How a 1960s cartoon predicted the future of food

Sharon Natoli loves food. Which is just as well when she makes her living as an author and speaker specialising in the food and beverage industry.

At a recent event held by St.George Bank at urban farm, Cultivate, which is based in the Sydney CBD, Natoli spoke about the future of food and some of the challenges processors, retailers and manufacturers face.

Her first point was that the future – in general – is coming faster and faster. The Human Knowledge Curve has shown that in 1900 humanity’s knowledge was doubling every 100 years. In 1945, the rate was doubling every 25 years. By 1982 it was down to approximately one year. Today, it is estimated that what humans know is doubling every day, while deep learning platform IBM Watson predicts that our knowledge will double every 12 hours by 2020. What is driving this alarming rate of change?

“It is around data collection,” said Natoli. “The fact is that every day that we use our laptop, our phone, we buy things, and we click purchase things online. We use our credit cards, that’s data that is being collected all the time. Wearables, sensors – so much technology around us, and so much data to collect. The key is keeping up with the rate of knowledge that is happening in terms at which it is doubling.”

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And with all these changes starting to occur, it is important that food and beverage businesses don’t get caught ‘sheep walking’ – a term that Natoli said is similar to sleep walking, except people are wandering around with their eyes open.

“We have our eyes open and we are conscious, but it is hard to see the future coming at us because we are surrounded by the status quo,” she said. “If we get caught sheep walking, then it is harder for us to innovate and keep up.”

She gives the example of French yoghurt manufacturer Yoplait, who up until 2015 was the number one brand in the United States. Over a few years it lost 33 per cent of its market share, with 23 per cent of that coming within one year. The equated to about $500 million in revenue. What happened? A rival read the future.

“Chobani came along with a better tasting yoghurt, a lower sugar yoghurt – the kind of things consumers were looking for at that time, and so they took a large chunk of that market share away.”

However, one topic that Natoli covered could have consequences for food processors – 3D printing. Back in the 1960s the cartoon television series The Jetsons had the Foodarackacycle, a device that, with the press of a button, would produce food for the family. Fifty years later, similar technology is coming to fruition with the Foodini.

“Foodini is a 3D printer that enables us to serve food, freshly printed,” said Natoli. “It is a smart kitchen appliance using 3D printing technology that enables us to personalise our food. Not only the amount, but a personalised nutritional profile of the food, and we can personalise the way that it looks.

“It is also attractive to health-conscious people because it puts food production in the hands of the consumer. You can print things like crackers, wraps and pizza bases – some of the things you would usually buy prepared from the supermarket.”

With the future fast approaching, it would be easy to put your head in the sand and say “it’s all too much”, especially as Natoli has already stated, our knowledge is almost doubling every day. However, she also said there are three “plates that need spinning” if the food and beverage manufacturers are going to keep ahead of the knowledge curve. They are: what do you need to keep? What are things that these companies need to keep up with? What do they want to create?

When she talks about what companies need to keep, it is more about their legacy, their history – it is about a company’s culture, both past, present and looking to the future.
Probably the most important of the three “spinning plates”, is keeping up with trends, something that could be argued Yoplait failed to do when it lost its market share in the US. There are lots of trends and different businesses need to keep up with them, said Natoli. She said there are three areas of macro trends that will be relevant to the food and beverage industry.

“The first is this rising rebellion,” she said. “What we are finding is that we have the means and the motivation more than ever to stand up for the things we believe in. We are seeing a power shift from organisations and institutions through to individuals. And this is being shown a Colmar Brunton’s Millennium Monitor. What they monitor is Australia’s changing social sentiment. What they have found, is we are moving from an era of conformity where we had trust in institutions and organisations, through to this rebellious era. What we are valuing is empowerment and individual responsibility and taking on change ourselves.”
This is leading some food and beverage brands to adopt a rebellious approach, such as the likes of Soul Fresh, which owns the brand The Milk Thief.

“They’re saying, ‘we’re a movement, not a corporation’. They are saying they are a disruptor of the status quo versus doing what we’ve always done,” said Natoli. “They’re focussed on creating healthier and better foods for consumers instead of focussing on delivering foods and beverages at the lowest cost possible.”

