Aditya Kunder (who goes by his shorter nickname Adi) is a mobile industry sales engineer at ifm – his expertise is in coming up with cost-effective solutions for customers. He loves the diversity of his role and working with customers to find ideal solutions for their business – tailored solutions that will make a difference to the way their business operates. Hear Adi explain why being ‘Close To You’ is not just a saying, but an ifm promise to every customer.
The Trans Pacific Partnership has been reborn as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Matthew McDonald examines the new agreement and what it means for our food and beverage industry.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which originally was to include 12 Pacific nations, seemed dead in the water early last year when the then newly elected President Donald Trump declared that the US would not be involved in the deal.
However, at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January, the 11 remaining nations – Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei – agreed to a new deal known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Then in March, all parties signed the deal (which is also being called TPP-11). Broadly, it cuts tariffs and puts in place common laws and regulations. It is a framework under which separate 18 new bilateral deals between participating countries will sit. Australia, for example, has made new deals with Canada and Mexico.
What’s in it for Australia
From an Australian perspective, farmers and the service sector are the big winners.
In terms of agriculture, our beef exports to Japan (which were worth $2 billion in 2016-17) will be boosted by tariff reductions; and there will be new access for dairy products into Japan, Canada and Mexico.
In addition, Australia will have new access into the Japanese, Canadian and Mexican sugar markets; and there will be an elimination of all tariffs on sheep meat, as well as an elimination of many tariffs on seafood and horticulture.
Also, our cereals and grain exporters will gain new access into Japan. Significantly, for the first time in 20 years, this will include rice products.
However, agriculture isn’t the only winner. The CPTPP will eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs in the free trade area. Australian cheese makers, for example, can look forward to the scrapping of a range of tariffs into Japan which currently cover over $100 million of trade.
Also, Australian wine makers, who were already on a high following the recent release of record-breaking export figures for 2017, will further benefit from the news that the CPTPP will see the elimination of tariffs on wine. CEO of Wine Australia, Andreas Clark told Food & Beverage Industry News that the two core benefits for the sector are reduced tariffs and a specific annex for wine and spirits.
“The annex is an exciting part of the partnership as it provides an opportunity to remove a range of technical barriers that can impact our exports. All the parties involved in the CPTPP have agreed on a cooperative framework to remove some of these barriers, which will help streamline trade,” he said.
“The Australian grape and wine community has seen many benefits from our existing free trade agreements with the USA, Japan, Korea and China – among many others – and the CPTPP may allow additional benefits to flow back to grape and wine businesses across the country.”
Clark’s positive reaction was echoed across Australian industry.
“The deal covers 11 nations that together constitute around 30 per cent of the global economy, and four of Australia’s top 10 export markets for food and beverages. The economic weight of the TPP and common set of rules established among 11 countries will greatly support Australian food exporters, providing Australian jobs and economic growth,” said Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) CEO Tanya Barden.
She pointed out that the deal will result in greater alignment and harmonisation across the region on regulation and behind-the-border trade issues and added that this is particularly relevant to the food industry, which generally face onerous import controls that differ from one nation to another.
“The parliamentary process for reviewing international trade agreements will provide an opportunity to review the TPP agreement in great detail. At the forefront of that review must be the promotion of jobs, investment and growth for Australia’s economic prosperity,” said Barden.
What are the negatives?
While the Opposition has been mostly positive about the deal, sections of the Labor Party claim some Australian workers could suffer as a result of the CPTPP. They say the establishment of labour market testing for any foreign workers are crucial. Opposition leader Bill Shorten has called for the Productivity Commission to conduct an independent analysis of the deal first. He said that if modelling shows the deal is good for the nation and Australian jobs, Labor would back it.
One important feature of trade deals not often noted by the lay person is the fact that they aren’t all about free trade. They are also investor rights agreements. As such, the deal includes an investor-statement-dispute-settlement mechanism (ISDS). This has raised fears that, as the result of the CPTPP, corporations could sue the Australian Government if Australian laws adversely affect their performance. Many point to Philip Morris suing the Australian Government for introducing plain cigarette packaging as an example of what could happen.
Trade Minister Steve Ciobo responded to the fears by saying Australia will retain the right to make its own legislation and that the fears were unfounded.
Ever since Swedish scientists discovered acrylamide in food in the early 2000s, there has been growing concerns over the potential negative impact it could have on people’s health, and some regulatory bodies have been looking at ways to restrict acrylamide levels in consumer products.
Acrylamide is a chemical, which forms during the cooking process when sugars and amino acids are release from food. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, have the highest levels, ad certain cooking methods, such as frying and barbecuing, produce higher levels than boiling or steaming.
The World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has labelled acrylamide as “probably carcinogenic to humans”; the US Environmental Protection Agency has categorized it as an “extremely hazardous substance”, and the European Food Safety Authority noted that acrylamide was a “public health concern as it potentially increases the risk of developing cancer in consumers of all ages”
While these groups have given clear warnings to regulatory bodies and pushed for stricter, maximum levels to be enforced, some say that not enough is being done to curb the occurrence of acrylamide in consumer products. Is this trend about to shift?
In 2016, Denmark lowered indicative levels for acrylamide, and it seems that the European Commission (EC) is only steps away to setting stricter regulations. In 2007, the EC adopted a Recommendation on the Monitoring of Acrylamide Levels in Food, in 2011, they adopted a Recommendation on Investigations into the Levels of Acrylamide in Food, and in 2017 the EC is set to vote on draft regulation on acrylamide.
So what does this mean for food producers? The acrylamide topic is continuing to gain traction, and it may only be a matter of time before stricter legislation is realised.
Potato chip producers are one group at the greatest risk of being hit by this legislation, with these products producing some of the highest acrylamide levels. European manufacturers especially cannot be complacent and let changing legislation creep up on them without being duly prepared.
This now begs the question: Is there a way to reduce acrylamide in potato chips without compromising on taste and quality? The answer is yes. The upside is that these products can be marketed as a ‘premium’ product to appeal to an ever-increasing health-conscious market segment.
These are a number of ways to reduce acrylamide levels in food, such as varying cooking temperatures; storing raw product in different ways; harvesting at different times of the year; ingredient additions; or changing growing conditions altogether. But these methods can affect long-term costs and have negative effects on the taste on your products.
For potato product manufacturers, there is an alternative method which can reduce acrylamide levels by over 50%. This method is known as electroporation. Electroporation is a technique in which electrical fields are sent through a cell in order to perforate the out membrane with microscopic holes. In the case of a potato, this process allows sugars and amino acids to be released from the potato prior to cooking, which in turn lessens the occurrence of acrylamide.
Heat and Control, in partnership with ScandiNova – a world leader in the development and production of Pulsed Power Systems, have developed a potato processing machine which does just that. The machine, known as E-FLO, can fit into any potato processing line and requires low voltage, minimal maintenance and has a patented transformer design.
Peeled and washed potatoes are supplied in measured quantities by upstream equipment and delivered to the E-FLO infeed chute. The rotating E-FLO wheel transports the potatoes through the processing area as a compact packed bed through a water bath. Processing has to take place in a water bath for the electrical pulses to influence the product as desired. After a short exposure to the electric field pulses, to perforate the cell walls, the potatoes are lifted and discharged from the water bath by the continuing rotation of the wheel into the discharge chute. The potato then continues down the production line where greater amounts of sugars and amino acids can be removed during the slicing and washing stages. THE RESULT: potato chips with a reduction in acrylamide of over 50%, in some test cases.
But apart from reducing acrylamide and creating a healthier product, there are a number of other advantages to running your potatoes through a gauntlet of electrical fields:
A CRUNCHIER CHIP – A CRISPIER BITE
A notable benefit to pulsing your potatoes with electricity is that your chip is crispier. The E-FLO increases the amount of starch in the outer layers of the potato, which helps to give the chip that all-important bite. It also reduces the need or length of time needed to blanch your potatoes before cooking.
Less wear and tear
Slicing thousands of potatoes daily can quickly result in dull slicer blades. The E-FLO, however softens the tissue of the potato, allowing the blades to slice between the cells of the potato rather than through them. This lessens the pressure and friction on your tools, which means less down time and longer equipment life. Slicing between the cells of the potato also produces a smoother chip surface. A smoother surface means the chip absorbs less oil, which, in the long run, can significantly reduce your oil expenditure.
The E-FLO has the potential to work on a range of products, such as differing root vegetables, making them easier to process. Because the E-FLO softens the tissue of the raw product, different cutting technology can be used to create new shapes more easily.
While there hasn’t been a direct link between acrylamide and cancer in humans, the evidence provides researchers with a ‘more than likely’ scenario. It may just be a matter of time before tougher restrictions are put in place for food manufacturers. Either way, introducing a machine which reduces acrylamide levels while producing a crispier and crunchier chip into your production line makes sense. And giving consumers the choice of a healthier, ‘premium’ product may just increase your customer base.
With the E-FLO, we can all have our chip and eat it too.
The organic food and beverage sector has announced that Australian Organic is set to become its peak representative body. Matthew McDonald spoke to Quentin Kennedy, a director of that organisation, about where the industry is heading.
Things have changed for the organic food indutry. It has entered the mainstream.
According to the 2017 Australian Organic Market Report, a survey conducted by Australian Organic (AO), more than two out of three Australian households purchased organic products in the previous year.
And it’s not just consumers who are attracted to organics. The survey showed that Australia has more certified organically managed agricultural land than any other country. In addition, the 27 million-plus hectares used for certified organic farming in this country account for about 7 per cent of our total farmland.
These figures have translated into more organisation. In February, the industry came together for the Love Organic Symposium, an event in Canberra which was attended not only by growers and manufacturers, but also Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud, and others. Out of the symposium it was agreed that, for the first time in Australia, a peak organics body will be formed. Over the coming months a permanent structure of the organisation, to retain the name Australian Organic, will be finalised.
According to Quentin Kennedy (pictured below), a director of AO and managing director of organic cereal grain processor Kialla Pure Foods, most Australians (76 per cent) are already aware of this organisation and its “bud logo”.
“Originally we began as Biological Farmers of Australia which was both a member-owned body and a certification body. But some years ago we split off the clinical certifier Australian Certified Organic (ACO) as a subsidiary,” he said. “Then we also changed our name and moved from a member-based co-op to a not for profit and renamed ourselves Australian Organic.”
