Gourmet soups and risottos

Ingredients: Chicken & Corn Soup: water, corn, cream, gelatine (halal), vegetable gum, emulsifier, chicken, potato, onion, carrot, modified tapioca starch, chicken booster (flavour enhancers), canola oil, corn booster (colour), lemon juice, salt, pepper

Gourmet Pumpkin & Pistachio Risotto: arborio rice (water, rice), pumpkin, onion, white wine, parmesan cheese, canola oil, butter (milk), pistachio nuts, vegetable booster (flavour enhancers), modified tapioca starch, herbs and spices, salt, garlic, water, preservative

Brand owner: Mrs Crocket’s

Brand/product manager: Sam Goldstein

Packaging supplier: Tecpak (soup lid and cup), Alto (risotto tray), Amcor (risotto film), Carter Holt Harvey (risotto sleeve)

Graphics Package designer: Tin Factory Creative

Organic pasta

Ingredients: organic wholegrain farro flour, orzo flour, water

Brand owner: Senselle Foods

Brand/product manager: Stuart Smith

Packaging supplier: Giacomo Santoleri, Italy

Graphics package designer: Di Antonio, Italy

Asian market ready for convenience

Microwave ovens and freezers have changed the way Asians think about and consume meals. This, combined with demanding lifestyles, has spawned the Asian ready meals culture.

There has been an emergence of ‘lifestyle’ ready meals in Japan, in response to the country’s fast pace of living.

Taiwan is a booming market. The second most important ready meals market in the Asia Pacific. Local diets and religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and beef are likely to constrain the development of meat-based ready meals.

The vegetarian ready meal market in India will grow. The vegetarian ready meal market will grow in India. Quick fix food. In much of Asia the ready meal market is still in its infancy. Ready meals are described as the aggregation of canned, preserved, frozen, dried and chilled meals, din­ner mixes and prepared salads.

They are products that have had recipe ‘skills’ added to them by the manufacturer, resulting in a high degree of readiness, completion and convenience. Ready meals are generally com­plete meals that require few or no extra ingredients. Some ready meals require cook­ing, while others simply need reheating. Ready meals are at an introduc­tory stage in many Asia Pacific countries, which means that ready meals addressing health and well­ness, including low fat/low calorie, wholesome fresh ingredients, are virtually non-existent.

Japan takes the lead

Despite registering robust sales performances during the period 2000 to 2006, ready meals in emerg­ing countries such as India, China, Indonesia and Vietnam are still in their infancy.

Per capita expenditure on ready meals in these countries was almost negligible, largely due to a lack of consumer awareness about such products, particularly in rural areas, as well as the dominance of home-cooked meals in local diets.

Japan leads the pack Japan is by far the most advanced market in terms of development of new health and wellness products.

According to Euromonitor International’s estimates, retail value sales of ready meals in Japan accounted for a massive 91% of the regional sales in 2006. Regionally, Japan is the most mature mar­ket and retail sales are dominated by tradi­tional lunchboxes and sozai (small dishes).

In fact, there has been an emergence of ‘lifestyle’ ready meals in Japan, in response to the country’s fast pace of living. Consumers are increasingly looking for ways of reducing stress and stress-related symptoms. In March 2006, Asahi Food & Healthcare Co launched Hatsuga Genmai Jikkoku Gayu, a new retort-packed sprouted porridge, using premium rice harvested in the Uonuma area with ten types of natural cereals (black soy beans, red beans, green beans and more).

Each package is fortified with 25mg of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA is believed to help with relaxation by releasing stress and promoting better sleep. This ingredient is not new to the market; it has also been used in alcoholic drinks, such as wine and Japanese sake. Taiwan’s global tastes Meanwhile, Taiwan is a booming market. It is the second most important ready meals market in the Asia Pacific region, with a robust average annual growth of almost 53% in the period 2000 to 2006 — an increase in actual total sales of about US$416 million.

In fact, the ready meals sector was a major area of development for packaged food between 2000 and 2006. Though the initial phase consisted of few brands and a very narrow range of traditional local cuisine, by 2006 this sector had an increasing number of brands, with local and international meal options for consumers to choose from, reflecting local consumers’ increasingly international tastes.