The second macro trend is the idea of getting more from less. This is around the intersection between disquiet about the state of the environment, combined with consumers concern about their personal health. It’s about growing things with less impact on the environment but also being healthy. She cites the example of Mike Lee from US-based Alpha Food Labs, who is looking at the biodiversity of the supermarket shelf. Natoli said he has flipped things on its head. Usually, when it comes to new product ideas, it is marketing or product development people who come up with new concepts and go out and tell the farmers, or the suppliers, to grow this or produce that.

“What Alpha Labs is doing is turning that around and going out to the farmers and saying, ‘what are you growing? What is good for the soil? What is in season?’ and then the company takes that and makes a product from it. It is the opposite of what we would usually do from a food production perspective,” she said. “They want people to see that these products are not just made from wheat, rice and oats, but they are made from things like lentils, fava beans and moringa powder, millet – all kinds of different grains and that is a way to introduce biodiversity into the food chain.”

The final part in the macro trend equation is the expectations that people have when it comes to what they are consuming. Natoli said they have high expectations of food producers as well as high expectations from their food.

“This is where transparency and knowing where your food comes from – who made it, what’s in it – comes in,” she said. “Also the use of technology in terms of things like augmented reality, where you can scan a barcode of a product and find out the story behind it. Also around health and wellbeing and how we can really improve it through what we eat.

“Companies like Habitoir, which is a US company that takes some of the insights around genetic testing, and develops personalised nutrition plans that meet peoples’ expectations around how food can deliver better health to them.”

Natoli also believes that even though there is a lot of automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality creeping into the food processing and manufacturing space, there is still room for human interaction. Some companies even make it part of their marketing plan.

“Harris Farm, they often put themselves forward – like one of the brothers Tristan Harris – as commentators,” she said. “They put a face to the brand. It gives it that human element.”
And getting back to her point about the rebellious disruption going on, The Havas Media Group recently completed a survey that involved 300,000 consumer and 1,500 brands across 33 countries. What it found was that brands that are more meaningful outperform the stock market by double over a 10-year period. Being meaningful meant contributing to the collective well-being of society.

“Overall the future is coming at us quite rapidly and we don’t want to get caught sheep walking. We have to be really future ready. If we can spin those three plates together at the same time, then that is going to help us navigate in this decade of disruption. Many a false move was made by standing still, so whatever you do, just don’t stand still.

“It is really great for food businesses to have the opportunity to come together, to network, and connect, particularly over a meal. To create those social connections over food and to share their ideas and learnings.

“I think the way of the future is really about collaboration and so an event like this that St.George has put on is really beneficial for helping to do that.”

Caspak streamlines Australasian businesses

Sister companies, Caspak Australia and Caspak New Zealand, who specialise in flexible packaging, have merged their operations and brands. While financial management of the companies will remain country-based, the merger will result in streamlining and increased efficiencies of both businesses.

The merger will see the companies operate as a single entity in order to pool their resources, technological capabilities and hasten their advances in sustainable packaging options.

“Merging will improve our buying power, drive internal cost reductions and speed up our ability to offer sustainable packaging solutions,” says Harry Zwalue, managing director, Caspak New Zealand.

For the last 30 years, both companies have had a core objective of preventing food waste through the use of high barrier packaging. “This brand merger strengthens this resolve and adds a massive internal and external sustainability overlay to all operations.” says Bryce Hickmott, Managing Director, Caspak Australia. “Further announcements around this aspect of the merger will follow.”

With Sales Offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and Christchurch, the group has a balanced market coverage and provides Trans-Tasman customers with a seamless service delivery.

“It’s important to understand that this merger will be seamless from a customer point of view,” Hickmott added. “There will be no personal or systemic changes.”

“From a practical point of view, customers will see a new rebrand for both companies under the banner of Caspak – Sustainable Future. And they will experience the benefits of a new IT system in New Zealand from 1st October 2019, a vastly stronger and more cohesive R&D team across both markets and a freer flow of sustainable technologies between the two regions.”

“This pooling of resources is only common sense and the best way for us to drive sustainable development faster for our customer base,” Zwalue concludes.

FIAL celebrates Australian food innovation with book launch

As the wise Nelson Mandela once said, “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.”

That’s precisely what Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) has done for the past four years with its book Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations. The FIAL team has searched far and wide to find some of the best innovations in the country — from small businesses to multinationals, the new 2019 book edition showcases 50 innovations from across the whole value chain.

