much faster – typically by up to 30%. Critically, heat velocity should be carefully considered because the longer it takes the greater the effect on the product and quality will deteriorate. The temperature of the heating media can affect quality too – the hotter the heating media, the more damage the hot tubes inside the pasteuriser will have on product quality.”

Because of the high heat transfer rates of the corrugated tube technique, HRS’s pasteurisation systems use water at a lower temperature to reduce the risk of product damage. Another benefit of higher heat transfer rates is that system footprint can be reduced using shorter heat exchanger pipes. The shorter length of the heat exchanger also results in a reduction in pressure drop, which saves pumping power and further reduces energy costs – often by 40%.

System lifespan is also greater using the HRS technology. The corrugated design/profile of the inner tube helps reduce product fouling – it disrupts the fluid boundary layer and creates higher velocity and turbulence – as the juice travels around the system it’s less likely to stick to the tube wall causing corrosion and lack of performance (leading to increased downtime and maintenance costs, expensive replacement parts and reduced system lifespan).

In the system, water carrying the recycled heat energy travels in the space between the inner and outer tubes and flows in the opposite direction to the juice. The fact that the two liquids are travelling in opposite directions boosts the maximum amount of heat transfer due to a mechanism called counter-current exchange as Matt explains: “Counter-current creates a declining difference in temperature (helping heat transfer) whereas in concurrent (where heated and heating elements are side by side, as in a tank and jacket system) the initial difference is higher but quickly levels off. The HRS system pumps the juice and heating and cooling water around the exchanger, which further boosts the maximum heat transfer achievable.”

1 Statistica.
2 Roy Morgan Research Institute.
3 Statistica and IBIS World (

Hybrid mega-pest threatening global food crops

CSIRO scientists have confirmed the hybridisation of two of the world’s major pest species, into a new and improved mega-pest.

One of the pests, the cotton bollworm, is widespread in Africa, Asia and Europe and causes damage to over 100 crops, including corn, cotton, tomato and soybean.

The damage and controlling the pest costs billions of dollars a year.

It is extremely mobile and has developed resistance to all pesticides used against it.

The other pest, the corn earworm, is a native of the Americas and has comparatively limited resistance and host range.

However, the combination of the two, in a novel hybrid with unlimited geographical boundaries is cause for major concern.

The CSIRO researchers in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA  provides clear evidence of the hybridisation of the two moths in Brazil.

“A hybrid such as this could go completely undetected should it invade another country,” Research Director leading CSIRO’s Biosecurity Risk Evaluation and Preparedness Program Dr Paul De Barro said.

“It is critical that we look beyond our own backyard to help fortify Australia’s defense and response to biosecurity threats.

“As Australia’s national science agency, we are constantly looking for new ways to protect the nation and technology like genome sequencing, is helping to tip the scales in our favour.”

While a combination of insecticides currently controls these pests well in Australia, it is important to study the pests themselves for sustainable long-term management world-wide.

The scientists confirmed that among the group of caterpillars studied, every individual was a hybrid.

“No two hybrids were the same suggesting a ‘hybrid swarm’ where multiple versions of different hybrids can be present within one population,” fellow CSIRO Scientist Dr Tom Walsh said.

The bollworm, commonly found in Australia, attacks more crops and develops much more resistance to pesticides than the earworm.

A concerning finding among the Brazilian hybrids was that one was 51 per cent earworm but included a known resistance gene from the bollworm.

Lead author of the paper Dr Craig Anderson, a former CSIRO scientist now based at The University of Edinburgh, believes the hybrid study has wide-ranging implications for the agricultural community across the Americas.

“On top of the impact already felt in South America, recent estimates that 65 per cent of the USA’s agricultural output is at risk of being affected by the bollworm demonstrates that this work has the potential to instigate changes to research priorities that will have direct ramifications for the people of America, through the food on their tables and the clothes on their backs,” Dr Anderson said.

Murray Goulburn shareholders say yes to Saputo takeover

Shareholders of Murray Goulburn have voted in favour of a proposed $1.3 billion takeover by Canadian dairy giant Saputo.

The vote, which took place at an Extraordinry General Meeting in Melbourne on Thursday, saw nearly 96 per cent of the dairy co-operative’s shareholders support the sale.

Earlier this week, the ACCC said it would not oppose the acquisition, after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking from Saputo to divest Murray Goulburn’s Koroit plant.

The ACCC had raised concerns that Saputo owning the region’s two largest plants, both near Warrnambool, its current Allansford plant and Murray Goulburn’s Koroit plant, would have substantially lessened competition for the purchase of raw milk in the region, leading to farmers being paid less at least in the medium term.

In response to the ACCC’s concerns, Saputo offered an undertaking that it would divest the Koroit plant within a specified period to a buyer which will need to be approved by the ACCC.