Think local

According to Euromonitor senior packaged food industry analyst Emily Woon, the ready meals landscape in the Asia Pacific region is diverse, with specific markets being at dif­ferent stages of development.

“One size does not fit all in the regional ready meals sector,” said Woon.

“Growth is dynamic but to tap it requires a country-specific approach.

“Therefore, it is important for manufac­turers to recognise the specificity of local conditions and tastes in emerging markets.”

For example, in India new product develop­ment will continue towards vegetarian dishes. Local diets and religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and beef are like­ly to constrain the development of meat-based ready meals, except in the eastern region of the continent.

In countries such as Indonesia where the ready meals market is at the introductory stage, manufacturers could develop processed versions of traditional meals in order to attract busy consumers who increasingly seek convenient foods that are easy to prepare.

“Such a strategy seemed to have worked well between 2000 and 2006 for a number of Indonesian manufacturers operating in the chilled and frozen aisles,” explained Woon.

“For example, chilled and frozen bakso, or beef-balls, have become increasingly pop­ular in Indonesia.”

Research and development

All Food Systems is a food ingredient man­ufacturer supplying the Australian and Asia Pacific region. Export manager Kym Balogh said that like every other company around the world, All Food Systems would like to be a part of China’s economic growth.

“However, we are also very aware of the emerging ready meal market throughout the rest of Asia,” Balogh said. “

Tastes and flavour vary from country to country, so the research and development department is aware that we are serious about exporting, and to do this we have to be flexible in development ideas.”

HSC International is an exporter of ready meals like instant noodles and pasta throughout Asia. HSC International managing director Steven Teo highlighted the importance of research and development, saying it was imperative that exporters researched new products, consumer concerns, culture, habit and pricing to have a full grasp of the export market requirements. Teo said that there will be an even bigger demand for ready meals, because people have higher purchasing power but are time poor, making quick meals an obvious choice.

All Food Systems’ Balogh also adds that being able to drop into the supermarket on the way home from work to pick up the crumbed chicken Kiev or the marinated or sautéed chicken skewers is a luxury spread­ing through the Asia Pacific region.

“Ready meal products in Asian super­markets is not something that will happen overnight,” said Balogh.

“Australian manufacturers have the expe­rience in ready meals, while Asian manufac­turers have ready access to the consumers.

“Getting ready meals that appeal to Asians onto supermarket shelves is the challenge for Australian manufacturers.”

Tea in a tin

Ingredients: Chamomile Fields: chamomile and rose petals; Mint Madness: peppermint, spearmint, cornflower blossom

Brand owner: Macro Wholefoods Market

Brand/product manager: Angela Brand

Packaging designer: Egg Design

Loose tea leaves

Ingredients: selected dried leaves, buds and berries depending on blend

Brand owner: jones group

Brand/product manager: Stuart Smith

Packaging supplier: jones group

Graphics package designer: Irwin & Sheehan

New appointment

Enzyme Solutions has announced the appointment of Mr Barri Trotter to the role of General Manager, effective from August 13th, 2007.

In this newly created position, Trotter will be responsible for driving Enzyme Solutions future growth and development.

With a background in accountancy, Trotter brings his skills in business management, project management, sales and marketing and export development to the role.

His experience in key account management will also assist to drive the company forward.

New industry web resource

The NSW Food Industry Training Council board of directors has announced the launch of FoodHub, an online workforce development resource for the Australian Food Industry.

Operating in a similar way to Wikipedia, the free log-on facility invites members of the food industry to contribute information and references to assist the work of trainers, assessors, students, learners, enterprises and other key industry stakeholders.

New technology for omega-3 fish oils

A recent agreement between Food Science Australia (FSA) and Clover Corporation will increase the range of processed foods containing healthy omega-3 fish oils and selected microalgal oils by using second-generation MicroMAX microencapsulation technology.

In collaboration with Preventative Health National Research Flagship, FSA has expanded their work on encapsulation and developed new, more durable microencapsulation technologies.

The main difference, and benefit, of the new technology is the robustness of the encapsulation, allowing for a higher oil loading than the original MicroMAX technology, and the ability to withstand a variety of strenuous processing conditions without imparting a ‘fishy’ flavour and aroma to the food.