He explained that AO has a license agreement with ACO to approve the use of the logo on all certified products. “We’re separating ACO and opening up use of the bud logo to anyone that has certified with other certification bodies. In return, they will pay a fee which will go towards industry development,” he said.
So AO will now stand alone as the peak industry body. Asked why this step has taken so long, Kennedy nominated diversity and the relative youth of the industry as two important factors.
“The term organic covers all sectors of food and beverage production and agriculture, so having a single voice previously had been a challenge for us. It’s not until an industry starts maturing and getting a critical mass behind certain opinions that you’re able to get consensus.”
Growth, regulation and export potential
The organic food and beverage sector is growing. According to Kennedy, manufacturers of all sizes are now interested in producing organic products. “The bigger corporate players are looking at it now, just from the point of view of differentiating their product,” he said.
According to the 2017 Australian Organic Market Report, in 2016 Australian exports of organic products increased by 17 per cent (in terms of overall tonnage) as compared to the previous year. While this growth was to all continents, according to Kennedy, much of the future growth is likely to be to Asian markets.
The Government responded to this potential by commissioning professional services network Deloitte Australia to conduct an Organic Export Orders Review. According to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the aim of the review is to improve access for Australian organic products into premium markets and increase the competitiveness of the sector. Submissions ended in late February and the results of the review are due for release in the second half of this year.
Kennedy pointed out that any subsequent regulation is likely to centre around establishing and proving that “organic” products destined for exports are, in fact, organic.
“It’s a regulatory impact statement so they’re assessing the impact of legislation. We want a level of legislation to stay because we need authenticity for our organic exporters,” he said.
In addition, Kennedy said one of the key aims should be to establish equivalence with the national standards of various other nations.
Pointing to personal experience, he said, “One big challenge is we have to be certified to, for example, US standards and Korean standards. Not only is there a lot of lost opportunity but also it adds spend to our systems. We’ve got to store grain in individual silos depending on the certification and we can lose opportunity if we haven’t got product that is certified for Korea.”
Kennedy said that there is still no domestic regulation around organics and said that, though it is not within the scope of the Deloitte review, the industry is hoping this situation will be addressed some time down the track.
“There’s no domestic regulation and it’s a big challenge for us,” he said. “Having domestic regulation around the term ‘organic’ would assist the industry and prevent the players who choose to short cut and not do the right thing.”
But overall he is positive about the industry. He welcomes the establishment of AO as the peak body for the Australian organics industry and is looking forward to the future, both from the point of view of his own business and that of the broader sector.
“The industry’s matured. It’s coming together and it’s a force to be reckoned with. We’ve moved on from being on the hippy fringe, so to speak, and we’re here to stay,” he said.
It is crucial we have a global set of standards across the food and beverage industry to support the rise of the digital era which is all about quality data and accuracy of information. Syed Shah interviewed Maria Palazzolo, executive director and CEO of GS1 Australia, about this goal.
Maria Palazzolo (pictured below) has seen the gradual evolution of business over the last 35 years. Through this period, she has worked with businesses of all sizes and in a range of sectors – always towards a vision of the future. A vision where all companies and their supply chains have full visibility of the products they are trading. Where recalls can be affected in minutes, not weeks. Where everyone can share in the benefits of the greater efficiencies created, including consumers.
The vision is possible today. It’s possible through the adoption of the standards and solutions provided by the GS1 system. Palazzolo’s goal now is to see those standards implemented at a whole of industry level, and her vision become reality.
For over 40 years, GS1 Australia has dedicated itself to the design and implementation of global standards for efficient business communication and to build smarter supply chains. Today, the GS1 system of standards is the global language of business to identify, capture and share information about products moving efficiently and securely up and down supply chains all over the world.
Efficient standards ensure effective exchanges between companies, facilitate interoperability and provide structure to the exchange of data in many industries. Using GS1 standards brings together companies representing all parts of the supply chain – manufacturers, distributors, retailers, hospitals, transporters, customs organisations, software developers, regulatory authorities and more.
The generic blueprint of GS1 standards
Palazzolo explained that standards form the core business of the GS1 philosophy. And users of GS1 standards make it possible for the right product to be in the right place at the right time.
“We sometimes need to go back to where it all began to put things into perspective about GS1. In 1973, industry leaders in the US selected a single standard for product identification that is still used today and known as the GS1 barcode, named recently by the BBC as one of the 50 things that made the world economy,” she said.
Five years later, GS1 Australia became the Australian member of the global GS1 organisation and major Australian retailers began to adopt the GS1 system of barcoding and numbering as their preferred standard for trade. GS1 began to roll out value-added services to support the implementation of these standards by its members.
“Nearly 40 years have passed since the GS1 barcode revolutionised the way we do business in Australia but on many occasions, I still have people ask me, ‘Who is GS1 and what do you do?’. In many ways, we are the world’s best kept secret because when you think about what GS1 does to help businesses get their products from the manufacturer to the retailer and consumer, the GS1 system touches pretty much everyone around the world almost every single day,” said Palazzolo.
“Chances are, if you’re a consumer of something, you would have most likely come across and been a part of the GS1 system in action. Shoppers at major supermarket stores in Australia will hear the familiar beep of the GS1 barcode at the checkout, although it is unlikely that many of them will realise that each of those beeps is GS1 standards at work. The GS1 barcode still remains the most widely used identification system and supply chain standard in the world.”
Global standards for identification
Palazzolo explained that the food and beverage industry in Australia is one of the most advanced industries in its adoption of GS1 standards to ensure best practice within its supply chains.
The GS1 system is a common foundation for businesses that enables unique identification, accurate data capture and automatic sharing of vital information about products, locations, shipments assets and more. Within the GS1 system, barcodes are just one part of the technology available to carry the unique GS1 identifiers.
Simply, the GS1 system provides a common language for all local and global businesses to communicate with each other and exchange information. This builds efficiency and accuracy, reducing the need to exchange data in multiple different ways with multiple trading partners.
Standards for traceability and food safety
The humble barcode, seen today on every consumer product, has served us well for a long time. But it must support today’s world where information needs to be more readily available, and consumers expect to know more about what they are buying. Food and beverage companies need the ability to track and trace their products and have full visibility throughout their supply chains.
Traceability is an important part of an organisation’s product recall management plan. Without an effective traceability process in place, delays in actioning a product recall can escalate into a crisis.
The speed and effectiveness with which a product recall is communicated to retailers and government authorities has implications for not only the consumer, but a business’s reputation.
To protect the security of the Australian food chain and the safety of consumers, the implementation of GS1 standards allows visibility of product, up and down the supply chain. By using GS1 standards, recalled products can to be traced quickly and efficiently back to the source of origin.
Issuing a recall or withdrawal with GS1 Australia’s Recall service is simple, fast and inexpensive. Based on global GS1 standards, Recall is a centralised online portal designed to streamline the management of product recall and withdrawal notifications.
“All food and beverage companies have different kinds of traceability systems within their organisations. The common denominator across all of those systems is that they have to identify the product they want to trace. For instance, a certain bag of sugar or wheat among thousands of bags – each uniquely identified so that it can be traced back to its source. The use of GS1 standards allows for this complete traceability, not only within an organisation, but also across all organisations within their supply chains,” said Palazzolo.
“So, put simply, if everyone used one single global standard they would have the ability to have total traceability of their products from raw material through to the end customer, the consumer.”
Palazzolo explained that with the GS1 system, every bag could have a serial number containing, among other things, data on location, manufacturing process, product ingredients, handling and where the raw materials were sourced.
For GS1, food safety and reducing errors are of utmost importance.
“Avoiding these errors and protecting consumers from any harm is a responsibility that all manufacturers take very seriously and by having robust traceability systems in place they can avoid irreversible damages,” said Palazzolo.
GS1 standards exist today that can encode data such as batch/lot numbers, use-by and best-before dates and other product attributes at all levels of packaging from bulk materials to single produce items and finished goods.
GS1 Australia recently introduced a new type of barcode called the GS1 Databar for loose produce to complement existing barcodes. This barcode not only increases the number of products that can be automatically identified at retail point of sale, but also creates new opportunities to solve today’s retail business problems such as enhanced and wider category management, product authentication, traceability, stock control, product replenishment, variable measure product identification and shrink control.
The GS1 Databar is currently being rolled out in Australia for loose “produce only”, such as apples, citrus and pears in this first implementation. Soon, it will be applied to other fresh items including meat and cheese to better manage stock rotations and sales accuracy.
Getting the ball rolling towards a standardised industry
Palazzolo explained that, globally and locally, the food and beverage industry still has some way to go in terms of the use of a single standard that will assist in traceability. She explained that the industry needs to get connected along different supply chains. She believes that all suppliers and manufacturers (raw materials, packaging, transport, logistics, etc.) need to be aligned in order to make this happen.
“I think that the industry needs to ask questions like ‘How do we create a completely seamless supply chain without information barriers that stop products from being accurately identified because they are not using global standards?’,” said Palazzolo. She said that this should be done not only for the purpose of traceability and to create food safety, but also, to make a business smarter and more efficient.
“The potential for what the GS1 standards can do within an organisation, in my view, in Australia, still has a long way to go but I remain hopeful because it is the logical way to go, especially as the world becomes more digital and more reliant on accurate shared data. At the moment, there are still many companies that are using their proprietary manual systems that have been in place for a long time. They don’t feel the need to change because they don’t fully understand the benefits of automating their processes and using a common global standard,” said Palazzolo.
She said that GS1 provides education and training for member companies as well as consultancy on how to implement the GS1 system.
“The food and beverage industry has led the way in the adoption of GS1 standards and we are looking forward to continuing to work in close partnership with the industry to shape the future of traceability and food safety initiatives for the benefit of the business, the brand and the consumer,” she said.
Osteoporosis drastically reduces the quality of life for many elderly people. It increases the risk of falls and fractures, which are associated with serious disability and increased mortality rates. Osteoporosis affects 2.2 million elderly people in Australia. By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fractures in men is projected to increase by 310% and 240% in women, compared to rates in 1990.
Calcium is a key nutrient for bone health even in the elderly. In fact, calcium intake has been shown to have a positive effect on bone mineral density. Good nutrition also plays a role in the successful rehabilitation of patients who have suffered osteoporotic fractures.