“Saputo’s divestiture undertaking has remedied the ACCC’s competition concerns about the Koroit plant,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The undertaking creates an opportunity for a viable competing milk processor to enter or expand in the local region. When approving a new owner of Koroit, we will focus on its ability to be a strong and effective competitor for raw milk in the region.”

The deal now only requires approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board.


Low pressure wash down guns

Until recently, the RB65 wash down gun from Tecpro Australia was available in blue to denote cold water and red to indicate hot water. But customers in the meat and dairy industries were requesting a white version as well. It’s now available with all the comfort and safety features cleaning crews enjoy.

Its built-in swivel inlet means you never have to fight the hose again. With an instantaneous release trigger, the low pressure wash down gun is quick and easy to shut off with just one hand.

All RB65 wash down guns have been ergonomically designed to make them comfortable to use and easy to hold for extended periods. The weight is evenly balanced to reduce stress on the operator’s hand and wrist. While the air gap between the inner body and the outer plastic housing of the Hose Gun means there is no risk of heat transfer to the outer casing.

The RB65 low pressure wash down gun has a maximum temperature range of 90°C with a flow rate of 60 l/min @ 20 bar. It can handle pressure up to 24 bar (350 psi). It’s build to last and has a range of readily available spare parts such as replacement rebound rubbers and plastic outer covers. This makes the RB65 durable, easily renewable and therefore highly economical.


American bourbon and vodka coming to Australia

American distiller MGP Ingredients has announced plans to partner with Swift + Moore Beverages Australia to represent TILL American Wheat Vodka and George Remus Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This is the first international market expansion for TILL Vodka and George Remus and follows a continued wave of distribution growth for both brands.

“We are thrilled to partner with Swift + Moore Australia to meet consumer demand for TILL Vodka and George Remus in our first international venture,” said Andrew Mansinne, Vice President of Brands, MGP Ingredients. “As a heartland distiller with a growing customer base, we are extremely proud that the recognition of our brand quality has achieved global recognition. We look forward to teaming up with Swift + Moore for long-term success.”

This announcement follows significant distribution gains for both TILL Vodka and George Remus, highlighted by double-digit growth over the past year. Both brands are crafted by the expert distillers at MGP Ingredients. TILL is produced from locally grown Kansas wheat, distilled for refinement through a proprietary process by the team in Atchison, Kansas. George Remus Straight Bourbon Whiskey is crafted from MGP’s aged bourbon reserves, located in its 171-year old Lawrenceburg, Indiana, distillery, one of the oldest and most historic spirits facilities in the country.

“Swift + Moore Australia is committed to delivering products with exceptional quality, authenticity and taste to our customers,” said Michael McShane, Managing Director of Swift + Moore. “There are many similarities between Australia and the U.S. in our mutual appreciation of the best craft spirits, and we’re excited to join forces with MGP Ingredients to launch TILL Vodka and George Remus Bourbon in our country. We look forward to developing creative cocktail education, training programs and consumer events that allow for an enduring discovery of these brands.”



Export Council of Australia launches business survey

The Export Council of Australia (ECA) has launched the 2018 edition of Australia’s International Business Survey (AIBS). AIBS is a collaboration between the ECA, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic).

As the largest annual study of its kind, AIBS provides crucial understanding and insight into Australia’s international business activity, and in evaluating the impact of international economic trends on Australian businesses.

“AIBS 2018 will continue to build on the foundation we have established over the last four years and drive new insights into the international perspectives and outlooks of Australian businesses,” ECA CEO Alina Bain said.

“Considering the current international environment, it is a crucial time for Australian businesses to have their voices heard on the issues that affect them the most,” Ms Bain added.

Last year, over 1,000 AIBS respondents painted a picture of an ambitious and diversified Australian international business community. Respondents provided vital insight into the use of Australia’s network of free trade agreements, including benefits beyond increased exports in areas like standards recognition.

AIBS 2017 also illustrated the increasingly important role of innovation in fueling the international growth of Australian companies, with nearly half of respondents having introduced some sort of product or service innovation to improve their export sales.

“This year, AIBS insights will include attitudes toward emerging markets as well as the use of new trade-enabling technologies,” Bain said.

The information collected by AIBS plays a vital role in informing the trade debate in Australia, and in assisting organisations like the ECA to provide services that best support Australian businesses along their international journey.

Finalists announced for 2018 PIDA Awards

Finalists have been announced for the 2018 Packaging & Processing Innovation & Design Awards (PIDA).

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

2018 Design Innovation of the Year Award – Beverage Category

The Design Innovation of the Year Award – Beverage Category will recognise organisations have designed innovative packaging and processing materials, packaging and machinery/equipment within packaging and processing for liquid or dry tea, coffee, water and soft drinks including wine, beer and spirits.

