Staff Writer

Rocky Road House expands their gluten free product range

The rockyroadhouse.com.au, manufacturer’s of allergy free rocky road based in Newcastle NSW today released the expansion of their business with the launch of a new product range.  

The company, which is well known for its gluten, peanut and egg FREE rocky road, has developed the ‘Funny Bunny’ range just in time for Easter. 

Danielle Proctor, Executive Manager of The Rocky Road House said “Whilst the new product range will be available for purchase both online and instore all year round, the recent launch of this new range does lend itself to Easter. With each flavour presenting with it's own little joke it's sure to make even the biggest kid chuckle.

"The product development for this range was very important as we continue to listen to what our consumer are looking for in a new product.  With The Rocky Road House products available nationally in over 300 stores I am very excited about the next phase in the business and what the future holds as we continue to spread our wings”, Proctor said.

Mother Earth Natural Peanut Butter range

Product Name: Mother Earth Natural Peanut Butter range; Crunchy, Smooth, Chia Seed Blend and LSA Blend.

Product Manufacturer: Prolife Foods

Launch date: February 2016

Ingredients: Crunchy & Smooth Natural peanut butter – Hi-Oleic peanuts (99.5%), Salt
Chia Seed Blend peanut butter- Hi-Oleic peanuts (89.5%), Chia Seeds (10%), Salt
LSA Blend peanut butter – Hi-Oleic peanuts (89.5%), LSA (Linseed, Sunflower Seed & Almonds 10%), Salt

Shelf Life: 12 months, except LSA which is 9 months

Packaging: 380g tubs

Product Manager: Caroline Potter

Country of origin: Made in New Zealand from Australian Hi-Oleic peanuts. Note, if supply is short the same peanuts are sourced from Argentina.

Brand Website: https://Motherearthfoods.com.au

Describe the product: Natural peanut butter made with Hi-Oleic peanuts which have a high level of healthier monosaturated fats than standard peanuts. The range also has no preservatives, or added oils or sugars.

Contact Email: caroline_cottrill@tangopr.com.au

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 edie.net, 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.

Schneider Electric gets highest score ever for global sustainability

Food automation company, Schneider Electric has been recognised as one of the 2016 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations, coming 12th overall and 1st in its GICS Industry. It’s the fourth year running the Group ranks among the top 15 corporations in the sustainability index by Corporate Knights, the magazine for clean capitalism, released every year at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Companies who make the Global 100 ranking are the top overall sustainability performers in their respective industrial sectors, selected from a starting universe of 4,353 listed companies with a market capitalisation greater than $USD2 billion on October 1, 2015. Schneider Electric ranks first its sector and is among the 11 French companies listed. The Global 100 is determined using 12 quantitative sustainability indicators, as the amount of revenue companies generate per unit of energy consumed for example.

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman & CEO, Schneider Electric commented, “With overall score up to 70.5% in 2016 from 68.4% in 2015, we have achieved our best Global 100 score ever, ranking 1st in our sector and demonstrating our commitment to put sustainable development at the heart of our strategy. Even so, we’ve dropped three places in the global ranking, which means that the overall standards have risen. That’s great news for everyone and invitation to increase our efforts.”

Chinese wine makes its mark at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Visitors to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will have the opportunity to taste quality wine from somewhere they may not expect, China.

The ABC reports that an event to be held at the Langham Hotel will compare Australian made wines with their Chinese counterparts.

Judy Chan, chief executive of Grace Vineyard wines, an award-winning vineyard in the Shanxi province, is in Melbourne for the event.

She told the ABC that Australian wine drinkers tend to express surprise when they encounter Chinese wine.

"Most of the time it's shock. 'What? China produce wine? Really?'," she said.

Chan explained that wine drinking is something new for most Chinese people.

"Even when I started 14 years ago, and I asked people to taste the wine, they'd ask me what it is," she said.

"Many people have never drank wine before.