The exciting innovations featured in the book are aligned to the five global food and agribusiness megatrends identified by CSIRO. These are; a less predictable planet, health on the mind, choosy customers, one world, and smarter food chains.From sugarcane packaging to bone broth crisps, FIAL is confident that these stories will encourage Australian businesses to continue innovating and find their niche.

Chef Adam Moore, who features in the book, said, “As a chef, I am excited to be a part of such an inspiring book which shares Australia’s innovation successes. These stories are a great insight into all the work that goes into bringing together the products that grace restaurant menus, supermarket shelves, and consumers’ tables.“

FIAL managing director, Mirjana Prica, is delighted to launch the 4th edition at Global Table in Melbourne. “In this years’ edition, it’s wonderful to see that technology underpins many of the innovations, a true sign that our industry is evolving. I hope that companies will use this book as inspiration to create something new for the world to eat.”

Sarah Leung, founder and chief dietitian at Alg Seaweed shared her excitement for the book, “Alg Seaweed is so excited to be recognised and published in FIAL’s Innovation Book alongside so many amazing Australian innovations. We are very proud.”

Branding and supply chain: why they matter

Danny Celoni is the Australasian CEO of one of the most recognisable names on the planet – PepsiCo. Having more than 22 years’ experience in sales, strategising and marketing throughout the Pacific and Asian regions, he is in a good place to see where Australian brands fit. Not only in terms of names themselves, but perceptions, too.

“[I think] Brand Australia has a lot of equity with a lot of our brands,” he said at the recent Global Food Forum held in Sydney. “PepsiCo has a huge snack portfolio including the likes of Red Rock Deli chips and Twisties and we are seeing Brand Australia becoming more prominent. We are well placed from a value-add perspective. It’s all about quality, food security, consistency – they’re core elements that make Brand Australia prevalent.”

Appearing on stage with Celoni was Sir Rod Eddington, who, among other things, is the non-executive chairman of brewery giant Lion. A Rhodes Scholar who attended Oxford, Eddington is a strong believer in having big ties to Asia. His Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun awarded to him by the Japanese government in 2015 for his contribution to strengthening economic relations between Australia and Japan is proof of that. And although he is a champion of local produce, he is slightly less optimistic about Australia’s brand presence. He believes Australian food producers have a way to go in the branding stakes. He cites Australia’s neighbours across the Tasman, and a home-grown example, as a prime illustrations of how Australia should be positioning itself.

READ MORE: 7 risks in the food supply chain that compromise customer safety

“We have a long way to go on Brand Australia to be frank,” he said. “The Kiwis have done a brilliant job. The 100 per cent Pure New Zealand brand is a very good one.

“The part of Australia that is probably closest to being in the right space is Tasmania. Tasmania has built a reputation for itself, over a long period of time, not only as a producer of world-class wool, but of world-class seafood and vegetables. I think there is some real examples to be taken from Tasmania. As good as Australian food is, it still doesn’t have an overarching brand with the quality that the Kiwis have delivered.”

Eddington also made it very clear that the supply chain has to be up to scratch. If it’s not, then it doesn’t matter how high-quality your food or beverage is, you will make no inroads into some of the more fickle, but lucrative, markets.

“If you are exporting fresh and chilled products including cold foods, then supply chain is critical,” said Eddington. “An hour on the tarmac in the sun can destroy the product. As a company, we are really focussed on what supply chains are best and there are plenty of places in Asia where they are good. Japan is good. Hong Kong is very good as is Singapore. There are parts of China – especially where you have to trans-ship goods – where you may have a problem.

“There are other places in Southeast Asia where there are opportunities, but, as yet, their supply chains are not strong enough. And if their supply chains are not strong enough, you can’t risk your product because it will affect your brand. We are very much focussed on working with shippers and transport companies that can deliver certainty around cold store supply chain. It’s not only just for us. If you are selling sea food, fruit, vegetables, chilled meat into Asia – and that is where there is a substantial opportunity – then you need to have the certainty of supply chain.”

One up and coming country is Vietnam. While not at the standard it needs to be for Australian exporters, the country is making an effort to get the infrastructure in place so that it soon will be a gateway for Australian cold store exporters to land their goods.
“The Vietnamese are in the process of upgrading their supply chain,” said Eddington. “It is not as reliable [compared to some other Asian destinations], but it is a real opportunity for our businesses.”