Materials/Packaging Finalists are: 8Kangaroos by ILNAM Estate, Polatote by Lactote, Crush Mate Bottles by LION Dairy & Drinks, Staytray reusable beverage tray by Hone pd, Somerset Brewing 2 bottle carry pack by OJI Fibre Solutions and Treasury Wine Estates by Sleever International.

Machinery Finalists are: Container Deposit Systems Australia (CDSA) Vision & Sorting System by SAGE Automation and HMPS 7000 Milk Crate Packer by HMPS.

2018 Design Innovation of the Year Award – Food Category

The Design Innovation of the Year Award – Food Category will recognise organisations that have designed innovative packaging and processing materials, packaging and machinery/equipment within food packaging and processing including fresh, frozen or other.

Materials/Packaging Finalists are: Birch & Waite Foods single-serve cup by Bonson-Savpac, Carman’s Super Seed & Grain Crackers re-closable inner tray by Birdstone Collective, Grape N’Go 100% recyclable PET based resealable Fresh Lid by Result Packaging, Lactote, Radix Nutrition foil packaging breakfast pouch by Cas-Pak products and United Fisheries wicketed flat bottom bag by Omniverse Foster Packaging.

Machinery/Equipment Finalists are: BEHN + BATES Roto-Packer Adams Care Line Edition hygienic machine by Haver & Boecker Australia, Fibre King YL Sealer for Fresh Produce by Fibre King, HMPS7000 Salmon Sleever by HMPS, Twin Star washing system by Rhima Australia and Scott LEAP Suite of Technologies fully-integrated lamb processing system developed by Scott Automation & Robotics, in conjunction with Silverfern Farms and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

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

The Design Innovation of the Year Award – Health, Beauty & Wellness Category will recognise organisations that have designed innovative packaging and processing materials, packaging and machinery/equipment within cosmetics, toiletries, personal hygiene, supplements, vitamins, perfumes, hair body and oral care.

Materials/Packaging Finalists are: Anumi Skincare Certified organic skincare range, Health Brands Trust waterproof, compostable pouch for capsules, Jax Wax pre-printed recyclable packaging for beaded depilatory wax by Jax Wax Australia and Flip-cap closure with ring-peel induction seal liner by West Wadding.

2018 Design Innovation of the Year Award – Domestic & Household

The Design Innovation of the Year Award – Domestic & Household Category will recognise organisations that have designed innovative packaging and processing materials, packaging and machinery/equipment within domestic and household items, toys, stationary, gifts, clothing, garden equipment, decorating.

Materials/Packaging Finalists are: Animal Instinct’s Feed My Fur Baby by OJI Fibre Solutions easy-to-open, re-sealable corrugated solution with scoop, Precise Pour for continuous pour, anti-clog and tamper-evidence by Caps and Closures, Laundry Tote by Lactote and Seasol agricultural spray applicator by Caps and Closures.

2018 Sustainable Packaging Design Award

The Sustainable Packaging Design Award is designed to recognise companies that have developed innovative packaging or processing solutions that incorporates sustainability considerations. Elements would include Social, Material, Source Reduction, Energy and Recovery.

Materials/Packaging Finalists are: BioCane Range for the foodservice industry by BioPak, ICEE Containers biofoam PLA insulated boxes, Crush Mate Bottles by LION Dairy & Drinks and Stay Tray reusable beverage tray by Hone pd.

Machinery/Equipment Finalists are: CogniPRO Link for meat processing industry by Sealed Air Australia and Container Deposit Systems Australia (CDSA) Vision & Sorting System by SAGE Automation.

2018 Industry Packaging Professional of the Year Award

The Industry Packaging Professional of the Year Award is designed to recognise and acknowledge the outstanding achievements and contribution by an individual currently working within the Packaging and Processing industries. The judges are looking for individuals who have demonstrated vision and leadership, shows innovation and not afraid to take risks. For significant and continued contribution of an Individual to the packaging and Processing industry over a minimum period of 25 years.

Finalists are: Richard Fine MAIP, Founder, Product Development & Sustainability Director, BioPak, Joe Matto, Chief Executive Officer, PakPot and Craig Wellman FAIP, Chief Executive Officer, Wellman Packaging.

2018 APPMA Scholarship

The APPMA Scholarship is seeking a Packaging professional that is looking to further their education by offering them a scholarship to enrol in the Diploma in Packaging Technology.

Finalists are: Liz Cagorski, Graphic Design Manager, Global Beverage Brands, Nathan Leong MAIP, Packaging/Product Technologist, Primo Smallgoods and Gui Fen Janell Siek, Packaging Technologist, Nestle Australia.

2018 Packaging Council of New Zealand Scholarship

The Packaging Council of New Zealand Scholarship is seeking a Packaging professional that is looking to further their education by offering them a scholarship to enrol in the Diploma in Packaging Technology.

