Stainless steel hygiene at Inghams plant

Hygiene is a top priority at a facility which processes more than 40,000 tonnes of chicken a day.

ASSDA member and Accredited Fabricator Stainless Metal Craft has recently completed work on the design and fabrication of stainless steel equipment for Inghams’ processing plant at Edinburgh Park, north of Adelaide, and hatchery at Monarto, south of Adelaide.

The projects incorporate numerous custom-designed installations, including a series of 300mm wide channelled drainage at the processing plant in runs of 60m that will withstand the weight of forklifts, and slot drains with integrated sumps at the hatchery that will tolerate extremely harsh cleaning compounds.

The slot drains, in particular, required innovative tool work, because of the size and depth required.

Freezer coving (a hygiene requirement to prevent food from being caught where the wall meets the floor) is usually made from epoxy-coated concrete, but there was concern this would wear down with ongoing snap freezing of the chickens. Instead, about 180m of 3mm grade 316 were used.

Strict regulations within the food industry also determined the need for grade 316 stainless steel fire hose reel cabinets.

Mr Bunt said most of the stainless steel was supplied by ASSDA members Atlas Specialty Metals and Midway Metals.

Gently packages all produce

tna offers the robag 3 a complete accumulation, distribution and packaging system especially designed for the fresh produce market, a stainless steel vertical form, fill and seal (VFFS) bagger.

The machine has “shaker” to gently package all types of fresh produce from bulk packaging to single-serving salads and bagged salad kits.

According to the company, the robag®’s sealing process dramatically reduces reject levels resulting in maximized output and increased product shelf life.

New cultures for soft cheese

Soft cheese is the fourth biggest cheese segment in the world.

Four new cultures are available from Chr. Hansen, aimed at producing soft cheese with improved acidification, flavour and texture.

The company also offers a full range of cultures including both acidification cultures and ripening cultures.

The new cultures are:

· Two thermophilic cultures, F-DVS GK-01 and F-DVS CZ-03, developed for helping soft cheese producers reach the acidification and texture needs of the Gorgonzola and of the Crescenza.

· Two mesophilic cultures, F-DVS TRADI-01 and F-DVS FRESH-01, contributing to obtain the unique acidification and flavour of cheese based on mesophilic production, e.g. Camembert and different blue cheeses. Mesophilic cultures thrive in temperatures between 15 and 35°C (59-95°F). Thermophilic cultures require between 35 and 45°C (95-113°F).

The new cheese cultures come in an easy-to-use direct vat set (DVS) packaging form invented by Chr. Hansen.

DVS is a highly concentrated and standardized frozen or freeze-dried dairy culture used for the direct inoculation of milk.

DVS cultures need no activation or other treatment prior to use and offer a number of advantages in terms of flexibility of use, consistent performance, no investment in bulk starter equipment and possibility of using customised culture blends.

Soft cheese is popular

The soft cheese market accounts for 12% of global cheese production and is the fourth biggest cheese segment in the world.

The main feature of the soft cheese segment is diversity; Camembert, Brie, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Argentine Port Salut, Crescenza are, among others all soft cheeses, and many more exist.

1.7 million tons of soft cheese is produced annually.

In southern Europe and in South America more soft cheese is produced than any other type of cheese and southern European cheese producers alone manufacture 0,8 million ton of soft cheese annually.

For further information, please contact Jean-Michel Lepetit

Increasing meat recovery

Ibex offers the high speed FF Pneumatic Trimmer, which operating at 15,000 rpm at almost 4 times faster than many pneumatic trimming systems..

The company developed the trimmer specifically to enable greater meat recovery from a carcass with less operator effort needed.

Ibex also offers a range of other meat processing equipment.


Aussie foods do well in US

The 33rd Winter Fancy Food Show 2008 is currently being held in San Diego, US, and Australian speciality food and beverages are again in the US spotlight with more than 100 products from over 45 businesses across Australia showcasing their products in the Austrade pavilion.

The speciality food show is one of the biggest of its kind, attracting over 16,000 buyers from food, wine, gift and department stores, supermarkets and restaurants globally.

Australia has emerged in recent years as one of the United States’ largest suppliers of value-added foods.

Key reasons are awareness of Australia’s diverse food flavours; commitment to green, sustainable practices and rigorous food safety standards.

Participating businesses include high quality goods like olive oils from Dandaragan Estate, Yellingbo Gold and Red Island; truffles, fruit pastes, sauces from The Wine and Truffle Company; chutneys, jams from Outback Spirit; honey, salt, antipasto and unusual confectionery from Australian Native Nut and Nutpatch Nougat; chocolate mousses and desserts from Nicholson Fine Foods and a range of indigenous Australian herbs and spices.