With increasing life expectancy in Asia Pacific, it is crucial for the elderly to maintain good health, so that they can live their golden years to the fullest. How can food manufacturers play a part in stemming the tide of osteoporosis?
Increasing calcium absorption
It is known that consuming calcium-rich foods as part of a healthy diet is important for bone health, since the body does not produce its own calcium. However, many people in Australia do not consume adequate dietary calcium. Furthermore, most people absorb only about 30 percent of dietary calcium, while the rest is excreted.
One way that food manufacturers can help improve bone health in the elderly is by boosting calcium absorption using innovative food ingredients, such as Beneo’s Orafti Syngery1 (oligofructose-enriched inulin). Orafti Synergy1 enhances the bioavailability of calcium in the diet so that more calcium is absorbed. It is a patented blend of oligofructose and inulin, which are extracted from the chicory plant.
Oligofructose and inulin are prebiotic fibres that stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria, the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine that helps to support a healthy digestive system. The prebiotic fermentation of these fibres leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids in the large intestine, which acidifies the entire large intestine and thus enhances the body’s absorption of calcium. This calcium-enhancing benefit of Orafti Synergy1 has been shown in several human intervention studies where it increased calcium absorption and bone mineral density.
This translates into tangible improvements in bone health, such as a marked increase in bone mineral density. The study, conducted on 100 subjects, was designed to test whether oligofructose-enriched inulin could increase calcium absorption in the bones. Over a period of one year, calcium accretion in the bones increased by as much as 17 percent in the group supplemented with oligofructose-enriched inulin compared to a control group.
Naturally good to the bone
Besides looking for products that can benefit bone health, today’s consumers prefer products of natural origin, which reassures them of the safety and trustworthiness of food products.
Beneo’s inulin and oligofructose stand out in the market as the only existing prebiotics derived from non-animal sources. They are of 100% plant origin and are naturally extracted from chicory root using hot water.
These naturally-extracted soluble prebiotic fibres are easily incorporated into dairy products, which can boost the nutritional value of bone-friendly food products in a natural way. This makes them attractive options to boost bone health, and are highly suitable for all age groups, including the elderly.
Inulin and oligofructose also work well with other popular products, such as baked goods and cereal bars. With a mild, sugar-like sweetness, oligofructose can be used to reduce sucrose in food and increase fibre content, at just half the calories of sugar. In addition, inulin can be used to replace part of the fat content in some foods, thus allowing for maximum nutritional benefits without changing desired textures and tastes.
Building the foundations of a happy life
As a society we are living longer, but with that comes the need to maintain the health of our elderly so that they can stay active and enjoy their golden years to their hearts’ content. Osteoporosis rates are projected to escalate to epidemic proportions in Asia Pacific, and food manufacturers can address the problem through healthy, prevention-oriented nutrition, with products such as those formulated with Beneo’s Orafti Synergy1 to increase calcium absorption.
[Christian Philippsen is Managing Director, Beneo Asia Pacific]
 Epidemiology and outcomes of osteoporotic fractures – Cummings and Melton, 2002
Food & Beverage Industry News talks to MHE-Demag Australia’s Paul Clarke about how dock levellers help businesses improve their bottom lines by ensuring their logistics operations are safe and efficient.
For manufacturers, the gap between the plant floor and the delivery truck is tricky. It not only poses a potential safety risk, but also can be a source of inefficiency. For food and beverage makers, there is an added concern. Because these businesses deal with perishable products, speed and temperature control are important considerations. They have to be able to ensure their goods arrive fresh to their destinations.
MHE-Demag Australia offers a range of solutions to help businesses deal with these concerns.
“The products and solutions we offer within the industrial product market, provide entrance controls that assist with the environmental integrity within food and beverage temperature-controlled storage and manufacturing facilities,” Paul Clarke, MHE-Demag Australia’s national sales manager told Food & Beverage Industry News.
“Our low-maintenance/high-strength docking products, along with our range of industrial doors, assist with improving productivity through longevity and durability and cost reduction through environmental controls.”
How to choose the right dock leveller
There are many dock levellers on the market that are sold with promises of heavy-duty capacity or high quality. However, according to Clarke, those making such claims often overlook some important considerations.
Choosing the right product for each individual application is one such concern. “The correct size and duty of the dock leveller will not only greatly affect the transition between the factory or warehouse floor and the floor, or bed of the trailer or truck being loaded, but also improve the life cycle of the products and maintain safe operational integrity,” he said.
He said that, where floor heights and load averages are known, MHE-Demag Australia can use a formula to identify the most suitable product for the application.
“Our products not only satisfy any concerns surrounding quality, strength and integrity but can also reduce the internal footprint normally taken up by dock leveller equipment,” he said. “This can increase the valuable floor space within manufacturing or storage facilities by taking the loading process outside the buildings with external dock design options.”
The company offers a variety of docking solutions, from the hydraulically operated “Gator” pit or frame mounted dock leveller range, through to “Edge of Dock” and “Scissor Lift” dock platforms in all sizes and configurations.
According to Clarke, the Gator dock leveller is worth highlighting. Research, conducted by the company showed that one of the most critical parts for loading docks is the capacity they can carry. As a result, MHE-Demag Australia designed the Gator from scratch to allow up to 20t being carried over the dock leveller, while having the same dimensions as most existing dock pits. This design enables fitting Gators into existing dock pits as well as consideration for current projects that work on standard pit dimensions.
On top of that, MHE-Demag Australia offers a range of industrial door products as well as number of after-market safety and environmental products such as “vehicle restraint systems”, traffic control/communication systems, lights and fans for safety and comfort as well as “dock seals and shelters” that are designed to provide an environmental enclosure in and around loading docks.
Pre and after-sales support
As national sales manager, Clarke is predominantly concerned with building new business and customer relationships by penetrating into a targeted market and territories.
“I also oversee the establishment or addition of vendor and sub-contract specialist resources to accompany our technical abilities to install and service all products within our holistic product portfolio,” he said.
He pointed out that the company is not just about supplying the highest quality products. Making sure customers choose the right solution for their application is the most important concern.
“That’s why we offer a free, no obligation dock survey and site inspection prior to any business engagement, to assist with identifying any potential issues or hazards that can often be overlooked,” he said. “We also focus on constant improvements to provide high standard after-sales service and planned maintenance options to protect our customers’ best investments and provide ‘peace of mind’.”
MHE-Demag Australia has established a strong presence in the Australian food and beverage manufacturing sector. For example, the company is currently in the final stage of completion within the expansion project at the Coca Cola Amatil site in Brisbane. For this project, it has provided a docking solution package incorporating dock levellers, restraint systems and loading lights through F K Gardener & Sons Constructions.
In addition, the company also has docks installed with RED Trucks Logistics & Storage and Style Ergonomics in Sydney. There have also been further successful projects undertaken at various sites through resellers in Victoria, along with the use of industrial door products within DTZ Auburn rail maintenance facility.
The future of logistics
According to Clarke, the importance of logistics has never been greater. “I believe that with the growing demands of an increasing population within Australia there will always be a need for greater logistical presence and efficiency,” he said.
“With the arrival and expansion of global retail giants like Amazon, Costco, Lidl and many more making their way into our growing market, the need for viable and reliable products that assist with the productivity of this sector will be in high demand. Quality is now the growing focus and presence within this modern market and MHE-Demag is renowned for being at the forefront of quality and safety with cranes and lifting equipment. This experience in delivering highest quality solutions now dwells into docking solutions to serve the food and beverage industry.”
National Product and Brand Manager for ifm, Glenn Thornton, explains what differentiates ifm from other high-tech electronics businesses. Besides offering quality well-priced products and quick turnaround of service, Glenn says what really drives the company and his colleagues are the relationships they develop with customers. Originally an electrician by trade, Glenn appreciates that while getting the job done right is of utmost importance, what he really enjoys at ifm is the ongoing relationship with customers and seeing the outcomes that they achieve.
Editor-in-chief of Taste.com.au Brodee Myers-Cooke tells Food & Beverage Industry News how manufacturers can capitalise on the trends that are set to dominate the market this year.
If anyone can spot a food trend coming a mile away, it’s Brodee Myers-Cooke.
As editor-in-chief of Taste.com.au, Australia’s top go-to resource for recipes and more, Myers-Cooke has the inside scoop on what the country is cooking up at home. She is able to couple the 300,000-plus search terms visitors put in the website daily with Google Analytics data to work out what food trends are set to drive the market.
“We have unbeatable information on what inspires the audience and what the audience wants to know more about,” she told Food & Beverage Industry News. “When quinoa broke, we saw searches explode because everyone wanted to know how to use it. When we talk about trends inside the building here, what we are looking for are explosive trends. Although we keep an eye on what’s showing up on Masterchef and so on, what we really look for is the data on what’s popular before we build content around it.”
In addition to following what readers want, Myers-Cooke also needs to scout what trends are coming up around the world to see what can be introduced to the Australian market.
“We’re lucky in Australia. We are in the opposite season in the southern hemisphere, so we can see what’s happening in Europe and America,” she said. “For instance, we are seeing things like ‘overnight’ recipes – such as overnight oats – as popular in other countries right now. So what we’ll do is put a few recipes online and see how they play out. Does it explode? If it does, from there we will look at creating new content to feed the need.”
Myers-Cooke and her team keep a close eye on what restaurants are doing because trends are trickling down to home cooking faster than ever. She says food trucks, however, can sometimes provide even more immediate inspiration.
“We can actually go to a food park, and see where the crowds are,” she said. “If it’s a really good trend that excites people, there will be a crowd of people lining up at that truck.”
So what is dominating the market in 2018? Myers-Cooke identified the following seven trends as ones food manufacturers should be capitalising on to capture market share this year.
1 – Plant-based food
Of all the food trends, Myers-Cooke said all food manufacturers – including meat producers – need to incorporate the shift towards plant-based foods into their brand positioning.
“This is the number one most important trend right now,” she said, noting that traffic on vegetarian recipes has gone up an astounding 152 per cent in the past year, while vegan recipes have similarly skyrocketed.
“Two years ago, vegetarian was more niche,” she said. “Now it’s mainstream. We’re amazed to see that vegetarian recipes have caught up on searches for healthy recipes, which dominated searches two years ago. It’s just such a different environment. People aren’t just interested in vegetarian recipes, but everything with nuts and grains. We’re calling it ‘from hunters to gatherers’.”
