Global sales hike for food processing machinery

Food processing machinery sales across the globe are set to rise by 7.3 percent per year, hitting $53.3 billion in 2016.

A study from market research group, The Freedonia Group, claims that the Asia-Pacific will lead the trend with an average of 9.5 percent growth per year from 2011 to 2016 –  thanks to the strong Chinese market.

Increased demand for processed foods in developing countries, as well as increases in personal wealth, is responsible for the growth, with demand for value-added foods like chocolate and mear in countries like China and Brazil prompting manufacturers to broaden their manufacturing capabilities.

As reported on, Freedonia said industrial baking equipment is a key growth area at the moment, accounting for one-fifth of all food processing machinery sales last year, with expectations that this segment will post the largest value gains heading into 2016.

"Rising personal incomes will spur increased demand for processed foods and a dietary shift toward more costly, non-staple items, while advancing industrialisation in these nations will make it more efficient to process basic foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts by machine rather than manually," Freedonia said. "Sales of food processing machinery in other developing areas of the world will, generally speaking, climb at a healthy pace."

The market research group has also found that global demand for green packaging is one the rise, set to reach $212 billion in 2015.

Green packaging, which comprises recycled content, reusable and degradable packaging, is projected to rise 5.7 percent per year to 2015.

While recycled content packaging will remain by far the largest product type through the forecast period and beyond, this segment will see the slowest increases due to the maturity of products such as metal cans and glass containers. On the other hand, above-average demand growth is expected in reusable and degradable packaging. In particular, demand for degradable packaging will continue to see double-digit annual growth rates, despite only accounting for one percent of the overall green packaging market through to 2015.

The Asia-Pacific region will see above-average gains and remain the largest regional market for green packaging in the world, with some of the fastest growth rates expected to be seen in Asia, specifically India, China and Indonesia.


Is shrink-wrap on a cucumber really mindless waste?

Veterans of the packaging industry have debunked the myths and misconceptions about packaging in a new book, which aims to show why wrapping isn’t just a marketing tool.

“People have an awful lot of preconceptions about packaging,” says Stephen Aldridge, one of the book’s authors.

For instance, wrapping up a cucumber seems mighty unnecessary, until you see the research that proves that a wrapped cucumber lasts over three times longer than an unwrapped one.

A longer life therefore means less deliveries, less energy costs, and, coincidentally, less waste.

In a world where we throw out as much as 50 per cent of the food we buy (often because it perishes), the importance of extending a product’s shelf life can’t be underestimated.

Click here to read more about Aldridge’s book at The Independent.

Malik takes out AIP scholarship

Now in its fourth year, the Australian Institute of Packaging, in conjunction with Cormack Packaging, has presented its scholarship to Nancy Malik, a UTS Sydney student.

The scholarship is given to one of 20 students in the Cormack Innovation Awards and gives the winner the opportunity to undertake packaging education through AIP-run half day training courses and conferences.

The scholarship recipient also wins an all expenses paid trip to attend either the AIP biennial National Conference  in either Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, or the biennial AIP National Technical Forum, which is held alongside AUSPACK PLUS and alternates between Sydney and Melbourne.

The winner also receives complimentary registration to three half day training courses in NSW and a free one year membership to the AIP.

Nancy Malik from Sydney's UTS is this year's AIP Scholarship recipient.

"It is wonderful to be at the frontline of innovation in packaging and the AIP Scholarship is a great opportunity for me," she said.

"I have always had a passion for plastics and for common-type products and fulfilling the needs of everyday people. FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) is an area I would like to be involved in. I have been interested in packaging and really enjoyed an internship I completed at a consultancy firm working on packaging, seeing  how things evolve in a 3D form and how packaging affects the way that someone uses a product."

Malik was also a Highly Commended winner in the Cormack Packaging Awards for her 'Fairy's Castle' design, which is a two-part packaging solution aimed at children. Part one is a hygienic, touch-free plastic housing to be mounted on a wall at a child-friendly height, and part two is a Colgate junior pump pack, re-engineered to dispense an appropriate amount of toothpaste for a child.


FSC-labelled packaging gains momentum worldwide: Tetra Pak

Food packaging and processing company, Tetra Pak, has announced that this year, more than 20 billion of its packages around the world have donned the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label.

Up from around 8.5 million in 2010, the label certifies that the paperboard used for the packaging materials comes from responsibly managed forests and other controlled sources.

"With more consumers and retailers demanding environmentally sound and ethically produced products, brands that carry the FSC label can attest that their products are packaged using material that has passed the toughest standards of responsible forest management," said Charles Brand, vice president marketing and product management at Tetra Pak.

In Australia, three Tetra Pak customers are launching proucts in FSC-labelled cartons: Freedom Foods and its Australia's Own Organic almond, rice and soy milk; Emma & Tom’s new 1L long life package for its Quenchers with Benefits range of juice product; and Harvey Fresh’s 2L milk and juice products.

