Innovation drives health trend

Celia Johnson

Driven by the growing health and wellness trend in food production, Old Fashioned Foods developed Alfa One Rice Bran Oil Spread in 2006, in partnership with Crop and Food Research, a New Zealand-based research institute.

The spread is a natural alternative to butter with added health benefits.

Until then, the company was better known for producing innovative steamed puddings for the New Zealand Market under the Aunt Betty’s brand.

The move to spreads is indicative of the company’s strategy to develop a portfolio of innovative products for various niche markets.

Rice bran oil

The spread uses only rice bran oil, as opposed to the blend of oils commonly used in margarine manufacture.

This enables the spread to be created without the use of hydrogenated fats or preservatives, as rice bran oil is naturally rich in many antioxidants.

Rice bran oil also contains the plant sterol gamma oryzanol, shown to help reduce cholesterol absorption.

“Clinical trials are currently being conducted by Crop and Food Research to determine the exact effects of using rice bran oil, including its ability to reduce cholesterol absorption,” Old Fashioned Foods senior food technologist Stephen McNamara said.


As an alternative to butter, the rice bran oil spread assumes a similar taste, texture and mouthfeel to regular butter while containing less fat and all-natural ingredients.

It is a combination of the spread’s ingredients and unique processing that enables it to act as a direct butter substitute in food preparation.

“Crop and Food Research conducted research on the impact of rice bran oil as a substitute [to butter] and it was proven to be an effective substitute in baking applications, including cakes, muffins and biscuits, without any deterioration in quality,” McNamara said.

The spread’s production process is similar to margarine manufacture where an oil phase is mixed with a water phase and chilled through a votator (refrigeration unit) to create an emulsion.

The spread is then whipped and deposited on an automated filling machine.

Close control of temperatures is required throughout the process, as without the use of hydrogenated fats in the product, variation in temperatures at the point of emulsion and depositing can vary the overall quality.

While the votator chills and textures the product, resulting in a butter-like firmness, natural carotene and butter-flavour extract maintain the spread’s appealing taste profile of butter.


As the first company to manufacture a spread using rice bran oil, Old Fashioned Foods encountered problems in the initial trial and development stages.

“Because we are using a different oil, we could not simply apply the logic of regular spread production,” McNamara said.

“The company’s specialty is in puddings manufacture, not spreads, so to move from a product where there is profound knowledge and experience to one that is foreign and involves a steep learning curve from the start was a real challenge.”

Old Fashioned Foods also found it challenging to develop a spread with so few ingredients as opposed to the large amounts of preservatives and stabilisers often added to aid manufacture and increase shelf life.

Old Fashioned Foods overcame production hurdles by collaborating and leveraging the expertise of people in the company, be it in engineering or branding.

Export opportunities

Identifying a niche market and developing an innovative product that addresses a pertinent trend such as health and wellness has also contributed to the company’s success.

The product is currently being exported to Australia and the UK, and Old Fashioned Foods expects further growth after launching a ‘lite’ variant of the spread, which offers consumers increased health benefits with reduced salt and fat, and the added bonus of being dairy free.

For more information contact the Brand Manager.

Microwaveable rice

Ingredients: cooked rice, sunflower oil, distilled monoglyceride

Shelf life: 18 months

Brand/product manager: Francesca Di Giorgio


Packaging supplier: Propak

Graphics package designer: Carpe Diem Design

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Pasteurisation energy saver

Sidel has developed a control system for pastuerisation, PRINCE (PRediction IN Control Equations), which is an innovative system based on prediction that improves the quality and shelf life of pasteurised products, especially beer, while cutting the pasteuriser’s consumption of water and steam.

How it works

During pasteurisation, an already bottled product travels through a pasteurisation tunnel where it is heated by a water spray at various temperatures in different thermally-controlled zones.

During the process, each product must accumulate a certain number of pasteurisation units (where one PU is defined as one minute of heating at 60°C).

