Big Baking: The breadwinners of Adelaide

We have all heard of big data, but how about big baking? The Australian bread making industry is as robust as its grain production. Unlike a local bakery, large scale baking operations require much larger ovens and mixmasters that spin for extended periods to make bread dough. Read more

Taking a load off baking ovens

When asked what he loved most about his job in the baking industry, Bakery Combinations general manager, Mark Hodgson, said that the appeal of working with MIWE was too hard to ignore when the opportunity arose to join the team two years ago.
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A well baked solution for Suprima

The CRC Greenlight program sounded like the perfect package to Steve Carr, Engineering Manager for Suprima Bakeries, when he first learned about the program through John Perri, Key Account Executive at BSC. Read more

A chain lubricant for the safety conscious

Safety was top of mind for a top Australian manufacturer of bakery products when they approached their long-term product suppliers at BSC seeking recommendation for a suitable chain lubricant. Nick Gunn, the BSC account manager at the time, recommended the ROCOL FOODLUBE Hi Temp Chain Lubricant from ITW Polymers and Fluids, which resulted in a long-term supply program, covering not just the ISO-certified oven chain lubricants, but also a wide range of other oils and greases in the FOODLUBE family.

According to Nick, the ROCOL FOODLUBE portfolio adds an invaluable safety dimension that not only ensures food industry requirements are met, but additionally works to optimise the production in food plants and simplify the overall cleaning process.

“FOODLUBE’s reputation as a globally recognised lubricant for food and beverage manufacturing means that our customer could use the products with complete peace of mind, with no concerns regarding contamination or machinery performance,” he says. “Due to the wide operating temperatures, FOODLUBE Hi-Temp Chain Oil can operate at temperatures ranging from minus 25 degrees to 280 degrees Celsius, they use the same product in their ovens, as well as in their freezers.”

Emilio Seballos, Channel Manager for Heavy Industry at ITW Polymers and Fluids, explains what makes the FOODLUBE proposition attractive for food manufacturers.

“ROCOL FOODLUBE has NSF accreditation, which is globally recognised, and it is also HACCP certified. On top of that, many ROCOL products provide an additional level of safety assurance through their ISO 21469:2006 certification. Like NSF H1, this certification is globally recognised and important for British Retail Consortium audits as it provides credible, independent assurance that products are formulated, manufactured, stored and supplied hygienically and safely.”

Another area where food manufacturers can benefit from the use of ROCOL FOODLUBE products, Emilio explains, is to rationalise and simplify their lubricant inventories.

“The technology behind food grade lubricant products has improved drastically over the last 10 to 15 years. Whereas many food manufacturers still prefer to keep separate inventories for food grade and non-food grade lubricant in their plants, they are increasingly coming to realise the simplifications they can achieve by switching to food-safe products through more of their applications, thus eliminating the risk of cross-contamination in their plants,” he says.

“In the case of the FOODLUBE product range, all the oils and greases are made with a synthetic base oil, which means they don’t break down and carbonise when exposed to high temperatures. This in turn leads to prolonged maintenance intervals as the lubricant does not evaporate from the chain, nor does it cause the chain to drag. The FOODLUBE Hi Temp Chain Spray also has great resistance to water washdowns, so you don’t need to lubricate your chain as frequently in a high water washdown environment. All of this leads to reduced maintenance expenses for the plants and enhances their total reliability and efficiency,” he adds.

As a routine practice, Emilio says the ITW and BSC personnel often perform joint assessments for BSC clients to help them rationalise their inventories.

“The beauty of the ROCOL FOODLUBE portfolio is that many of the products serve multiple purposes. For example, your gearbox oil in one application can be used as chain lubricant in another application. Similarly, your hydraulic lubricant might double up as a chain lubricant, depending on the situation,” he says.

“Where ITW P&F and BSC come into play is to help our customers rationalise their inventories to simplify their management. In one audit we did in conjunction with BSC some years ago, the customer was using 25 different lubricants from 13 different brands. We were able to simplify this down to 12 lubricants from the FOODLUBE range.”