Myers-Cooke said that, when speaking with a major manufacturer of finger foods in the UK, she was surprised to hear that all of its best-selling finger foods are now vegetarian. She noted that the days are long gone where meat is the first thing on a plate, with vegetables taking a secondary role. These days, meat is more like a condiment.
“We’ll see things like a vegan dish with bacon bits sprinkled on top of it,” she said. “Mothers who cook will add the bacon just so everyone still cheers when the meal is put on the dinner table.”
Myers-Cooke said protein manufacturers need to take note of this trend when marketing, to ensure their product continues to find itself on Australian plates.
“Meat is still selling, but it needs to be presented as part of a recipe,” she said. “When manufacturers are presenting meat, they can’t put a massive chunk of it on a plate via a classic 1950s style meal. It’s not going to resonate very well. It should be put in a bowl with vegetables.”
2 – Portioned food
Looking over popular searches, Myers-Cooke said that portioned foods, also known as finger foods, are a top favourite among at-home cooks. Portioned food is performing the best in terms of time on page, print outs, and page views.
“It’s a very big movement,” she said. “Parents want to feed their families with big platters put in the middle of the table. We’re even saying cutlery might become obsolete.”
She explained that the move to portioned food could be driven by a concern for limiting food waste. When there is just a massive platter on the table, less food is thrown in the bin because leftovers can more easily be put in the fridge and eaten the next day, when they haven’t been picked apart on someone’s plate.
Myers-Cooke said meat manufacturers should take note of this trend, by presenting their meat as portioned, either on a stick, in a pie, or in a sausage roll.
3 – Casualisation of food
In terms of approaches to food, Myers-Cooke said today’s at-home cooks are looking to impress guests with how little effort they’ve put into their food. The days of carefully plated, multiple course meals in a formal dining room are gone.
“We’re calling it the barefoot summer,” she said. “People want to kick off their shoes and entertain.”
Myers-Cooke said food makers can cater to this in their product development. Offerings should not only be simple to prepare, but importantly also appear effortless when they are served.
“It can’t look like people are slaving away in a kitchen,” she said.
4 – Retro
Retro trends aren’t just for the furniture and fashion industry any more. Myers-Cooke said her team has seen consumers interested in
food brands that trigger nostalgic memories for older Australians. She said recipes that include classic brands like Maltesers and Tim Tams – such as the Tim Tam Tarte – are proving popular on the site.
“We kind of found this trend out by accident,” she explained. “Every recipe we put with custard or condensed milk got huge hits.”
She said this is a great opportunity for some of these brands to tap into this nostalgia to reintroduce or reimagine their brands.
“It’s not just an Aussie vibe, it’s a 1960s and 1970s vibe,” she said. “It’s a very interesting phenomenon.
5 – Conscious spending
Consumers worldwide are learning that they have power in their wallets – and can sway corporations by aligning their values with what they purchase. Myers-Cooke said food is at the centre of this trend, with consumers increasingly more aware of where their food comes from.
“People aren’t just spending on a budget anymore,” she said. “They want a value equation. You see it with free range eggs. People now don’t even think twice about spending more money on free range eggs. They feel it’s ethical, and better, and represents who they are.”
With food, Myers-Cooke said, brands should capitalise on this where they can by highlighting the providence of their products. If a manufacturer has all or part of their product Australian made and/or grown, this should be at the centre of their marketing campaigns. Similarly, manufacturers should highlight family or company heritage in branding and communications efforts.
“People want to feel more invested in their purchases, like they are supporting a brand,” she said.
Similarly, brands can show that they are supporting important causes, such as making efforts to reduce food waste or limit food miles, to win over consumer loyalty.
6 – Asian flavours
Of all the food trends, Myers-Cooke is confident that the consumer love for Asian flavours is one that brands need to capitalise one.
“Asian presents the biggest opportunity,” she said. “It’s popular because it’s very forgiving. You can go to your crisper and use up all your vegetables. There is lots of flavour, it’s family friendly, and it’s affordable. And there is this air of the exotic and excitement around it.”
While some food trends come and go, Myers-Cooke said food trends that add convenience and affordability are safe bets. With Asian food, she noted that noodles are a favourite among parents as they are forgiving, and also affordable.
Overall, however, she said is it the freshness and amazing tastes of Asian food that are finally winning Australians over.
“I have this personal theory that Australians have finally woken up and realised they live in Southeast Asia,” she said. “Plus, they have travelled around so much now. If you think about our amazing ingredients that we have in Australia, we can do Asian here like nowhere else in the world.”
Whatever single or combination of trends food manufacturers decide to capitalise on, Myers-Cooke said now is the time to do it. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians spend 17 per cent of their weekly spending on food and alcohol, with that spending tripling since the early 1980s.
“It was Visy CEO Anthony Pratt who said that the mining boom would be replaced with the dining boom,” she said. “We’re seeing that right now. People are spending money, and not just in restaurants, but on groceries as well.”
Brodee Myers-Cooke is a key editor of the Seasonal Food Corp Trend Forecast, published by News Corp.
Global Automation offers a range of operator panels that provide high quality information to improve operational efficiency.
Operator panels, also known as Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs), allow operators to interact with and control machinery, generally via a graphic user interface (GUI).
As John Thomson managing director of Global Automation told Food & Beverage Industry News, given that all food and beverage manufacturers have various types of packaging machinery and automation equipment, most have operator panels. As such, there are plenty of HMI panels on the market for manufacturers to choose from.
“Currently the way most HMIs on machinery used in manufacturing (and particularly in food and beverage manufacturing) work when creating reports is they create basic CSV files of data coming straight out of the machine’s controller,” Thomson said.
He said that when deciding on what operator panels to implement, food manufacturers should take into account the quality of information they provide on the machine floor. This is not just about HMIs interacting with their human operators. It is also about HMIs interacting with manufacturing systems.
Global Automation is the Australian distributor of Beijer Electronics X2 series of operator panels. According to Thomson, these units have advanced reporting features which sets them apart from its competitors.
“The X2 panels use internal SQL databases for data logging, recipes, audit trails and alarming. With their advanced reporting functionality, excel templates with embedded SQL queries can be easily downloaded as part of the HMI application. This translates to complete finished reports at the factory floor which are easily accessible via USB stick, CF memory card, email and FTP to production management teams. Nobody has to do any more work to them,” he said.
“Using the old way of getting raw data into your spreadsheet, somebody has to go in, interpret the data and create a report themselves.”
Moving to practicalities, Thomson pointed out that food and beverage manufacturing environments are harsh. The caustic chemicals often used in wash downs, coupled with the heat of cooking and the cold of refrigeration mean that hardware used in these settings needs be strong.
“X2’s Extreme range covers this requirement. Theses panels can handle high and low temperatures as well as high vibration. We also have fully-enclosed, fully-sealed units that can be out on movable arms and hosed down as well,” he said.
X2 operator panels come with iX-Developer configuration software included. The advanced functionality of the software is another strong point. For example, it includes an audit trail (FDA logging strategies approved) which allows for advanced process tracking, as well as user identification linked to time and place of process events, enabling recalls and rationalising of production processes.
The list of other functions is quite extensive. With the X2 software, developers can create and customise the functionality of a single action or the whole application using their own scripting in the C# script editor.
According to Thomson, things are set to change for the X2 range. This year Global Automation is releasing Warp Engineering Studio, a new piece of software that will be included with the X2 panels.
“Like a middleware software, it’s a rapid engineering tool which allows users to create integrated HMI, control, drives and data communication solutions in minutes instead of days. They will be able to download objects/code from Beijer’s smart store and WARP will implement this in your HMI application,” he said. “Like magic, it all happens before your eyes,” he said. “This will be a revolution.”
Australia is still adopting regulations from Europe when it comes to its manufacturers’ food packaging compliance. Speaking to Food & Beverage Industry News, James Montgomery, ink product manager for Jet Technologies, explains its significance.
Consumer appetite for a wide choice of foods is driving farmers, packagers and distributors to deliver higher quantities at a faster pace.
In Australia alone, the value of packaging produced is more than $10 billion and directly employs around 30,000 people.
According to the Packaging Council of Australia, up to 70 per cent of the industry serves the food and beverage sector.
Packaging is proven to extend the shelf life of fresh food and drink products, according to industry studies such as those carried out by Choice – meaning produce can be transported further and, if managed well, can also reduce food waste and improve sustainability.
However, this greater volume of packaged goods requires strict regulations to ensure that packaging is safe for the consumer and, more specifically, that the materials used on branding to attract and inform the customer doesn’t contaminate the consumable product. Low-migration inks require rigid testing and industry compliance to prevent printed advertising and product details seeping into the population’s daily diet.
“As food packaging compliance (FPC) regulations become more complex, it is incumbent on industry professionals to understand what they mean for their business operations,” said James Montgomery, Jet Technologies ink product manager (pictured right).
A leader in FPC compliance, Jet Technologies is an Australian importer and distributer of print supplies for makers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), and specialises in industry-tested inks and coatings.
“We are trying to lean more on the brand and marketing departments of FMCG organisations, to improve their knowledge of FPC,” said Montgomery.
There are three different ways materials used for food packaging can contaminate the product. Other than chemical migration from the packaging itself, contamination can also be caused on the printing reel, whereby ink is transferred to underside of the print face – known as an “invisible set-off” – and therefore risks food product being spoiled.
Further down the production line, the inclusion of gases into sealed product can also carry dangerous chemicals during the packaging process.
In 2005, Nestlé was at the centre of a major recall of its baby milk across four European countries, after it was discovered that traces of the chemical Isopropil Thioxantone (ITX) – used in UV curing inks for printing – had been found in some cartons of the company’s Nidina and Latte Mio brands.
When an incident of this size happens, it causes the industry to re-evaluate the raw materials they are using as well as consumer safety, Montgomery explains.
The Nutella recall received global attention and is considered a turning point for the ink industry, according to Montgomery, who says that FPC inks in food packaging have become more popular and has been helped by a “significant decrease” in cost to manufacturers.
Switzerland was the first nation to enforce changes to the regulations, with a Swiss ordinance bringing into effect its own raw materials “black list”, which also sets out requirements for the safe manufacture and supply of packaged foods.