PRINCE software provides extremely accurate control of pasteurisation units under any working conditions.

With PRINCE, the entire product undergoing pasteurisation accumulates at least the minimal number of PUs required and reaches and maintains for a pre-set time the range of temperatures required for pasteurisation without ever exceeding the maximum amount of PUs.

Regulation by prediction

Pasteurisation control with PRINCE is based on the concept of predicting the future situation.

Instead of lowering the temperature of the spray when the product in a given zone exceeds the set pasteurisation threshold, PRINCE lowers the temperature as soon as the prediction indicates that the product will accumulate sufficient PUs and will remain within the temperature limits.

Energy savings

A better use of heating and cooling processes in the pasteuriser’s controlled zones considerably reduces water and steam consumption.

PRINCE eliminates needless variations in spray temperature.

The product is never heated more than necessary and undergoes a single phase of heating and a single phase of cooling.

The PRINCE system was first installed at the Heineken Italy facility in Cagliari in February 2006.

Since then, over 50 systems have been installed on new machines or existing lines.

Sidel will showcase its innovative control system at the Brau trade show from November 14 to 16 in Germany.

All-natural food protection

Danisco has launched a new label — Care4U — an extensive all-natural range of food protection solutions.

The company describes the label as a dedicated approach to helping the food industry enhance its safety image while addressing the end consumer trend towards natural labelling.

There is a current trend in the food industry toward clean labels that do not list artificial additives.

As such, natural food protection solutions account for about 25% of the global one billion Euro market for food protectants and an annual growth rate of 6% to 8%.

Danisco points to the fact that synthetic preservatives have been linked to various allergies, increased disease risk and the development of antibiotic resistance as reasons for the rise in natural solutions.

The label specifically targets the fresh dairy, cheese, meat, soup, sauces, dressings, oils and fats, baking and beverage sectors.

Danisco is offering customers who enter a strategic partnership with them access to the complete Care4U package, including a website containing scientific documentation of the protectants’ functionalities and benefits.

Expert assistance with applications and local food regulations will also be available.

Improving efficiency and product quality

US-based Walker Cranberry, a grower and processor of fresh cranberries under the Ocean Spray brand, has increased its production efficiency and capabilities by automating its cranberry sorting process.

The company installed Key Technology’s Optyx 3000 Series Sorter with raptor laser technology to maximise the removal of defects and foreign material while reducing labour costs.

The Optyx 3000 has improved product quality consistency without using a lot of manpower.

Prior to installing Optyx with Raptor, Walker Cranberry relied on 24 hand sorters to pick out inferior or defective cranberries and now they only require two.

The company noted that in the past, if a problem on the line occurred, it had to be slowed in order for the hand sorters to keep up.

However, the Optyx 3000 enables the flow on the line to be consistent regardless of the quality of the incoming product, which in turn allows the company to run the bagging machines at maximum output.

Optyx 3000 Series Sorter

Optyx with Raptor uses a combination of colour cameras and laser technology to inspect the fruit and automatically removes defects and foreign material based on colour, size, shape, and the objects’ optical properties.

Depending on the needs of the application, Optyx with Raptor can be configured for either single-side or top-and-bottom scanning.

It can be equipped with multiple cameras and sensors, including colour, ultraviolet, visible infrared, and monochromatic cameras as well as Key’s newest FluoRaptor fluorescence-sensing laser technology.

For more information contact Anita Funk from Key Technology.

Food allergens breakfast seminar

Advancing Food Safety (AFS) invites food manufacturers to attend a breakfast seminar on allergens in November.

The seminar will cover:

  • what is an allergen?
  • the severity of foodborne allergies
  • food manufacturers legal responsibilities in managing allergens, including labelling of packaged food
  • tools used to determine likely allergen contamination in food preparation and manufacturing



Brisbane: 21 November

Sydney: 29 November

Melbourne: 28 November

Where: venue will be confirmed with attendees one week prior to the seminar

Time: 7.30am to 9.00am

Cost: $66.00

To register download a registration form.

