Aussie wine scoops three gold CWSA Awards

Calabria Wines has outclassed the competition at the recent China Wine & Spirits Awards, taking home three Gold Medals from the competition, including the prestigious Double Gold.

The company’s 2013 Iconic Grand Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz was awarded the superior Double Gold, while the 2014 Three Bridges Durif & 2014 Three Bridges Barossa Valley Shiraz both won a Gold Medal.

“We are very proud of the success we have yielded for our Barossa wines. We have worked extremely hard to produce high quality wines from this region and the C.W.S.A accolades reinforce our long term commitment to the Barossa Valley” commented Calabria Wines third generation family member and Sales & Marketing Manager, Andrew Calabria.

Calabria Wines have been producing Three Bridges Durif for 15 years and it is the company’s most celebrated product.

Sacmi beverage & packaging plans to conquer Asia

Sacmi Group, a plant engineering provider to Indonesian industry will be attending the Plastic & Rubber Indonesia (Jakarta, 16-19 November 2016) to show existing and potential customers its comprehensive solutions range, which has improved in terms of product versatility and process automation.

Thanks to decades of experience developed in the closures field, Sacmi is able to provide all the intrinsic advantages of a technology with outstanding productivity and the lowest energy consumption on the market.

It was, in fact, starting from this technology that Sacmi successfully developed applications such as the new high quality, ultra-light containers obtained with compression blow forming.

Sacmi’s modular labellers designed to work efficiently and in parallel across multiple technologies and labelling systems go hand in hand with a full range of solutions that ensure total quality control on the production line, at every stage of cap, preform, label and primary packaging production.

Designed and developed by the Group’s Automation & Service Division.

These systems are equipped with high-definition image acquisition devices and advanced software to ensure all-round high-speed product quality control, directly on the line.

Sacmi also provides an efficient parts service via its two companies in Indonesia.

Food for thought: feeding our growing population with flies

Scientists have predicted that by 2050 there will be 9.6 billion humans living on Earth. With the rise of the middle class, we are expected to increase our consumption of animal products by up to 70% using the same limited resources that we have today.

The cost of producing agricultural crops such as corn and soy to feed these animals is also expected to increase and become more challenging with the onset of drought and rising temperatures.

While science is racing to develop more drought tolerant crop strains through genetic engineering, there may be a simpler alternative: flies.

Although people in some parts of the world have been eating insects for generations, the general population is opposed to introducing the crunchy morsels into their diet.

Since we might not be ready to eat insects ourselves, could we instead feed insects to our farmed animals to feed to growing population?

Introducing the nutritious black soldier fly

The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, is a cosmopolitan species found on every continent in the world (excluding Antarctica).

You may have seen this species powering the compost bin in your backyard, as they are efficient decomposers of organic matter. The black soldier fly was first described in 1758 and we are only now discovering its true potential: scientists in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the United States have begun transforming black soldier fly larvae into a nutritious and sustainable agricultural feed product.

‘Hermetia illucens’ was first described in 1758 but we are only discovery its true potential now.
CSIRO: Dr Bryan Lessard

This species was specifically chosen because of its voracious appetite, with one larvae able to quickly process half a gram of organic matter per day.

In fact, the larvae can eat a wide variety of household waste, including rotting fruit, vegetables, meats and, if desperately in need, manure, and quickly convert it to a rich source of fats, oils, amino acids, calcium and protein.

Black soldier fly larvae are 45% crude protein, which in addition to its high nutrition profile, has gained the attention of the agriculture community.

Researchers have demonstrated that black soldier fly feed could partially or completely replace conventional agricultural feed. Moreover, studies have shown that this feed is suitable for the diet of chickens, pigs, alligators and farmed seafood such as blue tilapia, Atlantic salmon and prawns.

Preliminary trials have also indicated that there are no adverse effects on the health of these animals. Black soldier flies can also reduce the amount of E. coli in dairy manure.

A swarm of environmental benefits

There are myriad environmental benefits to adopting black soldier fly feed. For example, Costa Rica has been successful in reducing household waste by up to 75% by feeding it to black soldier fly larvae.

This has significant potential to be adopted in Australia and could divert thousands of tonnes of household and commercial food waste from entering landfill.

One female black soldier fly can have up to 600 larvae, with each of these quickly consuming half a gram of organic matter per day. This small family of 600 individuals can eat an entire household green waste bin each year.

Entire farms of black soldier flies could significantly reduce landfill, while converting the organic matter into a feasible commercial product.

Black soldier fly farms require a substantially smaller footprint than conventional agricultural crops grown to feed farm animals because they can be grown in warehouses or small farms.

We currently use more than half the world’s usable surface to grow crops to feed farm animals. If more fly farms were established in the future, less land would be required to feed farm animals, which in turn could be used to grow more food for humans, or rehabilitate it and return it to nature.