The United States is Australia’s largest trade and investment partner, with annual two-way merchandise trade between the two countries now worth more than A$47.7 billion.

Babicka Original Wormwood Vodka, winners of the 2007 FOOD Challenge Awards alcoholic beverages category are also participating in the event.

For further information on events being held during Australia Week please visit

Ingredients co. extends its reach

Bronson and Jacobs launched a new branch in Santiago, Chile, at the end of 2007.

The Specialty Chemicals Group of Orica Chemicals Latin America, became the latest member of the B&J family.

With locally employed staff in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, it significantly increases Bronson and Jacobs’ reach in this region.

Bronson and Jacobs has existing dairy, bakery and pharmaceutical accounts, and are targeting the beverage, confectionery, bakery, meat and cosmetics markets in this region.

Zebra series thermal label printers

Peacock Bros offers supplies Zebra Technologies’ new ZM series range of thermal barcode label printers, which offer an easier to operate form, increased connectivity, RFID readiness as standard and a number of available options.

As standard the label printers include the additional connectivity of USB 2 for faster and connectivity with most warehouse, manufacturing and business applications, with the option of adding a wireless ZebraNet 10/100 print server for simultaneous parallel and ethernet connections.

According to the company, the new ZM series of thermal label printer is a fast, reliable and affordable choice for label printing.

Peacock Bros

Register and win gift cards

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The sites will feature information and multimedia pertaining to each topic and a newsletter will be sent out from each site weekly.

Register your interest in subscribing to one of the newsletters and go into the draw to win one of 20 $100 Westfield Gift Cards!

Register here for your chance to win.

Enzyme aids product formation and shelf life

Hydrosol’s supplies a meat-binding system from the MeatZym series, a new development in the field of Stabilising Systems which makes it possible to create innovative convenience meat products conforming to all requirements of safety, quality, stability and economy from meat cuttings or minced meat.

Besides the classic minced-meat variants like rissoles and meat-burgers, dumplings and meat balls, meat slices and kebabs are becoming more and more popular as restructured products.

The MeatZym series is a compound consisting of cold-gelling proteins and hydrocolloids, individual emulsifying and stabilising components and additives with an antimicrobial effect, which assist shaping, gel formation and adhesion and prolong the shelf-life of the products.

How it works

The powdered product is mixed with water and worked into the meat mass.

The mass is then filled into skins or moulds.

Once gel formation is complete, the piece of meat can be cut and prepared for cooking as required. Meat slices can be marinaded or coated with breadcrumbs, for example.

MeatZym fresh is suitable for restructured meat products including steaks and escallops, kebabs, shashlik and canned goulash, and also fish fingers and chicken nuggets.

Tailor-made formulations can also be developed to meet customers’ specific requirements, enabling manufacturers to exploit the market with creative new products.

Hydrosol Produktionsgesellschaft is a member of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe.

For further information, contact Anne Bünting.

Top 10 worldwide innovations

Each year, Datamonitor’s Productscan Online examines the year’s new food, beverage, health & beauty, household and pet products to identify the top ten innovations from around the world.

This year, eight of the top ten were food or beverage related:

1. Swiss Miss Pick-Me-Up Hot Cocoa Mix. The popularity of energy drinks is having an impact on other product categories as caffeine has moved into new categories ranging from potato chips to instant oatmeal. This new version of Swiss Miss contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee plus as much calcium and vitamin D as a glass of milk to offer the best of all worlds. It’s new in the USA.

2. Organic Batter Blaster Pancake & Waffle Batter. This pancake batter is sprayable and is packaged in an aerosol can for easy use. The refrigerated product makes organic, light and fluffy pancakes as well as light and crisp waffles in just minutes. The aerosol can packaging greatly reduces cleanup and the product is fast, easy and fun for the entire family. The product is new in the USA.

3. JT Fragra Functional Water. Bottled water is about more than just refreshment in Japan. Fragra refreshes the breath and leaves a pleasant fragrance of citrus fruit in the mouth. Officially referred to as a “near water” by virtue of its 1% juice content, Fragra uses an active ingredient called linalool for breath freshening. Linalool is a natural substance occurring in lemons, oranges and other citrus fruit.

4. Popsicle SlowMelt Long Lasting Pops. One of the pleasures of summer is enjoying an icy frozen novelty – before it melts. The Popsicle SlowMelt has been designed apparently lasts longer than ordinary pops to reduce drips and sticky fingers. This pop is also “good for you” as it contains fruit juice, vitamin C and features natural colours and flavours. It’s new in the USA.