Noel Ayre, managing director of Tetra Pak Oceania said, "Our long term goal is to offer all our customers the option to use FSC-certified material for their cartons. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, and are seeking sustainably sourced products."

In Australia and New Zealand, Tetra Pak has sold 13.3 million FSC-labelled packs to date. Other countries which have taken up FSC-labelling include Argentina, which has 1.8 billion FSC-labelled Tetra Pak packages (representing 70 percent of total Tetra Pak packaging) and the Benelux which has 1.2 billion FSC-labelled Tetra Pak packages (about 60 percent of total Tetra Pak packaging material).

In a recent survey of 6,600 consumers in 10 countries conducted by Euromonitor for Tetra Pak, around half said that the absence of information about the environmental profile of a product was an issue in their purchasing behaviour. And the same proportion said they find on-pack logos helpful in understanding the environmental impact of beverage packages.

The first Tetra Pak package with the FSC certification label was launched in the UK by Sainsbury’s in 2007. Today it is being applied by retailers and brand owners in 39 countries, including China, the USA, Canada, across South America and throughout Europe.


Pallet manufacturers to merge into CABKA Group

CABKA and Innova Packaging Systems are to merge under the umbrella of the newly founded CABKA Group.

The CEOs of both companies made the announcement on 19 November and said that until a joint brand is announced, the labels of pallet manufacturers CABKA and Innova Packaging Systems (IPS) will remain intact.

The merge will see the new group become a broad-based provider of plastic pallets, boxes and pallet boxes, with company entering the new group with their own niche market; CABKA focuses on inexpensive one-way pallets for export and IPS concentrates on higher-priced multi-way pallets.

The merge is expected to enable both companies to improve their market positions and become more effective in developing innovations.

"We want to organically grow together by way of a strong range and continuous innovation-based expansion," said Gat Ramon, director and management spokesperson of the new CABKA Group.

"For example, we are going to set up a production line complete with recycling plant for mixed plastics in the vicinity of Ypres, Belgium."

The companies are also a good geographical fit. While CABKA has a strong presence in Germany (Weira, Berlin), North America (St. Louis) and Spain (Valencia), Belgium-based IPS (Ypres) serves the Benelux countries, as well as the UK, Ireland, France and Spain.


Pro-Pac acquires two companies

Continuing its consolidation strategy today Pro-Pac Packaging acquired the business and assets of Source and Sell and Stronghold wholesale.

To date, Source and Sell have supplied packaging products to the food industry while Stronghold Wholesale is a niche distributor of industrial strapping, stretch wrap and tape products.

The combined revenue of the two acquisitions is estimated to be $10 million per annum.

Commenting on the acquisitions was Pro-Pac’s CEO, Brandon Penn, who said they provide “good cross-selling opportunities as both businesses bring together new customers and new products”.

“The purchase of these businesses provides Pro-Pac with further critical mass at the respective regional operations,” he said.

The announcement comes after Manufacturers’ Monthly reported PaperlinX would acquire Canterbury Packaging NZ.

The New Zealand firm is a distributor of industrial packaging consumables, hygiene, safety, and hospitality products, and has an annual turnover of around $2.9 million.

At the time Andy Preece, ANZA region executive general manager, stated that "the acquisition of Canterbury Packaging is a small but significant further step in our diversified products strategy.

"This acquisition will provide a building block for Spicers NZS to diversify….the additional packaging consumables will build on the existing strong market position of Spicers," Preece said.

Wikicells Opens First Outlet Selling Food Packaged in Edible Skin

Edible packaging company Wikicells has opened its first store.

Earlier this year we reported on Wikicell Designs and their development of a revolutionary new food packaging inspired by fruit’s edible skin, with the company recently announcing plans to open their first outlet.

Wikicell’sdeveloped their technolgy to change the face of food packaging, and will demonstrate it with a small snack bar next to the Musee de Louvre in Paris, slated to open in March 2013.

A second outlet is slated to follow, opening near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Massachusetts-based start-up worked with a Paris-based firm to try and mimic natural foods, such as grapes and apples, which are protected by an edible skin.

Some of their inventions include bite-size cheeses and yoghurt balls encased in the 100% biodegradable skin, which could potentially deliver additional health benefits.

A spokesman for the company told FoodProductionDaily that “the membrane adds taste and vitamins to the product”, and was conceived as a reaction to the over-packaging of foods and the huge amount of waste this creates, most of which ends up as landfill.

“Today it has gone so far that is has become a real problem.  Now the technology has become available to create a new kind of packaging.”

The company is looking to extend their vision to a huge range of products, including ice cream and even cocktails enveloped in the edible skins and has generated a huge amount of interest, winning the Special Jury Award for Innovation Given at the SIAL 2012 International Food Conference and securing $10 million in investment capital.

John West orders Greenpeace video off YouTube

The dispute between Greenpeace and John West continues to gain momentum, with the environmental campaign group accusing the tuna company of “censorship” after it was forced to remove a video from YouTube.

