China opens doors

There is growing opportunity for Australian food manufacturers to export their products to China, which is quickly becoming an economic giant eager to buy Australian-made.

With China’s food and beverage sector being worth approximately $125 billion in 2006, a growth of more than 25% from the previous year, Austrade is urging Australian manufacturers to take advantage of increased consumer spending in China.

Wine

Of particular interest is the growth in the volume and value of Australian wines exports to China over the past year.

Austrade’s Shanghai-based senior trade commissioner Christopher Wright said during September this year $53 million of Australian wine was exported to China, a total volume of 21 million litres.

Red wine constituted 95% of the total volume exported.

“In June 2007, China became the number one destination in Asia for Australian bottled wine exports,” Wright said.

“The range of Australian bottled wine available for sale in China and the number and diversity of Australian suppliers seeking Chinese partners and buyers is growing every day,” he said.

Trade shows

Austrade says it is wise for Australian businesses to take part in industry events in China, such as Food Hospitality China 2007 (FHC) that runs from November 14th to 17th in Shanghai.

Nineteen Australian organisations will showcase their Australian wine portfolios at Austrade’s Australian National Pavilion at FHC.

Austrade has been involved in many initiatives throughout 2007 in an effort to increase Australia’s exports of food and beverages to China.

It brought a record number of Chinese buyers to Fine Food Australia held in Sydney in September, commenting that export orders are starting to flow as a result of negotiations at the exhibition.

Austrade has expanded its presence in China and now has 13 offices.

Click here for more information on FHC.

Vortex tubes for high temperatures

Compressed Air Australia is supplying EXAIR’s new High Temperature Vortex Tubes, ideal for spot cooling applications located in hot environments of up to 200°C, including cooling electronic control panels and reducing tool wear in machinery operations.

The High Temperature Vortex Tubes con­vert compressed air into hot and cold streams, eliminating the need for chemicals or refrig­erants as a power source, and is able to produce cold air temperatures as low as

-46°C.

According to the company, the stainless steel construction resists wear and corro­sion and the vortex tubes have no moving parts to wear out leading to maintenance-free operation.

https://caa.exair.com

jlindsay@winshop.com.au

NZ functional ingredient

A New Zealand functional food ingredient has captured the attention of European and Australian consumers, with its inclusion in unique, high-end products.

The functional ingredient, Glucagel, is manufactured by GraceLinc, a New Zealand food ingredient company and subsidiary of the New Zealand government-owned research company, Crop & Food Research.

Glucagel is a high-purity barley beta-glucan ingredient.

Barley beta-glucan is a soluble fibre which is widely recognised for its heart and digestive health benefits.

Glucagel’s appeal lies in its ability to be added to foods to provide health benefits without changing the sensory appeal of foods or the production process.

“This, combined with its high purity, is attracting multi-national food companies to our ingredient,” GraceLinc chief executive John Morgan said.

Italian food company Barilla evaluated a wide range of competitive offerings before selecting Glucagel and are including a heart health claim on the packaging of their new bread and brioche, which is part of their new Alixir healthy food range.

Glucagel is distributed in Australia by CSR Ethanol.

For further information, contact John Morgan.

Passionfruit distillate

RC Treatt & Co supplies Passionfruit Treattarome 9755, a new passionfruit distillate.

The clear distillate is 100% natural and is distilled from the yellow variety of passionfruit (Passiflora edulis flavicarpa), the company says.

The distillate is available in Australia through Ingredients Resources.

www.ingred-res.com.au

sales@ingred-res.com.au

FSANZ Act efficiency

Recent amendments to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Act 1991 are said to improve assessment procedures and efficiency, benefitting food manufacturers proposing changes to the Food Standards Code.

But will these changes benefit you? Have your say by voting on FOOD Magazine’s news barometer on the homepage.

Amendments

A review of the assessment procedure by the Food Regulation Standing Committee confirmed the strengths of the system, including its focus on public health and safety, as well as its weaknesses, namely the timeframe for decision making and the single method used for assessment regardless of the scope of the proposed change.

Under the new FSANZ Act, which came into force on October 1, 2007, applications will be sorted into three streams, general, minor and major, based on their level of complexity.

An appropriate amount of time and corresponding level of public consultation will be given depending on the assessment stream, significantly reducing assessment time and preventing application backlogs.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Aging Senator Brett Mason, said the amendments recognised the changing environment for food safety and innovation and demonstrated the Australian Government’s commitment to transparent and accountable food regulation.