But she added that things have changed since then and wine drinking is becoming more accepted.

While Grace Vineyard wines are not currently available in Australia, Chan said she would like to sell them here.

The Chinese wine industry is growing rapidly, so much so that a Chinese wine Changyu Noble Dragon is now the most popular brand of wine in the world.

As Olive Press reports, Marques del Atrio, one of the five biggest bodegas in the Spanish region of Rioja, will import and distribute China’s Changyu Noble Dragon wine from the end of March.

Riojia is seen as the heartland of the Spanish wine industry.

Mazza Innovation opens first large-scale commercial extraction processing facility

Mazza Innovation, a provider of premium-quality, solvent-free botanical extracts, has opened its first large-scale commercial extraction processing facility to produce its award-winning PhytoClean Cranberry, Green Tea and Blueberry extracts as well as other clean label ingredients for its customers.

Mazza claims its process is a significant advance in environmental standards for extraction technologies.

The 38,000 sq.ft. facility has received its GMP certification and is fully compliant with the quality requirements of dietary supplements and natural health product manufacturers, including with organic customers in the near future.

Since the Mazza PhytoClean process only uses water as its solvent, no costly solvent-handling environmental safety permits or explosion-proof equipment were needed in its construction. This translates into competitive pricing for its quality ingredients or contract manufacturing services offered to its customers.

“Opening and initiating large-scale production is an exciting and important milestone for Mazza as we enter commercial production of our advanced premium extracts for the customers who have placed orders,” said Benjamin Lightburn, president of Mazza Innovation.

“We now have significant processing capability to fulfill demand and we’re exhibiting at Engredea to meet with customers to discuss orders and talk about the development of other innovative extract products. Our extraction technology can be applied to source many different botanical ingredients with higher purity than is typically available.”

Quick and easy somatic cell counting in milk

The LactiCyte from Page and Pederson can undertake somatic cell counts for fresh and preserved cow, goat, sheep, and buffalo milk in less than sixty seconds.

The LactiCyte from Page and Pederson can undertake somatic cell counts for fresh and preserved cow, goat, sheep, and buffalo milk in less than sixty seconds.

Using a fluorescent microscope technique and magnification approach, the actual cells counted are recorded by a charged-coupled device (CCD) camera and saved to an internal database.

Somatic Cell Testing is critical in monitoring dairy herd health and ensuring quality in milk and milk products.

Dairy processors need to know the level of somatic cells present in milk, as high counts are linked to reduced yields, impacts on organoleptic qualities, and reduced shelf life.

At the farm level, somatic cell testing can be used to indicate the presence of mastitis in individual cows, or assessing the entire herd. Furthermore somatic cell counts can indicate whether medical treatment has been effective, or whether further intervention is required.

The most common test method currently available is microscopy, but this method can often be inaccurate due to subjectivity and may require the use of hazardous chemicals. Alternatively sending samples to an external lab will result in delays for results.

The LactiCyte has a cell counting range of 100,000 to 10,000,000 somatic cells per ml. It is compact, cost effective, and provides immediate results to make timely decisions either at the farm or processing plant.

More than 40 hospitalised after chlorine exposure

A suspected faulty water pipe led to more than 40 workers from the Baiada Poultry factory in Beresfield being hospitalised on Monday after they were exposed to chlorine dioxide.

The Environmental Protection Authority, the meat packers union and Baiada have all launched investigations into the cause of the exposure, believed to have occurred after a fault with the system used to keep the factory’s assembly line clean.

It is understood to have caused workers to be sprayed with the chlorine solution, leading to complaints of nausea, irritated throats and eyes, and breathing difficulties.

More than 200 employees at the factory were evacuated at about 8.30am after workers reacted to the chemical, and 43 were transported to three hospitals across the Hunter.

Paramedics and Fire and Rescue both attended the factory, treating a number of workers at the site.