Finalists are: Jaco Scheepers, Packaging Technologist, Synlait Milk and Cyril Brajeul, Packaging Technologist, Synlait Milk.

2018 Young Packaging Professional of the Year Award

The purpose of the Young Packaging Professional of the Year Award is to provide incentive and recognition to young professionals who are both currently working in and wish to continue their career path within the Packaging & Processing industry.

Finalists are: Regan Foster AAIP, Director, Omniverse Foster Packaging and Robin Lowenstein, Design Integrations, Ernest Fleming Machinery and Equipment.

Wine Australia gets broader powers to protect the nation’s wine reputation

New regulations, effective this week, give the nation’s wine export regulator Wine Australia broader powers to protect the reputation of the country’s wine exports.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said that the new regulations included a number of changes, the most important being the capacity to assess whether an exporter was ‘fit and proper person’.

‘Australia’s wine exports continue to climb and our reputation for delivering on quality is a very important part of that growth’, Mr Clark said.

‘These new regulations will extend Wine Australia’s power to do more to protect Australian wine’s reputation overseas by ensuring the bona fides of potential and existing exporters.

‘Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that copycats and counterfeiters can move in when they can leverage somebody else’s good reputation to make a buck – left unchecked the damage accrues not just to an individual brand but to the reputation of the nation targeted and its other brands’, Mr Clark said.

Wine cannot be exported from Australia without approval from Wine Australia and Mr Clark said that the new regulations gave Wine Australia the authority to deny the approval of shipments where a product could not be lawfully sold in the country to which it would be exported. This could include preventing the export of a wine from Australia that infringed intellectual property-related laws in the destination country.

Additionally, exporters will no longer be able to export on behalf of companies or individuals that are not themselves eligible to hold an export licence (such as where a licence has been cancelled).

Other aspects of the regulations will be liberalised. For example, to cut red tape for exporters there will no longer be a prohibition on placing a vintage indication on innovative wine products such as flavoured wines.

The regulations have also been modified to allow the continued use of grape varieties that are also geographical indications.

Woolworths to phase out plastic bags by June 20

Woolworths has announced its Supermarkets, BWS, Metro and Woolworths Petrol stores will no longer provide single-use plastic shopping bags nationally from 20 June 2018.

The confirmation of the date for the phasing out of bags from stores where a statewide ban hasn’t already been implemented follows the commitment by the Woolworths Group last year that it would end the use of single-use plastic shopping bags in all stores by the end of June 2018.

Group wide more than 3.2 billion single-use plastic bags are handed out by Woolworths in Australia each year.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said; “We feel very strongly this is the right thing to do, and that together with our customers we can help create a greener future for Australia.

“Our teams have been working hard behind the scenes to accelerate the rollout of this plan so we can start making a positive impact on the environment as quickly as possible.

“We know this is a big change for our customers and store teams, and we need to do all we can to make the transition as seamless as possible for both.

“To this end, we have a dozen supermarkets across Australia going single-use plastic bag free from today. We’ll closely monitor feedback from customers in these stores and apply any lessons we learn to our national rollout on 20 June.”

The 12 Woolworths stores phasing out single-use plastic bags from today include stores in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and WA.

In NSW, Woolworths Beecroft opened single-use plastic bag free last year, joining stores in South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT who no longer offer the bags for customers due to State legislation. Several Metro branded Woolworths stores in NSW and Victoria have also already implemented the ban.

Customers who don’t bring their own bags to Woolworths will have access to a range of alternative shopping bag options in store, including thicker reusable plastic bags at 15 cents and canvas bags at 99 cents.

Hundreds lose jobs as Red Lea Chickens closes

Red Lea Chickens has been placed into voluntary administration and, as result, more than 500 workers have lost their jobs.

The company said in a statement posted on its website that it and certain related entities were placed into Voluntary Administration with McGrathNicol partners; Barry Kogan, Jason Preston and Kathy Sozou appointed as Administrators.

“Due to the financial position of the companies, we regret to advise that the Administrators are unable to trade the business and have no alternative other than to undertake an orderly wind-down of operations,” said the statement.

The sacked workers are from the company’s processing plant in the Western Sydney suburb of Blacktown as well as retail stores. The company has operated for over 60 years from this Blacktown site.

Call to stick to sustainable seafood over Easter

With a potential shortage of fresh seafood stocks due to wild seas over the Easter period, The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is encouraging Aussie consumers to commit to choosing sustainably sourced seafood when shopping or eating at restaurants.

Easter is the second highest consumption period for seafood after Christmas, with approximately 400 tonnes sold in Australia each year. It is a critical time of year for Australian fisheries and aquaculture, that now accounts for just over $3 billion towards Australia’s GDP and employs more than 13,000 Australians.