Another emerging economic venture in black soldier flies is the production of biodiesel as a by-product of the harvesting stage. The larvae are a natural source of oil, which scientists have feasibly extracted during the processing stage and converted into biodiesel.

With future research and development, this oil could be commercially developed to alleviate the pressure off limited fossil fuels and could become a reliable source of revenue for countries adopting black soldier fly farming.

Would you buy black soldier fly feed?

The limiting factor of the emerging black soldier fly farming practice is ultimately the consumer. Would shoppers be tempted to buy animal products fed on black soldier flies at the grocery store, or purchase larvae to feed their pets or farm animals?

Promising trials have shown that customers could not detect a difference in the taste or smell of animal products fed on black soldier flies.

One of the greatest challenges we will face in our lifetime is the need to feed a growing population. If we want to continue our customs of farming and eating animal products on our limited resources, we may have to look to novel alternatives like black soldier fly farming.

With the benefits of reducing household waste and sustainably feeding farm animals a nutritious meal, perhaps the future of eating insects is closer than we thought.

The Conversation

Bryan Lessard, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CSIRO

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The effect of population growth on efficiency in food production

The global population has been expanding rapidly for many years, standing at around 7.3 billion in 2016, due to a number of factors, such as advanced maternity and healthcare.

However, the rise brings with it a number of challenges around global sustainability, including the need for more food.

As an essential resource, the supply of food is a major concern across all countries, but – as with any resource – is dependent on growers, suppliers and distributors to bring it to market.

Exponential growth

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global population is expected to increase by around 2.3 billion people between now and 2050. Although this is a slower rate of growth than the one seen over the past 40 years, it is still a 30 per cent increase in the number of people who will need feeding.

At the same time, the amount of food that will need to be processed will rise by almost 70 per cent – and 100 per cent in the developing world – which will mean increased supply of several products to help cope with the demand.

Earnings in developing countries are expected to rise along with the growth and exceed so-called ‘economic poverty’ levels, with the market demand for food continue to grow in line with this.

Annual production of cereal will need to grow by almost one billion tons, and meat production by over 200 million tons, to a total of 470 million tons in 2050. 72 per cent of this will take place in developing countries, up from 58 per cent today.

Additional factors

The Population Institute estimates that a 70 per cent increase in food production will also have to take into account increases in energy prices, as well as factors such as the groundwater depletion, the loss of farmland to urbanization, and potential flooding and droughts caused by climate change.

This rapid increase and the associated challenges will place additional strain on food production. The cost of doubling production in the developing world alone will require investment of almost $100 billion per year, not including any infrastructure that will be required to implement and support it.

A further problem will be increasing agricultural activity even though global governments are trying to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions – something the production and distribution of food has contributed to significantly in the past.

Multiple challenges

A multi-targeted approach will be required to help overcome the many challenges. This will include looking at how new approaches to food production and changes to the supply chain can boost efficiency. The FAO believes there is potential to increase crop yields, with technology playing a major role in helping to boost production efficiency.

The organization believes that having social and economic incentives in place will create more certainty over actual yield volumes and what is capable of being produced. Fears over a flattening out of yield volumes may be misplaced.

In addition to the size of the yield, boosting quality will also be a key aim for producers, as they try to improve processing capacity and availability. Meeting the needs of a rapidly expanding global population will require the production of food that meets safety standards.

The effect of urbanization must also be taken into account. A report from the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) suggests that rural-urban migration will continue to increase during the coming decades.

This growth will subsequently reduce farm labor availability in many countries and put pressure on supply chains. According to the CGIAR, this effect will require the development and use of technologies and production systems that increase input-use efficiency in agriculture.

Such approaches will contribute to global food and nutrition security while safeguarding the natural resource base and taking into account local, economic and social dynamics, as well as human and environmental health.

Balancing quality and quantity

As food safety standards rise and end-user tastes and demands change, quality will be a key issue. One of the main aims for food businesses will be how to achieve the balance of quality and quantity.

The investment needed to achieve these aims will also be a key subject for producers, particularly as the Population Institute says that meeting rising demand will come at a great cost.

Suppliers, distributors and concerns will all need to keep up to date with changes. This will mean ensuring food requirements are met, and that investment in future supply is adequate.

This investment extends to technology, which is playing a very important role in helping the industry to increase food production without compromising quality.

TOMRA’s range of food sorting technology is designed to maximize yields and increase productivity while reducing waste, which boosts efficiency considerably. The sensor-based technology is capable of identifying imperfections and can help to increase the quality of the yield as well as the overall yield quantity, therefore minimizing waste.

Ideas and new technology have moved faster than population growth for centuries, helping to ensure people and business around the globe can keep up to speed with an ever-changing world.

New innovations will continue to maintain this balance by boosting food production and distribution efficiency in the years ahead.

[Ashley Hunter is senior vice-president and head of TOMRA Sorting Solutions, Food]

John West introduces tuna range and new ambassador

Australian tuna brand John West has appointed a chef ambassador to launch its new ‘Fiery’ tuna range.