“For people making applications to amend a food standard, it will be an easier process with more certainty and transparency,” Senator Mason said.

The majority of applications will take nine months to process, as opposed to the 16-month average under the previous Act.

Minor amendments to the Code will be processed within three months and major amendments, including the development of a new food standard or a complex variation to an existing regulation, will take up to 12 months.

Applications assessed in the general stream will be subject to one round of public comment, and major changes will require two rounds.

Members of the food industry or public submitting applications will now need to adhere to guidelines in the Application Handbook, available on the FSANZ website, or risk having their applications rejected.

Prior to the amendments a guideline resource for applicants did not exist.

The Applicant Handbook was introduced to provide applicants with more guidance and direction, enhancing the system’s efficiency and simplicity.

Vote now

Now that you have read about the changes to the FSANZ Act, tell us whether or not they will benefit you and your company by voting on the news barometer, which is used to drive future editorial online and in the magazine.

www.foodstandards.gov.au

Relieving worker back pain

Worker health and safety is a priority for every company not only because a company may be liable for a workplace injury but because long-term injuries, like back pain, can greatly impact on a person’s performance, ultimately costing the business.

Back injuries are common and there are not many hard and fast solutions for relieving pain on the market.

Back Aid

Developed by a man who prolapsed a disc and suffered from a bad back for 20 years, John Pope, the Back Aid uses the weight of the body to expand the spine, thereby relieving pressure on the nerve endings and facet joints, which allows the flow of nutrients, blood and endorphins to the pain site.

Self traction with the Back Aid involves adjusting the arm rests to be as close to your body as possible and setting the arm rests at the correct height.

The person walks in, turns around, puts their feet on the rests and elbows on the arm rests, takes their feet off the foot rests and allows their body to dangle.

You control the amount of time to self traction (although only a few seconds at a time is all that’s recommended when starting out).

You can do it any time of day or night in the comfort of your own home or work place.

Pope has also developed a Spinal Mobilisation Programme, which is a series of movements performed on the Back Aid, designed to strengthen the global muscle group, the muscles that surround the lower lumbar region, thereby helping to support the spine.

For more information contact Ron Mileham.

www.thebackaid.com

Oz exports soar

Demand from China, India and Russia is opening doors for local manufacturers of processed foods, seafood and wine.

Australia’s annual food and beverage export revenue of $24 billion is predicted to rise as new export markets create opportunities for manufactur­ers of processed foods and pre­mium dairy products, seafood and wine.

Austrade, the Australian Government’s export develop­ment agency, said while traditional export markets including Japan, US, UK and New Zealand remain strong, developing economies with emerging middle class con­sumer populations such as China, India and Russia are of growing interest.

This is despite fears that ongoing drought conditions and the Australian exchange rate will restrain growth in the food and beverage industry.

Factors including rising incomes in China, India and Russia, and awareness of international food trends are contributing to export growth in these markets. The spread of international supermarket chains across Asia and a trend toward wholesome, convenient food is also driving demand for Aus­tralian processed food.

“In China, Australia has long been a supplier of com­modities including grains, but over the past two years we have seen sales of Australian bottled wine taking off and have had buyers from China wanting a whole range of grocery lines for supermarkets and specialty food stores,” Austrade’s senior export advisor Gary Hullin said.

“Products like biscuits, con­fectionery items, honey, macadamias and non-alcoholic beverages are in strong demand from China because of the dif­ferences in packaging, quality and taste of these Australian products compared with what is produced and sold locally.”

The growth of supermarket chains in India’s more affluent cities has also contributed to demand for processed foods including sauces, snack bars and cake mixes.

“While modern retailing is only just taking off in India, accounting for approximately 1% to 2% of total food retail­ing, it is an area that will gain momentum as it has in other parts of Asia,” Hullin said.

The poor quality of India’s refrigeration and cool chain currently limits export to dried, shelf stable grocery items.

In Russia, however, Austrade has identified an increase in beef, wine, premium dairy prod­ucts and seafood.

Independent research con­ducted by Austrade showed product quality, freshness of produce, health and nutrition­al value, taste, and food safety as driving the success of Aus­tralian food exporters in exist­ing and emerging markets.

“Australia is recognised internationally as growing and producing clean and natural food products as well as adher­ing to strict quality control and food safety standards,” Hullin said.

www.austrade.gov.au

Gary.Hullin@austrade.gov.au

pH measuring stick

Testo has introduced the 206 pH3, a compact, low cost pH measurement instrument that can be used with a range of BNC plug probes.