5. Tetleys Twistea Tea On The Go. Nowhere are tea drinkers more particular about how they have it than in the UK. Enabling even those on the go to drink tea to their taste, Twistea features a Tetley teabag locked into a plastic cup. The consumer simply adds boiling water and twists the lid of the cup to customise the taste of the product and achieve the desired strength. The teabag remains in the cup and does not need to be disposed of separately.

8. Pur Flavor Options Water Filtration System Flavour Cartridges. Bottled water can be boring, and there are concerns about the waste associated with it (Chicago, in the US, has a new tax on bottled water). Pur Flavor Options is a new way to get flavoured water, right from the tap. Flavor Options mounts on to a water faucet and adds flavour to a drink at a finger push. The more you push; the more flavour is added to your glass. Each cartridge provides up to 75 servings of fruit flavour without any sugar, calories or dyes. New in the USA.

Ice-cream factory goes green

The rising cost of ingredients, as a result of drought, convinced Sydney’s Serendipity ice cream to change to carbon-neutral energy, thus saving the company money, reducing its effects on the environment and removing it from the vicious circle of climate change.

Serendipity flicked the switch on 100% renewable energy for its Marrickville factory making it the first ice cream producer to be carbon neutral for electricity consumption (source: AGL Energy).

Sarah Mandelson, CEO and co-owner of Serendipity, says this move had been in the offing for some time.

“We felt we had to do something about reducing our emissions, and it was actually cheaper than our tariff for coal powered energy,” Mandelson said.

The move to accredited green energy was made more urgent by the effects of climate change — or drought — on the price of cream, which has risen by 20.5% in the last two quarters.

As a result of the significant cost increase in the company’s main ingredient, a price rise for the product is inevitable at some stage.

The small company is committed to finding other ways to reduce its impact on the environment, Mandelson asserted.

The use of renewable energy will save 1510 tonnes of CO2.

Egyptian snack co. buys Aussie equipment

Senyorita for Snacks has engaged tna, a provider of snack food production and packaging equipment, to furnish its new production facility in Egypt.

More than 20 fully integrated systems featuring tna’s robag 3 baggers have been purchased by Senyorita for Snacks.

Each system will include a tna multihead scale, SmartDate 5 coder and metal detector to complete the packaging lines for potato and tortilla chips.

Installation of the highly efficient vertical form, fill, and seal (VFFS) equipment began in August, 2007.

tna established a regional office in Dubai in late 2004 to service the Middle East market from a local base.

Process control: integration, safety and traceability

In the past and, indeed, at present, a typical food manufacturing plant would be controlled by five or six separate systems, including one for batching, motion, safety and processing.

While this may get the job done, it is not often the most cost and time efficient way for a plant to run.

For instance, integrating the production process so that all machines communicate with each other becomes difficult, particularly since machines supplied by various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the one plant will be programmed differently.

It becomes time consuming and expensive for these multi-vendor systems to communicate with each other to ensure a smooth production run.

The integration of different control systems is possible, but a lot of engineering is often required for information to be exchanged between machines, representing an additional expense.

Streamlining production

Integrated control refers to a single platform that facilitates communication between machinery, supervisory systems, manufacturing execution systems, and a company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, using industry standard communication networks such as an industrial Ethernet.

Automation companies Siemens and Rockwell Automation supply control systems that not only streamline processing equipment but offer single, multidisciplinary control systems that can be integrated into a company’s ERP.

Integration capabilities such as those offered by Siemens and Rockwell Automation, which include increasing machine and product safety, traceability, production efficiency, flexibility, product changeover times, and reducing machine downtime, meet the demands of food manufacturers.

Siemens’ Component-Based Automation System, for example, counters the difficulties associated with machine-to-machine communication.

“Put simply, our system looks at a machine’s electrical and mechanical parts as a component and creates a shell, or a predefined format, for communication between one machine and another,” Siemens business development manager Daraius Battiwalla explained.

“Once the OEMs provide those components, the system integrator only has to worry about one thing – connecting the appropriate inputs and outputs of the components so the data can be exchanged seamlessly.”

This replaces the complicated task faced by engineers connecting conflicting control systems and software platforms.

Return on investment

Integrated control offers manufacturers a good return on investment.

Having one system results in a low cost of ownership as a result of reducing integration costs due to simplified engineering, being able to carry fewer spare parts in inventory, having one software environment to buy, maintain and upgrade, and having fewer training costs for maintenance personnel.

Integration can also decrease product changeover times and the time taken to get a product to market.

It can also assist with scheduling and order execution, making production more efficient and profitable.

