Women step up

The Women in Manufacturing Stepping Up Program will run again in 2008, following the success of this year’s pilot.

The program is facilitated by the NSW associate of the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), and subsidised by the NSW Department of State and Regional Development (DSRD).

The formal part of the program allows participants to attend seven instruction sessions led by experts and designed to provide best-practice practical learning opportunities.

During 2007, the sessions covered key manufacturing concepts such as: Inventory Management, Forecasting, Manufacturing Processes and Materials, Project Management and Materials Requirements Planning.

Similar themes and learning opportunities will be incorporated in 2008.

Participants are matched with a more experienced supply chain or manufacturing practitioner as a mentor.

Participants in 2007 included both owners and managers of manufacturing businesses and those employed in manufacturing and/or production roles and offers a chance to learn from others experience.

The next Stepping Up Program will commence in April 2008.

APICS NSW is also seeking experienced practitioners who would like to contribute as mentors.

Applications close 25th February, 2008.

Application forms are available from Linda Henry.


Pneumatic conveyor fills packing machines

Fresco Systems has added the V-Tec hopper loader to its range of pneumatic conveying systems and offers it in seven different sizes, as well as in either a pneumatic or electric version.

The hopper loader has a capacity of up to 9000kg/hour over distances of up to 30m and can convey product from drums, 20 to 25kg bags, bulk bags or bag hump hoppers.

According to the company, the V-Tec hopper loader is ideally suited to hazardous dust areas and is dismantled into smaller components for easy relocation by a single operator.

For further information, contact Fresco Systems.

Be first out of the stalls in 2008

The FOOD Magazine Challenge Awards recognise and reward food and drink processors that most successfully demonstrate product innovation and excellence.

Entries are now open!

Has your company launched a product onto the market in the past year? If so, then why not enter the FOOD Challenge Awards?

As a processor, nominating your company for a FOOD Magazine Challenge Award is an excellent way of recognising all the effort and hard work your company has put in over the past year.

Entry is free.

Why enter?

There is a considerable amount of associated free publicity in entering the FOOD Challenge Awards:

• Finalists will feature in at least one issue of FOOD Magazine, as well as on the website.

• Winners will feature in at least two issues of FOOD Magazine, as well as on the website, and follow-up features are likely.

• Winners are able to use the Awards logo on marketing literature and packaging.

The awards are open to all companies, regardless of size, that have a food or drink processing presence in Australia.

There are 10 award categories with entrants required to demonstrate product innovation in ingredients, processing, food safety, packaging, marketing and, where applicable, exports.

How to enter

Click here for an entry form.

These should be forwarded to The Editor as soon as possible.

When do entries close?

The deadline for entries is April 1, 2008, but early entries are strongly recommended.

Don’t delay

To register your interest, contact The Editor.

New non-drip honey

Adelaide’s Spring Gully Foods, the owner of the Leabrook Farms honey brand, has developed a new non-drip honey that does not seep through the bottom of crumpets, bread or toast.

Spring Gully Foods marketing director Ross Webb believes honey’s runny and messy qualities have long been a ‘sticking point’ for consumers.

“We undertook market research some time ago that showed consumers who do not purchase honey often don’t like the runny, sticky and potentially messy aspects of using the product,” Webb said.

“More than a year ago, Spring Gully was approached by the inventor of a new honey product that was spreadable — Honey Spread.

“He offered us the world rights to his invention, which we embraced immediately. Over a period of about 12 months we set about further developing, testing and marketing his creation. The feedback we’ve received to date from people involved in the product trials has been exceptional.”

Mr Webb said heating and cooling did not affect the consistency of Leabrook Farms’ honey spread.

“The product can be used in cooking, but won’t melt through hot crumpets and toast, or run out of an upturned jar,” he said.

“The natural setting agent gives the honey a jam-like consistency, making it easy to spread and eliminating drips and mess.”

Three flavours of the new honey spread have been created — Blue Gum, Mixed Blossom and Red Gum — and are now available in supermarkets.

www. springgullyfoods.com.au

First Australian chocolate on horizon

Cocoa Australia, a subsidiary of biotechnology company Horizon Science, will harvest Australia’s first commercial cocoa crop early this year out of Mossman in the far north of Queensland, and aims to make cocoa growing and processing a viable new industry in Australia.

It is anticipated that the first 100% Australian chocolate bar will be available in Australia by mid-2008.

It is unknown at this stage which companies will use the Australian-grown cocoa.