The pH probes can be easily and quickly cali­brated to one, two or three points, and measured values are easy to read on an illuminated display screen.

According to the company, the testo 206 pH3 is available with or without an integrated tempera­ture sensor, and is compatible with a range of testo probes that offer pH and temperature measure­ment with automatic temperature compensation.

www.testo.com.au

marketing@testo.com.au

TraceTech: free registration

Members of the food industry that have not already registered for tomorrow’s TraceTech conference can register today for free.

The supply chain and logistics event will take place from October 23 to 24 at the Australian Technology Park, Sydney, and will involve over 15 sessions by industry experts including:

Food & Agricultural Case Studies chaired by Nick Smale, CSIRO with Aaron Iori, Meat & Livestock Australia.

Logistics Sessions chaired by our own David Doherty, SCLAA and featuring Gerry Wind of CHEP, Renzo Bevinetto & Brett Armitage of IFC Global Logistics

Technology Sessions chaired by Frank Dorrian, RFIDba, with Sean Sloan GS1, and a panel with Scott Austin, Sunshine Technologies, Dave Ffowcs Williams Blackbay and Sean Sloan

Packaging Sessions chaired by Ray Chappelow FAIP, Scale Components with Mark Luft, AAIP – Dy-Mark, Phil Biggs, Matthews.

Cold Chain Sessions chaired by John Howell, RWTA with Colin Baskin, Comvita, Don Richardson Ceebron and Dr Nick Smale CSIRO.

For full details of the conference sessions or to register, click here.

www.tracetech.com.au

Food labels education pack

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has launched an education pack­age to help consumers, schools and health professionals read food labels.

The package, which includes a seminar and interactive section on the FSANZ website explaining what food labels mean, a colour poster and a pocket guide to take shopping, was developed in line with FSANZ research that indicated con­sumers do not completely understand nutrition labels.

“We’ve found consumers will read and understand nutrition labels, but if they see there is 1100mg of salt in a product they do not know whether this is good or bad,” FSANZ spokesperson Lydia Buchtmann said.

The education package offers an alter­native to front-of-pack food label changes, supporting FSANZ research that with some prompting, consumers can under­stand the healthy eating advice on existing labels.

“Achieving the outcome of people mak­ing healthier choices is not just about chang­ing legislation and making food manufac­turers do something, it’s about managing consumers and helping them understand what labels means,” Buchtmann said.

www.foodstandards.gov.au

info@foodstandards.gov.au

Water-holding citrus fibres

IMCD Australia supplies a range of cit­rus fibres with water-holding capacity for use in a variety of food applications.

The ingredients hydrate without shear, and effectively reduce fat and calorie levels without compromising the taste or texture of a finished product.

According to the company, the ingredient will not add cost to existing formulas, and will replace saturated and trans fats.

www.imcdgroup.com

emorrison@icmd.com.au

Super air knife

Compressed Air Australia has released the Exair 48” (1219mm) Super Air Knife that provides wide surface coverage, offering an effi­cient way to clean, dry or cool parts, webs or con­veyors.

The Super Air Knife directs compressed airflow to a precise, slotted orifice, creating a uniform sheet of air across the entire length that immediately pulls in surrounding room air, resulting in a 63% air sav­ing when compared with typical blowoffs.

According to the compa­ny, compressed air inlets are provided on each end of the air knife and at the bottom for easy mounting, and an optional universal mounting system provides secure, precise positioning.

https://caa.exair.com

jlindsay@winshop.com.au

Making dairy healthier

As the health and wellness trend escalates, food manufacturers face the challenge of providing healthier alternatives to existing foods and developing new, functional products that satisfy the consumer palette.

The high fat and sugar content in many dairy products plays a major role in the product’s mouth feel and how it is perceived by consumers.

In order to comply with the healthy eating guidelines dictated by govern­ment and the World Health Organisa­tion, however, the fat and sugar content of dairy products can be reduced and made even healthier.

Specialty carbohydrates such as Litesse polydextrose, lactitol, xylitol and fructose not only lower the ener­gy density of dairy products, by replac­ing fat and added sugar, but reduce the glycaemic index or glycaemic response of these products.

While Litesse is already widely used in dairy products and fructose is often used in dairy-based beverages, lacitol is carving a niche within the reduced sugar/energy ice cream sector.