Rockwell Automation identifies flexibility in manufacturing as a major demand and challenge for food companies that rely on quick product changeovers to introduce new products to market.

“In the past if a beverage manufacturer, for instance, wanted to roll out a new soft drink line using the same machinery, but was just changing the product’s label and ingredients formulation, the changeover could take months,” Rockwell Automation field business leader for Integrated Architecture, Geoff Irvine said.

“However some of the companies we have been working with can now do this in a matter of minutes.”

“With integrated control systems, it’s a simple case of reprogramming the central control unit to produce X instead of Y, and the machines will take it from there.”

Multidisciplinary control

Rockwell Automation supplies a plant automation solution, known as the Integrated Architecture, which is founded on the Logix multidisciplinary control platform and FactoryTalk plant information system.

This enables one controller to look after different aspects of production including processing, motion and safety, reducing the cost of introducing numerous systems and training staff, while promoting seamless, simplified, and efficient production.

Unlike conventional programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that are typically designed for sequential control, the Logix platform is fit for sequential, process, motion, drive and safety control.

The system can also control the motion of robots that, for instance, gather the finished product at the end of the line and place it onto pallets.

It can perform safety functions on the same platform, preventing working injuries.

Siemens’ agrees that multidisciplinary control systems simplify production and offer manufacturers cost savings.

“We offer an integrated system for doing normal control as well as safety control from the one PLC,” Battiwalla said.

Track and trace

Both Siemens and Rockwell Automation recognise food safety and security as major priorities for food manufacturers.

Having the means to track a product throughout the supply chain, or trace a finished product back to its raw materials suppliers is vital, particularly for food companies exporting to the US, Europe, Japan and New Zealand.

An integrated system that links the data collected by the real-time process control system to a company’s ERP system to produce a concise, consolidated report that displays a product’s genealogy is essential for brand protection.

Siemens supplies a manufacturing execution system (MES) that sits on top of the control system and facilitates data exchange between the control system (real time) and ERP system (transactional).

The MES layer also tracks and traces through the supply chain.

“Once the batch process is completed, all the product information, including its raw materials, ingredients, and the process parameters and alarms, is recorded against the batch ID and is stored in the MES and then transferred into the ERP,” Battiwalla explained.

“In the incidence of milk contamination, the MES allows the manufacturer to identify the batch that has been contaminated, into which cartons the milk has gone and where it is sitting on the shelf, and they can do silent recalls.”

Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk system incorporates various software applications that provide different plant information and MES needs.

One of these is FactoryTalk Historian, a plug-in module that performs a tracking and tracing function at the machine level.

FactoryTalk captures data at a faster speed than a computer and feeds the information into the company’s ERP to produce an electronic report showing details of what is being made, and how.

In the event of a product recall this reporting mechanism performs a vital role and it can also assist in ensuring product consistency during the processing stage.

Rockwell Automation’s Irvine said that in biscuit manufacturing, for instance, the flavour of the biscuits can be altered by outside conditions such as temperature, resulting in the product having to be reformulated.

As FactoryTalk keeps a record of all processing data, the manufacturer can use it as a point of reference if, and when, a similar problem occurs.

Process control systems that not only integrate different functionalities into the one control platform and enable one machine to communicate with another, but which feed information into an ERP for reporting, are becoming increasingly sophisticated and in demand by manufacturers wanting increased product safety, flexibility and production efficiency.

When asked whether a company should invest in a good control system or good machinery Irvine said while it is important to have both, a good control system that is fully integrated will enable manufactures to get the most out of their existing machinery and process in general.

Yoplait joins kids health initiative

Yoplait has launched a range of fruit and flavoured yoghurt that comes under the Sesame Workshop’s Healthy Habits for Life initiative, which aims to teach children healthy eating habits at an early age that will stay with them throughout life.

The yoghurt range contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and is gluten free.

It is available in 125g child-size portions which will fit neatly into lunchboxes, aimed at enabling parents to provide their children with healthy snacks.

Healthy Habits for Life is a Sesame Workshop content-driven initiative which hopes to harness the power and reach of Sesame Street to make overall health and well-being crucial to the development of young children in much the same way it has done with learning to read and write.

Sesame Workshop is the non-profit educational organization that changed television with the Sesame Street show.

As the single largest informal educator of young children, local Sesame Street programs produced in countries as diverse as South Africa, Bangladesh and India are making a difference in over 120 nations.

Sweeteners & sugar: health drives demand

In light of the wide range of sugar replacers or sweeteners on the market, has the use of regular sugar in food manufacturing become obsolete?

While this question might be a little over dramatic, the role of sugar and its use by manufacturers has certainly changed.