MSC Oceania Program Director, Anne Gabriel, says that with the demand for seafood continuing to increase, it is important for large businesses to source sustainably to ensure the longevity of fish stocks in future. Organisations such as Coles, IKEA and John West Simplot Australia are leading the way in opting for sustainable seafood.

“The combination of population growth and increasing demand for fish in many areas of the world is spiking a rise in seafood consumption, but we can decrease impact on oceans and marine life while maintaining healthy fish populations for generations to come through international, science based third party certification programs, such as the MSC,” said Ms Gabriel.

Australia has been globally acknowledged for its management of fisheries, world class in innovation and foresight with over 27 of its fisheries as being MSC certified covering a total of 22 of species.

“It is imperative to be mindful of the socioeconomic importance of fisheries to nations and communities both as a source of income in sustaining livelihoods and to secure continuous provision of seafood to eradicate poverty and ensure food security, respectively,” continued Ms Gabriel.

Australia also has the third largest marine jurisdiction in the world containing vital natural and biological resources, making the role of consumers instrumental in the positive uptake of sustainable seafood.

“One such commendable initiative is by Coles who has released the company’s very first television commercial promoting their delicious and wide array of sustainable seafood through the blue MSC label of trust in their wet fish counters,” said Ms Gabriel.

“The momentum comes after Coles was awarded the MSC Wave of Change Award for their tangible commitment as the first supermarket in the country to undertake chain of custody certification for their 700 deli seafood counters.”

Heidi Walker, co-owner Walker Seafoods, the only MSC certified tuna fishery in Australia, says, “As Australian fishers, our goal is to ensure the long-term viability of our fishery, we work closely with AFMA as well as CSIRO and Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) scientists. Our vessels and operators have been credited for assisting tagging studies for both Tuna and Swordfish and we pride ourselves on being the first choice by CSIRO for all scientific studies and projects.”

In its recently held Sustainable Seafood Week (March 12 – 18) in Australia, MSC exposed consumers to their own important role in making the right choices through promotional and educational events about the impact of overfishing on native wildlife, run by leading brands and organizations such as Taronga Zoo.

Ms Gabriel says Australia has been a trailblazer in fisheries certification with the world’s first certified fishery being the Western Rock Lobster in Western Australia, which contributes more than half a billion dollars to the state economy while generating more than 2,400 employment opportunities in the state.

“We aspire to work closely with leading market players across supermarkets, brands, restaurants, food service operators, suppliers, the health sector, hospitality industry, and shipping and airlines industry to get them to fulfil their respective sustainable seafood sourcing goals.”


What eggs can teach us about traceability

In summer 2017, 15 EU states, Switzerland and Hong Kong were affected by the Fipronil contamination scandal. The scandal originated in the Netherlands but had global effects. Around ten million tainted eggs were imported into Germany, with not only eggs themselves being contaminated, but also egg products such as sandwich fillers. Here, Shan Zhan, Global Business Manager for Food & Beverage within the ABB Control Technologies business unit, looks at what the scandal can teach food manufacturers about the importance of traceability processes.

One of the main concerns from the scandal was that authorities in the Netherlands had become aware of the illegal use of insecticide Fipronil in November 2016, which is not fit for human consumption. Due to a series of administrative errors and a lack of collaboration between authorities, the European commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), was not informed until July 2017, when the eggs were pulled from shelves across Europe.

Another concern was that the two perpetrators of the crime launched their product at a farming convention in March 2016, selling it as a miracle cure for lice infestation in chickens. When poultry farmers asked about the ingredients of the product, they were told it was secret and no further questions appeared to have been asked.

Food manufacturers have a lot to learn from this crisis. From the importance of traceability and knowing exactly what is used on products from farm to fork, to keeping an accurate record of data in the case of a similar scandal, the Fipronil contamination scandal emphasizes the need for an automation system that can perform these tasks as standard.

For the supermarkets who had used the eggs in recipes for other items, fortunately, their traceability procedures were strong enough to ensure that the products could be removed from the shelves and the food chain. All food manufacturers across the world, no matter what the local regulation, should be in the very least compliant with the ISO 22005:2007 standard for traceability in the feed and food chain.

This allows organisations to accurately record data pertaining to their products, including everything from the feed being used to the ingredients and packaging, and ensures that the necessary documentation is intact. Compliance to the standard also means that the different suppliers and authorities involved are constantly kept up to date.

There are two factors to improving traceability and ensuring minimum compliance to this standard. The first is the human factor. While it is vital to have standard operating procedures for traceability (SOPs) in a food processing facility, such as scanning an ingredient on receipt, employees are often responsible for doing this. Without this, no matter how good the control system, it will never be effective. The manufacturer must therefore ensure that all staff follow SOPs, using any method they deem necessary.