Inspector Brett Crotty from Fire and Rescue NSW said the cause of the exposure was a “chlorine solution used to disinfect the assembly line and keep everything clean”.

“There’s one tank with chlorine, and one tank with water, they both go through a pipe and mix together to dilute the chlorine, then they’re sprayed over the assembly line,” he said.

“There has been either a blockage or a fault in the water tank [which has] meant that chlorine has sprayed out over the assembly line.

“It wouldn’t have been for a long time, you know pretty quick if you come into contact with a straight disinfectant.”

Baiada could not confirm how many staff were affected or what had caused the malfunction, a spokesman saying that staff were being “monitored”.

“Our concern is for the well-being of our staff, and we will be conducting a thorough investigation of the cause of the leak,” the spokesman said.

“In the coming days we will be able to provide more information on what has occurred.”

Unaffected staff returned to work after the site was declared safe.

The Environmental Protection Authority visited the site after the evacuation, and has since requested a detailed incident report from Baiada as part of its investigation into the incident.

A spokesperson confirmed that chlorine dioxide was the chemical that leaked at the Beresfield plant.

“Once the site was declared safe by NSW Fire and Rescue HAZMAT crews, EPA officers carried out an inspection of the premises to determine the extent of environmental impacts,” the spokesperson said.

“No offsite impacts were identified.”

Hunter New England Health said all 43 workers, who were taken to Calvary Mater, Maitland and John Hunter hospitals, were in a stable condition.

By about 4.30pm 33 of them were still hospitalised.

A spokeswoman for health saying their status was being “reviewed” and could not confirm whether any would stay overnight.

Neighbours said they did not hear an alarm prior to the evacuation and were not notified by anyone from Baiada of the chemical leak, which is being investigated by the Environment Protection Authority.

On Monday afternoon, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union said that its officers were also on site “investigating the incident”.

Grant Courtney from the union said union officers had been at the site on Monday, and would conduct interviews with staff on Tuesday.

“We’ll be speaking with them to find out firsthand what happened,” Mr Courtney said.

“At the moment our concern is our member’s health.”

He said the union had been unable to confirm a number of details from the company, including how many people had been hospitalised.

“All they have said is that they have complied with their health and safety obligations, but we’ll be conducting our own investigations,” he said.

According to the World Health Organisation, chlorine dioxide can be used as a disinfectant agent or for treating water.

It exists as a gas at room temperature but can become explosive when its concentration in the air is greater than 10 per cent.

City fringes locked in battles over broiler farms

Once upon a time, chicken was a luxury few could regularly afford. It was a rare meal reserved for special occasions. Yet since 1965 the per-capita annual consumption of chicken meat in Australia has increased ten-fold from 4.6 kilograms per person in 1965 to 44.6 kilograms in 2012.

The retail price of chicken per kilogram has decreased steadily in real terms from around A$9.67 in 1986 to A$5.67 in 2009. The arrival of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Australia in 1968coincided with rapid increases in consumption. Today, Australians consume more than 600 million chickens per year.

The vast majority is produced in intensive “broiler” farms. How does chicken production and consumption on such a scale affect the foodbowls on the outskirts of our cities?

Australians consume over 600 million chickens each year, with the price of chicken having fallen steadily since the 1960s. Andrew Butt

Intensive chicken farms need to be within about one hour of processing sites. Farms also need to be close to feed supplies and hatcheries, as they are run as highly integrated systems.

Partly because of this, the chicken meat industry in Victoria is concentrated within about 200 kilometres of Melbourne. Similar patterns occur in other Australian regions.

As the industry has sought efficiencies of scale, the size of farms has increased. Whereas farms of the 1970s might have housed 10,000 chickens, they now routinely hold 80,000 to more than one million chickens, producing five batches of chickens per year. Yet as producers have grown, the numbers of suitable urban fringe spaces – close enough to processing plants, but far enough from neighbours and sensitive land uses – are dwindling.