“That had a massive impact because, overnight, questionnaires were sent out to suppliers for their actual print converting and also the question of their raw materials lists and the suppliers they were using, to make sure that they were conforming to all the current legislation,” Montgomery said.
The supermarkets also started demanding that packagers conform to new legislation.
However, FPC is not exclusive to the food and beverage industry. Other sectors – such as tobacco, pharmaceuticals, plus health and beauty – all need to work to the same standards.
“It is such a diverse market for the end user – everything from FMCGs to cosmetics,” Montgomery said.
“We have a few label manufacturing customers who have adopted FPC completely,” he continued. “There is a large commitment from them and that is what we are trying to achieve, to broaden that understanding of FPC between the brands and the label manufacturers.”
According to Montgomery, Australia and New Zealand are in need of “harmonised legislation” for manufacture of coatings and inks which would benefit the local industry and provide clarity.
“Currently, our food packaging regulations are adopted or inspired from Europe,” he said. “One form of legislation is required in Australia and New Zealand to provide certainty to us all.”
“Manufacturers need to be aware of their changing their environment and the raw materials they use on their packaging. It us up to all of us to make the industry safer for the consumer.”
With EasyPilot, the manufacturer of multi-equipment carriers and harvesters, Grégoire, has created a sensor-assisted automatic line guidance system that boasts a precision of 3 cm without needing a GPS position signal.
A great success: and ifm has played a role in it.
No other beverage holds so many secrets and divides so many opinions as wine. Wine: The Italians claim it as their national beverage, and the cup of the everlasting covenant of the Christian faith is filled with it – for in wine is truth: “in vino veritas”. One truth about wine is that it is necessary to harvest grapes to produce it. And in our days which are marked by technological progress, the most important question is: man or machine?
The romanticised image of the grape harvest, which we often see in movies and which will surely have inspired one or the other Hollywood star to buy their own vineyard, actually looks quite different in reality. Considering that in Germany alone the average citizen drinks about 20 litres of wine per year, it becomes quite obvious how much work has to be done in how little time by about 80,000 German winemakers who cultivate and harvest wine on an area of about 102,000 hectares.
How is it possible to be successful against this background?
Success through technology: Many winemakers use state-of-the-art harvesting machines like grape harvesters instead of manual labourers. Grape harvesters offer various advantages. One hectare, for example, can be harvested in 3 to 5 hours. Achieving the same result with manual labour requires 40 to 60 workers.
How does an automatic grape harvester function?
The French company Grégoire is a manufacturer of grape harvesters. Their grape harvesters can additionally be equipped with an automatic line guidance system: the “EasyPilot”. This system boasts a precision of 3cm without depending on satellite signals.
The grape row is detected by ifm’s O3M 3D sensor system. It analyses the scene in front of the harvester “point by point” using ifm’s patented PMD technology (time of flight). By creating a digitised version of the scene in front of the machine, the general properties of the vines can be gathered and visualised in abstract form. Inaccuracies caused by vine branches from the side or high grass can be excluded.
While the grape harvester moves over the vines, it creates a tunnel beneath the driver’s cab. This tunnel is provided with glass fibre rods that create vibrations. These vibrations shake the vines, so that the grapes fall off. They tumble on a conveyor belt that transports them to a collecting container. A fan removes unwanted elements such as leaves and tiny branches. There is another sensor that looks down from above and that is mounted in a central position under the cab of the harvester. This sensor is directed at the bottom and determines the height and thickness of deposits. When the signal is processed, a guiding track is generated that visualises the grape row as a model. This model is used as a basis to calculate the ideal route for the harvester to take. When the machine is in the grape row, the driver starts the EasyPilot via the screen in the cab. Once the system is started, all the driver needs to do is have an eye on the operating speed and the tools – everything else is taken care of by the system. When the end of the grape row is reached, a visual and acoustic signal will inform the driver that the harvester needs to be turned around to move along the next grape row.
There were times when the time for the grape harvest was ordained by the government. Today, winemakers can decide for themselves, and with the grape harvesters from Grégoire, grapes can be harvested at any time – even at night.
Innovation pays off: Grégoire have won the innovation award for their new automatic line guidance system EasyPilot that is based on the O3M sensor system from ifm. The automatic grape harvester will be presented at the SITEVI, an important trade fair dedicated to viticulture.
The result of a long history. And the beginning of another success story for ifm: After they had adopted ifm’s 3D sensor technology, Grégoire also became fascinated with other ifm products, such as our controllers. Thanks to the grape harvest project, Grégoire has become a huge ifm fan.
The application was successfully implemented by ifm France.
When pie manufacturer Baked Provisions wanted to design a new facility in Western Sydney, it had to make sure that not only was the budget met, but it would have a building that would meet its operational needs and capital constraints. Luckily, Total Construction was able to meet both these requirements.
When building a new facility, a food manufacturer knows that such a capital investment of a bespoke building can be a costly affair. Baked Provisions knew this, so they knew they needed a company that would not only build a quality facility to its specifications, but would do so within its budget.
Total Construction is a company that specialises in building commercial facilities that are designed to give clients the best value for money, and to make sure that the finished product meets the operational needs of a busy, modern enterprise.
Total knows the key to a successful project is to make sure the client involves a builder early on in the process.
Baked Provisions’ management team embraced this strategy and it wasn’t long before the company started helping the Prestons-based bakery conceptualise and design the project from the ground up.
Early Contractor Involvement
“Commonly known in the construction game as Early Contractor Involvement (ECI), having a builder involved during the scoping and design stage can allow critical cost items in any build/ fit out be identified and alternatives discussed,” Total Construction’s national business manager Rob Blythman told Food & Beverage Industry News.
“For instance, you may have a plan to construct a mezzanine level in your operations. Although perfect for the intended process flows, it can be extremely costly to construct.”
Blythman pointed out that sometimes clients cannot see the forest for the trees. They are so entrenched in their business they only see one aspect of the project, such as increasing efficiencies in their production.
“Involving a builder with process engineering capability in the food and beverage industry, such as Total Construction, can allow different eyes to see the requirements and suggest alternatives to the building layout that just don’t reduce the need for costly building works, but can potentially improve the process flow overall,” he said.
How does ECI work to help companies like Baked Provisions meet their budget?
The first step is a site visit, or investigation, which is carried out by the builder. This is similar to scoping a site. Total Construction looked at the existing site and the blueprint of the new facility. This allowed it to see all the services Baked Provisions would need in order to have an efficient operation.
The company also took stock of what utility services were available at the site. The Western Sydney industrial estate where the facility is located was fairly new so it was important to make sufficient services were available (i.e.. gas and electrical capacities). This is something that some businesses forget to do. Not only do you have to make sure the services are available, but increasing power or gas supply to a site can be very costly to the project and create delays.
Another area that needs consideration in the case of an existing building to be fitted out, is the structure integrity. Having to strengthen this to cope with the additional weight of fit out and services can often blow out project costs.
Getting stakeholders together
“A workshop was carried out with all stakeholders to identify required efficiencies, confirm proposed outputs and flag any potential limitations,” said Blythman. “As part of this workshop all production processes were mapped and detailed for both the existing and proposed operations. A comprehensive list including capacities and dimensions of all equipment both existing and new was developed. This helped to identify all utility services required and set the benchmark for power and gas requirements at the proposed site.”
One of the main reasons for being so comprehensive in the planning stage is, again, to save money for the client. It helps identify potential bottle necks in current processes and highlights any hygiene requirements in the new fit out, something that is a key ingredient in the food and beverage industry. Getting all this data captured was critical in maximising efficiencies of the new facility.
Once all these things were scoped, the Total Construction team got to work on the practicalities of the build for Baked Provisions.
“A review of the build-ability of the facility was done and sketch design layouts were completed to optimise process flows to best fit the client’s objectives,” said Blythman.
“A building/fit out SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis was carried out and build/ fit out costs were derived. Through consultation between ourselves and the client this process allowed savings to be identified early on in the overall design and layout of the facility.”
When Blythman talks about a detailed design, this includes all the services and other requirements, which is then put to the market for live market costing. This was so the client could get a firm understanding of what they could get for their dollar. It was at this point that the building of the facility was finalised.
“Here is where working to a budget comes in,” said Blythman. “Once the ideal building and fit out costs are established, it is then possible to derive further reductions in the overall project spend through rationalising the design. This included, but was not limited, to reducing the number and sizes of rooms, freezer/cool room capacities and locations, and finishes in the design.”
He said that this could be done while keeping future expansion capability intact in the design and maintaining the client’s required production output for their new facility.
Total Construction knew that a key to the success of the build was making sure it met Baked Provisions’ needs, as well as giving them the best advice during all stages of the project.
New advocacy group, the Australian Food Cold Chain Council, aims to address food wastage by showing food producers, logistics operators, supermarkets and consumers the cost of inaction.
The Federal Government estimates that wastage across the Australian food cold chain costs the economy $20 billion each year. In November 2017, the Department of the Environment and Energy released the National Food Waste Strategy, a document outlining the impact – both economic and societal – of food wastage, and what action the Government will take to tackle the issue and halve wastage by 2030.
One group already aware of the urgency of the problem is the Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), an advocacy group launched by logistics professionals in August dedicated to spreading knowledge about food wastage, improving compliance and refining legislation, With senior figures at major Australian refrigeration, manufacturing and transport companies as founding members, the AFCCC aims to be part of the solution to Australia’s food waste problem.
“We want to change the industry for the better,” said Mark Mitchell, chair of the AFCCC and managing director of cold storage and transport specialist Supercool Asia Pacific.
The AFCCC is targeting the middle section of the cold food chain, which the Government estimates accounts for almost a third of the $20 billion lost annually. “Food moving from the farm to the consumer – in transport and in storage – accounts for $6.4 billion in losses annually,” he said.
“Unfortunately, there is a tendency for businesses in refrigerated transport and storage to be price driven, rather than quality driven. The by-product of this is wastage, a lack of compliance and a disregard for correct procedures.”
Mitchell pointed out that the industry has been ripe for a process overhaul for some time, but it is increasing consumer interest in companies’ “triple bottom lines” – or their social and environmental impact, not only financial performance – that has created the perfect conditions for him and other industry veterans to take action.
“We’ve been trying to do things ‘better’ for many years, while trying to appeal to businesses that are driven by the dollar to step up,” he said. “It’s very hard to ask companies to pick up their quality games when everyone is focusing on delivering the cheapest product.