Sugar replacers offer sugar-like properties to food, namely taste, texture and volume, while being low caloric, low glycemic, and not promoting tooth decay, as regular sugar does.

These characteristics give manufacturers an opportunity to produce products that target basic nutrition, general wellness and specific health conditions like diabetes and obesity, which is of particular importance as consumers increasingly opt for healthier foods.

“The trend towards health and wellness products seems to be on the increase,” Nutrinova’s technical marketing manager Katrin Sälzer said.

“For consumers set on a healthier lifestyle, sugar is one of the first ingredients they look to cut out.”

But what of those consumers that enjoy the full-bodied sensory experience of regular sugar, are not concerned with cutting calories and prefer natural ingredients over artificial ones?

Confectionery Manufacturers of Australasia (CMA) chief executive officer David Greenwood says a contradiction exists in the marketplace at present.

“Because of obesity and other health reasons, people are looking for an increasing number of products using sugar replacers though at the same time there is a trend for all natural ingredients in products,” he explained.

“The perception of sugar varies from ‘all good’ and ‘all natural’ to ‘white death’.”

Given the trend towards healthier products it appears the role of sugar in food manufacturing will not be entirely replaced by sweeteners but complimented by them as consumers recognise the role sucrose, as opposed to synthetic sweeteners, has to play in their health and wellbeing.

Sweetener types

Generally speaking, sweeteners can be divided into three categories.

  • High intensity sweeteners replace the sweetness of sucrose on a scale so great that it only needs to be added in small quantities. They are typically used in calorie-reduced or calorie-free beverages because the bulk that sugar provides in these products can be easily supplemented with additional water.
  • Bulk sweeteners, on the other hand, replace the volume that sugar brings to a product, particularly in solid products like confectionery, but are generally less sweet. To correct the sweetness level, a bulk sweetener will often be blended with a high intensity sweetener.
  • Polyols, a class of bulk sweeteners, replace the bulk, sweet taste and mouthfeel of sugar but contain fewer calories, lower glycemic levels and do not contribute to tooth decay.


Cargill Nutrition and Health’s global nutrition manager Peter de Cock says that with the whole range of bulk and high intensity sweeteners on the market, it is now possible to replace sugar in virtually all food and beverage products.

However, the process of replacing sugar is not simple. “Sugar has a whole range of technological functionalities in foods: sweetening, bulking, texturising, humectancy, reducing freezing point, browning, bitter masking, and preserving, to mention a few,” he said.

“And it does that at a low cost.”

“It requires much knowledge and experience to replace these functionalities with an alternative sweetener with minimal difference to the reference product formulated with regular sugar.”

The CMA’s Greenwood, however, maintains that sugar can never, and will never, be entirely replaced in food manufacturing.

While he does not deny the fact that certain blends of sweeteners can effectively mimic the flavour, texture and water-binding properties of sucrose, for instance, Greenwood attributes the ongoing demand for sugar by food manufacturers to the general distrust of chemicals in the food supply, a move towards organics and the trend towards more indulgent or premium foods.

IBISWorld reports that one of the most significant trends in the confectionery manufacturing industry is the increasing number of high-end chocolates on the market in response to the rising popularity of luxury goods.

Confectioners producing chocolate from perceived high-quality raw ingredients, such as the Lindt range, are successfully carving a niche in this lucrative segment, though IBISWorld notes this trend represents a key opportunity for mainstream confectionery manufacturers in the local industry.

Sweetener success

A growth in the premium confectionery segment has been paralleled by a growth in the sugar-free segment, growing at an annual rate of approximately 20%, according to IBISWorld.

Unsurprisingly, the added health benefits that sweeteners can bring to products traditionally containing sugar have lead to their success.

Slow energy release

Isomaltulose, which is now available in Australia and New Zealand following its approval in August 2007, delivers the full energy of sugar, but is released slowly because of isomaltulose’s slow digestibility.

“Due to the delay in absorption (compared with regular sugar) because of the fact the body has difficulty breaking down the strong chemical bond between glucose and fructose molecules in isomaltulose, less insulin is produced by the body, the glycemic index is lower, and the release of energy is prolonged over a longer period of time,” Cargill Nutrition and Health’s de Cock said.

This makes isomaltulose ideal for the development of low GI foods, energy drinks and nutritional energy bars.

Fat mobilisation

Functional food group BENEO-Palatinit supplies isomaltulose under the brand Palatinose in Australia and New Zealand.

Produced from pure beet sugar, its sensory profile closely resembles that of sugar, while only being half as sweet, and it can replace sugar in a 1:1 ratio.