Clover Corporation, through its joint venture with Nu-Mega Ingredients, will use the technology to expand its product range and enter new international markets.

“Clover Corporation will be using the next generation MicroMax microencapsulation technology to improve the delivery and stability of its DRIPHORM HiDHA rich omega-3 fish oil, and other ingredients, enhance the commercial efficiency of providing the bioactives in the fish oil, and expand their application in foods and infant formulations,” Clover CEO Dr Ian Brown said.

The microencapsulation of fish oil, which involves enclosing microscopic droplets of fish oil in robust films, has been used to deliver the beneficial fatty omega-3 oils to a variety of foods, including long-life milk, processed cheese and yoghurt as well as snack foods, by protecting the fat from oxidation, prolonging the shelf life of the food and maintaining the desired taste.

This is the first commercial agreement that FSA has embarked on with the second generation technology.

FSA has previously worked with CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship to understand the effects food processing has on microencapsulated products and continues to look for partners to use the MicroMAX technology in a range of applications.

Flavour Makers’ new facilities

Flavour Makers’ Culinary Development Centre at Braeside, features a new expanded research and development laboratory with a separate fully equipped test kitchen and sensory facilities.

A state of the art kitchen has been designed for concept presentations by development chefs to customers from both domestic and export markets, and incorporates a conference facility for supplier and customer meetings.

Flavour Makers’ chefs are experienced in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian and European cuisines, and bring authenticity and functionality to food products.

Already the company has hosted interstate and overseas visitors, and local food manufacturers, and a busy program has been planned by sales manager Jodie Foster for the remainder of this year.

Flavour Makers have also commissioned a new liquid processing facility at a stand-alone location in Moorabbin, designed to upgrade manufacturing capacity for the Passage Foods Simmer sauce range, which has national distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

Business development manager Chris Doutre has also secured export orders for Asia, the US, the UK and Europe.

The facility will also provide process capabilities to produce wet culinary sauces to meet customers’ requirements.

These two projects, managed by operations manager Jason Fullerton, have created the opportunity for Flavour Makers to upgrade the dry blending facility at Braeside to support domestic and export activities, which will include an on-site microlab and Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service accreditation.

Flavour Makers export market customers are being managed by export and foodservice manager Peter Caddy.

Protecting bakery workers

Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) is a major issue in the bread products industry.

Mixing machines, hot ovens and large heavy baking trays for doing hundreds of loaves or muffins at a time, are all potential hazards.

Bread product manufacturers’ responses to this are largely a matter of scale.

Automation

Industrial bakers, companies making hundreds of thousands of loaves of bread, muffins and the like every day, are tending towards automated systems like those produced by Australian company Auto-Bake Serpentine.

Local bakeries are also trying to remove the human factor but on a much smaller scale.

Automation is by far the most obvious trend in industrial bakeries, Auto-Bake general manager Mark Appleford said.

“Trying to make equipment safe by minimising human intervention is a definite trend.

“For example, with our systems, flour [and other ingredients are] dropped from silos into mixers, the mixers operate, the batter goes into our lines and, essentially, the finished product comes out without human intervention at all.

“It comes out as a baked product, then it goes onto conveyers and off for freezing, cooling or packaging and there’s barely a human hand intervening.”

The move to automation is driven by cost efficiency in terms of reducing the number of staff but an even greater efficiency is the reduction in worker’s compensation claims resulting from automation.

“With rack ovens, you open the door, push the product in and when it’s done you pull it out.

“In that process there are potentially people getting burnt, getting hands mashed in doors, not picking racks up properly and getting back injuries,” said Appleford.

“One of our American customers produces 250,000 muffins an hour using Auto-Bake’s systems.

“It was only doing a third of that with rack ovens and one of its biggest savings has been worker’s compensation.”

While trends towards automation can simply shift the OH&S risk from production to maintenance there are ways to compensate.

“Whenever you have to maintain something there is the chance of an accident plus the cost of having the line down,” explained Appleford.

“This can be minimised in simple ways , for example, by using high-end greases in the machines, which only need application once a month instead of every day.

“There is also cleaning in process (CIP), sanitising the line while it’s running using sprayers, etc.”

Communication

However, the majority of bread in Australia is still made by the small end of town; suburban bakeries run by a handful of people.