“In recent times, society, consumers, governments – everyone who lives on the planet – they have realised that we can’t keep abusing the environment like we have been. With this shift in focus, we can encourage refrigerated logistics businesses to do the job properly, resulting in a cold chain that produces less wastage and fewer emissions, while improving food safety and quality for consumers.”
The cost of waste
Mitchell said that the “cost” of discarded food does not only represent the price paid for it by the consumer, it is calculated based on the water, fuel and human resources it took to get it from the paddock to the plate – though food waste does not occur only at the end of the supply chain.
“You can’t just blame the consumer food wastage. This is 25 per cent of the problem, the other 75 per cent of food wastage happens upstream in the supply chain,” he said.
‘Temperature abuse’ – the failure to maintain transported and stored food items within recommended temperature ranges – is rampant in Australia, Mitchell explained. At worst, it can compromise food safety, though most consumers will have unknowingly fallen victim.
“We see a lot of temperature abuse, and it’s something that affects all of us on a daily basis,” he added.
“That pack of sausages that lasted two weeks in the fridge last time you bought it – it only lasted three or four days this time due to a lack of care in the cold chain.
One of our priorities will be to apply pressure in industry and in government to make sure the existing Australian standards for cold-chain food handling are properly followed.”
A more compliant cold chain – free from temperature and hygiene abuse
– will mean that food lasts longer on supermarket shelves and longer in the family fridge, Mitchell explained.
According to Mitchell, in order to improve Australia’s “far from perfect” track record in efficient, farm-to-plate cold-food handling, collaboration between government, industry associations, food handlers and suppliers will be crucial.
“There’s lots of rhetoric about commitments to food waste reduction and cold chain compliance, but little, if nothing, is being done at any level about improving the cold chain, and ensuring that standards are followed,” he said.
“Nearly 40 per cent of all the food we produce in the world is never eaten. Consider that the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) found in 2013 that one in every eight people on Earth goes to bed hungry each night – there’s a whole food wastage agenda to fix globally.”
The 2017 Hunger Report prepared by Australian non-profit Food Bank found that food insecurity is a growing concern locally, which Mark thinks many Australians would find surprising. It reported that 3.6 million Australians had experienced food insecurity within 12 months of being surveyed – and pressure on food charities is increasing by 10 per cent each year.
“Our focus on making the cold chain better essentially comes at the task from two perspectives – reducing the environmental impact of food wastage through CO2 emissions, and tackling hunger,” said Mitchell. “If we want to feed the globe, we’re going to need to develop and maintain highly efficient refrigeration systems in the cold chain.”
He added that The World Health Organization’s How to feed the world in 2050 report, produced in 2009, projected that if global food wastage continues at its current rate, there will not be enough to feed the world’s population by 2050.
“We produce enough food for 10 billion people right now, though there are only seven billion of us,” said Mitchell. “We have to fix this – I don’t want my great grandchildren living in an environment where there’s not enough food on the shelf.”
Josh Frydenberg, the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy, has invited the AFCCC to sit on the steering committee shaping and implementing the policies that will support the National Food Waste Strategy. “We will help the Federal Government as much as we can,” said Mitchell. “For us, a major priority will be establishing a decent code of practice for the carriage of chilled and fresh produce, a document that the industry is missing.
“While most of the developed world is on the cusp on taking initiatives to stem food wastage, at present it’s more talk than action. I think Frydenberg is to be congratulated on having developed a formal, national food waste reduction strategy – it’s a little bit visionary.”
The AFCCC has entered into a partnership with the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad), with the groups working together to revise and rewrite the code of practice for the road transportation of fresh product, a “long overdue” update, according to Mitchell. “The code of practice that is in place currently was a voluntary guide put together by the now-defunct Australian United Fresh Transport Advisory Council,” he said. “We’re going to review and rewrite the document, so that it can support legal implementation.”
The AFCCC is also keen to raise industry awareness of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) in ambient and cold food supply chains, with a view to eventually developing an accreditation program.
“Very few trucks or loading docks in Australia have temperature monitoring, even though the technology is available,” said Mitchell. “The nation’s cold chain compliance is behind other developed nations, and Europe is leading the way. We want to spread the word about the HACCP principles, to show businesses how to improve food safety and gain better control over their supply chain.”
After that, he said, the end goal is to get every stakeholder carrying food for Australian consumers involved in an accreditation program – through a common desire to do better, ideally, rather than through fear of legal reproach. “We believe there’s a better way to go about bringing in better standards than by enforcing strict legislation – there are already more than enough rules to follow in Australia,” he said.
“We want this to be about doing the right thing, for the right reasons – and it won’t hurt companies’ triple bottom lines when consumers see the steps they’re taking to help end hunger, reduce their impact on the environment and maintain quality and food safety.”
Mitchell hopes that the coming years will see a shift in the way Australia’s cold chain, retailers and consumers think about the food they buy, eat and discard.
“It is my wish and the AFCCC’s wish to enable and empower the logistics industry, food producers, supermarkets and all other stakeholders to voluntarily do some heavy lifting to bring about a compliant, quality cold-chain and supply environment,” he said.
With new labelling choices launched recently in Australia to certify products that are palm oil free, opinions differ on the best way to deal with the complex issue.
The story of palm oil and its supply is a complex one, sometimes pitting environmentalists against economists, and at times against each other. Many of the facts are simple and undeniable. Palm oil appears in many products on supermarket shelves, ranging from foods such as margarine, chocolate and ice cream to soaps and cosmetics. It is also used in fuels for vehicles and power plants.
The problem is, as The State of the World’s Forests 2016 (a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United nations) points out, some palm oil plantations contribute to deforestation. This, in turn, leads to a loss of habitat for animals, including the orangutan which has become a poster child for organisations seeking to increase consumer awareness around the issue.
Many in the food manufacturing industry have started to address the problem. For example, US agribusiness giant Cargill suspended business with a Guatemalan producer in December over breaches of the firm’s sustainable palm oil policy, and countries such as Malaysia are introducing their own certification processes.
A 2013 report commissioned by WWF-Australia and the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), Palm Oil in Australia Facts, Issues and Challenges, states that “the plight of the orangutan has led to public engagement on the production and use of palm oil”.
However, it continues: “Palm oil provides opportunities to support economic and social development in some of the poorest areas in the world.”
With all this in mind, we looked at some of the groups addressing the complicated and often controversial issue.
The Melbourne-based Orangutan Alliance was launched in early 2017 and instituted its International No Palm Oil Certification Program later in the year. Its trademark is pending by IP Australia.
Founder and chairperson Maria Abadilla said the organisation was established to support conservation projects, and does that through its Palm Oil Free Certification and grants.
Existing legislation in Australia or New Zealand does not require transparency in labelling, she said, and even when it does appear on an ingredients list, there are more than 200 alternative names for palm oil.
“People need to know that, to be able to see the saturated fats, whether palm oil is present if that’s what they’re looking for, but also for their choice,” she said.
Palm oil is a complex issue, but an ecological emergency, Abadilla said.
“The solution will need to come from different groups from new technology, policy change to reforestation,” she said. “Orangutan Alliance is here to provide consumer choice particularly in the absence of clear labelling in some countries.”
Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Program
Bev Luff, spokeswoman for the Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Program (POFCAP), said the POFCAP Trademark was approved by IP Australia and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in November 2016, and the program launched last year to coincide with International Orangutan Day on August 19.
The certification was also approved last year by the Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office and the Austrian Patent Office, she said. Applications are pending in a further 11 countries.
Luff said while POFCAP supports the idea of “non-conflict palm oil”,
as POFCAP refers to sustainable production, only 17 per cent of all palm oil is currently certified as such.
Many organisations had worked hard to discourage deforestation and educate the public and industries of the issues surrounding palm oil production, she said, but the rate
of deforestation continues to be alarming.
“There are also people who avoid palm oil for health reasons – they may or may not care about the environmental issues surrounding its production but they care what they put in their bodies and in their homes,” said Luff.
Luff said POFCAP was not an educational, conservation or political program. “POFCAP purely exists to certify if a product is 100 per cent palm oil free,” she said.
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
The inaugural meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was held in Malaysia in 2003.
The not-for-profit unites stakeholders from all sectors of the palm oil industry – oil palm producers, processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks/investors, and environmental and social non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.
The RSPO has developed a set of environmental and social criteria which companies must comply with in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).
The organisation not only certifies palm oil as sustainable, but oversees the trade in RSPO Credits, which promote the production of certified palm oil. Working in a similar manner to carbon offsets, an RSPO credit is proof that one tonne of certified palm oil was produced by an RSPO- certified company or independent producer, and has entered the palm oil supply chain.
The RSPO has more than 3,000 members worldwide who represent all links along the palm oil supply chain.
They have committed to produce, source and/or use sustainable palm oil certified by the RSPO.
Josh Bishop, head of Sustainable Food for WWF-Australia, agrees that one of the most significant threats to the world’s biodiversity, mainly because the plantations displace tropical rainforests that are the habitat for many endangered species.
WWF looks for ways to reconcile the need for food, including palm oil, with the conservation of ecosystems and wildlife, he said.
“Our interest in palm oil is partly to document and confront the threat but also to try and find practical solutions that are economically feasible and help us feed humanity without destroying the planet.”
Part of the solution is having agreed land use plans agreed to by all stakeholders, including the industry and rural communities, he said.
“And then, in those areas where food production is agreed to be the best use of the land, try to ensure that the production practices are as responsible as possible, which means minimising impact on wildlife but also minimising impact on the climate, on water resources, and any adverse impacts on rural communities.”
WWF helped establish the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, and argues it is possible to achieve “good” palm oil. WWF recognises the importance of palm oil to the economies of many developing countries, and that its production is a much more efficient use of land than that of canola oil or soy oil, Bishop said.
About 20 per cent of global palm oil production is certified, but he acknowledged the provenance of the remaining 80 per cent is problematic.
“It is definitely a problem,” he said, “but there is a practical solution that is available, it’s not terrifically expensive, and there’s no reason why companies can’t switch to sustainable palm oil, including physical supplies of palm oil. It is available in Australia for those who want it.”
James Mathews director of ommunications for the AFGC, said palm oil is a fundamental ingredient in some products in the supply chain and there is a lot of consumer misunderstanding about the issue.