Sensory tests conducted by Palatinit have shown that Palatinose can exert a positive influence on the flavour profile of end products, particularly when functional, and often comparatively bitter, ingredients are used.

Backed by scientific studies, Palatinose is the only low and slow glycemic carbohydrate (with a glycemic index of 32) to supply energy in the form of glucose over a longer period of time compared with sucrose, assisting with weight loss and control.

Recent studies conducted by research institutes in Germany and Japan looked at the effects of Palatinose on plasma glucose, insulin levels and free fatty acid content in the blood, as well as its possible influence on energy production from the body’s carbohydrate or lipid rese rves.

Participants that had consumed a Palatinose-based liquid meal as opposed to a dextrin-based meal had a considerably higher concentration of free fatty acids after ingestion, resulting in a higher rate of fat oxidation.

A lower rate of energy production from carbohydrates was also noted, while the fat burning rate increased significantly.

A similar study conducted by Freiburg University on the effect of sports drinks containing Palatinose, as opposed to a high-glycaemic maltodextrin, concluded that the proportion of energy supplied by fat was 25% higher for the Palatinose group than for the maltodextrin group.

Low calorie

A sweetener like erythritol, on the other hand, is suitable for low-calorie variants of confectionery, beverages, dairy and frozen desserts, and baked goods.

This polyol is a naturally occurring sugar in fruits, mushrooms and fermented foods, such as cheese and wine, and is manufactured by a natural fermentation process.

It offers a solution to both health and indulgence, having a taste and functionality similar to sucrose but containing almost no calories.

“Herein lies the difference between a bulk sweetener like isomaltulose and polyols,” de Cock explained.

“Polyols are calorie-reduced and are therefore ideal for low-calorie food and beverages. However, isomaltulose is not targeting weight management through calorie reduction but through the slow release of energy.”

Given the fact that there are sweeteners that are in fact sugar derivatives (use regular sugar as their starting material), such as Isomalt and Palatinose, it is evident that the role of sugar is not necessarily replaced by sugar substitutes, but is merely changed.

Products with sugar replacers will continue to grow in the context of overall innovation though there will also be a role for sugar as manufacturers look to niche markets and opportunities to provide consumers with more choices.

Get water-wise to beat rising costs

Food processing consumes more water than any other manufacturing process.

According to Sydney Water, of the 90 million litres of water used by industry every day, 39% is consumed by food manufacturing.

By contrast the next most water-intensive industry, metal products, uses only 12%.

With the cost of water rising and likely to increase further to fund investment in alternative water supplies as weather patterns change and dams dry up, it is not surprising that food companies are looking at ways to reduce water consumption in their manufacturing processes.

Although many of these technologies are well proven, Busch Vacuum Pumps and Systems’ systems manager Alexis Lim says a large part of the problem is food manufacturers’ conservatism. “For a long time water has been so cheap that it was essentially free,” he said.

However, Lim believes that companies are slowly coming around and are starting to look at technologies such as Busch’s waterless vacuum pumps and other ways of saving water.

Water-saving initiatives

Reducing water use is a complex business, particularly in food manufacturing where waste water can contain life-threatening pathogens.

Some of the main areas where work is being done to reduce water used in manufacturing include installing water efficient devices and appliances, harvesting rainwater, and reusing water (greywater or blackwater recycling).

Of these technologies, the easiest and often the cheapest to implement is some form of demand management by installing water saving devices and appliances, says Energetics principal consultant Peter Holt.

“On a very simple level it’s technology such as dual flush toilets, cap aerators and machines that use low levels of water, as well as modifying washdown procedures on the factory floor to use less water,” he explained.

“Cooling systems can be changed from water-based to air-based cooling systems.”

Cleaning process equipment can account for between 50% and 70% of a manufacturing facility’s total water use so, for organisations that have not already done so, installing a clean-in-place (CIP) system can be an effective initial step towards saving water.

Reuse and recycle

Beyond basic demand management, the next step for an organisation is to look at reuse or recycling.

Reuse is about using water that would otherwise be wasted — waste water, stormwater, rainwater, and greywater — instead of using fresh drinking water.

Recycling water involves going a step further to treat waste water or stormwater to a standard fit for purpose.

Beyond this, alternative water sources such as groundwater or sea water may be used.

When considering these measures, cost and complexity need to be taken into account.

Rainwater for example, needs very little treatment whereas sea water must be desalinated before it can be used.

Reuse and recycling are often used in concert with a cascading hierarchy of uses.

For example, if water is in contact with food it needs to be high quality but for washdown purposes in some factories it would be acceptable to use rinse water from another process.

Trade offs

One final factor that needs to be taken into account is energy consumption.