The Greenpeace spoof ad, which according to the campaign group, showed edited raw and bloody footage of the fishing method used by John West incorporated into the latest John West television commercial.

But John West has complained that the spoof video is a breach of copyright and ordered Greenpeace to remove it.

“Today’s censorship proves that John West would rather cover up the fact that they needlessly kill threatened juvenile tuna, sharks, rays and even endangered sea turtles than live up to their sustainability rhetoric and update their fishing practices,” Greenpeace Ocean Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said in a statement.

“Greenpeace is demanding John West commit to stop using ‘fish aggregating devices' (FADs).

”Fishing with FADs and giant nets is indiscriminate – at least 10 per cent of each haul is 'bycatch,' such as baby tuna, sharks and turtles.

“This rate is ten times higher than nets set without FADs.

“Australian brand Safcol has already switched to more sustainable fishing methods.

“Greenseas and Sirena have also pledged to stop using destructive FADs.

“The biggest brand John West, however, has refused,” Pelle said.

“Even John West UK and John West Germany has listened to its consumers and committed to tuna fished responsibly. Meanwhile John West Australia is denying the gruesome reality that they needlessly kill marine life for every can they produce.”

Pelle slammed John West’s primary advertising slogan, “John West picks the best,” saying it is misleading.

“Unfortunately for them, the John West myth is busted. John West don’t pick the best, they pick whatever is cheap even if it is at the cost of sharks, baby tuna and turtles,” he said.

This incident comes just two days after John West tuna owner Simplot responded to its negative listing on the Greenpeace canned tuna guide 2012, saying it “has been working towards improving the sustainability of John West’s products for many years.”

The annual list compiled by environmental campaign group Greenpeace ranks tuna brands according to their efforts to implement and maintain sustainable fishing practises.

This year it ranked John West towards the bottom of the list, saying “John West is the largest seller of tuna caught using destructive FADs [fish aggregating devices] in Australia.”

“It is having the most damaging impact on marine life so John West is the stand out culprit of Australia's tuna industry,” Greenpeace continued.

“It has a responsibility to do better."

What do you think about FAD's? Should fish companies be forced to comply with more sustainable fishing practises?

Drinking, smoking down but obesity rates up

Australians are drinking and smoking less but putting on weight like never before, a national survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found.

Results from the ABS Australian Health Survey, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive health survey ever, were released on Monday.

First Assistant Statistician at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Dr Paul Jelfs, said that 63% of Australians were now overweight or obese.

“Men were more likely to be overweight or obese (70%) than women (56%) while one-quarter (25%) of our children are overweight or obese,” he said in a statement.

Around one in five men and one in seven women are smokers and just over 16% of adult Australians smoke every day, a decrease of almost three percentage points in four years, the survey showed.

“Australians are also drinking less, with a drop of 1.4 percentage points in the number of people drinking more than two standard drinks on average per day,” Dr Jelfs said.

Professor Sandra Jones, Director of the Centre for Health Initiatives at the University of Wollongong, said that this was the second consecutive period in which there was a decline in the proportion of adults who consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average – a fall from 21.9% in 2004-05 to 20.9% in 2007-08, down to 19.5% in 2011-12.

“This is a very positive outcome, and is likely the result of a combination of factors – including increases in the price of alcohol, effective social marketing campaigns, and increasing public concern about the health and social effects of excessive alcohol consumption,” said Dr Jones.

However, it is important to consider long term as well as short term risk, she said.

“First, in relation to ‘lifetime risk,’ this reduction brings us closer to – but still well above – the 2001 figure of 18.6% of adults who consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average,” she said.

“The fact that 44.7% of Australians aged 18 years report drinking at a level that increases their risk of ‘alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion’ at least once in the past year suggests that we still have a long way to go before we can claim that Australians are drinking safely.”

The Conversation

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

Toblerone’s confusing labelling lands it on Choice Shonky List

There’s a lot of debate around lately about the labelling laws in Australia, but Toblerone really takes the cake with its strange claims, which made it the only food product to make it onto Choice’s Shonky Awards 2012 list.

The 400 gram bar of the famous Swiss chocolate says on the label that there are 16 serves of deliciousness inside. But there are actually on 15 pieces!

The consumer watchdog was baffled by the labelling but maintained their sense of humour about the head-scratching portion sizes.

“Picture, if you will, a gathering of 16 people, ready to tuck into their 400g bar of Toblerone, which conveniently contains 16 serves – according to the packet,” the Choice report says.

“But as servee number 15 takes the last pyramidal piece, a problem becomes apparent: 16 serves but only 15 pieces.

“Clearly this logistical nightmare of mountainous portions can only be solved by breaking out the Swiss Army knife (which is why they were invented*), cutting one-sixteenth off every single piece and giving the resultant nougaty-chocolate crumb collection to the sweetless sixteenth.

“Either that, or it’s all-out chocolate war.”