One reason is the growth in popularity of peri-urban areas to live in. “Counter-urbanisation” or “tree-changing” has been underway since the 1970s. Whether in Germany, the US or the Netherlands, it seems rural and peri-urban residents have little desire to live near a “monster chicken factory”.

In a recent paper we analysed 59 planning appeals related to broiler farms in Victoria between 1969 and 2013. Concerns about the farms have included odour, noise, dust, vermin, truck traffic, impacts on tourism, and water use and pollution.

Broiler farm planning disputes appear to channel more intractable issues than odour control. It is possible that, on some level, having one million chickens not smell is unsettling in its own way.

As more chicken meat is produced, and in ever more technologically intensive ways, conflicts over farm applications inevitably unlock community disquiet about factory farming. The allowable forum for legitimate opposition, however, is narrow.

Intensive farming is often simply inconsistent with community expectations. The “unknowns” of industrialised agriculture are normally hidden from view in bucolic images on food packaging, and in the marketing of rural real estate as a “lifestyle” choice. Responses to the reality of broiler proposals – however technically well planned – sometimes seem rooted in the loss of this comforting, romanticised view.

cc2i.jpg

In Victoria, the solution has been to regulate away the noise, smell and dust of a farm, mandate separation distances and even set aside areas with clear “rights to farm” and those with rights to “the good life”. The recent announcement of an inquiry in Victoria into the industry has a strong focus on resolving conflicts through siting and separation.

Yet the use of such an approach in Victoria has raised concerns about creating “sterilised” regions where no uses but industrial farms are permitted. Opponents to industrial farms also express concerns that proponents exploit loopholes and that a codified buffer distance privileges intensive farms rather than resolving conflicting land use issues.

On the other hand, less control arguably generates more conflict, as in parts of Canada and Texas. There, industrial, corporate-run farming operations dominate vast, generally lower socioeconomic areas. But as farms expand, divisive neighbourhood battles are still fought out.

Our research indicates that the use of buffer spaces around farms, guidelines and rights can achieve only so much. Despite the presence of clear guidelines, a recent proposal for a 1.2 million-bird farm in Baringhup, near Castlemaine, has led to more than two years of planning dispute and may result in Supreme Court action.

Conflicts between opponents and proponents of intensive farming will continue in rural areas. Fanning the flames is the growing demand for low-priced chicken (and an ongoing chicken nugget price “war”).

Local governments and decision-makers in Australia remain under-resourced to deal with opposition to the increasing scale of broiler farms. By advocating for a new understanding of what a rural and an urban area “means”, planning is at the coal face for negotiating politically acceptable outcomes to such conflicts. Yet a look at the images used to market farm products reveals what an uphill struggle this is.

Elizabeth Taylor is Vice Chancellor's Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, RMIT University.

Andrew Butt is Senior Lecturer in Community Planning and Development, La Trobe University.

Marco Amati is Associate Professor of International Planning, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University.

 

This article first appeared in The Conversation.

The Conversation

 

US retailer rethinks packaged peeled oranges

A US retailer has stopped selling packaged peeled oranges, following a social media backlash which pointed out that the product created unnecessary waste.

A limited number of stores from the Whole Foods retail chain were selling the oranges for US$5.99 a pound. Their plastic packaging carried the message “Made right here."

An image of the packaged fruit appeared on Imgur, accompanied by the caption – “Are people really that lazy nowadays?”

From there Nathalie Gordon retweeted the image, along with the caption – “If only nature would find a way to cover these oranges so we didn't need to waste so much plastic on them.”

And the backlash mounted.

A spokeswoman from Whole Foods told The Huffington Post that "a lot of our customers love the convenience of our cut produce offerings, but this was a simple case where a handful of stores experimented with a seasonal product spotlight that wasn't fully thought through. We're glad some customers pointed it out so we could take a closer look."

As the ABC reports, the founder of Clean Up Australia Day Ian Kiernan joined the debate.