For more information contact Advancing Food Safety.

Innovative food ingredients

Dutch firm EBI Food Safety manufacture a commercial bacteriophage, Listex, that eliminates the deadly food pathogens Listeria monocytogenes in food without affecting its other properties.

Listex is effective in a range of Listeria-susceptible products including hams, hot dogs, cheese, fish and many ready to eat products.

EBI Food Safety received the gold trophy in the Best Innovation in Food Ingredients 2007 awards for Listex at the recent Fi Europe 2007 in London.

Commenting on the winning entry, chairman of the judging committee Henry Dixon said Listex is a “true innovation,” being a new approach to an “urgent and growing problem that affects both consumers and manufacturers.”


US company FiberStar won the silver for its Citri-Fi, a range of citrus fibre ingredients that can be used to deliver fat replacement, moisture management, water and oil binding or thickening in a range of products.


Lactosalt Optitaste, a dairy mineral concentrate obtained through milk fractionation, from French firm Armor Proteines received the bronze.

The concentrate is a unique salt substitute that combines three of the benefits of salt – good taste, clean label credentials and ionic strength – while offering health benefits by completely replacing sodium from products including bread, meat, cheese and soup.

The awards, which honour the industry’s most innovative ingredients, leading-edge technology and prized research, has been running since 1994.

FOOD Challenge Awards 08

The FOOD Challenge Awards recognise and reward brand owners that have demonstrated a high level of innovation during the processing and manufacturing of new products.

There are ten categories, one for each of the major food and beverage production sectors.

A Best in Show award is also up for grabs, and is the entry judged to be the most outstanding of all those in the finals.

Enter now: 2008

Have you manufactured a particularly innovative product in the past year? If so, enter the 2008 FOOD Challenge Awards by filling in the nomination form.

2007 Best in Show

In 2007, Cocoa Farm wine chocolates won the Best in Show award, as well coming out on top in the Confectionery category.

This entry not only showed outstanding innovation in the creation and manufacture of the wine chocolates, the first non-liqueur wine chocolates to have been produced, but also clearly explained in detail the theory behind the innovation.

The gala presentation was punctuated by three guest speakers: Dick Wells of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Peter Baron, chief innovation officer at Unistraw and inventor of the Sipahh straw, and Marcus Lui, creative director of The One Centre.


The finalist companies ranged from giants such as Simplot, HJ Heinz and Nestlé to small-to-medium enterprises like Pudding Lane, Byron Bay Cookies, Babicka Vodka and Highlands Cereal Foods.

Winners included JMB Beverages, Creative Food Solutions, HJ Heinz and A2 Australia.

Sponsors 2008

The sponsors of the 2007 FOOD Challenge Awards were so impressed that most of them will be involved again in 2008.

Heat and Control, Earlee Products, Flavour Makers, Tronics, Kerry Ingredients, Insignia, Imaje and Amcor are all onboard again, while Matthews Australasia, Siemens and Columbit are new supporters of the awards.

Parts cleaning: harmless alternative to solvents

Deteriorating air quality and increasing health concerns have resulted in the use of industrial solvents being scrutinised.

Improved air quality measurement techniques and a growing body of data have uncovered disturbing facts about mineral spirits and other low-flash solvents once presumed to be relatively innocuous.

Solvents: health risks

Numerous studies have discovered unsuspected health consequences due to solvent exposure.

One study reported that people exposed to even moderate amounts of airborne or skin-absorbed solvent may be affected by fatigue, depression, confusion, attention deficit, memory loss, tingling, numbness, loss of smell, muscle weakness and irritability.

Exposure symptoms generally seem to affect the central nervous system.

Long-term exposure was found to produce irreversible symptoms including cognitive and behavioural changes, impotence, skin irritation and cancer. In an effort to curb ozone air pollution, many countries have established strict air quality standards.