“We are going to be growing both regular and organic cocoa and we will consider as many supply options as we need to provide the best returns to our shareholders,” Horizon Science’s founding partner and chief operating officer Barry Kitchen said.

That may involve supplying a sister company, Farm by Nature that owns the Cocoa Farm brand, with either bulk chocolate or cocoa liquor, for producing its brand of chocolate.

Alternatively, Cocoa Australia will develop its own brand and market the cocoa ingredients and finished products itself.

Until now, the Australian chocolate manufacturing industry has used only imported cocoa supplied mainly from parts of Africa and Central America.

Tackling overseas supply

Speaking as Farm by Nature’s director, Dr Kitchen attributed the absence of a cocoa farming industry in Australia to it being “too labour intensive” for the return on investment.

Also, the majority of chocolate and confectionery manufacturers are large multinational companies that can source cocoa cheaply and easily from overseas.

“As opposed to competing with suppliers of dried cocoa beans in Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Central America, which is virtually impossible because of high labour costs in Australia, we’ve developed a total supply chain model which involves everything from growing the seedlings to making the chocolate to sell directly to consumers.”

The development and growth of a cocoa manufacturing industry in Australia has the potential to provide many benefits to chocolate manufacturers.

Horizon Science anticipates local demand from smaller, niche manufacturers that want to produce premium-priced chocolate, and from overseas companies looking for varietal difference in their products.

Horizon Science also cites trends towards organic and healthier chocolate as driving demand for its cocoa products.

“Cocoa has never been grown commercially in Australia because, until now, noone has looked carefully at the best business model to make it viable for both growers and processors,” Kitchen said.

“We’re trying to move chocolate into the same category as wine and specialty products that are fermented in the dairy industry,” Kitchen said.

“By having intimate knowledge of fermentation conditions you can dial up different flavours that are unique and appealing to the consumer.”

Using patented fermentation technology that will be commercialised in 2008, Horizon Science will be able to deliver a range of consistent but unique chocolate flavours.

For further information contact Dr Barry Kitchen at Horizon Science or Cocoa Australia.

Save money in cheese production

An integrated compound enabling manufacturers to produce various products similar to feta at low cost in a simple standardised process not dependent on milk has been developed by Hydrosol.

The process can reduce the cost of raw materials by as much as half compared with traditional cheese-making methods.

The process works with milk fat and vegetable fat and is so flexible that the milk fat can be replaced by vegetable fat.

Manufacturers are not dependent on fresh milk and and seasonal fluctuations in the composition of fresh milk.

The formulation is based on milk powder, the Hydrosol milk protein/hydrocolloid compound, vegetable fat and water.

Convential cheese-making equipment necessary.

All that is needed for production is an emulsifying machine of the kind frequently used in the delicatessen products industry, such as a Limitec, Stephan Cutter or FrymaKoruma.

Formulations can be adapted to individual requirements and small batches can be produced according to different recipes.

The products can then be flavoured, if desired, with herbs and spices to give them a characteristic note.

The cheese has a firm consistency that cuts well, and the end product can be shaped to particular specifications.

On request, Hydrosol will develop customised formulations and provide comprehensive advice on the manufacturing process, production plant, packaging and cost management.

Hydrosol Produktionsgesellschaft, with its registered office in Ahrensburg, is a member of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe.

For further information contact Anne Bünting, marketing.

Sauteed onion concentrate

BJ Harris is supplying Nikken Foods shelf stable, natural Sautéed Onion Concentrate 2730 in Australia, ideal for various applications including soups, sauces, recipe bases, pasta meals, marinades and other prepared foods.

The sautéed onion concentrate allows manufacturers to add authentic and natural caramelised onion flavour to products while eiminating the costly and expensive cook step of caramelising onions which can take up to 1.5 hours.

According to BJ Harris, Nikken Foods’ slowly sauté sweet onions in vegetable oil and concentrate them to one sixth in volume, supplying the concentrate in 20kg tin cans in a liquid form.

BJ Harris Trading

Milling and separating powders

Milling of powder has been around for centuries and is a process integral to the manufacture of a number of foods and food ingredients.

The addition of a Dynamic Air classifier in a milling circuit has now made out-of-date milling processes into state-of-the-art systems.

A classifier utilises the high g forces in a rotating wheel to separate the coarse particles from the fine.

It also allows the manufacture of powders with narrow particle distributions as well as finer powders which demand a higher added value.

These powders are in the 10µm to 600µm size range.

