Yoplait joins kids health initiative

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sweeteners & sugar: health drives demand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweetener types

Generally speaking, sweeteners can be divided into three categories.

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


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

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

“And it does that at a low cost.”

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

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

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

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

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

Sweetener success

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

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

Slow energy release

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

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

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

Fat mobilisation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Low calorie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Get water-wise to beat rising costs

Food processing consumes more water than any other manufacturing process.

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

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

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

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

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

Water-saving initiatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reuse and recycle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trade offs

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

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

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

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

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

Case study

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Dried cranberry plant scales up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dates for your diary

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


CIES International Food Safety Conference

13 to 15 February, 2008

V: Hotel Okura, Amsterdam

E: ciesfoodsafety@ciesnet.com

W: www.ciesfoodsafety.com

Food Water Activity and Drying Technology (short course)

14 to 15 February, 2008

V: Medina Executive Hotel Coogee, Sydney

E: tkowitz@foodstream.com.au

W: www.foodstream.com.au/aw&dryingcourse


ConFectioNZ 2008

6 to 7 March, 2008

V: The Sebel Trinity Wharf, Tauranga

E: cma@candy.net.au

W: www.candy.net.au

Food Ingredients China 2008

26 to 28 March, 2008

V: Shanghai Everbright Convention and Exhibition Centre

E: ccpitsli@public3.bta.net.cn

W: www.chinafoodadditives.com


Institute of Brewing and Distilling, 30th Asia Pacific Conference

6 to 11 April, 2008

V: SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland

E: ibd2008@tcc.co.nz

W: www.ibd2008.co.nz


3rd Asia Pacific Nutrigenomics Conference 2008

6 to 9 May, 2008

V: The Sebel Albert Park, Melbourne

E: info@nutrigenomics.org.au

W: www.nutrigenomics.org.au

ConTech 2008

21 to 22 May, 2008

V: The Sebel Albert Park, Melbourne

E: cma@candy.net.au

W: www.candy.net.au


AIP National Conference 2008

12 to 13 June, 2008

V: Luna Park, Sydney

E: nerida@aipack.com.au

W: www.aipack.com.au


FoodPro 2008

21 to 24 July, 2008

V: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre

E: peterpetherick@dmgworldmedia.com

W: www.foodproexh.com

Testing cooking oil freshness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oil ageing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Measuring methods

The polar components are measured using column chromatography.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Princely spirit targets Aussie blokes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.