“The industry takes information to its consumers seriously, and this is a huge ecological issue of which many companies have invested significantly in sustainable palm oil supply and certified palm oil supply,” he said.
“We are aware that while there is an ecological issue, there’s also the fact that many communities rely on palm oil for their economic lifeblood.”
The AFGC does not support specific trademarks or certifications but believes that improving consumer awareness and transparency of sourcing is vital.
Mathews said there is a risk of demonising an entire industry when there are organisations that are trying to ensure its production in a sustainable, responsible manner.
“You have to be careful to make sure the information is available to consumers, that consumers have some awareness that there is responsible palm oil sourcing through some of the company policies, and we would encourage more and more companies to do that,” he said.
“We would want to act as an incentive, not a disincentive.”
Bag in box systems can be tricky. The fact is that no bag with liquid or any substance for that matter always behaves in the same way. It is like a class of three-year old’s – completely unpredictable. Glen Foreman, HMPS Applications Engineer and Bag in Box expert offers some pointers on the difficulties of bag in box packaging applications.
“Working with any liquid in a bag and then having to pack these bags into boxes can be problematic. The handling of the bag is a delicate matter. Often rather heavy and with an inconsistent shape, these bags are difficult to place into boxes accurately, efficiently and at high speed” comments Glen.
Fortunately, HMPS is no stranger to the bag in box packaging method. In fact, it was the booming wine industry in South Australia which saw them first come up with the bag in box concept. Packaging wine for wineries in the area saw the company grow from a small operation to one with various packaging machines installed worldwide. Today HMPS has expanded to a complete turnkey solution provider handling both up and downstream equipment, but they remain the experts in Bag in Box applications.
HMPS1000 Bag in Box machine for water packaging
With their experience in this field, it is little wonder that HMPS was commissioned by a water company in New Zealand to design and build an automated bag in box packaging system. Traditionally the company had been doing this filling by hand.
In this design, bags are transferred from the web filler outfeed conveyor to the HMPS infeed conveyor, which transfers the bag to the automatic loading funnel. The funnel forms the bag into the shape of the carton. The funnel moves up and down removing the possibility of the bag catching on the carton flaps. Bags are loaded through the base of the carton, which is inverted 180° so that the tap is correctly positioned.
The machine was supplied with the option of adding a second filler and loading station later. “An innovative double infeed system was designed for this machine to allow for future expansion. It is never too early to automate as machinery can grow with your business” adds Glen.
The machine consisted of the infeed conveyor, outfeed conveyor and carton turner, a case magazine and hotmelt system.
The HMPS1000 Bag in Box packers are a mono block design. One frame incorporates the carton erecting, folding, loading, and sealing. This ensures a very compact foot print. The HMPS1000 can integrate with any brand of automatic web filling machine both loading pre- filled bags into the carton or inserting the bag and filling in the carton as is often done for cream cheese.
All kinds of liquids can be packed
For liquids, bag sizes range from 1L for alcohol up to 20L for water, and 1kg to 25kg for cheese. A standard single funnel machine will run comfortably at 15-20 cartons/minute where a dual funnel machine has capability up to 30 cartons/min. The dual funnel machines are generally fed from dual Web Fillers.
Some of the liquids which can be packed into a BIB solution include:
– Post mix soft drink
– Post mix soft serve
– Alcoholic beverages
– Liquid Cheese
– Egg Whites
The challenges when handling a bag filled with liquid at speed are varied, from changing direction, stopping accurately to loading the bag squarely into the carton all pose challenges that HMPS have overcome with over 25 years of product development. The original Bag in Box packers are still in production today.
To ensure precisely square sealing of the cartons the erected cartons are held securely between paddles in the indexing system. Dropping away side guides ensure the carton is kept geometrically square during transit and loading, incorporating a quick release drop away mechanism which swings away allowing the operator to easily remove any carton blockages.
To ensure precise placement in the carton the loading funnels lower down into the carton during the loading sequence ensuring a smooth transition from the funnel to the carton. Over years of development HMPS have mastered the funnel design, supplying a robust and reliable system. The funnel change over to various sizes is quick thanks to pre-programming.
HMPS can also supply an inexpensive, proven system to rotate the cartons exiting the packer. Due to the filling caps fitted to the bags the bladders are generally loaded in to the carton with the tap trailing. This ensures the tap does not jam during loading into the carton. This requires the bladder to be loaded into through the bottom of the carton ensuring accurate tap placement near the tap hole in the carton. Prior to palletising the cask needs to be up ended onto its base. The HMPS turning system is a continuous system allowing it to run at high speeds while gently handling the cask reducing the risk of damage to the finished product.
Given the limited size of our local market, it makes sense for Australian food and beverage makers to export. However, according to Export Connect’s Najib Lawand, success in this endeavour is no certainty and there are some common mistakes that potential exporters should avoid.
The stars are starting to align for Australian food and beverage exporters. A range of factors including free trade deals, an attractively-valued Australian dollar, and the emergence of an ever- expanding Chinese middle class have created plenty of optimism.
However, export success is far from assured for Australian food makers. As Najib Lawand, director of Export Connect told Food & Beverage Industry News, potential exporters still need to do plenty of homework before setting out on an export path.
Export Connect works with businesses, suppliers, governments, and industry bodies to help grow Australian exports.
The organisation tailors its export advisory services to meet the needs of individual businesses. In his time at the organisation, Lawand has identified some common mistakes that first-time exporters typically make. The first, he said, is not putting enough effort into choosing the right market to enter.
“Too often, businesses start their market journey solely because they’ve attended a subsidised trade show that government agencies may have run. But these markets, such as China, might not be the best market in which to launch their export journey,” he said.
Likewise, he said that the US is not the best choices for new exporters. These large markets can tie first-timers in knots if their entry strategies are not well-considered.
“China, for example, features varied and inconsistent import regulations, complicating the benefits of any openings in that market. Though it may be worthwhile, we advise against it for those who are still new to the game.”
According to Lawand, there are a few common characteristics among the markets most likely to deliver success for first-time exporters.
“These markets are both easy to deal with and hungry for our products. Often, they will have a sophisticated channel structure on the ground, and simple and clear regulations to follow. Their consumers will generally be affluent, with a high disposable income, and a large proportion of expats,” he said.
“As a wealthy city or nation, they are usually the economic hub in their region. Markets such as Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong all fall neatly within this description.”
According to Lawand, choosing the right market should involve considering each country’s demographics. This includes whether the target consumers are locals or expats, as well as market access issues like halal certification or organic accreditation.
“The business’ market entry strategy may also change over time. For example, the business may initially enter a market through an Australian-based trader who sells directly to a supermarket chain (this may be the best way to test a product). But after 12 months of growth, a review may show that it’s now best to have the product distributed to multiple retailers and into food service channels,” said Lawand.
“This means that pricing needs to be considered from the very start, to ensure there aren’t any increases in price when distributors are introduced into the value chain.”
Lawand said another common mistake suppliers make is applying a cost-plus- pricing strategy for export markets without really considering what the recommended retail price should be, and then working backwards from there.
By doing this, he said, first-time exporters often sell themselves short. It means that valuable profit, that could otherwise have been reinvested in promotions, is often left on the table.
“Businesses can only set correct prices by conducting online and in-store competitor price analysis,” said Lawand. “This research will reveal the business’ direct and indirect competitor product prices; their product claims; pack sizes; and which countries they come from, among other data to create a thorough competitor product profile.”
Ideally, businesses have the opportunity to conduct on-shelf product analysis by visiting the market themselves or having access to resources that can do this on-site research for them.
“It is important that suppliers understand the margins of their product throughout the value chain. Armed with what they believe their product should retail for, they can then work backwards and determine their export price. In this process, it is critical that an allowance is made for a promotional program, as marketing their brand is fundamental to long-term growth and success,” said Lawand.
A thoroughly planned market entry strategy is crucial for new exporters. According to Lawand, it should start with questions about consumers – who are they and where do they shop? Then, the strategy should consider possible food service channels – restaurants, hotels, cafes, duty-free, gyms, hospitals, and so on.
“You also need to think about compliance with ingredient and labelling requirements in each market; and efficient and safe transit options, including consideration for the shelf- life of the product,” said Lawand.
Doing business in foreign countries
When travelling overseas to do business, it is important to remember that you are a guest. Being respectful to your hosts and their culture is a top priority.
“Buyers from different cultures and in different markets do have their nuances. In markets where their buyers are from family-run businesses, for example, it is important to establish your connection through shared family values,” explained Lawand. “Working with corporates, on the other hand, the conversations are often short, sharp, black-and-white and to the point. So understanding your buyer’s background and work habits is important.”
Then there are the practicalities that all travelers, regardless of whether they are doing business or not, need to keep on top of.
“Understanding your markets’ festivals and celebrations can be important when building your promotional program and even for making a market visit. For example, we wouldn’t set appointments for meetings in Australia on Christmas Day,” said Lawand.
Importance of marketing
According to Lawand, marketing needs to be assessed on a case-by- case basis. However, as a general rule, in-store promotions and product placed on cash counters or shelf-ends raises brand awareness extremely effectively.
“In an e-commerce landscape, influencers and champions are a great strategy. Depending on the client, an effective way of providing this promotional support is to offer free- of-charge stock through a shipment, as opposed to giving them cash,” he said.
Lawand emphasised the importance of establishing good business relationships. He said that the key to this is understanding buyers’ backgrounds and key performance indicators; and throughout the negotiation process, continuing to be observant and respectful of buyers’ behaviours and requests.
“Most important is that you deliver on your promises. As they are on the other side of the world, trust is key to keeping this connection strong. A savvy exporter will establish trust from the beginning, and maintain it throughout the entire relationship,” he said.
With increasing food safety regulations and more recalls making the headlines, Lafert Electric Motors Australia knows the importance of preventing contamination is a top priority for all manufacturers.
Operating a clean production line has never been more important in the food and beverage sector. Prevention of any contamination offers significant savings in time and money, before even starting to think about the damage a product recall could have on an organisation’s brand and reputation.
Having the ability to clean and service equipment in food production the most effective and easy way is essential and can help prevent the risk of product contamination.
One key area where there is high risk of contamination is in the equipment used in food processing and the need to adhere to high standards of sanitary and hygiene across all aspects of the operation.