The 200g range has 15 pieces and 8 serves, the 50g has 11 pieces and 2 serves, neither of which can be divided equally easily.

“Yep, it’s as cuckoo as a clock!” Choice says.

“But still we buy them, leaving Herr Tobler yodelling all the way to the Swiss bank.
“Only the 100g mountain range can be divided in the sane, diplomatically neutral and mathematically pleasing manner of which we might imagine the Swiss would be proud, having 12 pieces and 4 serves.

“No knives, no war, no crumbs.”

John West hits back over place on Greenpeace sustainable tuna list

John West tuna owner Simplot has responded to its negative listing on the Greenpeace canned tuna guide 2012, saying it “has been working towards improving the sustainability of John West’s products for many years.”

The annual list compiled by environmental campaign group Greenpeace ranks tuna brands according to their efforts to implement and maintain sustainable fishing practises.

This year it ranked John West towards the bottom of the list, saying “John West is the largest seller of tuna caught using destructive FADs [fish aggregating devices] in Australia.”

“It is having the most damaging impact on marine life so John West is the stand out culprit of Australia's tuna industry,” Greenpeace continued.

“It has a responsibility to do better.

“Improvements in traceability are welcome, but John West has taken a step back on labelling.”

While Greenpeace recognised that John West has “good traceability,” “supports marine reserves” and has “100 per cent skipjack tuna, mostly from the Western Central Pacific Ocean, it noted the company’s failings as “the biggest seller of tuna caught using destructive FADs with purse seine nets,” and that its “labelling does not include the catch area or fishing method.”

Woolworths, Coles and Sole Mare were also at the bottom of its list and Greenpeace Ocean Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said in a statement that while tuna companies worldwide have made the improvement to their operations reduce by-catch of marine life, Greenpeace hopes that “major Australian companies such as John West will do the same” this year.

John West released a statement saying it is a supporter of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) position on FADs and that all its tuna products will all be sourced sustainably by 2015.

“We are aware that Greenpeace has made claims to the media regarding the sustainability of John West tuna products and in particular the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs), a device used to attract fish,” a John West spokesperson said.

“John West has been working towards improving the sustainability of John West’s products for many years and in 2012 we were proud to announce our partnership with the world’s largest independent conservation organisation, WWF.”

John West slammed the Greenpeace statement that it had 10 per cent by-catch, labelling it false.

It said that the current level of John West by-catch from FADS was 2 per cent.

“The majority of tuna used in our products is sourced from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean purse seine fishery (tuna used in our Pole and Line range is sourced from the Maldives),” the spokesperson said.

“Data collected by independent scientific observers shows that non tuna species comprise less than 2 per cent of the catch in this fishery.

“In addition last year over 60 per cent of fishing activity was undertaken without using FADs – a device used to attract fish.”

“Sustainability is a journey that we embarked on many years ago and is something that we are passionate about. We will continue to work towards improving the sustainability of our seafood products in order to reach our 2015 goal.”

What do you think of John West's statement? Do you think fish companies need to do more to improve sustainable fishing practises?

Bioplastics Pavillion at AUSPACK PLUS 2013

Today we announce plans to continue with the successful Bioplastics Pavilion that was introduced in 2009 to allow key industry experts to come together under one roof to help the visitors understand bioplastics.

The Bioplastics Pavilion will consist of members of the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA); which is the peak Industry body for manufacturers, converters and distributors of bioplastic products and materials throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The Association represents Members in the promotion of and advocacy for Member’s products and materials.

Previous Bioplastics Pavilion displays at AUSPACK PLUS generated significant interest in this merging market place and the members have come back again to continue to promote their unique and sustainable offerings from the bioplastics family of materials.

Companies that have already signed on to be a part of the pavilion include BASF Australia, Chem-Supply, Nature Works, Sun Australia Environmental Materials,  Innovia Films, Novamont and Cardia Bioplastics. Other ABA members such as Because We Care will have a separate exhibition stand in the same area as the pavilion.

Rowan Williams, Business Director, Australia and New Zealand, Plastics, BASF Australia added that they are proud to once again showcase their comprehensive range of sustainable packaging solutions at AUSPACK PLUS 2013.

“BASF provides a number of products that can help its customers to improve the sustainability of packaging. Examples include the partially bio-based, compostable polymers ecovio® and ecoflex®.” Williams said.

Stephen Morris, Business Development Manager, Chem-Supply added that their decision to exhibit within the bioplastics pavilion is designed to promote of Chem-Supply’s new agency for compostable plastics – FKuR GmbH (Germany).

“Compostable plastics is growing faster than the industry average and will, with time, constitute a significant part of the local market. FKuR’s expertise is compatibilisation of biodegradable polymers to optimise mechanical and composting properties.  As one would expect, they have a high level of expertise, prompt technical support and a product range suitable for the Australian market place. Products include film and injection moulding grades,”

“BioFlex film grades have excellent strength and sealing properties. Injection moulding grades are based on cellulose and derivatives and can offer clear or wood effect finishes. Our objective is to broaden the available range of biodegradable materials, which will assist in the growth of Bioplastics.”  Morris said.