He was also quick to point out that it wasn’t that long ago that all the bigger airports in Australia had the problem of not very good cold store supply chain facilities. He is confident that many countries around the world, including those in Asia, will see the benefits of a reliable cold store chain supply.

What about regional Australia, though? The majority of the country’s food is grown in regions, so why not set up cold store facilities at the local airports and export directly to overseas markets? Fair point, said Eddington. While there are some places that are starting to do that, there are roadblocks that need to be overcome.

“The thing about cold store supply chains is that they cost a lot of money,” he said. “You need the throughput and volume to make them work.

“There was a time when our major airports didn’t necessarily have high-quality cold supply chains and they do now. For instance, Cathay Pacific offers a freight service once a week, hoping to go twice week, to Toowoomba.

“There is an opportunity to exports vegetables and fruit out of that area to North Asia. There are opportunities in the regions, but you do need to pick your mark carefully.
“If you want to deliver high-quality goods to North Asia – freshness and reliability is key. That really means the big airports have to have the facilities.

“The other thing big airports need to have – and is a big advantage of Melbourne’s over Sydney – is no curfew.”

It not only Asia that is opening up to Australian produce. One United States success story of a value added product doing well overseas is the Australian developed – and now owned by PepsiCo – Red Rock Deli chip brand. Celoni said that the added value aspect of Red Rock helped PepsiCo get into the commodities space. Red Rock has opened a few doors in terms of categories that PepsiCo is trying to enter.

“[We] need to make ourselves indispensable, by growing categories,” said Celoni. “We need to front up to retailers and see how we can drive more penetration, more frequency – high average-weight-of-purchasing dollars.

“[PepsiCo] needed a product in the premium segment and our US colleagues talked about [Red Rock] and what it was doing from a category perspective. It was all about the increase in dollars per kilo, the brand, and the pack architecture that we were able to mobilise to create value and different price points. They saw an interest in it, so we sent some over and did some consumer tests. It resonated with some of the retailers and created value and off it went.”

And it’s not only what Celoni calls PepsiCo’s indulgent portfolio of products that it is looking to expand, but it has recently delved into the healthy snack market. Again, branding is the key, especially when trying to get into Asia.

Celoni makes no apologies that the sugar-rich fare PepsiCo is known for will still be the mainstay of its business, but they realise that category expansion is key to any successful business going forward.

“We do see opportunities in the health and nutrition space, in what we call adjacencies,” he said. “It’s growing in double digit and it’s a segment that is reaching the billion-dollar mark, certainly in the snacking space.”

PepsiCo has recently acquired Bare Foods, which produces baked fruits; Health Warrior, which makes nutritious snacks and bars; and Muscle Milk, a protein shake brand manufacturer.

He said the company has gotten rid of some of its arrogance by realising it can’t do everything itself. Thus the foray into the health food sector.

“We’ve looked for what I would call, ‘best-in-class manufacturers’ that can make quality products,” he said.

“And we thought about how we think about from a category expansion perspective in terms of capabilities.

“So, we entered into health nutrition [sector] with Sun Bites, and we are doing more work with Off the Eaten Path, which is a brand being launched by the retailers in the health and nutrition space. It’s all anchored in making sure we give our consumers the right choice. We will continue to do more of that because obviously that is what we are asking for at the moment.”

Both men agree that Australia is heading in the right direction with its food exports, but that maybe the sector as a whole can do a little bit more to make sure it is making the most of the opportunities available. Being organised is the key, said Celoni.

“It’s about getting the right pipeline and getting in on consumer needs…and making sure our supply chain footprint and all the work we do with our farmers [is sound],” he said. “Ninety-five per cent of our production for our locally made products are sourced in Australia.

“That will continue into the future. With the 500-odd farmers we work with either directly or indirectly, we see a real source of growth, but we have to get a lot more meticulous in the way we plan.”

Australia’s food marketers reduce ad spend in 2017

Australia’s food marketers are continuing to reduce their advertising spend in 2017 after strong growth in 2016 saw the sector emerge as the country’s fourth largest advertising category.

In CY 2016, the Food/Produce/Dairy category was one of the market’s growth stories, with ad spend lifting 1.5 per cent to $392.3 million, propelling the food category into fourth position among Standard Media Index (SMI’s) 40 product categories.