Despite his imposing, gruff build and a more casual demeanour than most chefs, the new talent (pictured) is no stranger to international flavours, and has been part of the John West family for years now.

“We wanted someone who really embodied John West’s values, is passionate about quality seafood and a lover of flavour. Although the search was long and rigorous, we had to be sure the ambassador representing this exciting innovation in tuna flavour was right, and it seems the answer was in front of us the entire time,” explained Katie Saunders, General Manager – Shelf Grocery.

The new range brings together spice and flavour to challenge hot food lovers. With Tangy Jalapeno, Smokey Chipotle, Red Hot Sriracha and Inferno, all varying in heat, the new flavours are set to complement the more classic snack or dish.

Earlier this year, John West solidified one of the most remarkable sustainability movements in history; overhauling their supply chain to become MSC certified, the world’s best standard in sustainability.

Each can of the four flavours will be marked with a blue, MSC eco-label, signifying the tuna was caught using sustainable methods and is traceable from the oceans it was caught in, to the can on supermarket shelves.

New country of origin food labels are finally here

Australia’s new country of origin food labelling laws come into effect today, helping Aussie consumers find out more about their food.

The Australian Made Campaign’s (AMCL) famous Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) kangaroo logo will feature on most new labels, along with a bar chart showing what proportion of the ingredients come from Australia.

It’ll give shoppers a better understanding of how much of their food is sourced locally. The new system is compulsory for all food products produced for sale in Australia.

“The new system is compulsory for all food products produced for sale in Australia. Consumers will gradually start to see the new labels roll out, with a two year phase-in period to allow companies to redesign, reprint and apply the new labels before the 30 June 2018 deadline, when the new system will become mandatory.

Companies will still be allowed to sell products with the existing labels after 1 July, 2018 providing the labels were applied before the cut off date.”

Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said the scheme will greatly improve clarity and consistency for Australian consumers.

“A tighter system for food labelling, coupled with a better understanding of that system by consumers, will give Aussie shoppers more confidence in what they are purchasing and provide Australian farmer and manufacturers with a much needed leg up,” Mr Harrison said.

“It removes that old phrase which nobody liked, ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients.” AMCL believes the widespread use of the AMAG logo will also strengthen the logo’s connection to Australia and help boost sales of genuine Aussie goods in domestic and export markets.

Exported food is not required to carry the new labels so businesses wanting to use the AMAG logo on their products can do so under a licence with AMCL.

Shoppers will also continue to see the AMAG logo on all other types of Aussie products with AMCL to continue administering and promoting the logo as a voluntary country of origin certification trade mark.

Heineken invites Australians to open their world with new campaign

Heineken has today announced the launch of the Heineken City Shapers Festival, which forms part of the brand’s ongoing Open Your World platform.

The campaign will celebrate the cultures, people, music and entertainment, and experiences of the vibrant global cities shaping our top Australian cities and underlines Heineken’s status as a leading international premium beer brand.

The campaign will include the creation of a major festival event, which will take place in Melbourne on 4 August. The Melbourne event will see a secret, unexpected location transformed into an exciting activation space.

Guests will be taken on a worldly adventure, which will begin at an iconic Melbourne train station where guests will be transported by a private train, embarking on an evening of unexpected delights.

The festival will bring to life some of the world’s most dynamic cities with international food, music, art and entertainment all to be explored throughout the event.

Heineken will support the City Shapers Festival campaign with digital, PR and out-of-home media.

Impactful out-of-home activity will be created through a partnership with innovative street artists, Apparition Media, who will bring the campaign concept to life through a series of impactful murals.

Heineken will also take over the night skyline in high traffic areas across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth with impressive displays to be showcased over six weeks.

As part of the Festival celebrations, Heineken is releasing special City Edition packaging across its 6 and 24 packs, with 18 different global cities featured on the Heineken bottles. The packaging is available nationally throughout July.

Nada Steel, Marketing Manager, Heineken Lion Australia, said, “The Heineken City Shapers Festival is an innovative campaign that was created to celebrate the most energetic and vibrant cities…and enables Heineken to provide consumers with worldly experiences in their city…”

Asian food security a ‘threat to Australian industry’ says former minister

Industry experts warn the Australian food industry is missing out on potential commercial gains by failing to tap into our world-leading research facilities.

Not protecting our food and agribusiness sector from significant weather events could also place Australia’s export market into Asia in jeopardy.

Former Federal Minister for Industry and Science, The Hon. Ian Macfarlane, who officially opened the 49th Annual Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology Convention, reinforced the importance of innovation in agribusiness and highlights Australia’s poor record of converting research and development (R&D) investment into commercial outcomes.

“The Australian food and agribusiness industry spends $541 million a year on R&D and, while ranked the 17th most innovative nation in the world, is listed very poorly at 116 out of 142 countries when it comes to converting those research dollars into innovation and commercial success,” said Mr Macfarlane.