Within this portfolio, Emilio says the FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease has been a “game-changer” in the food industry.

“The FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease is a food grade grease designed for bearings operating at high speeds and high temperatures. Because this grease has a consistency grade of 1, in addition to a wide temperature range of minus 30 to 180 degree Celsius, it can effectively replace multiple types of greases in one application line.

“The FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease is resistant to water washdowns and ISO21469 certified, so you can safely use it where stringent quality control measures are in place.”

The FOODLUBE WD spray is another popular product within the range, Emilio says.

“The FOODLUBE Water Displacement (WD) spray is ideal for use as a general lubricant to protect small components such as linkages, pivots and pins. Having high temperature resistance (up to 120 degree Celsius) and being synthetic based make this a multi-purpose spray that you can use for many applications. The WD Spray is also fortified with PTFE for increased lubricity and like all FOODLUBE products, it is free from colour and odour – which is very important in the food industry.”

As an additional safety measure, all plastic components including the lids and actuators in the ROCOL FOODLUBE products are metal detectable and capable of detection by most metal detection equipment.

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Unleashed a game changer for award-winning bakery

Located an hour’s drive south of Perth, Pinjarra is a little town with a huge drawcard – its renowned bakery run by the Pantaleo family.

Founded just over 22 years ago by patriarch and former panel beater Larry, the bakery has not only put the town on the map, but has won a bookshelf-full of national awards for its pies. Its award-winning ways were capped off this year by taking out the Best Meat Pie award in the Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition at the Fine Food Australia Exhibition held in Sydney.

Like any company, growth is key, and since starting the business in 1997, Larry and the rest of his family, has grown the business to include stores in Maddington and Waroona, also in Western Australia.

However, while expansion is exciting, it does come with a set of challenges, one being more paperwork. When in its infancy, dealing with spreadsheets wasn’t a problem for the Pantaleo family. However, as the business expanded, so did the bureaucracy of keeping it running. The bakery’s general manager, Larry’s son Daniel, knew something had to be done to streamline processes with paperwork. Enter Unleashed Software’s solution.

READ MORE: Integration and easy of use key to cloud solution

“The old system that we had of dealing with the paperwork and spreadsheets was no longer going to work,” said Daniel Pantaleo. “It was very inefficient and time-consuming for us. It all came to a head when we opened our Maddington store.”

Unleashed’s inventory management software was a perfect solution for the family, and Pantaleo noticed the impact straight away.

“What we like about Unleashed is that it is a hosted solution, which means I can jump on it from anywhere in the world and I can check what is going on,” he said. “I can update my prices. I can contact my customers through the CRM. So it allows me – as someone who is here, there and everywhere at any given time of the day – to jump on any time anywhere and see what is going on. This is very important for me, because the last thing I want was a dedicated software solution on one computer at one location. A key to me was having that flexibility.”

According to Pantaleo, the system also streamlined a lot of processes that the bakery had, which were old and clunky. Many mistakes were getting made and Unleashed allowed Pantaleo to enter all the parameters he needed to cover in one place. From there, he could control the ordering of stock, see what stock he had, as well as the taking feedback from the other two stores.

“Everything became a lot clearer as to how we were operating that business,” said Pantaleo. “You need to keep control of your numbers otherwise it is pretty daunting feeling when you think you are losing control of the stock, the numbers and what is going on with that side of the business.

“Unleashed is quite precise in what it does. It is flexible, too. Not only in terms that we can operate it from anywhere, but also how you can tweak it to your style of business. It tells you everything you need to know. If you manage your stock and distribution correctly, Unleashed will do all the hard work for you. It allows you to customise and design your own purchase orders, invoices and stuff like that, which is very handy.”

Pantaleo is confident that Unleashed is capable of being used in many other industries. He said that it takes a while to set everything up, but once it is up and running it is a powerful tool.

“The biggest issue we worried about was that we had all these items that we needed to enter into it, which we thought was going to take forever,” he said. “But we were pretty much given a template of a spreadsheet and then told how we needed to enter the data. And from there, once we had the 1,000 plus items in there – the product, the supplier, the prices, the sell price tiers etc – we uploaded it to Unleashed and then we were ready to use it.”