Reducing fat, maintaining taste

The application of Litesse in skimmed milk, or skimmed milk-based beverages, can mimic the creamy mouth feel and full-bodied sensory experience associated with semi-skimmed or full-cream milk.

This premium quality, specialty carbohydrate offers a wide range of physiological and functional benefits, being prebiotic, containing a low ener­gy value (5kJ/gram), 90% dietry fibre and having a low glycaemic index.

Litesse can be easily dissolved in water and is tasteless, colourless and stable in low pH, high temperatures and in storage for long periods.

Sugar alternatives

While fat in ice cream contributes to its creamy mouth feel, sugar in ice cream modifies its texture and improves palatability, enhancing flavour and sweetness.

Ice cream can be made less energy dense, however, by altering its fat and sugar content without compromising appearance or taste.

Litesse can be used in ice cream to impart the full-bodied texture and mouth feel synonymous with high-fat varieties, while also acting as a glucose syrup substi­tute, reducing ice cream’s sugar content.

Lactitol, a sugar-alcohol manufactured from lactose, can also be added to ice cream to reduce its high sugar content.

It does not contain any sugars, has a low glycaemic index, low energy density (10kJ/gram) and is an emerging prebiotic.

Containing similar properties to sucrose, lactitol can replace sucrose in ice cream with­out altering its texture, enabling the ice cream to have the same hardness and scoopability as a full-sugar ice cream.

In fact, sensoric studies comparing ice cream manufactured with lactitol to that made with sucrose or sorbitol, a common sugar substitute, showed the ice cream made with lactitol had greater creamy and milky flavour notes.

Sweeteners

As is often the case with sugar alternatives, the sweetness levels of both Litesse and lactitol need to be compensated by substi­tutes such as non-calorie, high intensity sweeteners.

These alternative sugars can be as sweet, or sweeter than sucrose, without containing its high energy levels.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar-alcohol with an energy density of 14kJ/gram and a low glycaemic index, acting as a direct sweetness substitute to sucrose when applied to dairy products at the same rate.

Fructose is another alternative which, despite being a sugar, has a low glycaemic index.

Interestingly, the sweetness of fructose, when compared to the same concentration of sucrose, is higher, enabling dairy products containing fructose to have a similar level of sweetness as they would with sucrose while using significantly less sugar.

When used in ice cream and frozen desserts in particular, fructose will result in a softer, more scoopable ice cream and will enhance its chocolate or fruity notes.

As issues of obesity and related health problems including type 2 diabetes, cardio­vascular disease and some cancers become increasingly paramount, and the focus of government and industry regulation, it is becoming more and more necessary for food manufacturers to develop healthier foods that maintain a level of flavour, texture and appearance that is acceptable to the con­sumer palette.

The range of sugar alternatives and sweeteners offered by Danisco, a global ingredients manufacturer, enable food manufacturers to enhance the functional benefits of their products while mimicking higher-fat varieties in terms of flavour and mouth feel.

This is particularly beneficial to the dairy industry, as the creamy mouth feel of full-fat milk and ice cream can be recreated using substitutes like Litesse and lactitol that simultaneously reduce the calorie and fat content of these products.

For more information contact roberttee@supanet.com

www.danisco.com

Floor scrubbers for ‘wet’ food plants

The Tennant Model 5700 features patented FaST (Foam-activated Scrubbing Technology) and is cer­tified to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall.

FaST scrubbers also use 70% less water than non-FaST machines.

The Model 5700 is ideal for use in ‘wet’ food manufacturing facilities.

www.tennantco.com.au

australia@tennantco.com

Opinion: beginning of the end for cans?

On a recent trip overseas, the UK news reported that sales of canned produce in the UK were down 8% over the past year.

This caught my attention.

After all, the can, or tin as it is referred to in the UK, is an iconic form of packaging that is incredibly useful.

Invented in 1810, canned food allowed stock cupboards to be filled for the entire win­ter and it played a part in keeping people fed during the Second World War when food was scarce and trade difficult.

The decrease in sales is thought to be the result of the UK Government’s ‘5 a day’ campaign that, much like the Australian Government’s ‘7 a day’ campaign, advocates intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, the sales of which have increased.

Also thought to have played a part in the downturn of canned food’s fortunes is the difficulty faced by older people in open­ing cans.

For those with arthritis, even the pullback tops used on many cans these days can be awkward.

So does this signal the demise of canned produce?