The second factor to improve traceability procedures is having a complete automation control system. This should gather data from every level of automation to feed back to the central Manufacturing Execution System (MES) or Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM). The implementation of effective SOP’s as well as complete traceability is supported by the MOM system.

From the first level of automation such as sensors at the feed level, the MES must process all this information, such as the timestamp, what supplier the product has come from, and which operator has handled the product. This must then be converted into production data, for the plant manager to review.

The MOM system guides the operators and ensures that they are performing their tasks in the correct way, avoiding deviations and non-conformances. In addition, all the relevant data such as material lots, quantities, test results and process parameters are collected along the complete process to ensure complete forward and backward traceability.

Not only does this information form a useful backup in the event of a food scandal, it allows the plant manager to see where there are stoppages in production and to review quality control, for example to see how quickly perishable products pass through the plant and make it to the customer.

Having such a comprehensive log of data can ensure that the food processing facility is prepared in the event of a recall or contamination scandal. This data can then identify where products need to be destroyed, and is able to present the data to the customers and authorities. Only by leaving no gaps in data collection, and ensuring that all parts of the manufacturing process are automated and connected to the overarching system, can food manufacturers learn from the mistakes of the Fipronil scandal.

MEGATRANS2018: Take part in a Global Logistics Revolution

Global Easter egg launches up on last year

When it comes to chocolate eggs, bunnies and other treats, it seems there has never been so much choice for chocolate lovers around the world.

According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), there has been a delicious 23% rise in Easter chocolate launches over the past year* providing a plethora of chocolate choice for Easter egg hunts across the globe. The countries leading the way in Easter chocolate innovation include Brazil, which accounted for 11% of global Easter chocolate product launches in 2017, followed by the UK, South Africa, Germany (each with a 10% share) and France (9%).

Reflecting the importance of seasonal products as a whole, in 2017, almost a quarter (23%) of global chocolate launches were positioned as seasonal, such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Halloween.

Overall, the US and Germany lead in terms of total chocolate new product development (NPD), each accounting for 8% of new product launches in 2017. This is followed by France (7%), the UK (5%) and Brazil (4%).

Marcia Mogelonsky, Director of Insight, Mintel Food and Drink, said:

“Easter represents one of those ‘permissible indulgence’ moments where consumers enjoy giving and receiving chocolate treats. The holiday also marks a time for increased innovation in confectionery as consumers seek new and novel products. In the UK, for example, Easter eggs flavoured with beer or stout, which were the rage in past years, have given way to new alternatives such as gin-and-tonic flavoured eggs. In Germany, the introduction of vegan Easter bunnies and eggs reflects the growing popularity of a plant-based diet in that country.”

Brits top of the chocs

Across the globe, it seems no one loves chocolate quite as much as the Brits. The average Brit devoured 8.4 kg worth of chocolate in 2017. Hot on the heels of the Brits, Switzerland consumed 8.3kg, closely followed by Germany at 8.2kg. Within the top 10 chocolate per capita consumers, Russia experienced the biggest increase at 2.2%; meanwhile, Austria reported the sharpest decline at -1.9%.

Consumers ditch calories in favour of a permissible bite

While the lure of chocolate remains strong, it seems many consumers are enjoying it with an element of self control. According to Mintel GNPD, global launches of chocolate products described as “bites” have grown 50% over the past five years; with “thins” not far behind, increasing 48% over the same period.

But just as bite-sized formats are increasing in popularity, consumers are losing their appetite for “light” versions of confectionery (such as low-sugar or low-fat varieties). Launches of products described as “light” fell by 22% between 2013 and 2017.

“The growth of bite-sized chocolate points to the ongoing trend of permissible indulgence. Pre-measured, 100 calorie packs of chocolate or other treats have fallen from favour as consumers move away from diets that focus on strict calorie counts. Offering consumers a ‘bite’ or a ‘thin’ piece of chocolate provides an easier way to measure intake, and one that allows for a bit of wiggle room,” adds Marcia.

Strong interest in vegan chocolate confectionery

Mintel research highlights considerable potential for vegan chocolate across Europe. More than half of chocolate eaters in Spain (55%), France (53% ) and Poland (53%) are interested in vegan chocolate, with their counterparts in Italy (48%) and Germany (44%) lagging only slightly behind. Vegan confectionery is also slowly being introduced into the UK: in 2017, 8% of chocolate launches in the UK were vegan.

“There’s currently a focus on plant-based eating in the chocolate sector. Manufacturers have responded to the growing interest in plant-based diets by replacing dairy milk with nut- or grain-derived milks in milk chocolate products. In some markets, this may be responding to a potential, but not yet articulated need,” Marcia concludes.