However, many people are not aware that just one solvent parts washer generates volatile organic compounds comparable to the annual emissions of ten cars.

In recent years, a number of waterbased parts cleaners have been introduced which effectively eliminate many of the problems with solvents.

However, non-bioremediating waterbased parts washers present another set of problems.

They require regular skimming of oils and the fluids must be collected and disposed of according to strict guidelines. They also generate grey water that requires special disposal at regular intervals.

Perhaps most importantly, waterbased parts washers do not cope well with certain greases and some contaminants, and efficiency drops away quickly the longer the fluid is used.

Bioremediating parts washing

Developments in bioremediation of cleaning solutions has enabled significant advances for parts cleaning.

While ordinary water-based parts cleaners lose effectiveness as the fluid becomes contaminated, the bioremediating parts cleaning solutions are highly efficient.

The bioremediated fluid is comfortable to touch, never caustic and does not need not to be skimmed of oil or disposed of as grey water.

Cost efficiency, hazard management, government regulation and legal liability are important considerations for maintenance engineers and plant managers.

The change to bioremediating parts washing can simplify operations and reduce health and environmental risks.

AusDrinks2008: guest speaker preview

AusDrinks2008, a conference that addresses issues affecting the beverage industry, will be held from May 18th to 20th on the Gold Coast.

National and international guest speakers will include former journalist and broadcaster, Sally Loane who will address the conference on the topic of “Media — friend or foe? Can we as industry ever win?”

Other headline speakers include Jason Holway from UK-based international market research Zenith International and Steve Miranda from AC Nielsen.

SEW celebrates 25 years

Drive solutions group, SEW-Eurodrive, celebrated its 25th Australian anniversary at Melbourne’s Moonee Valley racecourse on November 3rd.

Over 500 guests, including members of the food industry, enjoyed a diverse evening of music and dance, which was capped off by a charity auction.

Oyster flavouring ideal for bases

BJ Harris supplies Nikken Foods’ Oyster Sauce NA 1855, a shelf stable, all-natural oyster sauce concentrate ideal for soups, sauces, bases, seafood risotto, marinades, dips, stuffing, salad dressings, seasonings and many other prepared foods.

Offered in a 20kg bag with a pourable spout in a cardboard carton, Oyster Sauce NA 1855 is manufactured from an extract of oyster (Ostrea gigas) juice and combined with salt, sugar, yeast extract and a dextrin carrier.

According to the company, the product provides a delicate oyster flavour which enhances the base it is applied to, and can be supplied in volumes as small as one 20kg carton.

BJ Harris

+61 2 9949 6655

Food ingredients super group

Food ingredients companies Orafti, Palatinit and Remy have formed the newly created Functional Food Group BENEO, and are known individually as BENEO-Orafti, BENEO-Remy and BENEO-Palatinit.

‘Connecting nutrition and health’ is the group’s united mission and with the combination of three major players into one group it will ensure BENEO becomes one of the industry’s preferred innovative partners.

The decision to unite the strengths of Orafti, Palatinit and Remy has come in response to the rapid changes that have been experienced across the worldwide foods market.

Palatinit develops manufactures and markets ISOMALT, the No 1 sugar replacer in hard candies worldwide and the only one made from real sugar.

It recently introduced Palatinose, the only low glycaemic carbohydrate that provides prolonged energy in the form of glucose to the body.

Orafti is the world leader in the production of chicory ingredients.

Its products include active food ingredients such as inulin and oligofructose.

Remy is a world market leader in the production of rice derivatives like starches, flours, proteins and recently also stabilised rice bran.

The company’s product portfolio also includes Nutriz, a rice concentrate that is used in non-dairy drinks and desserts.

With a business vision for the next ten years already in place, the combination of Orafti, Palatinit and Remy under the group name BENEO, is a major step in providing partners and end users alike with new food ingredients.