Warwick Hall, Novamont SpA, added that they will also be joining the pavilion.

“As a founding member of the ABA and a manufacturer of the Mater-Bi® range of starch based bioplastics resins, Novamont SpA is looking forward to exhibiting at AUSPACK PLUS 2013,” Mr Hall said.

“The applications for Mater-Bi® bioplastic are many including shopping and boutique bags, organic waste collections bags, biodegradable agricultural film and packaging. Within the ABA pavilion at AUSPACK PLUS 2013, visitors will be able to see packaging and other products made in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world using Mater-Bi® bioplastic resin. AUSPACK PLUS 2013 will present an ideal opportunity for participants in, and customers of, the packaging industry to see some of the continuing and newer application for Mater-Bi® bioplastic along with those from other ABA member companies.” he said.

AUSPACK PLUS 2013 is a ‘must-attend’ exhibition on the Australian Packaging and Processing calendar and will be held at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park from Tuesday the 7th to Friday the 10th of May 2013.

AUSPACK PLUS is owned and presented by the Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (APPMA), Australia’s only national packaging and processing machinery organisation.

Maggie Beer slams supermarket dominance

Celebrity chef and food producer is the latest industry insider to accuse the major supermarkets of failing to support Australian food growers and manufacturers.

“So many Australians seek the cheapest alternative in food, and perhaps this is exacerbated by the big two [Coles and Woolworths], our duopoly, that pits one against the other in price wars, that see the farmer suffer. We have to do something about that,” she told the International Year of Co-operatives conference in Port Macquarie last week.

Beer’s pate, quince paste and ice creams sell through major supermarkets and independent retailers at a higher price than other comparable item, due to their high quality standard and use of Australian ingredients.

She said that while most Australians say they support Australian made and owned products, their purchasing behaviour proves otherwise.

''It's interesting Australians say they will support Australian-made and Australian-grown, but will we?”

“We support what's marketed most, and we so often support what's cheapest, especially with food.''

Beer was awarded an Order of Australia this year, after finding recognition for her cookbooks and television series focussed on cooking.

Beer has echoed the statements of Independent Queensland MP Bob Katter, who earlier this year told Parliament that the major supermarkets are killing our farmers.

''If we don't support our farmers, we will not continue to enjoy the freshness and the diversity of the produce we have now,'' she said.

''I have to say flavour, seasonality, ripeness, can not travel a long way.

Beer is in a good position to comment on the realities of farming, since she owns a farm in South Australia’s Barossa Valley with vineyards, olive groves, quince orchards and a soft fruit orchard.

“I know we live in a global market, but our local farmers can not compete against the imports of a global market when it comes to the cost of our labour.

''It's important that we pay a proper wage to a farm worker that not only sustains a family but sustains farming communities – whole communities.''

Terry Toohey Australian Dairy Farmers Director, told the Food Magazine Industry Leaders Summit earlier this year that the impact of Coles and Woolworths’ price wars will continue to drive farmers away.

"The retail actions are certainly impacting the dairy farmers in a negative way, this combined with the uncertainties and other factors [impacting] dairy or other farming, it's making it unattractive for the next generation, because it's not profitable for my children,” he said.

"If I was old and had children ready to take over the farm, I will tell them blue in the face not to come into agriculture.

“And that's pretty sad after 107 years on the one farm."

“It’s an unfortunate reality that milk price is a dollar.

“[It’s] simply unsustainable for all involved in the fresh food market.

“You can see the dairy farmers’ dairy families already suffering for Coles’ tactics.

“Given the sheer size of the supermarket duopoly, over 75 per cent of the market is between the two powers, and they are wielding that Australian marketplace and the majority of Australian suppliers, particularly to the fresh food industry,” he said.

“In NSW, my state, I see farmers being asked to sign contracts for 3 cents a litre than their previous contracts," he said.

“This will have astronomical effects on fund and profit margins.”

“In my case I’ll have 40 per cent of my tier 2 of milk [purchased] at 18 cents [per litre].

“The cost of products is 40 cents [per litre].

“So, you start to look and say, I’m only one person, there are 800 dairy farmers in NSW alone.”

Beer also joined the myriad of critics of Australia’s current labelling laws, saying they make it very difficult for consumers to understand which products are locally-grown.

''We were bottling some of our olives,” she explained.

“The salt came from South Australia and we had some of our own red wine vinegar in the jar and we were labelling it and then we found out we could not say 'Produce of Australia' because the jar came from overseas.''

Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith, who launched his own food company over a decade ago, has also voiced his concerns about the ability for local companies to compete against cheap imports.

“The freedom we’ve usually had in Australia is that you could go to a supermarket and decide if you wanted to buy Australian, imported, high-quality, low-quality, it was up to you," he said earlier this year.