In these environments automation is not economical so the focus shifts back to human beings, and how management communicates and executes OH&S systems, explained Baker’s Delight Holdings human resources and training manager Craig King.

“When someone takes up a Baker’s Delight franchise they get a number of systems including an OH&S system for the bakery.”

“Baker’s Delight has done hazard risk analysis for all the commonly used equipment in its bakeries.

“Franchisees are then able to do a customised risk analysis using templates provided by Baker’s Delight.”

“Once a risk analysis has been done,” said King, “it’s all about training your staff and reducing risks”.

“We used to have mixing bowls with no lids on them but now they have guards so that as soon as someone opens the lid, the machine turns itself off.

“Ergonomics is also an issue,” he said

“There’s constant lifting involved in running a bakery so we’ve reduced packaging from 25kg to 12.5kg so people can manage the lifting more easily.”

Ultimately, communication is the most important innovation.

“If companies are not communicating OH&S and constantly reviewing systems, then they’re not going to keep up the pace, and productivity and morale will be down,” King said.

“But it’s also a shared responsibility, there needs to be a feedback loop, innovation from the top down and also from the bottom up.”

Approach

WSP Risk Solutions general manager Genevieve Hawkins belives that whether the bakery is an industrial operation or a suburban bakery, the important thing is not to treat OH&S as something that needs to be done to stay out of trouble.

“It’s often done as a formal format with OH&S committees and all those sorts of things, or it’s just ignored, said Hawkins.

“But the way to approach OH&S is not to take a ‘what do we need to do to legally comply’ approach, but a ‘what do we need to do to run our business effectively and manage the risk we have’ approach.”

There are also sound business reasons for approaching worker safety in this way.

“If someone is injured at work, worker’s compensation premiums are going to increase, which is a direct cost to the bottom line.

“The injured worker may be off work for some time and will need to be replaced, so there’s recruitment costs, training costs, all those things come in to cover someone while they’re injured,” she said

“From a business management point of view it’s just not cost effective to keep injuring people at work.”

Skill shortages to continue

A new report released by McCrindle Research indicates skills shortages and the associated workplace expectations of Generation Y will continue in the future.Many employers assume that skills shortages are the result of sixteen years of continued economic growth and the subsequent demand for staff.

However the problem stems from the fact that demand for staff is high while supply, particularly of young people, is low due to the ageing of the Australian population and the relative decline in the number of young people.

The report, Bridging the Gap, identifies trends in supply and demand in the employment sector and offers advice for both employers and employees.

The author of the report, Mark McCrindle, will be running half-day Bridging the Gap Workshops for industry associations, employer groups and employees.

For more information or to download a free copy of the report, click here.

Limited FREE tickets for packaging awards

LIMITED free tickets are available for the 2nd Annual Packaging magazine Evolution Awards breakfast ceremony to be held on Wednesday September 12th, 2007, from 7.30am at Waters Edge, Walsh Bay in Sydney.

In attendance will be packaging professionals and key stakeholders in packaging waste management in Australia and New Zealand.

The Packaging magazine Evolution Awards aim to encourage, recognise and reward National Packaging Covenant signatories for excellence in packaging waste management.

This year’s Awards will highlight companies within the industry that have shown innovation and excellence in the following categories:

  1. Beverage Packaging Action Award
  2. Food Packaging Action Award sponsored by Tronics
  3. Household Goods Packaging Action Award
  4. Personal Care & Cosmetics Packaging Action Award
  5. Pharmaceutical Packaging Action Award sponsored by Cospak
  6. Retail Packaging Action Award sponsored by Sealed Air / Cryovac
  7. Community Partnership Action Award sponsored by 3M Australia
  8. Most Innovative Solution in Packaging Waste Management Award sponsored by Heidelberg Graphic Equipment
  9. Most Outstanding Demonstration of Packaging Waste Management Award sponsored by Globus Food Packaging and Equipment in Australia
  10. Most Outstanding Demonstration of Packaging Waste Management in New Zealand Award

Finalist companies for this year’s awards include the following companies: Amcor, Assa, Abloy, Astron Plastics, Australia Post, Blackmores, BP, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coca-Cola Amatil (NZ), Diageo, Dulux, Ego Pharmaceuticals, Electrolux, Golden Circle, Goodman Fielder, Heinz, Herron Pharmaceuticals, Huhtamaki Moulded Fibre New Zealand, IBM, J. Boag & Son, Kimberly-Clark, LG Electronics, Nutrimetics, Pace Farm, Revlon, Roche, Schering-Plough, Simplot and Telstra.