According to Mr Macfarlane, the industry has a responsibility to commercialise innovation, grow the economy and provide long-term, well-paid jobs in Australia. Australian agribusiness currently includes 27,400 businesses and accounts for more than $55 billion of Australia’s international trade, making it the fastest growing sector in Australia. Our farmers export two-thirds of their produce and farm exports have grown by approximately 40 per cent in the last five years.

Convention keynote speaker Phil Ruthven, futurist and founder of market research company IBISWorld, noted that long-term exports are in danger and may require a major rethink of how and where we produce food.

“Supplying food to 1.5 billion people in China and 1.3 billion people in India is a real challenge for Australia and one of the macro challenges we face over the next several decades,” said Mr Ruthven.

“It also brings a great challenge as to how we can have more reliable food supplies generated in Australia. Our country is infamous for its droughts, floods and lack of water. Rethinking agriculture and the way we value-add to our manufacturing – even relocating agriculture and manufacturing areas further north where there is more water – is something to be considered,” he says.

Experts at the AIFST Convention will also consider challenges such as catering for Australia’s increasing ageing and allergy-affected population by improving the allergenic profile and microstructure of foods, and the wide spectrum of industry-leading innovations that are contributing to Australia’s ‘ideas boom’.

Hosted at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the 49th AIFST Convention is co-located with the FoodTech QLD Exhibition – the major trade event for Queensland food manufacturers.

As Australia’s largest food industry gathering for 2016, the overarching theme of the 49th AIFST Convention is ‘The Pulse of the Industry’, which demonstrates the current innovation and advanced technology employed by the industry.

Cadbury sends off Australian Paralympic Team to Rio

Cadbury has presented the Australian Paralympic Team with thousands of personal messages of support from fans across the nation as part of their campaign to Bring on the Joy in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The activity forms part of Cadbury’s mission to rally Australians together and support the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team as the athletes prepare to compete in Rio. As an Official Partner of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team, Cadbury has pledged its support with an AUD $1 million contribution towards the development of para-sport in Australia.

The brand has continued its support by championing the Team as part of its consumer marketing campaign which kicked off earlier this year, encouraging fans to show their support for the athletes through a dedicated digital activation.

Australians responded in their droves with over 5,000 messages shared, aimed at inspiring the para-athletes as they prepare to compete on the world’s biggest stage. At an event held in Sydney this week, many of the Australian Paralympic Team came together as part of a celebration of the campaign and Cadbury’s contribution to the Team’s efforts.

Athletes were showered with messages in many different ways as a demonstration of the support received from the public. All messages that were shared have been printed in a specially-designed book for the athletes to keep as a reminder of the nation’s unwavering support for the team.

Lauren Fildes, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Events at Cadbury, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to be partners of the team and we will be right behind them in Rio!”

Lynne Anderson, Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Paralympic Committee, said that they were “…grateful to have such a supportive partner who has helped create an unbelievable buzz around our Team as the Paralympic Games approach. To know the Australian public is right behind us provides all of our athletes with a huge boost.”

The Australian Paralympic Committee will be sending an Australian team of more than 170 para-athletes from every Australian State and Territory to compete in up to 15 sports at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Bringing Asian food to our homes

Eating fresher is easy with a new natural and gluten free range of FRESH WRAP kits from Marion’s Kitchen.

Each kit comes with a flavour-packed sauce for stir-frying fresh veggies and your chosen protein along with crunchy sprinkles like crispy garlic or sesame seeds wrapped up in fresh lettuce or cabbage leaves.

Marion Grasby spends all her time thinking about how to make products that people will love eating and sharing. ‘I care deeply about what I do and the products, ingredients and recipes I share. I want people to be able to easily create awesome Asian food at home with ingredients that are clean, fresh and super tasty.

Personally, I’ve been looking to find easier ways to include more fresh vegetables into my busy lifestyle and I think more and more Australians feel the same way. My new range aims to inspire fresher eating.’

The new range of FRESH WRAPS includes Malaysian Satay, Korean Chilli & Sesame and Cantonese Hoisin & Garlic which will be available in Woolworths in July. The Marion’s Kitchen full range includes:

Thai Massaman Curry, Singapore Laksa, Malaysian Curry, Pad Thai, Thai Red Curry, Thai Green Curry, and San Choy Bow.

For more information, visit:


Meet Larry- the food manufacturers best friend

South Australian company Complexica has developed a robot with an algorithm-based persona, which is being used to help businesses make data-driven decisions in real time.

Larry, the Digital Analyst, is made up of a set of algorithms tuned to complex problems in order to quickly generate answers that would otherwise take people a very long time to work out.

In one example, Larry helped formulate a 52-week promotions plan for a national company with 25,000 products sold in 1400 stores across Australia based on the question of which product should be on promotion at which time of year and at which price to maximise profits.