With more than 70 staff onboard, Pantaleo knows that he is not the only one who needs to know how to use the software, which means he has had to teach others how implement it, too. He said that he has found teaching others how to use it easy for a couple of reasons.

“Unleashed is really easy to teach, because they have a lot of online training tools,” he said. “They have what they call a university that shows people how to use the software. If I do need to onboard somebody to use it, I usually send them to do that training first. From there, I manage them for a couple of days to give them pointers of the little intricacies of how we operate our business. It’s fairly straight forward.”

There are several highlights that Pantaleo points out. This includes being able to run a reorder report, which reads all the stock levels the bakery has at any given time.

“From that report you can generate a purchase order to all of your suppliers with the levels you require,” said Pantaleo. “That saves us a lot of time and this is why it is one of the main highlights of the product.”

The other feature that Pantaleo loves is its business-to-business portal that was released a year ago, which is an online ordering platform. It was a real game changer for Pinjarra Bakery.

“Initially we got Unleashed because it was reducing the paperwork, but as we increased our stores that paperwork was starting to increase again, just through the volume of the stores we had,” said Pantaleo. “Having that online portal allowed us to place our orders online and that would then pull the orders straight in as a sale order, which saves us possibly two or three hours a day of not having to enter stock manually. The orders that come in are now a lot more accurate and saved us a tonne of time and allowed our distribution manager to focus on more things to improve the distribution as opposed to being stuck behind a computer all day.”

How to make food last longer on the shelf

Choosing the right packaging for your food or beverage can lead to the success or failure of a brand. But, as well as a good logo and pretty colours, your packaging needs to be able to sustain its contents. And the longer shelf life it has, the better for the producer. One way to extend the life of products is to use Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) technology, which was created in the 80s and has been widely used since in pre-packaged foodstuff and prepared food and is championed by industrial gas specialist, Air Liquide.

The technique consists of replacing the air in the headspace of a package with a specific gas mixture. It is used to extend product shelf life and to provide an attractive presentation. This way, the natural deterioration of the product is slowed down and the initial fresh state of perishable products may be prolonged. It is commonly said that the shelf life extension with MAP is up to four times longer compared to a product packaged in air.

MAP helps preserve the freshness, colour, flavour and nutritional attributes of food products with an all-natural solution. This is because MAP can extend a product’s shelf life by slowing down microbial, enzymatic and physical deterioration. It also eliminates the need for chemical preservatives, provides mechanical protection for fragile products, and can optimise inventory levels. Side effects of using MAP technology is that its allows users to enlarge distribution networks to new geographies, reduces the amount of returns and food waste, and can provide an attractive package presentation for retail displays.

It is advisable to be careful, because there can be pitfalls. Temperature control, hygiene, and good sanitation practices still need to be followed during the manufacturing process. For refrigerated products, it is essential that the food product is in good condition with a low initial microbial load prior to MAP, otherwise the gases will not be able to extend the shelf life of the product. It is also important to know that refrigerated products must be stored at refrigerated temperatures, regardless of how they are packaged. If the storage temperature is higher than the recommendation, then the shelf life will also be shorter.

MAP technology also addresses all retail packaged food segments – both chilled and ambient. It is dedicated to the packaging step of the food value chain. It follows the processing or preparation steps and precedes storage and transportation ones. MAP could fit to bulk (big bags, cardboard) and portion units packaging (trays, bags).

MAP is used for maintaining the organoleptic qualities of food products for a longer period of time in most food processing markets whenever there is a risk of degradation if stored under air, such as:

• Meat and poultry customers – by far the largest users worldwide for fresh cuts and minced meat or processed products.
• Ready meals (pizzas, quiches, cooked meals, sandwiches).
• Dairy (milk powder, portioned/sliced/grated cheese products).
• Bakery products (bread, pastries, cookies, fresh pasta).
• Dry products (nuts, coffee, instant mashed potatoes).
• Fresh fruits & vegetables (lettuce leaves, grated carrot, fruit salads).
• Seafood (fish fillets and whole fish, processed seafood products).