The judging panel includes: Professor Harry Lovell; Margaret Jollands, Assoc Prof, Civil, Envtal and Chemical Engineering RMIT; Mike Walker, F.Inst.Pkg, FAIP; and Robin Tuckerman, Fellow of the AIP.

If you would like to attend, RSVP via email to RBI events co-ordinator Bahieya Sipos: bahieya.sipos@reedbusiness.com.au.

For more information, call Bahieya on 02 9422 2193.

Flavour company prosecuted

Flavour supplier, International Flavours & Fragrances, has been ordered to donate $10,000 to the Dandenong Benevolent Society after being prosecuted by WorkSafe.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to implement the requirements of two improvement notices issued in relation to forklift safety matters in 2005.

They have been issued a twelve month good-behaviour bond.

Allergy-free ingredients processing plant

The opening of a new $10 mil­lion food manufacturing plant in Murarrie, Queensland, by food ingredient company Ear­lee Products, will allow the separation of allergenic and non-allergenic food ingredi­ents, addressing a growing need in the food industry for non-allergenic ingredients.

Officially opened in July by the Minister for State Devel­opment, Employment and Industrial Relations John Mickel, the plant will boost Queensland’s production of allergy-free food ingredients.

The company’s existing plant will be dedicated to non-allergenic ingredients, while the Murarrie plant will con­centrate on mainstream pro­duction.

“No matter how conscien­tious we are, if non-allergenic and allergenic food production is carried out under the one roof, there will always be some level of risk of allergy-free products being contaminated,” Earlee Products’ managing director Bob Hamilton said.

“For this reason, we can only guarantee certification if non-allergenic products and sensitives have a dedicated production plant.”

The new facility will enable the company to increase pro­duction of its non-allergenic ingredients to around 50 tonnes per week.

“With so many Australians allergic to gluten, nuts and other allergens, we are confi­dent our new plant will enable us to offer a 100% safe and tested means of producing allergy-free products,” Hamil­ton said.

“This approach is novel to the general food-ingredients sector in Australia, and I believe it will certainly help fill a void in the marketplace.”

With the additional new facility providing Earlee Prod­ucts with almost four times as much space for its operations, while including facilities for wet and dry processing, and comprehensive pilot plant and product development labora­tories, the company now plans to embark on an overseas push.

“The timing is right for us to push our success offshore, and we are looking forward to showing the world Queensland is at the forefront of food sci­ence and its commercial appli­cation,” Hamilton said.

Softfruit launched in UK

Australian research and development company, Byron Food Science, has announced the commercialisation of its SOFTFRUIT technology in the UK.

Softfruit technology allows the economical production water activity controlled real fruits and these products are now available in Australia and New Zealand through Byron.

According to the company, the novel technology preserves the natural textures, flavours and colours of real fruit during the manufacturing process.

The process is fast, produces no by-products and can be manufactured close to the market place all year round.

The Byron technology enables the water activity of the fruit to match its specific application, whether added to dry breakfast cereals, high-moisture bakery items, dairy products, wet pie fillings or additions to sausage fillings.

Due to the efficiency of the process, functional food products that contain no added sugar, completely natural ingredients or pro- and prebiotic properties can be formulated.

The power of olives

Research has strongly suggested that the Mediterranean-style diet can lower the risk of heart disease and decrease cancer mortality rates.

With a focus on unrefined cereals and grains, vegetables and fruits, and a moderate emphasis on fish and wine consumption, this blend of traditional cuisines from Greece, Spain, Italy, Crete, Southern France and parts of the Middle East also places great importance on olives. And researchers are beginning to take notice.

Effectiveness

Olives contain three types of polyphenols or plant compounds, including the potent hydroxytyrosol, which has great potential for human health.

It may protect against oxidative damage, prevent the oxidation of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, enhance immunity and promote an anti-inflammatory response.