“ALDI has taken that decision away.

“The problem is that because so many of us go to ALDI because the prices are cheaper, Coles and Woolworths will copy.

“The reason ALDI’s so successful is you can’t compare a price.

“What Coles and Woolworths will do to compete with that, which they must do because they have Aussie mums and dads as shareholders and the board will get the sack if they don’t keep making profits each year, so they will go to more and more products where you can’t compare a price.

"I call that ‘extreme capitalism,’ and it’s a disadvantage to consumers."

Do you agree with Maggie Beer's comments? How can we fix this problem?

Image: Australian Traveller

APPMA Welcomes New Board Member

The Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) announced today that they have welcomed a new Director to the Board, Derek Ford.

Derek Ford is the National Sales & Marketing Manager for the Automation division at Visy which has its head office located in Melbourne. A qualified Mechanical Engineer, Derek has over fifteen years’ experience in Packaging Automation including project delivery, robotics, materials handling as well as high and low speed case erecting and packing systems covering most FMCG sectors.

Derek returns to the APPMA Board effective September 2012, having held a position from 2006 to 2008. The APPMA National Board welcomes Derek Ford and looks forward to working with him again.  

Nestlé loses appeal against Cadbury’s purple

Food giant Nestlé has lost its court battle with Cadbury over the colour purple.

The UK High Court did not uphold Nestle’s appeal that has gone on for four years.

In 2008, Cadbury, which is now owned by Kraft Foods, won the right to exclusively use the particular purple colour Pantone 2685C, the colour used Dairy Milk packaging.

Nestlé challengeed a ruling from December 2011 that covered chocolate bars and drinks., arguing that colours could not be protected as a trademark.

Judge Colin Birss did not agree, ruling yesterday that colours are "capable of being signs."

He determined that the "Cadbury purple" had become synonymous with the company's chocolate for more than 90 years.

"The evidence clearly supports a finding that purple is distinctive of Cadbury for milk chocolate,” he said.

The original ruling from the Intellectual Property Office found sufficient evidence Cadbury had used the colour since first making Dairy Milk in 1914.

But since the trademark did not cover chocolate cakes or assortments, Nestlé's boxes of Quality Street contain the brazil nut chocolate wrapped in the purple colour, which has been a bone of contention between the two confectionary makers.

What do you think of the ruling? Do you agree that colours should be trademarked?

Wal-Mart offers discounts on healthy foods: should Australia follow suit?

America’s largest supermarket has teamed up with a leading insurance company to offer healthy foods at a reduced price.

Supermarket giant Wal-Mart’s collaboration with Humana Insurance will allow eligible shoppers to get a 5 per cent discount on healthy products, such as fresh fruit and vegetables and low fat dairy.

All the eligible foods, including eggs, wholemeal bread and almonds, will be marked with a “Great For You” icon, allowing shoppers to easily spot the discounted, healthy products.

The offer, to start 15 October, will be available to more than 1 million eligible customers currently covered by Humana insurance.

The grocery giant said the move is part of its plans to make healthier foods more accessible for Americans, which have the highest rate of obesity in the world.

Last year it announced plans to lower salts, fats and sugars in thousands its private label products and agreed to cut produce prices by 2015.

Australian is also struggling with its collective weight, with latest figures showing one in three children and one in four adults is overweight or obese.

The Food and Grocery Council (AFGC)’s Responsible Marketing to Children Initiative (RMCI) has reduced the number of advertisements aimed at children promoting unhealthy foods, and a number of manufacturers have voluntarily begun reducing sugar, fat and sodium content of products, but the problem still remains.

Many experts believe more education is needed to curb the rise in obesity, which poses a threat to Australia’s healthcare system, which will struggle to handle the rates of obesity-related conditions if current rates continue.

The high price of healthy food choices as opposed to low-cost unhealthy alternatives has also been slammed in Australia and there have been suggestions we should adopt a "fat tax" or "sugar tax" to improve current obesity rates.

Do you think Australia needs a similar initiative to the one Wal-Mart is implementing? Could it help improve the nation’s health?

Buying local food most important to Aussies, research finds

Australians are more likely to buy locally grown foods than any other products, new research has shown.

Research conducted by the Australian Made Australian Grown campaign has shown that while more than 50 per cent of Aussies will buy cheap imported clothes, hardware, furniture and household appliances, 9 in 10 prefer buying food grown and manufactured here.

The Roy Morgan research commissioned by Australian Made Australian Grown found that for many products, consumers don’t care about buying local or imported.

Australian Made Australian Grown Campaign chief executive Ian Harrison said that while the findings were "extremely worrying" and warned more jobs would be lost unless consumers change their attitude across the downward trending sectors, it was good to see that buying local food and drink is at the forefront of Australian’s minds.

He said confidence in the safety and quality of local produce grown in Australia is one of the main reasons the majority of the 1200 adults surveyed buy local produce.