Food Safety with MAP
Food safety is a public health priority that is presenting new challenges due to the increasing trends in global food production, processing and distribution. Consumers are regarding foodborne disease outbreaks with increasing concern.

Gases used in MAP are considered as food additives in Australia and as such must follow legislation applying to food additives including purity criteria.

Food MAP gases status depends on the local regulation concerning food additives enforced in each country, but must always be compliant to local food grade specifications and manufacturing procedures. Air Liquide guarantees that its ALIGAL range of gas products that are used in MAP complies with the Australian Food Standards Code.

The ALIGAL brand follows a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) based upon the requirements from FSSC 22000 (ISO 22000 + ISO TS 22002-1). Such a system provides evidence that Air Liquide is committed to:

• HACCP- (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and HARPC-based (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls) systems for carbon dioxide.
• Monitor O-PRPs (Operational Prerequisite Program) and CCPs (Critical Control Points) and record them.
• Implement, maintain and periodically test traceability.
• Use cylinders with specific labelling and special valves to avoid contamination.
• Manage non-conformities/deviations.
• Train people and ensure that personnel applies procedures.
What Gases Are Used in MAP?

The “atmosphere” is the gas surrounding the product. It can be active or inert. This gaseous atmosphere can be made of a single gas component (N2, CO2, O2 or Ar) or a mixture of these gases. The atmosphere can change over time if the film is not impermeable.

The mixture of gases in the package depends on the type of product, the packaging materials, the storage temperature, and the objectives sought by the food manufacturer. There are multiple gases and mixtures and the choice of the suitable one is not always straightforward. As an example, cheese would require different gas mixtures whether it is grated, sliced or in blocks.

A balance must be found between the shelf life requirements, the characteristics of the food product, and the CO2 levels in the gas mixture. It is advisable to run some MAP trials with different gas mixtures and the product, in parallel with quality and microbial analyses, in order to determine the best combination.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)) limits the growth of bacteria and slows down the development of mould, however a minimum concentration of 20 per cent in the gas mixture is required. Users must keep in mind that it is soluble in water and fats, which means that, in some cases, it can lead to package collapse and should be balanced with nitrogen. CO2 also reacts with water to produce a weak acid (carbonic acid) that could cause a flavour change in some products like tomato-based or mayonnaise-based products. When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, too much CO2 in the gas mixture can lead to premature spoilage since higher levels of the gas can affect the cellular structure of the product.

Nitrogen (N2) is an inert gas that is used to displace oxygen inside the package headspace in order to prevent oxidative reactions. It helps limit the growth of aerobic bacteria and is also used to provide mechanical protection for fragile products or to prevent package collapse because it has low solubility in water and fats.

Argon (Ar) has similar benefits to nitrogen as it is also inert, but it is twice as soluble as nitrogen in water. It can slow down the respiration rate of fresh vegetables better than nitrogen, thereby further increasing their shelf life.

Oxygen (O2) is usually the cause of microbial spoilage and oxidation but, in some cases, its presence is required. It is ideal for maintaining the bright colour of red meat. However, it can also reduce the shelf life, so it must be used in combination with CO2. It is essential for respiration of fresh fruits and vegetables to prevent premature spoilage or for blue cheese and mouldy rind cheese products (such as brie), to preserve the mould on the surface of the product. It can be used to prevent anaerobic conditions in produce such as fish, under which pathogenic bacteria like clostridium botulinum can grow.

Compared to air-wrapped or air-sealed packaged food product, on paper the MAP solution appears sometimes slightly more costly, mainly due to higher cost of the packaging materials. There are also indirect costs – packaging line productivity is lower (due to the fact that vacuum/gas injection sequence leads to a reduction in the number of cycles/min or packages/hour). Compared to vacuum packaging, the extra-cost of the gas is negligible; an indirect cost could be due to gas injection time (one to three additional seconds per cycle) therefore reducing packaging line productivity.

However, the benefits of MAP usually exceed its costs. The extended shelf life could be multiplied up to four times, allowing a reduction in logistics costs (storage and deliveries), production costs (optimisation of production schedules and series), and decreasing product waste.