The technology exists to take low quality water such as stormwater, groundwater, salt water, blackwater, or sewerage, and recycle it so it is drinkable.

The trade off is that the process used to do this, reverse osmosis, uses a lot of electricity, said Holt.

“A more intensive water recycling process may mean that you’re saving water but at the expense of more energy.

“It can also lead to more concentrated effluent which can cause waste management challenges,” he said.

Case study

National Foods faced all these issues when it decided to reduce water usage at its Penrith, NSW, milk processing factory.

“The basic process was simple,” National Foods spokesperson Julian Caples said.

“We started with an intensive metering program at the site with the help of Sydney Water.

“It installed some remote logging water meters to look at the usage patterns in the factory so we could see where the big uses were, where the peak uses were, and then gradually modify the processes.”

Some of the measures National Foods implemented were big changes, says Caples.

“We designed a water recycling system to wash milk crates with recycled rinse water instead of new water.

“There were also some changes with the CIP where we experimented a lot with wash times and sequences, water pressures and flow rates which made substantial differences to water use and chemical use.

“We made some operational changes to key equipment such as pasteurisers and bottle washers and instead of having simple hoses for washdown we moved to high-pressure, low-volume spray systems where we could.”

“You can’t do that in all places because of microbiological contamination,” he continued.

National Foods also found a lot of small housekeeping changes made a surprising amount of difference.

Filters were fitted with water seals on valves to make sure they were not continuously running and overflowing, and leaking pipes and dripping taps were eliminated.

The company also implemented water saving operating disciplines discouraging operators from leaving hoses running on the floor.

“Once we got started and put the technical changes in place, reinforcing that with behavioural changes was comparatively straightforward,” Caples said.

“It needs constant reinforcing but once people saw that we were serious about water reduction by doing things like changing the crate wash, it helped put all the other changes in place and by the end of it we’d saved 30 million litres [by the] end of 2006.

“Over a three year period that’s 20%.”

Water is going to become a greater issue in the future, as climate change continues and Australia’s droughts wreak havoc, causing the cost of water to increase still further.

This is a cost food manufacturers could well do without. Addressing the issue now will save time and money later on, allowing those that are prepared to jump ahead of their competiton reap the rewards.

Dried cranberry plant scales up

Global demand for dried cranberries and products containing them has led Ocean Spray ITG in the US to increase its production capacity by adding 100,000 square feet to its sweetened dried cranberry production plant in Wisconsin Rapids.

This is the second phase of expansion, following 100,000 extension of the facility which began in June.

Once operational, the plant will be able to produce 30 million pounds of dried cranberries a year.

Sales of dried cranberries have experienced double digit growth over recent years.

Research suggested the sweetened dried cranberries might offer similar anti-oxidant properties to cranberry juice, giving the fruit a wider range of applications.

Manufacturers of baked goods, cereals, trail mix and other products have been able to capitilise on the health credentials of dried cranberries.

Ocean Spray ITG is part of Ocean Spray and offers an extensive portfolio of fruit ingredients including sweetened dried cranberries, BerryFusions Fruits, cranberry powders, frozen cranberries and cranberry concentrate and purée.

Further information on using cranberries in food products can be obtained from Fruitmark in Australia and James Crisp Ltd in New Zealand.

Dates for your diary

Here, check the details of the food processing events, and those related to the industry, that you would like to attend. The events calendar will appear monthly, and is also found in FOOD Magazine.


CIES International Food Safety Conference

13 to 15 February, 2008

V: Hotel Okura, Amsterdam



Food Water Activity and Drying Technology (short course)

14 to 15 February, 2008

V: Medina Executive Hotel Coogee, Sydney




ConFectioNZ 2008

6 to 7 March, 2008

V: The Sebel Trinity Wharf, Tauranga



Food Ingredients China 2008

26 to 28 March, 2008

V: Shanghai Everbright Convention and Exhibition Centre




Institute of Brewing and Distilling, 30th Asia Pacific Conference

6 to 11 April, 2008

V: SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland




3rd Asia Pacific Nutrigenomics Conference 2008

6 to 9 May, 2008

V: The Sebel Albert Park, Melbourne



ConTech 2008

21 to 22 May, 2008

V: The Sebel Albert Park, Melbourne




AIP National Conference 2008

12 to 13 June, 2008

V: Luna Park, Sydney




FoodPro 2008

21 to 24 July, 2008

V: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre



Testing cooking oil freshness

Deep-frying is becoming more and more popular as the food manufacturing industry offers quality products which can be deep-fried and frozen such as french fries, shrimps, spring rolls, meat products coated with breadcrumbs and some vegetarian products.