The AMAG campaign is working to educate consumers about the use of the Australian Made logo, and the definitions of Australian made products.

Only one in three surveyed knew that the products had to be substantially produced or manufactured in Australia to be able to use the logo, and four in 10 consumers surveyed said they find it difficult to identify whether a product is Australian made.

Harrison told the Food Magazine Industry Leaders Summit in August that the organisation wants the definitions and legal parameters of using the label to be stricter, as more companies are able to find loopholes to promote their products as Australian, when in fact they are made primarily from foreign ingredients.

“Tighten up the definitions of substantial transformation, I think one of the problems we find in the industry and one the consumers don’t like is ‘maybe’ particularly in the area of food,” he said.

“You have to substantially transform the product in Australia, and you have to have more than 50 per cent value add in Australia.

“Substantial transformation, we believe, offers a very important way forward for the government to put a bit of strength and predictability into food labelling.

“We think you can actually make some fundamental changes to what constitutes substantial transformation.”

The iconic image was an initiative of the federal government in 1986, and is a certification trademark, as Harrison explained at the Food Magazine Industry Leaders Summit.

It is a “very legal instrument, which has a set of rules behind it and those rules can’t be changed without agreement between us and the government,” he said.

For 10 years up to 1996, the symbol and its use was run by the Advanced Australia Foundation, before a change in government saw the funding that was set up for the logo removed.

“We’re non- for profit, we’re a public company limited by guarantee,” he said.

“In 2007, the federal government introduced Australian Grown.

“We rewrote our rules at that time and we changed the name of the symbol from the Australian Made logo to the Australian Made Australian Grown logo.

“It gets a bit more complicated for us because last year we introduced Australian seafood driven by the seafood industry, and internationally we introduced Australian to be used offshore.

“I’m happy t o say has grown significantly in the last five or six years.

“We’ve got about 1,700 companies using it just over, and on about 10, 000 products, so there’s a very, very wide usage across all sectors, and of these companies, 44 % of them export.”

Earlier this month consumer advocacy group CHOICE released the results of their survey into the country of origin of product ingredients, comparing home-branded products from Coles and Woolworth’s private labels with leading supplier brands, which found  just 55 per cent of Coles’ products and 38 per cent of Woolworths’ products were grown or manufactured locally, compared with 92% of market leader groceries.

More than 100 000 jobs have been lost in the manufacturing sector in the last five years, an industry task force released last month revealed, and the rapid increase in private label products on Australian supermarket shelves is reducing the amount of choice consumers have, while also significantly impacting farmers.

A study earlier this year found that one in four products sold in Australian supermarkets is now private label, and of those, one in two is imported.

What  products do you make sure you buy Australian Made? 

Consumers misled over serving sizes: Choice calls for reform

Consumer watchdog Choice is calling for an overhaul to current labelling standards, after research revealed some manufacturers are misleading consumers over portion sizes to make their products seem healthier.

The Choice study found that some manufacturers using the thumbnail percentage guides on the front of packaging to portray their products as the healthier option are deceiving consumers by using distorted serving sizes.

Choice spokesperson Ingrid Just told Food Magazine the practise has been going on for some time.

“We’re not surprised [by the findings], we know manufacturers are manipulating serving sizes to make products seem healthier than they are,” she said.

“Those manufacturers who use thumbnail percentage [daily intake] labels on the front of packs often look to that serving size because it brings some of those percentages down.

“So for consumers who may use that to compare products, they are getting an unrealistic reading, as the serving sizes may not be the same.”

In Australia, manufacturers are responsible for deciding on appropriate serving sizes, and as such, they often vary between different sized of the same product.

A Mars Bar serving, for example, is stated as 18, 36 or 53 grams, depending on the pack size

Comparatively, the US serving sizes are regulated by government body the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Just said the industry needs to be regulated so that manufacturers can’t select serving sizes that will paint them in a more positive light than reality.

“The daily intake thumbnails are confusing, consumers find them difficult to understand, and we’re saying there needs to be one consistent comparison, using 100 grams or 100 millilitres, so that across products, regardless of serving size, they can find healthy options.”

Just said the design and display of front-of-pack labelling is crucial to its success, as consumers don’t allow much time to make their decisions.

“We think any front-of-pack labelling should be one that allows consumers to find healthy options at a glance, so colours or symbols should be used to make that obvious, because consumers take two to five seconds to chose products, so they have to be able to easily compare.

“It needs to be based not on serving sizes.”

The research found manufacturers are putting up to three servings into packaging portrayed to be a single serving size, leading consumers to consume more than intended.

With the mandatory front-of-pack nutritional labelling due to be rolled out by the government this year, Just said Choice will be assisting agencies to find the best variation.

“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to make sure it is easy to understand, is based on a standard measure and is easily comparable,” she told Food Magazine.

Successfully overhauling the system would result in a healthier industry, according to Just.

“What we know is that a front-of-pack, easy to understand system would highlight those products that are worse, and that’s why some manufacturers wouldn’t support it.