"This is absolutely stupid," he said.

"Mother Nature packages fruits perfect; it's just madness.

"Plastics are made mostly from oil, and while it's durable and has many benefits in the world, plastics are a terrible waste.

"This is convenience gone mad really.

"The more fruits that are pre-cut and packaged just adds to the burden."

Labelling foods with emoji could improve kids’ diets – study

Labelling foods with emoji-like symbols could encourage children to eat healthier foods, according to research competed in the US.

As the Washington Post reports, research carried out by the University of Phoenix and published in the journal Appetite found that, when ‘emolabels’ were added to food and children were told that happy labels identified healthy foods, most children swapped to the healthy option.

The study involved children from kindergarten to sixth grade who were asked to choose four food items each from two shopping aisles. One aisle included products with the emolables, while the products in the other aisle carried no labels.

In the aisle with the labels 83 per cent of children changed of their choices to a healthier product.

Greg Privitera, research chair at the Center for Behavioral Health Research for the University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies lead the study.

According to Privitera the results “tells us that children are using [this] health information to make choices about their food…and that’s something that they aren’t empowered with now.”

He added that, following these findings, he intends to conduct a large-scale, population-based study in the future.

Science and innovation award set to reduce incidence of dark meat

 

A key scourge of the meat industry – dark meat – could be improved thanks to research by CSIRO scientist, Joanne Hughes, awarded on Tuesday at the ABARES Outlook 2016 conference in Canberra.

Ms Hughes, a muscle biochemist at CSIRO Food and Nutrition, won the red meat processing category of the Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, for her work on dark meat.

The award is sponsored by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation and will provide the funding for Ms Hughes' project.

Meat colour is the primary method consumes use to judge the quality of meat. Rather than bright red meat colours, dark meat not only looks a 'less-fresh' darker red or purple, it can also have a shorter shelf-life, variable tenderness and an off-flavour. 

Failure to comply with colour criteria downgrades carcasses dramatically and results in lost value for producers, processors, and retailers. 

Dark meat, or dark cutting meat, is usually caused by undue stress on-farm or in transport and until now most methods for improving meat colour have focused on pre-slaughter interventions.

However, Ms Hughes and the team seek to use cutting-edge high pressure processing technology (HPP) under low temperatures to lighten the colour of high-value primal meat cuts.

HPP is also used to extend shelf-life, and retain nutrtion and flavours in a range of other food products. 

"Sometimes people in the industry tell me that HPP on fresh meat generates a "cooked-like appearance, and meat goes brown in colour," Ms Hughes explains.

"However, this is not the case when using lower temperatures and pressures like we will be, So, using controlled conditions, we want to show that dark meat colours can be lightened with no adverse effects on eating quality,' she said.

By adopting this technology in their plants, meat processors could reduce carcass downgrading, improve the quality and colour of the product before it reaches supermarket shelves, and maximise carcass value for both the producer and processor.

"By improving the value of primals, such as the loin, we can help processors achieve a higher value for each carcass, in turn hopefully providing a solution to the dark meat colour problem."

Ms Hughes and the team also surveyed a number of meat processors, covering 43 per cent of the total cattle slaughtered, and found that dark meat could be costing the industry up to $500 million per year, or $1,000 per animal -much more than previous estimates.

‘Over the next five years, we aim to reduce this loss by 20% and save the beef meat industry alone up to $100 million per year,’ Ms Hughes said.

HPP machines can be expensive, but CSIRO have developed, in collaboration with Greenleaf Enterprises, a cost-benefit model to help processors determine the financial viability of adopting the technology.

Reducing the incidence of dark meat in the Australian industry will also ensure confidence in our product by export markets in Asia and elsewhere.

VMAU automatic air atomising spray guns

VMAU automatic air atomising spray guns are designed to provide solutions for even the most demanding spray applications including butter, sugar and tablet coating.