But the momentum has stalled in 2017, with SMI’s Agency payment data for the first quarter showing total Food/Produce/Dairy ad spend falling 6.3 per cent from the same quarter a year ago to $83.2 million.

However, most of the decline is due to reduced bookings onto TV and Outdoor, and in contrast food marketers’ spend onto Digital media grew 5.4 per cent for the quarter.

And for the first time this month SMI has launched ad spend for five new sub categories that provide the first real detail on the parts of this market responsible for the growth.

As the table below shows, most of this growth was due to higher spend from the Milk/Dairy/Produce/Baked Goods sub category which grew ad spend by more than 75 per cent in the quarter, taking its share of total category spend to 26.8 per cent from 16.0 per cent in the same quarter last year.

In contrast, the largest sector of this market – Confectionery/Snacks/Dessert Items – reduced its total expenditure by 7.9 per cent.

SMI is also the only company able to report this true ad spend by Digital sector, and shows that in this quarter the Confectionery/Snacks/Dessert Items sector delivered strong growth to Social Sites (+31.8 per cent) but reduced its spend onto Programmatic buying (-14.3 per cent) and Content Sites (-51.9 per cent).

And the growth in the Milk/Dairy/Produce/Baked Goods category was predominantly in Content Sites (+79 per cent QOQ) and Social Sites (+168 per cent).

SMI AU/NZ Managing Director Jane Schulze said SMI’s initial April data shows that after a strong Q1, food marketers are now also reducing spend onto Digital media in April with bookings so far back 29.2 per cent.

“This month there continues to be huge variation in the levels of Digital spending within the key Food/Produce/Dairy sectors,’’ she said.

“For example, the Confectionery/Snacks/Dessert Items market has so far reduced Digital spending 54 per cent this month while the second largest sub category of Milk/Dairy/Produce/Baked Goods grew Digital spend by 31 per cent, and in the process grew its share of the category’s total Digital spend this month from 14 per cent last April to 25.8 per cent.’’

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 10.06.42 AM
Standard Media Index collects actual advertising payments from Australia’s major media agencies and as such has the only real ad spend data for 40 major Product Categories and 126 Digital Sub Categories.

New Chilli Beef Pie from Four-N Twenty

 Four-N Twenty is launching its new Chilli Beef Pie, which has been developed for “adventurous eaters who are keen to try a new and exciting flavour”.

 The pie is made from chunks of eight-hour slow-cooked 100 per cent Australian beef, with a spicy chilli gravy, wrapped in a golden pastry.

 “Chilli has been identified as one of the key condiment flavour trends for 2017 and beyond,” said Four’N Twenty marketing manager, Mario Matchado.

 “Creating a spicy chilli version of our eight-hour slow-cooked Real Chunky Pie is sure to prove a winner with pie lovers this winter. So fire up your taste buds, the Four’N Twenty Chilli Beef Pies are hot!”

 The Chilli Beef Pie will be launched in selected petrol and convenience stores nationally from April.

 

 

Bosch Australia partners with Food CRC

While the recently-announced Food Agility CRC will be funded with $50 million over ten years along with $160 million in commitments from 54 partner organisations, Bosch Australia will be a lead technology partner and will apply its agriculture technology expertise and resource to projects in connected agriculture and automation.

The Food Agility CRC will integrate the agile culture and processes of the digital economy through a whole-of-value-chain lens for fresh and processed food.

“Global food production needs to double by 2050 and the opportunity that presents to the Australian food industry is enormous,” says Mike Briers, CEO of the Food Agility CRC and UTS Industry Professor.

Bosch Australia said it is making significant investments in connected agriculture and food automation oriented activities in this region, including direct investment in Australian start-ups.

Most recently ‘The Yield’, an early stage Internet of Things (IoT) company focused on Micro-Climate sensing technology in Agriculture and Aquaculture. “

The Food Agility CRC will have a direct impact on the food and agriculture sector,” said Gavin Smith, Bosch President with responsibility for the region Oceania.
“There’s no better place than Australia to develop digital and automation solutions in food technology.”

Tumeric-rich Arkadia Golden Latte released

Arkadia Beverages has released a blend of high of turmeric, spices and organic panela sugar and called it Arkadia Golden Latte.

This turmeric blend is designed to be ready to drunk with hot or cold milk.