“It (usually) takes about 30-man days to come up with one plan because you are dealing with 25,000 items over 1400 stores for 52 weeks – it’s like a really big Sudoku,” said Complexica’s Managing Director Matthew Michalewicz.

“But in 60 seconds Larry was able to consider about 10 million combinations of different prices, products, frequency, and predict how much more you will sell with all of these combinations and convert them into weekly averages per state and per store.

“A machine and all the computing power that sits in the cloud can consider things that an organisation will never have time to consider,” he added.

According to Michalewicz, Larry is best suited to large companies that experience repetitive sales of everyday items such as food, hardware and liquor.

“Businesses that have complexity are going to get much greater benefits from Larry than businesses that don’t. We define complexity by three core things: how big a business is; how many products you sell; and how many customers you have.”

Complexica has signed up 20 companies across a range of industries and aims to scale up to 100 clients within two years.

Current clients include PFD Food Services, Liquor Marketing Group, Leader Computers and Coventry Group.

Sanitarium makes a bigger dash

Sanitarium’s Little BIG DASH is returning to Australia for 2016, offering an obstacle adventure designed to put the fun into physical activity for more than 20,000 kids and their parents.

Family teams from two to six will tackle 3km of wild and wacky obstacles to reach the finish line, forming part of Sanitarium’s long-standing mission to help Australian families improve their health and wellbeing.

For the first time, the event will run in three cities, returning to Brisbane and Sydney following popular events in 2015, while families in Melbourne will have their first opportunity to participate in the unique bonding experience.

While Sanitarium’s aim is to encourage families to embrace an active lifestyle in a safe and non-competitive environment, participants report that the best thing about Little BIG DASH is its ability to bring people of all ages together to have fun.

Brisbane will be the first city to hold the event, kicking off the laughs on 24 July at Seventh Brigade Park in Geebung, proudly supported by the Queensland Government. The fun then continues in Sydney on 21 August at Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith and Melbourne on 25 September at The Thunderdome in Calder Park.

Sanitarium’s General Manager Todd Saunders said: “We’re thrilled to bring back the Little BIG DASH from Sanitarium for another year and expand the event to reach more families than ever before. In an age where the addictive allure of screen time sees Australians living an increasing sedentary lifestyle, our aim is to get kids and adults on their feet and bring family and fitness together in the most enjoyable way possible.”

Little BIG DASH from Sanitarium features unmissable activities and obstacles which have been designed for kids from age five to 15 and for adults looking to get in touch with their inner child. With ten thrilling obstacles to challenge participants, kids and parents can bounce through the Rumble Tumble Tower, twist through the Tangle Tunnel and test their balance on the Bupa Balance Beam.

Tickets for Little BIG DASH from Sanitarium are available to buy now with discounts available.

For more information and to register a team, head to


New survey reveals most workers are unhappy

For manufacturers, in fact any Australian business, having a happy and content workforce is vital to the success of the company.

So it will be disappointing for readers to hear that four out of every five Australians are unhappy where they work and are planning to leave their current role in search of new challenges, and more money.

AIM’s (Australian Institute of Management) 2016 National Salary Survey makes sobering reading. The findings show that Australian living standards are now under more pressure than ever before with wage growth falling in line with the rate of inflation, a statistic rarely seen in Australia over the past three decades.

Now in its 52nd year, AIM’s 2016 survey of more than 500 Australian organisations, covering about 25,000 employees and around 270 job roles, found that the overall salary increase is currently sitting at 3%, which is a decrease from the 3.4% reported in 2015 and the lowest reported percentage since 2012, dropping 1.1% overall in four years.

Sam Bell, AIM’s GM for Policy & Advocacy, describes it as a significant decline especially as it is forecasted to continue in 2017 in many industries, especially in Queensland and WA, both of which have been affected by the mining downturn.

“For the last decade we have been accustomed or expected to salary increases of 4 to 5%.” But he admits some industries do better than others in good times and bad times. “But now employees are receiving 2 to 3% on average, which is causing some movement in the market because people are expecting greater financial rewards,” Bell said.

The survey reveals four out of five people (82%) are looking for new challenges, with two thirds looking for new opportunities within their industry. More than half (56.5%) cited limited career advancement opportunities with 44.4% looking for better financial reward.

Bell said this situation is caused by two major issues. “Firstly the slower economic conditions are contributing to less career advancement. In the good times people were getting regular promotions, but now with the slower economy, those internal promotions are not happening.

“People are not moving up the ladder as fast as they would like, so they look at opportunities outside their workplace, often at competitors, to get that promotion.”

Secondly, Bell says, employees are not happy with the 2 to 3% salary increase and are changing jobs to get more, which is a costly exercise for companies.

Cost of recruiting

Getting new people is fine, but what many manufacturers don’t realise is that the cost of recruiting a new staff member is around $26,400, which includes the exit process of the employee, the recruitment of a new employee and the training of him/her to fulfil the role.