Independent liquid, atomising air and fan air controls allow users to adjust spray capacity, spray patterns and droplet size. The modular design allows for fast and simple maintenance – no tools are needed to disassemble the spray gun. The air cap is O-ring sealed and is placed on the fluid tip which provides a tight seal and better alignment for a more consistent spray pattern and reduced downtime caused by seal failures.

The spray guns help to reduce overspray and ensure a uniform spray distribution is maximised. They also improve spray and product quality.

Other benefits of the product include decreased seal failure, plugging and bearding.

The spray guns are available in a wide array of spray set-up configurations, FDA compliant material options and anti-bearding set-ups.

An additional heat jacket accessory has been developed to keep atomising liquids warm in order to prevent thickening. The heat jacket can be slipped over the body of the VMAU spray gun with ease. The patent-pending design maintains the temperature of the liquid through the VMAU body as well as in the inlets in the air cap.  

Australian Made encourages sale of local Easter Eggs

As chocolate manufacturers ramp up production and seafood suppliers prepare for a surge in demand, the Australian Made Campaign is reminding shoppers to look for the green-and-gold kangaroo logo this Easter, if they want to be sure what they are buying is genuinely Australian.

“The Australian Made, Australian Grown certification trade mark is a quick and easy reference tool shoppers can rely on if they want to buy products made and grown in Australia,” Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison said.

The logo can be found on more than 15,000 products, which are also listed on the online product directory atthe Australian Made website.

Harrison says the quality and safety standards for food production in Australia are some of the most stringent in the world and are part of the reason Australian food producers have earned themselves such stellar reputations.

“If value for money is a key factor in your purchasing decision, Australian farmers, fishermen and manufacturers can deliver,” Mr Harrison said.

“Whether you’re visiting a supermarket, chocolatier or fishmonger this Easter to buy food for home or gifts to give, the green-and-gold kangaroo logo is the best way to identify products with all the great characteristics that come from being ‘genuine Aussie’.”

Food and beverages shone as Tasmanian exports surged in 2015

Food and beverage led the way in a surge in overall exports from Tasmania last year.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for the year to January found meat exports increased 46 per cent, seafood 68 per cent, and fruit and vegetables 44 per cent. Wood and woodchips also stood out, up 75 per cent for the period,reports The Mercury.

The result was weakened by lower demand for minerals, though it was still the second-biggest expansion in exports by state last year, following Queensland.

Resources are a major export for the state. For the year to June 2015, Tasmania’s number one and two exports were processed metals and metal products, and ores and concentrates, according to the department of state growth.

The monthly average value of all exports was $216.2 million last year.

Elsewhere, The Advocate reports that overall merchandise exports were up $14 million in January.

January was also the first month of the federal government’s Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme, worth $203 million over four years.

A Tasmanian federal Liberal MP, Brett Whiteley, said it was “no coincidence”, citing the scheme and new free trade agreements.

''This government’s reforms have always been about enabling businesses to get their goods to market cheaper, to grow and to employ more Tasmanians,” he said.

''We need to have the market conditions in place for Tasmanian businesses to take full advantage of the new free trade agreements and the freight subsidy expansion.'

Pronto e Fresco enters voluntary administration

Melbourne-based maker of antipasto products Pronto e Fresco entered voluntary administration on Wednesday and is up for sale.

Smart Company reports that the 100 per cent Australian-owned company, which was established in 2000, produces vegetable products including semi-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, grilled mushrooms, grilled eggplant, grilled pumpkin and other unique char-grilled and marinated vegetables.

Pronto e Fresco counts the major Australian supermarkets as well as caterers, hospitals, universities, restaurants and hotels among its customers.

Andrew Yeo and David Vasudevan of Pitcher Partners have been appointed as administrators to the business and Keith Crawford and Thea Eszenyi from McGrathNicol have commenced a sale campaign.