“Having said that, it would encourage regulation, which would see, in turn, more healthier products on shelves, and that is good for consumers and everyone.”

The Choice report refers to the latest food and nutrition publication from the government’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that found that our current overweight and obesity rates – 23% of children and 61% of adults – are some of the highest in the world.

“Food portion sizes are increasing,” the report states.

“In the US in the 1950s, McDonald’s offered just one size of soft drink – 7oz (about 210mL).

“It now has 12, 16, 21 and 32oz (950mL) offerings.

“And French fries and hamburgers are now two to five times larger than those originally offered.

“Portion distortion has even occurred in the home, where the sizes of our bowls and glasses have steadily increased and the surface area of the average dinner plate has increased 36 per cent since 1960.

“Why does this matter?

“Put simply, the bigger the portion, the more you eat and the more kilojoules (energy) you consume.

“Between 1983/85 and 1995, energy intake increased significantly for both adults and children in Australia.

"Without an equivalent increase in energy expenditure, increases in energy intake can result in significant weight gain over time.”

Increasing plate sizes has also led Australians to consume more, as natural instinct leads most to fill a plate or bowl, regardless of its size.

Even nutritionists aren’t immune to the behaviour, with one study asking 85 nutrition experts to serve themselves a bowl of ice cream.

A variety of bowl and scoop sizes were handed out, and it was found that those with larger bowls served themselves 31 per cent more ice cream without being aware of it, while a bigger spoon made them dish out almost 15 per cent more.

What do you make of these findings? Does there need to be one standard across the board, or should manufacturers be entitled to make the call on serving sizes themselves?

Image: Choice


Govt not amused by big tobacco’s plain packaging “sick joke”

The federal health minister has slammed big tobacco’s “sick joke,” which has seen the first two companies rolling out the plain packaging for cigarettes in ways that do not comply with the new standards.

Imperial Tobacco has unveiled new packaging which shows the traditional Peter Stuyvesant logos and colours being torn away to reveal the new drab green colouring, which will become mandatory from next month.

It’s new packaging, which is essentially a new marketing campaign, aims to show consumers that while the appearance is changing, "it's what's on the inside that counts''.

"Soon no one will see Peter Stuyvesant on the outside but we don't care,” the company says in a leaflet advertising its packaging change to retailers.

“We're going plain early, because we know Peter Stuyvesant will continue to live on inside.”

But Health Minister Tanya Plibersek is not amused by the company’s ballsy move, or that of fellow tobacco giant Philip Morris, labelling them "the ultimate sick joke from Big Tobacco''.

“Diseased lungs, hearts and arteries are the reality of what is happening on the inside to a smoker,'' she said.

The government has also written to Philip Morris, warning that that the new plain packaging of its Bond Street cigarettes “heavily resembles the plain packaging requirements,’ but still needs improvement to comply with the new legislation.

"We note that if these products are sold, offered for sale or otherwise supplied after 1 December 2012 the packaging would not be compliant with the Act,” the health department stated.

''The breach of the act could possibly expose the company to massive fines of up to $1.1 million.

“The department takes issues with the use of the word `cigarettes' in small type on the side of the packet, it says the outer surfaces of the packet must have a "matt finish'' and warns the pack may not be the correct colour – Pantone 448C.”

The department has also referred the health warnings displayed on the packaging to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to determine whether they comply with regulations.

From 1 October, companies will be required to start including graphic health warnings across 75 per cent of the packaging, which will be required to be the specific drab green colour set out by the government.

As of 1 December, all cigarettes sold in Australia must be encased in plain packaging, or retailers risk hefty fines.

Major retailers are expecting to receive deliveries of the controversial new packs of Peter Stuyvesant and Bond Street cigarettes this week, and Plibersek has warned that the department will "be closely watching the new packages to ensure that they comply with the regulations because we know that Big Tobacco will use every trick in the book to try and get around the new requirements''.

"Where we identify any examples of possible non-compliance before the implementation dates we will be letting the companies know so they can rectify any issues,'' she said.

What’s your thoughts on the moves by the two companies? Do you agree with Plibersek that it’s a “sick joke,” or are these companies entitled to market their brands?

Global packaging market expected to reach $329 billion in 2012

New research indicates that the global food and drink packaging market will have a value of $329 billion in 2012, according to a new report from Visiongain.

The main driving forces behind this growth are increasing environmental awareness amongst consumers, gentrifying societies and consumer’s busy lifestyles.

One of the areas for growth are emerging markets, where higher incomes per capita and increasing urbanization are giving people in these markets access to a greater range of packaged foods and drinks than ever before.

This is contrasted with developed markets which are unlikely to experience strong growth due to economic uncertainty in many countries and a saturation of these markets.

In addition, many developed markets are seeing a consumer backlash against excessive, environmentally-unfriendly packaging as movements promoting more natural, sustainable food habits continue to gain momentum.

Read more about the report at Visiongain