*March 2017-February 2018

Big Australian presence at China’s largest wine fair

China’s largest and oldest wine trade fair – the China Food and Drinks Fair (CFDF) in Chengdu – held from 18 to 24 March, was marked by an amplified Australian presence with 60 wine brands and 20 wine regions exhibiting under the Wine Australia banner thanks to the support of the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

Established in 1955, the CFDF attracts more than 100,000 wine importers and buyers from China’s regional cities, and is widely regarded as the leading Chinese trade fair in the wine sector.

Located in Sichuan Province – the economic powerhouse of western China – the fair saw a queue of thousands gather outside the CFDF entrance to sample some of the best wines from around the world.

Attendees were treated to Australian wine tastings and master classes, along with networking opportunities and a thought-provoking seminar to generate excitement about Australian wine.

Wine Australia’s Regional General Manager, China, David Lucas, said the Chengdu Fair was one of the largest platforms in the region for showcasing wine.

“That’s why, with the package’s funding support, we organised events and activities to reach an even greater audience,” he said.

Lucas said importantly a number of the Australian exhibitors had achieved their objective of meeting potential new distributors through their presence at the show.

The regions represented at Chengdu included: Barossa Valley, Blackwood Valley, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, Grampians, Heathcote, Henty, Hunter Valley, Hilltops, Langhorne Creek, Limestone Coast, Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Nagambie Lakes, Padthaway, Riverland, Southern Highlands, Yarra Valley and Tasmania.

Key Technology introduces sorter for potato strips

Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, has introduced Veryx digital sorters equipped with their patented sort-to-grade (STG) software for both wet and frozen potato strips.

While Veryx targets all foreign material (FM) for removal, STG recognizes and categorizes every surface defect and the dimensional characteristics of every individual strip and makes each accept/reject decision based on how it will impact the aggregate ‘in the bag’ grade as defined by the processor.

By controlling the output for defect types that must be managed to a particular grade or “spec,” VERYX with STG accurately maintains the most complex final product specifications without operator intervention while increasing yields by one to three percent and enabling processors to eliminate mechanical length grading.

When the target grade permits a certain measure of minor defects to be present, a VERYX STG sorter will pass only the allowed amount of that defect type. By controlling the quality of the output to a defined grade, STG ensures the final product specification is consistently met. By accurately passing only the allowed defects, STG maximizes process yield. The intelligent STG software algorithms operate fully automatically, eliminating the need for manual adjustments and dramatically reducing the need for operator intervention.

STG can profile the length of each potato strip as well as any surface defects that may appear on the potato strip. Veryx with STG can be programmed to reject strips that are too short or too long for the grade while managing the distribution of strip lengths within multiple user-defined categories (“length bins”) between those two absolutes. If the grade allows for a given percentage of all strips to be between X and Y in length, another percentage to be between Y and Z in length and so on, STG will make accept/reject decisions to deliver exactly the required length profile.

All sorters make accept/reject decisions by comparing the defect and/or the dimensions of each object to predetermined criteria. Without STG, those decisions are made as a sequence of one-off decisions, regardless of final ‘in the bag’ quality results. Historically, an operator has had to adjust the sorter’s accept/reject thresholds subjectively in an effort to make grade given inevitable fluctuations in the quality of incoming product. This traditional approach to sorting can result in too many defects being rejected, creating significant yield loss and, when incoming defect loads spike, final grade specifications can be missed.


NHP to acquire Rockwell Automation related business assets

NHP Electrical Engineering Products (NHP) announced today the acquisition of the Rockwell Automation related business assets from Rexel Industrial Automation, a business of Rexel Australia.  As part of the transaction, NHP has been granted exclusive distribution rights for the complete range of Rockwell Automation products, systems and solutions throughout New South Wales and South East Queensland. This acquisition expands NHP’s existing distribution coverage for Rockwell Automation to now cover the entire South Pacific region.

“With the acquisition of the Rockwell Automation related business assets from Rexel Industrial Automation which includes a strong team of automation professionals, we have strengthened NHP’s position as the local choice for specialist electrical and automation products, systems and solutions. As the exclusive distributor across the entire South Pacific for Rockwell Automation combined with NHP’s existing complimentary product solutions and value-add manufacturing capabilities, we have the largest coverage of automation and control solutions in the region,” said NHP’s CEO & Managing Director, Stephen Coop.

The acquisition by NHP expands opportunities for Rockwell Automation in New South Wales and South East Queensland by leveraging NHP’s extensive manufacturing and partner network.

“We are proud and excited to be expanding our relationship with NHP across the South Pacific region as we work together to further enhance the efficiency of our customers, by delivering smarter, safer and more sustainable operational outcomes through Rockwell Automation’s Connected Enterprise solutions and by providing a simpler model to engage with our businesses across the South Pacific. We would like to thank Rexel for their strong partnership and collaboration over the past 17 years in this region,” said Scott Wooldridge, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Rockwell Automation.