The company owns a manufacturing facility and plant in Broadmeadows which will be included in the sale. It currently employs 70 workers and will continue to trade through the voluntary administration process.

Smith told SmartCompany it is too early to specify the factors that lead to the business entering voluntary administration.

Image: Pronto e Fresco

Huon Aquaculture expands on a Flowfresh floor

The food manufacturing design specialist Wiley specified a high performance resin floor from Flowcrete Australia for a $12 million, state-of-the-art smokehouse.

The flooring project at the Huon Aquaculture Smokehouse and Product Innovation centre in Parramatta Creek, Tasmania, was part of a 10-month construction programme to upgrade, centralise and future-proof the large-scale salmon producer’s operations.

The project involved a refurbishment of the existing site as well as an extension that would double the business’ footprint. The new facility opened in July 2015, bringing together Huon’s full range of seafood processing, which incorporates whole fish, fresh fish and value-added cold and hot smoked salmon production.

Huon’s Managing Director, Peter Bender, said in the company’s press release: “The new smokehouse and new product centre is part of a four-year, $200 million controlled growth strategy for the company which consolidates our operations to Tasmania, delivers increased production capacity and efficiency whilst reducing our environmental footprint.”

Wiley have been a long-term partner with Huon Aquaculture and utilised its extensive expertise in the industry to create a revitalised facility that is expected to deliver over one million dollars in cost savings in its first year alone.

Huon Aquaculture’s floor area would have to withstand the annual production of 17,000 tonnes of fresh salmon, which will subject it to heavy equipment, spillages of fish and by-products, frequent cleaning, thermal shock and constant foot traffic. As one of Australia’s premium global producers of fresh and smoked salmon products, the new 2,500m2 facility would need a floor that met the highest standards of cleanliness despite these difficult operating conditions.

Wiley contacted Flowcrete Australia regarding its ultra-hygienic antimicrobial Flowfresh flooring range and specified its polyurethane system Flowfresh SR for the task at hand. The durability of Flowfresh combined with its anti-slip, easy to clean finish made it ideal for Huon’s new facility.

A 6mm layer of Flowfresh SR was applied in the smokehouse’s main processing areas, with stainless steel drainage incorporated into the finish. Different colours designate each part of the site to aid navigation and reduce cross contamination. A Signal Green floor was installed in the Cold Smoke Slicing room and Warm Buff was used for the Hot Smoke Slicing room.

Flowcrete Australia’s Managing Director, Sean Tinsley, said: “Being specified for this project is a testament to the quality of Flowfresh, as it had to meet the high standards and rigorous demands of one of the nation’s largest salmon producers as well as a premier food industry Designer Builder.

“Thanks to its highly successful, tried-and-tested ability to create a hygienic floor finish within food and beverage industry facilities, Flowfresh has recently been accredited with HACCP International Certification. This achievement means that food producers can specify Flowfresh, safe in the knowledge that it complies with a crucial, globally recognised standard for food safety.”

A key component of Flowfresh’s hygienic credentials stems from the fact that it has been enhanced with the antimicrobial agent Polygiene®, which utilises the natural bactericidal properties of silver to eliminate germs and microbes. The Polygiene® additive is homogenously distributed throughout Flowfresh’s resin matrix, a formulation that has been tested to meet the ISO 22196 standard for measuring a surface’s antibacterial effectiveness on plastics and other non-porous surfaces.

It was crucial that the production areas maintained a clean and fresh appearance, not only to ensure a safe processing space, but also because a suspended walkway allows customers and visitors to view the facility, further emphasising the importance of portraying a spotless appearance.

Huon Aquaculture wanted it to be possible to expand its site again at a later date. Wiley therefore designed the facility so that it could be added to over the years. The Flowfresh floor ties into this aim and its robust nature means that it will be able to handle an increased workload at a later date.

Innovative chains for the food industry

Tsubaki offers innovative chains that provide reliable solutions for drive, conveyor or attachment applications.