“It’s a significant amount, and if they are leaving due to lack of promotion or salary increase, companies have to realise that there is a big cost to replace them.” Bell says keeping salary increases very low, can be very costly as in most cases it’s the best people who leave. “I don’t think many managers realise how much it costs to replace someone, plus the disruption that causes to the business.” David Pich, AIM’s CEO, says retaining staff is no easy feat.

“Employees can become restless in roles that have limited career advancements or where they don’t enjoy their time at work. “Combine that with a volatile property and rental market and the pressure to contribute more to their superannuation fund, it’s no wonder staff are becoming disillusioned and feel the need to move jobs as a perceived guarantee to a salary increase,” said Pich.

The survey found one in three (34.5%) Australian businesses are making contributions above the superannuation guarantee (9.5%). However, the proportion of employees who are salary sacrificing has dropped across the board since last year, suggesting Australian employees are putting less focus on their retirement, choosing instead to use their disposable incomes to maintain their current standard of living.

Pich encourages business leaders to reassess their current pay model and suggests creating a positive and inspiring workplace culture to decrease staff turnover and retain human resource.

“People don’t leave companies; they leave leaders. Great managers and leaders make decisions that impact people’s lives and that impact can be felt well beyond the workplace. “We spend about a third of our working-age lives doing just that – working. So it is vital our experiences in the workplace are positive as they impact on our overall well-being and on society as a whole.

“At AIM, we’re constantly encouraging our Members to invest in building a positive workplace culture, by having open streams of conversation and offering training and professional development support,” Pich said.


According to the survey, salaries overall for the manufacturing sector have fallen more than the average. Bell pointed out that while salaries growth in general has fallen from 4.2% to 3% on average over the past four years, the manufacturing sector has fallen from 4.62%, a little bit higher than the average, to 3.07%, which is almost in line with the average salary increase.

“Next year, those in the manufacturing industry expect salary increases to remain fairly flat at 3%, unlike other sectors who are predicting further falls.”

 The findings show that Australian living standards are now under more pressure than ever before with wage growth falling in line with the rate of inflation, a statistic rarely seen in Australia over the past three decades.

Across the manufacturing industry, AIM measures the Food, Beverage and Tobacco; Chemical and petroleum, Metal and Automotive, and Other Manufacturing sectors. “When broken down for example, Mechanical Engineering Managers have seen an increase of about 5%, while employees in the Chemical and Engineering have remained flat at around 4%,” Bell said.

However, the survey shows workers in the automotive sector have seen a decline to 2.7% growth, dragging the overall figure down. In general employment terms, Bell says he is seeing a significant increase in consultants and temporary workers, rather than full time permanent employees.

“There is strong trend of companies bringing in people for a specific project and a specific time period rather than a full time employee.” When it comes to working conditions, Bell said a company’s workplace culture is very important for employees, followed by learning and development and flexible working conditions at number two and three respectively. “A work life balance is very important for employees.”

The survey found 66.8% of Australian employees left a current job to start a similar role at another organisation, and revealed that businesses are worried workplace culture is to blame for this shift, with 63.7% citing this as the human resource issue they are most concerned about.


Coke boss wants less gov’t control but more foreign cash

According to a report on the ABC Rural program this morning, Coca Cola Amatil MD Alison Watkins has said that governments have no place meddling in local food manufacturing.

During a conference held in Sydney, Ms Watkins said she also supported the need for greater foreign investment for food and agribusiness in Australia, instead of government investment.

She quoted the recent ANZ’s Greener Pastures Report, which found Australia could double agricultural exports by 2050 but would need at least $1 trillion worth of investment from both domestic and foreign investors.

She also told the Agribusiness2030 conference that Australia’s supermarket duopoly created a situation whereby suppliers could too easily lose shelf space and find their lines deleted.

At the same time,Ms Watkins noted that she was happy with supermarket support for locally-made products.

“That support’s really critical, and we’re focused on supplying product at the right cost,” she told ABC Rural.

‘Packaging for Sustainability’ handbook released

Packaging for Sustainability is a concise and readable handbook for practitioners who are trying to implement sustainability strategies for packaging.

The packaging industry is under pressure from regulators, customers and other stakeholders to improve packaging’s sustainability by reducing its environmental and societal impacts. This is a considerable challenge because of the complex interactions between products and their packaging, and the many roles that packaging plays in the supply chain.

Packaging for Sustainability draws on the expertise of researchers and industry practitioners to provide information on business benefits, environmental issues and priorities, environmental evaluation tools, design for environment, marketing strategies, and challenges for the future.

Industry case studies are used throughout the book to illustrate possible applications and scenarios.

Two of the handbook’s authors , Dr Karli Verghese and Dr Helen Lewis are Fellows of the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP).

Ferrero & Nestle both get green ticks of approval from Greenpeace

Chocolate-maker Ferrero and food company Nestle have topped the global ranking for being tree—friendly with their commitment to stop using non-plantation palm oil in their products.