This need has occurred due to the new nanotechnologies of powders, which enhance performance.

It all starts with high performance milling (size reduction) being more demanding.

Finer powders or narrow particle distributions are now demanded.

New Zealand company CAS Enterprises has designed and built Air Swept Mills and a high-performance Dynamic Classifier to meet these requirements.

It ensures consistent quality, a more practical system and value for money.

The first principle is the CasMill which has a static circular housing using a specialised rotational beater plate.

  • The rotating beater creates airflow to pneumatically convey the product into the milling chamber.
  • The beater then imparts a force on the product to fracture the particles into smaller particles in the milling (or grinding) zone.

The second principle is a Dynamic Air Classifier, which is less known for powder processing.

This is used to separate the coarse particles from fine particles.

It separates only, there is no milling involved.

  • The airflow induced in the machine sweeps the milling chamber with product further breaking down the particles and reducing their size.
  • Once the product particles have reached the end of the milling chamber they are pneumatically conveyed into a dust collec- tor as finished product or passed through an optional dynamic air classifier to sepa- rate the particles for further milling.
  • The Dynamic Air Classifier is driven by an independent drive motor but forms an integral part of the complete mill.
  • Specialised beater plates are available in sizes 250mm, 500mm, and 750mm diameter.

While the primary function of an air swept mill is to reduce particle size, additional functions can be incorporated.


The CasMill is suitable for fine or ultra-fine milling of semi-hard, crystalline, brittle, fibrous and oily materials with a hardness of up to 5 on Mohs Hardness Scale.

Typical maximum feed stock is 20mm.

Minimum finished particle size is 10µm depending on the product.

Materials suitable include casein, cereals and pulses, wheat, dried products, freeze-dried products, lactose, milk powders and sugar.


If a mill/pulveriser is in an existing circuit a CAS Dynamic Classifier can be added and will ensure the material is not overground or that unwanted fine powders are not produced.

It also reduces the power requirements of the mill.

If a narrow band of particle size is required the ‘cut point’ of the separation can be set and adjusted by simply changing the speed of the classifier.

High throughputs are achievable.

The classifier produces ultra fine particles down to 3µ subject to type and specific gravity of the product.

There is no messy or slack wire mesh to contaminate the powders.

An opposing pneumatic conveying air stream is utilised, which separates particles from the centrifugal force in the wheel.

The rejected or coarse particles are discharged and will not be allowed to get through the classifying wheel, which results in two size fractions.

The ‘cut point’ at which the particles are divided can be easily changed by altering speed or air flow.

This means that both the oversized and undersized particles can be removed if two passes are run.

Air flow is balanced with the opposing forces making the particles ‘float’ through the wheel.

This minimises the effect of wear or attrition on the wheel.

Complete systems include a powder feeder, classifier, dust collector and control system, allowing the production of powders to order.


Sesame street water

Sesame Workshop, the organisation behind Sesame Street, has created a program in response to the growing prevalence of childhood obesity.

The Sesame Street Healthy Habits for Life program sets a benchmark in educational storylines, guiding guide pre-schoolers and their caregivers through lessons related to healthy eating, active play and issues such as hygiene and rest.

Australian FMCG manufacturers are supporting the program, including Aussie O with its Sesame Water featuring Sesame Street characters on its packaging.

Sesame Water contains 80% less sugar than most soft drinks, cordials and fruit drinks and is free from artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners.


Data recorder from Endress+Hauser

Endress+Hauser has launched the Memograph M, the first compact panel-mounted data recorder on the market with 20 universal inputs.

The recorder’s high-resolution TFT LCD screen can display real-time and historic data from 20 different measuring devices or points and the 177mm screen enhances display formats, such as curves, bar graphs, circular charts and instrument displays.

According to the company, the Memograph M fulfils stringent FDA requirements, using an audit trail to verify process sequences and to ensure data is securely recorded, and it can be interfaced to Profibus DP and Modbus making it suitable for use with SCADA and PLC systems.


Add flavour with rooibos

Ingredient Resources has launched R.C. Treatt & Co’s Rooibos distillate, made from a popular African herbaceous plant used similarly to green and black tea, and which offers an interesting flavour profile.

Released under the Treattarome banner, the Rooibos 9762 flavour profile has a spicy and fruity impact with a robust earthy and slightly nutty back note.

According to the company, the flavour is ideal for a range of beverage applications, and any other food requiring its specificprofile.