Air Liquide can provide tailored solutions for food processors of all sizes. The company has the technical expertise to recommend the right gas solution adapted to each customer, whether it be packaging technology, packaging material, production capacity, size and shape of the product, desired product’s appearance, expected shelf life and logistics constraints.

The company can also propose multiple supply modes. Pure gases and mixtures can be supplied in cylinders and cylinder packs for small to medium food-processing lines. For larger food processing plants, Air Liquide supplies pure gases in cryogenic bulk vessels of different sizes along with on-site mixing systems when mixtures are needed.

Air Liquide also supplies customer support with its ALIGAL products. Based on its knowledge of the gas interactions with food products, the company provides solutions along with after-sales services. It has a dedicated worldwide network of international and local food and beverage experts to answer any questions related to MAP technology. It is easy for companies to access to Air Liquide expertise and resources to help companies optimise their process and operational costs.

They also offer training on safe handling of industrial gases and supply services for peace of mind that include the FLOSAFE gas reticulation system, bulk telemetry, rental of gas mixing stations, as well as maintenance and repair services. Finally, there are process services that include trials, product package atmosphere analysis and audits of packaging installations.

Air Liquide also provides gas solutions to many other industries, notably in water treatment, lab analysis, metal fabrication and healthcare.

Expansion and government funding recipe for success at Geelong Bakery

 The government of Victoria is helping a family owned bakery in Geelong expand its operations and create new jobs in the area.

The Routley’s Bakery in North Geelong received a $187,500 grant from the government through its local industry fund for transition.

The bakery is undergoing a $2.2 million expansion.

Money from the grant has gone towards renovating the current production site, purchasing new food manufacturing equipment and towards taking on six new workers – with more new jobs to be created.

READ: Victoria’s wine industry gets a $2 million boost from the government

Established 70 years ago, the company makes pies, cakes and bread for clients within the retail, education, health and aged care, leisure, transport and logistics, defence and government sectors.

Member for Geelong, Christine Couzens, said supporting companies such as Routley’s Bakery was important in employing more people in the community and supporting the local economy.

Routley’s Bakery has also been in touch with The Gordon’s Skills and Jobs Centre to recruit staff, including those from the automotive industry.

Minister for industry and employment, Ben Carroll, said the government would always support companies that help boost productivity and create new jobs.

“[The] government will support local businesses so they continue to grow and innovate – which will allow them to employ more Victorians.”

Victorian manufacturing contributes $27.7 billion to the Victorian economy and is home to more than 13,000 businesses employing more than 286,000 people.

The Victorian government has provided more than $120m in manufacturing support, creating more than 6,000 jobs and driving more than $1.6b in private investment.

The local industry fund for transition helps businesses generate new investment and create jobs for retrenched workers in areas affected by closures elsewhere.

The fund has supported more than 40 projects – expected to create more than 1,200 new jobs, more than 1,000 of which are suitable for ex auto workers.

Fonterra’s new China application centre set to expand its global foodservice

A new Fonterra Application Centre in Guangzhou China has been launched this week to reflect the growing demand for Fonterra’s Anchor-branded foodservice products and accompanying services.

The new facility aims to distribute the dairy products and services to customers across the region, particularly focusing on the Southern Chinese market which has high demand for top quality dairy nutrition and access to local foodservices to meet consumer needs.

In discussing the new application centre, Managing Director for Fonterra Greater China, Christina Zhu said, “China’s casual dining and bakery market has developed rapidly in recent years with an annual growth rate above 20 per cent. Within that overall growth, the demand for food made with premium dairy products also continues to rise. As the cultural and economic hub of Southern China, we are seeing strong growth in Guangzhou and are excited to bring our specialist Application Centre services to customers here.”

Fonterra will aim to bring its leading global research and development teams to China, making a commitment to serve Chinese customers with dairy knowledge sourced from New Zealand.

The company said the centre will host a range of activities including hosting technology demonstrations, bespoke professional training, recipe development and marketing workshops.