In its latest report, Greenpeace commended Ferrero, the Italian manufacturer of Ferrero Rocher and Nutella, as well as multinational food company Nestle on their track records to cut deforestation and completely remove non-plantation grown palm oil from their supply chains.

Out of the 14 global companies that were evaluated by Greenpeace, Ferrero for example was found to be able to trace almost 100 per cent of its palm oil to the actual planation where it was grown.

Nestle for its part was praised for its substantial traceability of its raw materials back to the plantation, which in itself is quite significant considering the amount of raw materials that Nestle uses year on year.

“Palm oil is found in so many products, which is why brands have a responsibility to their customers to act,” said Annisa Rahmawati of Greenpeace Indonesia – an area where deforestation for palm oil plantations poses a ‘major threat to endangered animals'. 

“Palm oil can be grown responsibly without destroying forests, harming local communities or threatening orangutans. But our survey shows that brands are not doing enough to stop the palm oil industry ransacking Indonesia's rainforests.”

On the other end of the green scale, Pepsi was given a failed ratings with its palm oil progress. According to Greenpeace, this was due to its slow progress on tracing palm oil and reducing exposure to deforestation.

PepsiCo, as well as food companies like Unilever were also criticised by Greenpeace for using the GreenPalm scheme, whereby companies buy certificates from a palm oil grower certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil to offset each tonne of the ingredient they use. 

While there is no guarantee the palm oil is actaully certified sustainable by using the GreenPalm scheme, Greenpeace went further to label the program a "false solution" and said companies should phase out their use of the certificates.

According to, the 14 companies reviewed by Greenpeace in this report are: Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Ferrero, General Mills, Ikea, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez, Nestle, Orkla, PepsiCo, P&G and Unilever.

New salt-reducing ingredient introduced in Hamburgers and Processed Meats

A new Salt of the Earth ingredient for Fi Europe hamburgers and processed meat has been launched to significantly reduce the amount of salt and MSG.

Derived from tomato, shiitake mushroom and kombu seaweed, Umamix aims to enhance flavour while reducing sodium in processed meat applications by up to 45 per cent.

Salt is widely used in meat processing as a flavour enhancer as well as a functional ingredient. Hamburgers or meatballs typically contain 1.2-2 per cent salt.

Marketing Manager for Salt of the Earth, Revital Ben Shachar said Umamix had the potential to help decrease sodium by 45 per cent in hamburgers and meatballs without affecting the taste of the final product.

“Our sodium reduction ingredient is designed to address these needs and keep the consumer-craved salty, savoury flavour. This highly cost-effective ingredient thus allows processors to meet all consumer demand targets,” Shachar said.

Creating sustainable solutions involving sea salt has been a challenge for the global food industry since 1922.

The National Health and Medical Research Council has set an ‘Adequate Intake’ of 20–40 mmol (460–920 mg) of sodium per day. This corresponds to 1.15–2.3 grams of salt.

Most Australian adults have a daily salt intake of about 10 grams, i.e. many times the maximum value of the Adequate Intake range.

 A ‘Suggested Dietary Target’ of 1600 mg of sodium (equivalent to about 4 grams of salt) has been set for Australian adults. This is about half the average Australian adult’s current salt intake.

Marketing sodium-reduction solutions made from Red Sea salts, Salt of the Earth controls and tracks salt resources in order to promote balanced salt consumption through sodium reduction solutions. 

Cocoa Farmers in Indonesia to receive financial support program

A two and a half year program aimed at improving the livelihood of smallholder cocoa farmers has been introduced through collaboration with Mondelez International’s Cocoa Life operation.

Driving sustainability in Indonesian farming practices, the program that started in October 2015 aims to benefit six thousand farmers and their families in the Kolaka region.

Southeast Asia Cocoa Life manager Andi Sitt Asmayanti says the program is part of the Green Prosperity –Sustainable Cocoa Production Partnership national initiative led by Swisscontact in Indonesia.

“Through Cocoa Life, Mondelez International plans to reach 40,000 farmers in Indonesia and we believe this project will be a major step forward in reaching this commitment, and supporting cocoa farmers and communities to thrive,” Asmayanti said.

According to Asmayanti, the program aims to deliver training in good agricultural practices to improve knowledge and boost productivity while also improving environmental practices to reduce the carbon footprint of cocoa farming.

Cocoa Life urges employees, suppliers and community partners to join together to develop new approaches that will have a positive impact for both communities and stakeholders.

Implemented with Swisscontact, focus on facilitating access to agro-inputs can help farmers sustain their production for longer periods of time due to extra training in financial literacy.

Since July 2014, Mondelez and Cargill worked together to strengthen Indonesia’s position as a leading cocoa producer –strengthening both companies’ commitment to improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and investing in their future. 