Lambda Lube-Free Chain

This lube-free, oil impregnated, sintered roller chain dispenses with the need to use external lubricant and can extend the wear-life of conveyor equipment dramatically.  Lube-free conveyor chains also protect food products and packaging, as well as equipment. 

As a result of this technology from Tsubaki, wear is minimal, optimising performance and improving productivity.  Thanks to Tsubaki Lambda chains, environments that have traditionally used expensive food grade lubricants can now operate without the need for chain lubrication.

Tsubaki NEP Chain

NEP chain has been developed for operation in environments that involve corrosive chemicals, excessive moisture or saltwater and can suffer from corrosion, wear and reduced performance if not suitably protected. 

The Tsubaki NEP chain undergoes a special surface treatment which involves a three stage process to ensure that all the components in the chain have the maximum protection for operating in corrosive environments.  NEP chain is available in both BS and ANSI specifications as well as being available in Lambda lube-free design.  

Nestlé to develop iconic Italian chocolate brand internationally

Nestlé has announced a significant investment in Baci Perugina to further strengthen this iconic Italian chocolate brand on the world stage.

The company will extend and modernise its factory in San Sisto commune and establish a new business unit to drive global growth for its Italian chocolate business. This includes investing in marketing to grow Baci Perugina sales abroad.

Baci Perugina is already established as an historical brand in Italy. Now the company is looking to further its presence in its home country and also to make it into a symbol of ‘Made in Italy’ around the world.

The move will start with the set-up of the new Confectionery International Business Unit, which the Group has entrusted to Valeria Norreri, one of the key managers responsible for international expansion of S. Pellegrino brand (1.3 billion bottles sold in 145 countries).

Her work greatly contributed to transforming a mineral water into a product now recognized all around the world as a synonym of Italian excellence in the food and beverage market.

"I enthusiastically accepted this nomination; for me it is a new, exciting challenge" said Valeria Norreri, Nestlé Italy Confectionery IBU Manager.

"Baci Perugina has an exceptional legacy of tradition. Sales results of several countries confirm that the product has the potential to win in foreign markets. Now we have the opportunity to develop its value in international markets, relying on the Italian talent that combines the quality of know-how with passion and lifestyle. It’s more than just chocolate: we will tell the pleasure of surrounding with small things, gestures of love, and Italian-style flirting to create unforgettable moments made in Baci Perugina".

Already today, 40% of the volume produced at San Sisto goes to foreign markets, with Nestlé chocolate bars for all Europe. The modernization plan will increase the factory competitiveness, in order to sustain the business expansion plan.

Frewville Foodland IGA wins at international awards

Frewville Foodland IGA in South Australia has been named the 2016 IGA Australia International Retailer of the Year at the supermarket chain’s international awards in Las Vegas.

The 2016 IGA International Retailers of the Year were part of the IGA 90th Anniversary Diamond Celebration. 

The awards are bestowed upon the IGA retailers from around the world who, based on IGA’s globally applied standards, have achieved exemplary excellence in retailing and advancement of the IGA Brand.

Frewville IGA is Australia’s first certified organic supermarket, with one of the largest ranges of fresh produce in the state. The 3,100 square-meter store also includes prepared foods, a meat servery, bakery, cheesebar and readily available fresh seafood, a health-and-wellness section, and a Kitchen and Coffee bar. 

The supermarket is owned by Nick & Spero Chapley.

“We’re delighted that our Frewville Foodland IGA store has been recognised on the international stage,” Nick Chapley said.

“As an independent retailer, customer service is at the heart of our success along with continual in-store innovation and having one of the largest ranges of fresh produce in South Australia. We are known in our community for our unique product range, including brands our customers love—a wide range of local and organic produce, cultural and gourmet ingredients as well as a bakery, cheesebar and readily available fresh seafood.”

Apart from the Australian award, retailers from the US, China, and the Carribean received awards on the night.