Walls Machinery: Anritsu’s KD74 series

Walls Machinery has released Anritsu’s KD74 series, an X-ray inspection system that delivers superior contaminant detection, stability and ease of operation for use in the meat, frozen food, ready meals and confectionery industries.

Utilising advanced sensor and novel image processing technologies, the X-ray inspection system can detect ferrous and non-ferrous materials as small as 0.3mm in diameter, and non-metallic contaminants including bone, shell, glass and plastic.

According to the company, the machine has a function for detecting missing and broken product in food packaging, and a masking function to mask items such as metal clips that should not be detected.

Walls machinery

Foreign exchange for SMEs

The SME market now has a new no-frills, low-cost foreign exchange website which is a stand-alone site providing real-time currency quotes, enabling immediate execution and low-cost transactions.

XYLO, backed by Westpac, has been developed specifically to enable SMEs to gain access to competitive wholesale foreign exchange rates with low international payment fees.

“XYLO has been developed in response to a growing demand in the SME segment for efficient and low-cost foreign currency transactions,” XYLO Business Sponsor Mike D’Silva said.

XYLO is a specialist site that provides customers with direct access to the wholesale foreign exchange markets.

The additional support of Westpac’s existing payment processing channels enables XYLO to offer rates that are among the lowest in the market.

Insect control

Vapormate, an environmentally friendly insect control product, ideal for controlling pests in stored grain, fresh produce and food processing equipment, has been developed by BOC.

Vapormate replaces various applications of methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting gas.

The product is currently only manufactured in Australia by BOC, a member of the Linde Group, which intends to commercialise the product globally.

According to the company, the production of Vapormate represents a viable, economical and safe replacement for many quarantine chemicals.

The product is non-flammable, unlike methyl bromide, and is a ‘softer’ chemical.

Therefore, vapormate overcomes numerous OH&S issues, and dramatically reduces exposure risks for workers.

Vapormate also has no known insect resistance.

BOC has been granted a number of Australian and international patents as a result of the development of its full range of pest control products.

For further information, contact BOC.

Automated temperature control systems

New Zealand-based food technology company IBEX has won the New Zealand Deloitte/Unlimited Fast 50; Fastest Growing Manufacturer Award, Fastest Growing Exporter Award and 3rd Fastest Growing Company in the country.

Central to IBEX’s success is the development of its automated temperature control system (TCS), a revolutionary patented technology developed in New Zealand that enables producers to freeze or chill product cost effectively, while it is automatically tracked and sorted to any predetermined output.

The TCS integrates several tasks that happen concurrently.

Sorting and tracking product during the chilling or freezing process saves time and space, reduces product damage and provides full product tracking.

The system is also said to allow better inventory management systems, reduced cold storage areas and improved product quality.

IBEX offer these systems at no capital cost, based on a fixed price per kilo process.

In countries such as Brazil, now an agricultural super power, IBEX has secured almost 50% market share in four years and is now dealing with all the major beef and poultry producers.

For further information, contact IBEX.

Multitest-i test frames and software

SI Instruments provides Mecmesin Multitest-i test frames and software measure loads from 2N to 25000N using intelligent load cells capable of collecting data at 2000 readings/second.

The machines are suitable for compression testing, deformation testing, extension testing, materials testing, packaging testing and top-load testing, among other things.

According to the company, the software is easy to use and ideal for routine analysis or sophisticated test routines.

SI Instruments

Adjustable incline conveyors

ADM Packaging Technology has released a stainless steel modular incline conveyor that can be used with vertical form fill and seal flexible packaging machines and other applications to transfer products from a low-lying position to new working heights.

The horizontal section of the conveyor is available in different lengths and the incline section is designed to offer an angle adjustment of 15° to 45°, enabling the belt to match existing equipment including metal detectors, check weighers, pack-off tables and automatic packing stations.

According to the company, the conveyor’s brake release castor wheels allow the unit to be easily transported to different areas of the plant by a single operator, saving valuable production time.

ADM Packaging Technology

+61 3 9484 8791