As well as having a long shelf life, these frozen products are quickly and hygienically prepared to suit a variety of menus.

During deep-frying, the water contained in the product is used for cooking.

The water is vaporised by the high temperature (typically 170°C to 175°C) of the oil but is simultaneously bonded by the oil so that it cannot immediately escape to the ambient air.

In this way, a type of ‘vapour baking’ takes place. However, the cooking oil used must be sufficiently fresh, otherwise the food will soak up the oil.

The deep-fried food would then have an unwanted dark brown colouration and substances could be released which are difficult to digest or which are thought to cause cancer.

Rapeseed oil, peanut oil or coconut oil, either pure or in mixtures are often used as cooking oils.

Oil ageing

Ageing at room temperature can lead to rancidness, caused by an oxidation reaction between the air and the oil.

As well as this, the quality of the oil is influenced by the effect of heat and by the food that is deep-fried in it.

This is referred to as thermal oxidative modification of the cooking oil.

Scientific research has shown that the so-called polar components or total polar materials (TPM) are a good indicator of the thermal oxidative load of cooking oil.

They are also an indication of how used the cooking oil is.

A high level of polar components indicates that the cooking oil has been used frequently.

Measuring methods

The polar components are measured using column chromatography.

In many countries, it is the reference method used by federal research institutes and food laboratories.

The different components of cooking oil are separated in a column (a pipe-shaped glass body) according to the retention principle.

However, the measurement of polar components according to this method is usually limited to laboratories with trained personnel on account of the complexity involved and the experimental set-up necessary.

This method is unsuitable for use in industrial kitchens. However, polar components can also be measured using a physical parameter: the dielectric constant.

Increasing polar components in cooking oil has the effect of changing the dielectric constant because the polar components are aligned in an electrical alternating field.

The change in the dielectric constant is measured on a capacitive basis using a special sensor and is converted to the required percentage TPM display variable.

In this way, fast electronic measurement of this reading is possible.


Testo has developed a compact, electronic hand-held instrument for daily use.

The main part of the instrument is a sensor developed by Testo, which can be immersed directly in the hot cooking oil.

After approximately 25 to 30 seconds, the instrument shows the number of polar components directly in the display.

The current cooking oil temperature is shown in a second display line.

Two limits, which trigger a light emitting diode displaying different colours dependant on the oil quality, can be set in the instrument making operation easy for all staff.

If this light emitting diode is green, the cooking oil is fresh; a yellow display indicates that the oil is slightly used; a red display indicates that the oil should be changed soon.

Both limit values (threshold values from green to yellow or yellow to red) can be defined by the user. In this way, anyone can measure cooking oil quality quickly and efficiently.


The instrument does not need to be adapted to the cooking oil used, so is suitable for any standard oils and fats.

The tester is easy to clean under running water if it comes into contact with cooking oil as a result of the ‘TopSafe’ protective case supplied.

Since the ‘TopSafe’ is resistant to heat, it can be cleaned in the dishwasher to ensure it remains hygienic.

The Testo 265 can measure cooking oils ranging from 40°C to 200°C via its built-in temperature compensation function. If this value is exceeded, it is shown clearly in the display.

The temperature display will mean it is no longer necessary to have additional thermostat checks on the deep-frying bath, using a separate electronic thermometer.

Princely spirit targets Aussie blokes

Drambuie has launched a marketing campaign to promote the drink to the everyday Aussie bloke.

The spirit, not to everyone’s taste, was historically the bespoke drink of Scottish Prince, Charles Stuart.

Today the drink is often served over muddled lime and crushed ice in the aptly named ‘Libertine’ but, again, this only appeals to certain sector of drinkers.

Drambuie’s new experiential brand campaign — Made for a Prince (Not a Bogan) — places tongue firmly in cheek as it seeks to propel the brand from the top shelf and into the hands of hard-to-reach influential young Australian males.

Tailored to the irreverent Australian sense of humour, the interactive web campaign shows the famed Scottish drink being foisted on everyday blue-collar Australians to see if they can be persuaded to give the drink a shot.

The campaign uses humour to tell the Drambuie story and is reported to be achieving some success with its target audience.

The viral video invites users to enter Bonnie Prince Charlie’s kingdom to learn more about the 260-year-old Drambuie legend in an amusing, interactive fashion.

Visitors to the site can also peruse the supposed research findings resulting from the video.

An exclusive loyalty program, in which members are assigned an exclusive concierge, providing them with invitations to bar openings, fashion launches, and exclusive music events, is also accessible via the website.

Members can also win tickets to the Drambuie Party of the Year, to be held in a well-known stately home and featuring leading international acts in an intimate setting.