“Rexel Industrial Automation has made a very positive contribution to the Rexel business as an authorised Rockwell Automation distributor over the years.  The sale of Rexel’s Rockwell Automation related business assets to NHP, represents a good outcome for all parties. Rexel remains focused on continuing its growth in the traditional Electrical Distribution market and developing its business across a number of specialty areas with a wide range of technical offerings,” said Rexel Australia’s Managing Director, Robert McLeod.

NHP will assume responsibility for the distribution of Rockwell Automation throughout the entire South Pacific region on 1st May 2018.  During April 2018, NHP and Rexel Industrial Automation will continue to trade as separate entities throughout this one month transition period. NHP will be in contact with all existing Rockwell Automation customers from Rexel Industrial Automation throughout April.

Image:  (l-r) Scott Wooldridge (Rockwell Automation) and Stephen Coop (NHP)


Craft brewer Brewpack rebrands, plans $35m facility

Brewpack and Stockade Brew are restructuring under the newly formed Tribe Breweries umbrella and will expand into a new facility in Goulburn.

The $35 million project will see Tribe increase production capacity to over 30 million litres p.a. (approximately 3.5m cartons annual production) with eventual potential for over 70 million litres p.a. (approximately 9m cartons annual capacity). The new state-of-the-art craft beverage production facility is slated to be the largest and most sophisticated of its kind in Australia, and will be completed in September of 2018. The facility will boast best in class brewing and packaging technology in cans, bottles and kegs.

While Stockade will continue to operate under its own brand and label, the Brewpack business will now be rolled under the Tribe Corporate umbrella.

Founded in 2012, Brewpack focused heavily on innovative and high-quality craft brewing of its own proprietary brands, as well as sharing its platform with contract brewing partners to further grow the craft industry.

Under the new umbrella, Tribe will also continue to grow its portfolio of craft products through its newly expanded production into premium cider, RTD’s and boutique non-alcoholic beverages as well as enhancing the breadth of offering through its Marrickville barrel room, launching in late April. This site will become the face and destination for Stockade customers to enjoy the distinctive range of craft beers, as well as experience tours and tastings. This site will focus on next generation beer styles, such as oak aged beers and fermented sours, making them the largest brewer of these beer styles in Australia.

Since its launch over five years ago, Tribe’s current manufacturing facility at Smeaton Grange has grown to well over 1 million cartons of production annually, undergone constant upgrades and modernisation programs and offers superior quality, flexibility and innovation. Furthermore, over the last three years the business has grown its production volumes on average by over 50 per cent a year.

Fundamentals of Packaging Technology

The 2018 AIP National Conference, taking place at the Gold Coast on 2-3 May, will offer a unique opportunity to undertake three of the most popular modules of the on-line Fundamentals of Packaging Technology (FBT) course as residential training.

Attendees will receive training by one of the US-based trainers from the Fundamentals of Packaging Technology Course that is now available on-line through the AIP.

The FPT course is designed as bite-sized modules and is set up for the convenience of busy working professionals, and the training platform is functionally intuitive. It offers the option to complete training when your time allows, and at your own pace.

To be led by Jane Chase (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of the IoPP in the US, the session will present three of the most popular FPT modules and will help packaging professionals to better understand the FPT course and available units and lessons.

The session will include: FPT03-1 Paper and Paperboard Materials, FPT03-03 Corrugated Fibreboard and FPT07-01 Bottle Design Criteria. At no other time will the ANZ industry be offered residency-training for this course.

Byron Bay Cookie launches new Art Series

The Byron Bay Cookie Company is launching a new Art Series range to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Byron Bay Cookies being served on board QANTAS.

Qantas domestic passengers have been raving about the new Sour Cherry Cheesecake Cookie which combines juicy cherries and velvety cream cheese, whilst Qantas international passengers will soon get to taste the new Choc Pretzel & Pecan Cookie, taking inflight treats to new heights of indulgence.

Part of the new Art Series Collection, the dessert-inspired cookies also feature bold packaging design featuring unique artwork from Byron Bay graffiti artist Davey Mac, aka Teazer. The same artist was commissioned to create a large scale mural with custom graffiti art for the Byron Bay Cookie Company Gift Shop, a popular pit stop for cookie lovers visiting Byron Bay.

Emilie Emond, Marketing Manager for the Byron Bay Cookie Company explains: “It was important to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our partnership with Australia’s most iconic airline in a meaningful way. Packaging design is at the core of our brand’s image and working with Teazer has definitely enhanced our creative process, whilst allowing us to support a local artist.”

The convenient 40g pack size is served on board Qantas as part of Byron Bay Cookie Company’s ‘Snack Boxes’ which are available on selected domestic flights.