With no added dairy, vegan friendly and gluten and caffeine free, Arkadia Golden Latte is claimed to imbue the natural benefits of turmeric – often referred to as the most powerful herb on the planet for helping to fight a range of diseases.

Coffee cherry moonshine ready for Xmas from Campos

Melbourne Moonshine Cáscara Moonshine is made from the dehydrated cherries of the coffee plant.

Traditionally discarded, Campos says it has worked with a small coffee farm in Costa Rica to keep and naturally dry the cherries, resulting in a fruity coffee variety that gives a more subtle tea-like taste.

Campos Coffee, the specialty roaster founded out of a small Newtown café, has always been focused on innovation in coffee, and realised the untapped potential of this previously under-utilised part of the coffee tree.

After months of testing to get the flavours right, the end result is a rich liqueur with cherry and raisin flavours, and hints of molasses, reminiscent of Christmas Cake.

Animal rights groups cheesed off over dairy production

Vegan Australia and the Animal Justice Party (AJP) have reportedly told federal politicians the best long-term solution to the dairy sector’s farm-gate pricing crisis is to phase-out the industry over a decade according to a North Queenslander report.

The two groups have submitted their views and suggestions into the Senate Economics References Committee’s current examination of the Australian dairy industry. In response, industry leaders have hit back saying the dairy sector employs “world-leading practices” while generating $4.7 billion in farm-gate value that enriches regional Australian communities.

The Senate inquiry was instigated in September in response to the dairy industry farm gate pricing crisis that ignited earlier this year and is scheduled to report its findings by February 24 next year.

Public hearings have already been held in Canberra on October 26 and in Melbourne on November 15 with a range of industry and government agencies giving evidence.

The inquiry’s terms of reference include examining the legality of retrospective elements of milk supply contracts and the behaviour of Murray Goulburn in relation to the late season claw-back of farm-gate returns to producers, revealed in April.

Vegan Australia’s rationale was that it said it was “very aware” agriculture was a fundamental part of society and it wanted to see the “continued prosperity” of farming and farmers but was recommended pursuing that goal could be achieved without the “use and exploitation of animals”. It envisions the long term solution to the dairy crisis is to phase out dairy.

According to the North Queenslander, they are hoping for the day that technology is able to offer what Vegan Australia terms as “superior alternatives” to dairy products.

Vegan Australia said Australian consumers may hold out some loyalty to the dairy industry, but others in countries like Australia’s largest export market China were, “unlikely to show the same loyalty”.

It said Chinese policy would also shift to domestic production using advanced technology as soon as it became more cost efficient than importing Australian milk.

Vegan Australia said government assistance should be given to current dairy farmers that wanted to transition to plant-based agriculture, as part of the 10-year phase-out.

The AJP’s submission accused the dairy industry of inflicting animal cruelty while causing harm to human health and the environment.

“The most responsible course of action for the government to take is to transition away from animal-based milk and dairy, to humane, healthy, and sustainable plant-based milks,” the AJP said.

“Instead of focussing on trying to rescue an unsustainable industry that is harmful to humans and animals, the government should be turning its attention to innovative transition solutions.

“Consumers are increasingly embracing plant-based milks and it is the position of the Animal Justice Party that the government should embrace this trend and promote plant-based milks as healthier, more humane and more sustainable industries.”

In response, the Australian Dairy Farmers said the industry’s quality and safety processes were “among the best in the world” and the nation’s dairy sector – comprising 6128 dairy farmers of which 98 per cent are family-owned businesses – made a “vital contribution to the national economy”.

“With a farm gate value alone of $4.7 billion, dairy enriches regional Australian communities,” it said.

“Dairy farmers have had a tough past season and it is pleasing to note that the outlook for dairy in the future is more positive with a rebalancing of supply and demand fundamentals globally taking place.

“While we are an industry that has been under intense pressure, we are also an industry that has the know-how and resilience to overcome adversity and thrive in the long term.”

In its submission to the Senate inquiry, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) said the food and grocery manufacturing sector employed more than 322,900 Australians, paying around $16.1 billion a year in salaries and wages.

The AFGC said the sector’s contribution to the economic and social well-being of Australia “cannot be overstated” and the dairy export industry had “solid” long term prospects.

“In the long term, global demand for dairy products is expected to remain strong with some analysts predicting a 25 per cent increase in consumption by 2025,” the submission said.