Vaalia’s omega-3 brainwave

Ingredients: Vanilla Mango: skim milk, milk, sugar, mango, milk solids, water, inulin (dietary fibre), maize thickener (1442), gelatin (halal), flavours, DHA algal oil (contains soy), food acids, (331, 296), colour, live yoghurt cultures

Shelf life: 40 days

Brand/product manager: Michael Goodhew

Packaging supplier: Carter Holt Harvey

Graphics package designer: Carpe Diem Design

Amcor’s healthy approach to packaging

There has been a heightened awareness across the community for some time regarding the importance of health and wellness.

Health and nutrition is one of the prevailing megatrends that are having a significant impact on consumer brand companies and retailers both here in Australia and New Zealand and elsewhere around the world.

Developing a deep understanding and insight of these market trends is seen by Amcor as critical in terms of responding quickly with new, innovative packaging solutions for customers.

This is certainly not the latest fad.

Amcor expects the focus on health and wellness to grow due to several factors — increasing concern regarding obesity, an ageing yet healthier and wealthier population, greater awareness of body image, rising ‘quality of life’ expectations, organic products moving to the mainstream and increased interest in functional and fortified products.

Some clear implications for packaging have emerged — information-rich labelling including nutritional benefits of the product, portion controlled formats, high product visibility on retail shelves, and wholesome image presentation.

Amcor is developing new packaging solutions to help make fresh produce more accessible to consumers by keeping it fresher for longer periods.

Amcor’s LifeSpan is a world-leading modified atmosphere technology that maximises product shelf life of fruit and vegetables.

Amcor’s global packaging reach facilitates the transfer of these advanced technologies, particularly in the flexibles packaging area of the local Australasian market.

Other recent examples of Amcor’s packaging innovation in response to the growing health and wellness trend are:

• Amcor SureFresh carton, a new generation high gloss black paper and film laminate carton, which combines superior strength with premium product appearance at point of sale for Australian fresh fruit and produce.

• Eco-Punnet, jointly created by Pacific Coast Eco Bananas and Amcor, that takes four or six red wax-tipped bananas (grown with less fertilisers and chemicals) in an informative retail pack, which offers enhanced ripening and greater product protection for consumers.


Spam is 70!

Ingredients: pork with ham, chicken, water, salt, modified potato starch, sugar, sodium phosphates, potassiumchloride, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrate

Shelf life: 3 years

Brand owner: Hormel

Brand/product manager: Scott Martin

Packaging supplier: Crown Cork and Seal, US

Graphics packe designer: Hormel Foods

Can recycling education passed to manufacturers

The Steel Can Recycling Council (SCRC) will wind up and hand over recycling education directly to can manufacturers and local government as a result of recent changes in the local steel industry, including the withdrawal of BlueScope Steel from local manufacture of tinplate for packaging, the increasing pressure from packaging imports and the increased awareness among consumers of the availability of steel can recycling.

Over the past 11 years the SCRC, through its promotional initiative Cansmart, has worked with a wide range of stakeholders including all levels of government, recycling contractors, can manufacturers, marketers, retailers and the Australian public to encourage and promote steel can recycling.

As a result of these partnerships and the Council’s direct investment of over $2.5 million, 94% of Australians now have access to steel can recycling services with existing secure and healthy markets and infrastructure to underpin the collection and recycling of post consumer steel packaging.

SCRC chairman Joe Stefano said “whilst it’s a sad day for those of who have been involved in steel can recycling over the years, the effectiveness and vibrancy of the campaign has built a wide awareness and effectively a nationwide access to steel can recycling.

“People no longer need to be reminded to recycle.

“Eleven years ago ‘the environment’ was not even an issue for most householders yet now household recycling is a basic household task.

“It is a timely moment for the organisation to be changing shape and we know that manufacturers and local government will continue to carry the mantle.”

A website will continue to provide information to the industry and consumers about steel can recycling and can be found at www.cansmart.org

For further information, contact Lisa Kinahan at lisa@tmte.com.au

Lady-like chocolates

Brand owner: Fyna Foods Australia

Brand/product manager: Melissa Daqunio

Packaging supplier: Colorpak

Graphics package designer: Motor Group

Health trend targets kids

Australian FMCG manufacturers are supporting a program by Sesame Workshop, the organisation behind Sesame Street, which has reacted to the growing prevalence of childhood obesity.

Aussie O is supporting the program with its Sesame Water featuring Sesame Street characters on the packaging.