Nestlé tops category in Dow Jones Sustainability Index

A 'zero water' factory in Mexico, a UK confectionery factory that turns waste into renewable energy are just two examples of the kind of work that has helped Nestlé achieve an industry leading score of 99 out of 100 in the 'Environmental Dimension' of the 2015 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

The DJSI is a globally recognised independent benchmark that measures company performance across three dimensions: Economic, Environmental and Social.

With an overall score of 89 out of 100 in the DJSI ranking, Nestlé was among the top performing food product companies. In the Index’s 'Environmental Dimension', its score of 99 is the highest in the industry, which underlines its commitment to water stewardship and environmental sustainability.

For instance, Nestlé says it is committed to achieving water efficiency and sustainability across its operations, and one example is the introduction of 'zero water' technology at its dairy factory in Jalisco, Mexico, which allows the plant to operate without using any local groundwater.

The UK provides another example of new, more sustainable production processes: an anaerobic digestion system at Nestlé's Fawdon confectionery factory turns confectionery waste into renewable energy and clean water.

Nestlé's status as the leading Nutrition, Health & Wellness company was recognised with a top score of 100 for Health & Nutrition in the Index, a testament it says, to work done in areas including product innovation and renovation.

Repackaging our future to reduce waste

With the debate around climate change becoming increasingly more mainstream, food manufacturers must start considering innovative ways to reduce food waste and become more resource efficient.

Consider this. For every bag of groceries you buy this year, you will most likely throw one in five of them in the bin. 

It sounds ludicrous, but with the average Australian household now wasting around $1,036 worth of groceries each year, it is an all too prevalent reality that is often ignored.  

While many will shake their head at how much hard earned money Australian families are throwing away, the scale of food waste and the resultant environmental impact should be just as baffling.  
When food is wasted the vast majority of it ends up in landfill, where it rots and releases harmful methane gases into the atmosphere. The impact of this is greater than most think because the energy and resources used to harvest, process, warehouse and distribute this food are also wasted.

Of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions, 23 per cent comes from our food supply chain – second only to coal fired power stations.  

The confronting statistics don't stop there, as our food waste isn't confined to our kitchen bins. According to the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report published in 2012, a whopping 74 per cent of food is wasted before it even has a chance to be sold.  

This is largely due to labelling issues, supply chain inefficiencies, lack of stock rotation, inadequate refrigeration, with consumers playing their part too by not understanding the difference between "use by" and "sell by" dates. 

Strictly from a business stance, avoiding waste makes sense. It saves money, reduces environmental impact and can build brand recognition.  

Like most things however, the devil is in the detail, and in many cases reducing waste can seem challenging. That being said, there are a number of things food manufacturers can do to help reduce their waste profile.  

Use your supply chain as a force for good 

In recent years, supply chains have taken centre stage in the move towards a more environmental and socially responsible society. The 2013 United Nations Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Report found that companies are increasingly talking about supply chain sustainability. It is here, deep within the supply chain, where food manufacturers can start taking a stand against waste and the resultant social and environmental impacts.  

By starting with the traditional measurements of cost and performance and then looking beyond them to consider the entire value chain – including sourcing, distribution, usage and recycling – manufacturers can address social and environmental challenges without sacrificing cost competitiveness or performance. 

Through this process, food manufacturers should be able to make smarter, more informed choices that consider the entire product lifecycle and reduce overall environmental and social impacts, while also ensuring economic viability.   

Embrace technology 

In any discussion about climate change, it is unfortunate that packaging is often considered part of the problem rather than the solution. Technological advances mean packaging can now be in the vanguard in the fight against waste. For example, packaging that uses vacuum and oxygen scavenging technology has been found to increase product quality and shelf life by reducing oxidation and the resultant degradation of many food products.  

Ensuring a clean environment in food processing rooms should also be a first priority, as processing hygiene has a critical impact on shelf life. Look for hybrid systems with greater cling to improve sanitation while reducing water usage.  

From a food manufacturing perspective, another simple way to help reduce food waste is by ensuring your product labelling is clearly defined so consumers know exactly how to store their food and when to consume it by.  

Find a good partner 

For those food manufactures not in a position to radically overhaul their supply chain, or take on the latest technologies, there are still ways in which to reduce the amount of food ending up in landfill.  
For example, some food is discarded because it is considered unavoidable waste that cannot be sold or eaten. Vegetable peel, egg shells and animal bones are a perfect example. Many of these by-products end up in landfill but, through the right partnerships, there are ways for reuse. As an example, animal bones could be further processed to produce liquid beef stock or processed to feed livestock and animals.  

Another way we can become more food savvy is through partnerships with food recovery organisations such as FareShare, OzHarvest and FoodBank. These charities collect excess food from commercial outlets and deliver it free of charge to the needy across the country.  
FareShare alone provided nearly 900,000 free meals last year from food that would otherwise have ended up in landfill. For companies unsure how to reduce their food waste, turning it into something that benefits disadvantaged parts of the community is an example of how we can all create a better way of life. 

Gareth Reynolds, Executive Director of Marketing ANZ Food Care, Sealed Air.