Today, there is a multitude of processing and packaging options available, many of which offer benefits such as taking up less space on pallets and reducing transport costs such as vacuum packing.

In October FOOD Magazine there is a host of articles outlining the features of vacuum packing equipment and bags, offering food manufacturers advice and tips on getting the best out of the process.

Where is health & wellness heading?

Food manufacturers have taken note of consumers’ unceasing desire for food products that offer them health benefits and throughout 2007 have produced a host of successful products.

In particular, low-fat or ‘lite’ products, low-alcohol beverages, fortified products and those containing low sugar and salt levels.

So which area within the health and wellness sector will be high on food manufacturers’ agendas in 2008?

Organic products

The organic and all-natural movements have built momentum, and owners of processed food brands have addressed this by producing ranges containing few or no additives, while sales of organic produce in Australia are increasing.

Following on from this, an opportunity presents itself for manufacturers to produce a much greater range of organic processed foods.

In Europe and the US, such products abound, from organic jams and preserves, through baked beans and canned goods to baked goods and frozen ready meals.

Geriatric health products

Meanwhile, as the baby boom generation reaches their autumn years, the market for products catering to their specific nutritional needs offers great rewards to manufacturers who exploit it successfully.

Humans, as with pets, require different minerals, vitamins and nutrients at different stages of their life.

So which will bring food processors success in 2008?

Vote in this week’s online poll to have your say, as well as drive future editorial online and in the magazine.

India: export opportunities

India is rapidly emerging as a critical market for Australia’s food industry, according to a new Australian Government-funded report launched in New Delhi today.

Minister for Trade, Warren Truss, and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, said the report, Strengthening the India-Australia corridor in select food and agribusiness sectors, showed increasing consumer demand among India’s growing middle class.

Mr Truss said that this demand was creating more opportunities for businesses in the Australian food sector.

Indian food retail is a multi-billion dollar industry, estimated to be worth around $233 billion, with food being the largest category of consumer spending.

India’s increasingly affluent middle class is driving growth in organised food retail and food services, with organised retail expected to increase by 30% over the next five years.

Australia’s expertise in food production, combined with high-quality ingredients and innovative technology, places it in an ideal position to make greater inroads into India, Mr McGauran said.

There is also opportunity for Australia to supply the expertise in retail services, supply chain and cold chain logistics, agricultural technology, and food production and processing, that India needs to develop its food industry.

For further information on the Indian food industry or for a copy of the report, email Michael Carter (Austrade New Delhi).

Sanitising hands

Saraya supplies an alco­hol-based surface sanitiser with quaternary ammonia for food pro­cessing plants.

Highly evaporative, Smart San kills bacteria in 60 seconds and is designed for use on water-sensitive equipment including touch pads, scales and packaging equipment.

Approved for direct contact with food, the spray has a slight residual effect and kills 99.9% of all bacteria and germs.

The Smart San formula is also available as a hand mist, which con­tains vegetable glycerine and is sooth­ing on the skin.

Sprayed from an automatic, sensor-activated dispenser, the atomised liq­uid product penetrates the nail and cuticle area, killing germs.

www.saraya.com.au

gary@saraya.com.au

Foodbourne illness

A study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health revealed pregnant women may be putting their babies at risk of listeriosis, a serious foodbourne illness derived most commonly from soft cheese and smallgoods, because they do not receive enough information about the disease from their health service providers.

Listeria monocytogenes, the foodbourne pathogen, can have consequences for the baby including spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, septicaemia and meningitis.

There exists an opportunity for food manufacturers of products that are particularly vulnerable to contamination to create awareness through adequate product labelling.

Dolly Bondarianzadeh, lead researcher at the School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, said results indicate that when it comes to food, women who have enough information and knowledge from a trusted source change their eating behaviour.

The study surveyed 586 women attending antenatal clinics in one private and two major public hospitals in New South Wales and reported that more than half of the respondents had limited knowledge of food with high Listeria risk.

Flexible oven

Auto-Bake presents its hybrid Serpentine oven that incorporates both radiant and convection heating systems as well as the Auto-Bake ‘free tray’ transport system that allows the use of existing rack oven pans and ancillary equipment, enabling smaller bakeries to scale up and automate processes.

The oven has a small footprint, one-tenth the size of an equivalent tunnel oven.

According to the company, the Serpen­tine system will be on display at IBIE in Chicago in October.

www.auto-bake.com

graemeb@auto-bake.com