Among the polyphenols studied so far, this olive compound outperforms all other antioxidants, including those found in red wine, as measured by the USDA’s Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity scale ranking system.

Low levels

Despite its benefits, bioavailability of hydroxytyrosol in foods remains low.

Fresh olives contain about 0.1% to 1% polyphenol, of which only about 0.02% to 0.2% is hydroxytyrosol.

Virgin olive oils are not much better, with 0.05% phenolic compounds and 0.02% hydroxytyrosol.

While hydroxytyrosol increases with olive maturation, its hydrophilic nature often results in it being discarded during the olive oil production process.

Solution

Nevertheless, hydroxytyrosol levels can be enhanced in the olive fruit with maturation, and during storage and processing.

DSM Nutritional Products’ hydroxytyrosol ingredient Hidrox is isolated from organically grown olives, using a patented process (Integrale).

According to in-house tests, the average hydroxytyrosol content of commercially available olives is 251mg/kg, or 0.025%.

To consume the recommended daily dose of Hidrox, one would reportedly have to consume about 50g (50ml) of olive oil per day — the equivalent of up to fifty-two medium-sized olives per day.

Hidrox 6% olive polyphenol is stable and dissolves in water, which makes it suitable for fortification in citrus-type fruit juices, vegetable juices, yoghurt drinks and food products such as instant noodles, soups, sauces, cheese, baked goods and most other savoury products.

“The olive fruit has a strong astringent flavour,” DSM Nutritional Products innovation manager, Magdalene Wong said.

“Hidrox, on the other hand, has only a mild, almost undetectable flavour and can provide the health benefits of olives without needing to consume large amounts of olive oil or olives.”

This article appears courtesy of Asia Food Journal.

Old timer’s new bottle

Jack Daniel’s has introduced a new bottle for its famous Tennessee whisky, which is On The Shelf now.

Packaging details:

Brand owner: Brown-Forman

Brand/product manager: Jonathan Croft

Graphics packaging supplier: Ann O’Daniel

Fruity yoghurt

Vaalia’s new yoghurt is On The Shelf. Details on ingredients, brand owner, packaging and suppliers are:

Ingredients: skim milk, sugar, milk solids, water, raspberry (3%), inulin, maize thickener (1442), gelatine (halal), pomegranate (0.5%), food acid (331), flavours, live yoghurt cultures

Brand owner: Parmalat Australia

Brand/product manager: Michael Goodhew

Packaging supplier: Cryovac, Carter Holt Harvey, Huhtamaki, MeadWestvaco

Graphics packaging designer: Carpe Diem

Innovative ingredients at food expo

UK-based international flavour and fragrance ingredient supplier, R.C. Treatt & Co, showcased a range of innovative ingredients at the International Food Technology annual convention and food expo held in Chicago in July.

R.C. Treatt & Co demonstrated a range of interesting ingredients combinations such as Rooibos Tea + Plus, a cold beverage containing natural Treattarome Rooibos 9860 with natural Treattarome Raspberry 9845 and Pomegranate juice.

Also on display was True Taste Tea + Antox, a beverage containing natural Treattarome Green Tea 9767, Treattarome Watermelon 9724 and Treattarome Kiwifruit 9724, boosted with polyphenol catechins supplied by Taiyo Kagaku.

For more information on R.C. Treatt & Co’s range, email their Australian supplier Ingredient Resources (IR) or visit the IR website.

Coopers expands with upgrade

As part of Coopers’ $10.5 million expansion program to boost capacity at the company’s Regency Park site, two new beer fermenters were installed on August 17 at Coopers Brewery, bringing the company’s total to twenty.

Each fermenter holds approximately 170,000L of beer, the equivalent of 18,000 cartons.

According to Coopers, the capital expenditure program, which began in April, also involves the construction of additional office and warehouse space, along with the commissioning of a new high-speed labelling machine and the purchase of 8500 beer kegs.

The upgrade of facilities is in line with increased demand for Coopers beer in Australia and overseas, as well as the company’s overall strategy to grow its share of the national beer market from 3% to 5% by 2011.

A total of $6 million is being spent on the warehouse expansion and new offices, and $2 million has been invested in a new German-built KHS labelling machine which, when installed in September, will boost the speed of the bottling line from around 1000 bottles/minute to 1200 bottles/minute.