“With continued consumption growth in the Asia region, including China, the medium to long term prospects for Australian dairy exports are solid.”

SA wine industry leads way on solar uptake

Dozens of wineries in Australia’s premier wine state are harnessing the sun’s power for purposes beyond growing grapes.

South Australian wineries are embracing solar energy at twice the rate of other business sectors, installers say. Yalumba Wine Company in the Barossa Valley is just weeks away from completing one of the largest commercial solar system installations in South Australia and the largest to date by any Australian winery.

It will have taken more than three months to put the 5384 individual panels in place at three sites: Yalumba Angaston Winery, Yalumba Nursery, and the separate Oxford Landing Winery.

When fully operational, the 1.4 MW PV system will produce enough renewable energy to reduce Yalumba’s energy costs by about 20 per cent and cut its annual CO2 emissions by more than 1200 tonnes, equivalent to taking 340+ cars off the road.

“It is an exciting project and one that will deliver us significant savings, as well as being consistent with our corporate focus on sustainability,” said Managing Director Nick Waterman. Yalumba is currently the leader of the pack, but it is an increasingly large pack.

No one keeps a detailed list, but wineries with systems in excess of 100kW include D’Arenberg, Seppeltsfield, Peter Lehmann, Angove, Torbreck, Wirra Wirra, Jim Barry and Gemtree. Many smaller wineries are installing smaller systems.

In the Adelaide Hills, Sidewood has flicked the switch on a 100kW solar system as part of a $3.5m expansion project at its Nairne winery.

With the support of an $856,000 grant from the South Australian Government, the system will provide more than 50 per cent of the winery’s annual consumption.

Sidewood has also become the largest sustainable winery in the Adelaide Hills after receiving full Entwine Accreditation for all four of its vineyards in September.

There was a brief lull in solar installations after the current Federal Government scrapped the financial support provided under the previous government’s Clean Technology Investment Program (36 of the 80 projects funded in South Australia in 2012-13 were in wineries) but things are moving again.

David Buetefuer is Director of Sales and Business Development for The Solar Project, which has worked with a number of local wineries including D’Arenberg, suggests four reasons for this: the wine industry is starting to recover from a slow patch; the price of electricity is at an unprecedented high; the cost of solar is coming down; and there are new ways to get started.

Yalumba, for example, has signed a 10-year power purchase agreement with energy supplier AGL, which is installing and maintaining the system and will own the energy produced.

This will be sold to Yalumba at a rate comparable or lower than its current per kilowatt hour rate. Another alternative is a rental model under which, as Buetefuer puts it, the bank owns the system. In both cases, the winery does not have to find the capital up front and the system is off balance sheet.

“It’s an interesting time because all three models now work – power-purchase, rental and straight purchase – whereas not that long ago the only people buying solar were those who had the available capital and could justify payback times of five, six or more years,” Buetefuer said. “It’s opened up a lot more opportunities.”

Buetefuer said the wine industry recognised the benefit of harnessing solar power at its most productive period of the year, which coincided with the summer to autumn vintage when the demand for electricity was at its peak in wine production.

“One of the defining features of the industry is the long-term planning that goes into establishing vineyards and infrastructure to support wine production well into the future,” he said. D’Arenberg’s chief winemaker Chester Osborn agrees.

He said one of the important things for the winery last year was reducing peak demand from the grid. “A big portion of our electricity cost comes from our peak requirements which we only need for a couple of months a year, but get charged for every month,” he said.

“We have reduced our power bill by 40 per cent and we are hopeful that the advances in battery technology will lead to further efficiency improvements.”

D’Arenberg’s 200kW system in McLaren Vale was the largest in a winery in South Australia when installed at the end of 2013.

The company made the investment so it could generate 20-30 per cent of its power from solar energy and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent. Among the most publicly visible solar installations in South Australia are the two arrays that line the road to the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre in the Barossa.

They not only produce all the energy the winery needs, they feature in quite a few visitor photographs.

South Australia is consistently responsible for about 50 per cent of Australia’s annual wine production, including iconic brands such as Penfolds Grange, Jacob’s Creek, Hardys and Wolf Blass. From The Lead

Eliminating waste in the fisheries industry

Every year 340,000 tonnes of usable whitefish by-product are discarded into the sea. But the fisheries industry has now identified ways of halting this practice.