This is particularly relevant to the motors used on a food production line as food particles often build up in these areas. The motors need to be hosed down regularly, often using high pressure wash downs, in addition caustic cleaning solutions is often used in the cleaning process.
Depending on the materials used for the motors, this cleaning process can cause a serious issue for the equipment, with cleaning solutions eventually corroding parts of the motor as well as the risk of rust and paint flaking off, often leading to contamination.
To decrease the risks of contamination and create the cleanest environment possible, Lafert Electric Motors Australia, one of Australia’s leading suppliers of electric motors and gearboxes, has developed the Tema motor.
The Tema motor is an innovative new motor that is made of 304 grade or 316 grade stainless steel.
The Tema motor IP67 or IP69K rated can be operated and cleaned in high ambient temperatures, high humidity and with water and steam – making it ideal for the food industry. Stainless steel motors have been widely used in the food and beverage industry in the US, with the rest of the world now starting to recognise the benefits and make the switch.
The Tema motor has a specifically designed construction that avoids the use of through or end shield bolts – this makes the outer surface of the motor completely smooth, allowing for easy and thorough cleaning.
A further advantage of a stainless steel motor is that, unlike cast iron or aluminium motors, it will not corrode when hosed down.
The Tema motor was developed specifically with the food industry in mind by a leading electrical engineer in Perth and the assembly of the motor is completely unique. The design of the Tema motor features the drive end shaft fitted with two oil seals, which prevents any water getting in.
The Tema motor is also interchangeable with any other motor and can be supplied to match SEW Eurodrive dimensions – making the upgrade to Tema stainless steel motors easy.
“The Tema motor is easily one of the market leaders for wash down stainless steel motors,” said Morgan Harrington, general manager, Lafert Electric Motors Australia. “The Tema motor is unique in that it is capable of special customisation designs to suit particular customer requirements.
“The Tema motors have proven to be a wonderful success story for the food processing industry and for Lafert Electric Motors Australia.”
With a customisable design, the Tema motor works well when paired with the HydroMec Stainless Steel IP69K gearbox. The gearbox can be mounted to the Tema motor and as it is also stainless steel, it benefits from many of the advantages in cleanliness and maintenance that the Tema motor does – making the two products a perfect pairing for food processing.
With cleanliness being such a critical part of food manufacturing and production, stainless steel motors offer a significant reduction in the risk of contamination as well as a reduction in equipment replacement costs.
Lafert Electric Motors Australia has more than 50 years’ experience providing customised engineered electric motors, with a special focus on industrial automation, energy saving and renewables. The specialist technical staff can determine what product is needed and offer a wide range of options and information.
Lafert Electric Motors Australia is a force in the electric motor market and is committed to focusing on innovation and energy saving. Having serviced the food processing industry for more than 20 years, the company offers expert knowledge and advice.
With Australian-grown produce now on the march, managing director Vince Di Costanzo explains how MHE-Demag Australia is driving the food and beverage industry forward.
At the forefront of manufacturing growth in Australia, food and beverage production is the guiding light.
The end of 2017 marked 15 months of continual expansion, according to the Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI), despite a misconceived belief that the industry is in decline.
While it is changing focus – following the off shoring of sectors including automotive assembly and an acceleration towards the age of automation and robotics – one thing remains certain.
The appetite for Australian-grown food products is stronger than ever – particularly in Asia – and means the distribution of packaged produce doesn’t have plans to go away any time soon.
Ideally positioned as the Pacific Rim’s dual logistics and cranes specialist, MHE-Demag’s industry knowledge is helping the drive from farm to fork.
And its latest technology, including the KBK Crane Construction Kit, is adding value to the production of raw and processed foodstuffs.
Following a journey that brought the German-based cranes specialist Demag halfway around the world to
Australia, it was a stop off in Asia in the last century where it first discovered its new purpose.
“KBK is our light-weight construction kit and is very adaptable to applications within the food industry,” said Vince Di Costanzo, MHE-Demag Australia’s managing director.
“It is used mainly in handling lighter loads – up to a ton or so – though, in the food industry, it can also support loads as low as 50kg.
“The beauty is that it gives room to manipulate the crane’s movements with less manual effort, improving cycle times while ensuring the safety of the machine operator.” The company turns 200 years old next year. For almost 65 years, it has been based in Australia.
Expanding the business has been no easy feat, however. Introducing new markets in Asia to its own supply chain, the company – formerly known as Demag Cranes and Components – first sought the services of a distributor already established in that region.
Jebsen and Jessen (J&J), based in Singapore and Malaysia, has a footprint in Southeast Asia over many generations, and it was in the early 1970s when Demag came calling.
“Although pockets of our manufacturing industry in Australia are moving offshore, we are still consuming those goods and that consumption is only expected to increase,” Di Costanzo said.
“In terms of manufacturing production, that is in decline. However, in terms of logistics, warehousing and transportation of manufactured goods – whether for import or export – that is In 2015, a smart move saw Demag Cranes & Components become MHE-Demag Australia, allowing J&J to own 50 per cent – joining their crane technology with J&J’s logistical nous, including its in-house dock-levelling equipment.
From this marriage of continents, MHE-Demag made its way to Australia.
“It means, in terms of the food industry and those customers we served before, we can do more than simply focus on their factory floor,” Di Costanzo explained.
“We can now assist them in getting the product out of the factory and into the warehouses where they are ultimately distributed from.”
This assistance can be provided by innovative loading bay solutions, tailored to ever-growing logistics challenges in Australia. The key here is MHE-Demag’s Gator – a dock leveller specifically designed for highly demanding operations in Australian warehouses.
Especially in the food and beverage industry, this extension of being further along the value chain allows the company to provide one-stop solutions, both on the factory floor and in the loading bay.
Using nylon wheels instead of steel, KBK wears cleanly; a feature Di Costanzo insists makes MHE-Demag’s cranes more suited to the sector.
“The KBK Construction Kit is designed to fit to lightweight structures, which are typically used around food-grade equipment,” he said.
“It is much easier to integrate than a large, overhead-travelling crane, which, due to its design,
wears over time, and when that happens, can cause debris to fall into the foodstuffs and contaminate stock.”
Standards for haulage on Australia’s roads and transport infrastructure are changing, with the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) making amendments to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR), which will hold more manufacturers accountable for freight-related incidents on the road, and not only haulage companies.
MHE-Demag’s cranes and loading bay solutions are supported by German safety standards, which Di Costanzo says are an industry leader worldwide.
“Having that German connection means we have always been ahead of the safety standards required,” he continued, “and that is the case for all of our products”.
“Australia, typically, looks to Europe for the next revision of the standards. At MHE-Demag, our own engineering manager, Peter Woodward, heads the Crane Standards Committee here in Australia, which allows us to be the pace-setter when it comes to safety, whether that is in manufacturing or logistics.”
Hartshorn Distillery, winner of the Beverage of the Year at the 2017 Food & Beverage Industry Awards, uses a cheese making waste product to create alcoholic beverages. Matthew McDonald writes.
About 15 years ago, Ryan Hartshorn’s family moved from Queensland to southern Tasmania with the idea of establishing a dual wine and sheep-cheese-making business.
As Hartshorn, a director and owner of Grandvewe Cheeses and Hartshorn Distillery told Food & Beverage Industry News, given that nobody in the family had experience in these fields, the move was a gamble. His mother Diane Rae did much of the early work. Among other things, she travelled to Europe to learn from experienced cheese makers.
From the outset, sustainability was a key priority for the business. For example, the original idea involved the sheep doing the job of maintaining (eating) the vegetation between the vines. Unfortunately, the sheep weren’t disciplined enough to limit themselves to grass and destroyed the vines themselves. So the vineyard was abandoned in favour of just the cheesery.
Then, three years ago, Hartshorn decided to take another gamble. “I started to get a bit sick of the cheese side of the business and wanted to have my own creation. I decided to learn how to distill. Essentially, I was trying to figure out how I could make a distillery relevant to a cheesery and how they could work together,” he said.
The obvious path would have been to make milk liquors, but Hartshorn wanted to try something different. He had heard about a business in Ireland using cow whey (a cheese making by-product) to make alcohol and decided to try something similar with sheep whey.
“I asked the Irish operation how to do it but they wouldn’t tell me,” he said. So he had to work it out for himself.
The process of using lactose (the complex sugar found in whey) to make alcohol is not simple because fermentation requires a basic (not complex) sugar.
The only way to transform the lactose into a basic sugar is to use enzymes to break down its protein molecules. Hartshorn read about some enzymes that might be able to do this. With the help of some food technologists in Melbourne, and by a long process of trial and error, he identified the right enzymes and then started to develop his products.
Today, Hartshorn Distillery makes Sheep Whey Gin, Sheep Whey Vodka (which took out the aforementioned award) and Vanilla Whey Liqueur. After three years of operation, the distillery has now overtaken the cheesery, accounting for about 60 per cent of the overall business.
Experience is crucial
Hartshorn emphasised the fact that, in his case, taking a risk and innovating was not easy. He advises others considering taking such a step to first make sure they have plenty of experience behind them.
“I don’t think I could have done this if I came straight from working for someone else. I’d worked in my business (the cheesery) for 12 or thirteen years before making this leap,” he said. “So I had a pretty good understanding of the market. I wasn’t in the alcohol industry but there are a lot of similar factors involved. I had an idea what the market wanted.
“Basically, if you want to innovate, you need to do your research. You need to make sure you know what’s out there and what’s not out there, then try and fill those gaps.”
There is another unique aspect to Hartshorn Distillery. All its bottles are hand-painted and one-of-a-kind. As Hartshorn explained, nobody has copied this. “Big companies can’t really do it because of the work involved,” he said.
The distillery has grown by an impressive 600 per cent in the last year and, while Hartshorn is currently focusing his energies on keeping on top of this demand, he conceded that he may have to soon start thinking about adding some new buildings to the operation.
“I’ll keep my range the same but I’ll keep changing the bottle design. I want to do more collector items,” said Hartshorn.
Whatever happens, sustainability will remain important to the business. “We’ve been trying to use our waste almost from the beginning. We do a few other little lesser-known products like making fudge from whey,” he said. “We also make some of our older sheep into a sausage that we sell through our cheesery. And we make a fruit paste that goes with our cheese made from the waste of wine making.”