Sesame Water contains 80% less sugar than most soft drinks, cordials and fruit drinks and is free from artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners.

The Sesame Street Healthy Habits for Life program sets a benchmark in educational storylines, guiding guide pre-schoolers and their caregivers through lessons related to healthy eating, active play and issues such as hygiene and rest.


Health and innovation

This past year has been dominated by the Health and Wellness trend.

This was the year that the food industry was truly driven by consumers’ concerns about health and diet, and food manufacturers and processors have striven to meet their demands.

The trend has also been behind much of the year’s industry innovation.

And nowhere was this more evident than in this year’s FOOD Challenge Awards entries, for which almost every category had an entrant that addressed health or wellness.

Several of these went on to become winners and are no doubt pleasing consumers as I write.

It was good to see the Government put up some money to back food innovations this year.

These days, you can’t turn on the tv or radio without hearing a news report on childhood obesity and the hidden evils of processed food.

Oh yes, and salt. Australians eat too much apparently, although there hasn’t been a reliable survey done since 1997.

It is estimated that Australians consume 9g to 9.5g salt daily, but noone really knows for sure.

However, the industry has been reducing salt levels in food since the early 1990s.

Perhaps the Government could conduct a study that will provide incontrovertible baseline data for the industry and other groups to work with.

Clearly, the Health and Wellness trend is here to stay and the food industry is eager to step up and deliver.

Stay slim with healthy snacks

Shelf life: 12 months

Brand/product manager: Sharon Thurin

Packaging supplier: Perfection Packaging

Graphics package designer: Visual Jazz

Daily Intake Guide useful, say consumers

Take for example a box of breakfast cereal, the label is no longer just about the name of the product and claims of ‘fat free’ or a ‘healthy start to the day’, it’s about recognising that one serve provides x% of energy, x% of protein and so on.

It’s a program food manufacturers are voluntarily introducing and that consumers have been calling for as a means of providing simple information to clarify the role of foods within the average diet, known as the Daily Intake Guide.

Providing a standard system via its thumbnail presentation, the Daily Intake Guide promotes informed purchasing decisions through at-a-glance information about the composition of the product and its relevance to diet.

“Unfortunately, despite recent campaigns, many consumers remain unaware of daily nutritional requirements highlighting that a practical approach is needed to help promote these messages,” said AFGC director of corporate and consumer affairs Jo Thomas.

“Our research shows consumers understand the Daily Intake Guide and find it useful as a means of demonstrating the relationship between a serve of food and their daily nutritional requirements and allowances.

“It supports people when they are thinking most about the food they eat — at the time of purchase and prior to consumption — so they can quickly and simply relate it back to their daily intake.”

What does it all mean?

Labelling is one of the best forums the food and beverage industry can use to empower consumers to make informed choices which best meet their nutrition and activity needs.

Take for example the energy label which identifies that for every 60g serve of the food displaying this label, 10% of the daily intake energy requirement of the average consumer is met.

This means that in considering the remainder of their diet for the day the average consumer can select further foods to meet the remaining 90% of their energy requirements, as well as ensuring other nutritional requirements are met.

“Our research suggests people still find it difficult to understand what a kilojoule actually represents, yet we all know the impact too many kilojoules can have on maintaining healthy weight,” said Ms Thomas.

“With this in mind, the energy thumbnail with its percentage representation is a simple and effective way for consumers to understand the value of the food consumed and use this in relation to improving their overall diet.”

Using and supporting the guide

The complete Daily Intake Guide contains seven categories: protein, carbohydrates, sugars, fat, saturated fat, sodium and energy.

Manufacturers may display the complete Daily Intake Guide, or just the ‘energy’ thumbnail, recognising that size and style of packaging may limit use of the complete Guide.

The Daily Intake Guide is currently supported by more than 15 of Australia’s leading food and beverage companies, including George Weston Foods, Mars, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Nestle and PepsiCo.

“While a number of high profile organisations have already begun to promote the Daily Intake Guide, we urge all food manufacturers to actively and voluntarily support uptake of the program.

“It is only through the industry working together that we will have a truly consistent approach to labelling that informs consumers across all the products in their supermarket trolleys or in their fridge to allow informed nutritional decisions,” said Ms Thomas.

To assist in widespread education of the Daily Intake Guide, the AFGC has recently launched www.mydailyintake.net

For further queries about the Daily Intake Guide and labelling please contact AFGC Jo Thomas on 02 6273 1466.