The fishing company Nordic Wildfish has been assisting in the development of a new technology that can make use of the entire by-product from whitefish such as cod, pollock and haddock.

Instead of discarding the heads, guts and the rest of the fish, they can all be incorporated into a hydrolysis process that separates the bones, leaving a kind of “soup” to which enzymes can be added and valuable oils and proteins extracted.

“The entire process takes place on board the trawler, which has only been at sea for two months,” says Anders Bjørnerem, R&D Director at Nordic Wildfish in Norway.

So this technology is entirely new? “Yes. No one has done this before, and it’s very exciting. We’ve already been nominated for the 2016 Innovation Prize awarded by the technical journal Teknisk ukeblad,” says Bjørnerem.

Non-sustainable food production Nordic Wildfish is located on the island of Valderøya, west of Ålesund, Norway, and has been working closely with the research-company SINTEF for some time to promote technological development.

“As much as 92 per cent of marine whitefish by-product is not utilised,” says Bjørnerem. “Commonly it is only the fillets that are processed to become food. This is not sustainable food production. As we approach 2050, the demand for food on this planet will increase by as much as 70 per cent due to high levels of population growth.

The industry must make it its goal to utilise the entire fish,” says Ana Karina Carvajal, Research Manager at SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture.

According to a report published by SINTEF in 2014, 340,000 tonnes of whitefish by-product are discarded annually. SINTEF believes that this material has major commercial potential if it can be processed to produce high quality end-products such as ingredients in animal feed and food for human consumption.

Teamwork is key On board the trawler Molnes, whitefish by-product is processed using enzymatic hydrolysis to produce valuable proteins, amino acids and fish oils.

Many technologies have been developed and adapted for installation on board the refurbished trawler. “Excellent teamwork between researchers and the industry will enable many new systems for better exploitation of the fish to be implemented within the next two to four years,” says Carvajal.

“We’re very pleased to see that some segments within the industry have already taken the first steps towards more sustainable food production,” Carvajal says.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-11-fisheries-industry.html#jCp

Canadian Club named as an official partner of the Australian Open

Canadian Club has once again signed on as an official partner, official spirit and exclusive dark spirit, of the Australian Open, one of the nation’s largest annual sporting events.

For the second year in a row, Canadian Club (CC) will be making a ‘racquet’ at the Australian Open Festival with the Canadian Club Racquet Club activation perched hillside at the Birrarung Marr festival.

And for the first time, it will also expand its footprint outside of Melbourne with the Canadian Club Racquet Club popping up at three iconic venues in NSW and QLD – The Bucket List Bondi, Cruise Bar Sydney and Sandstone Point Hotel QLD.

The Canadian Club Racquet Club pop-ups will open in December, serving up refreshing Canadian Club cocktails, along with the classic CC and dry. The locations will be decked out in true CC summer style and for the duration of the AO, each site will also feature a big screen, broadcasting every game live to those wanting to soak up the social tennis vibes in Sydney and Brisbane.

The Australian Open partnership includes exclusive dark spirit pourage within Melbourne Park and throughout the Emirates Australian Open Series, the lead-in events to the first Grand Slam of the year, further unlocking trial amongst tennis goers.

“The Australian Open is one of the most iconic events on the Australian sporting calendar, and after great success during the last couple of years we are very excited to be taking the CC Racquet Club to Sydney and Brisbane,” Kristy Rathborne, Brand Manager, Canadian Club said.

The CC Summer of Tennis will extend nationally, from December through to February.

Coke hires Jennifer Aniston for new Glaceau campaign

Coca-Cola South Pacific has announced that Glaceau smartwater’s new Australian summer campaign will be fronted by Jennifer Aniston who has been brought on board as brand ambassador.

Following the successful launch of Glaceau smartwater in Australia earlier this year, Coca-Cola said Aniston will be front and centre of the campaign, appearing across large format iconic out of home displays that include full wraps of Melbourne and Adelaide trams, as well as national billboards in high impact locations.

In addition to Aniston, the Glaceau smartwater summer campaign will also include product trials that will be driven through one of Coca-Cola’s largest ever sampling programs in Australia.

Glaceau smartwater has also partnered with Westfield to activate targeted sampling at selected NSW and VIC Westfield shopping centres, getting in front of their target audience as they do their Christmas and New Year shopping.

Glaceau smartwater is available in 12x700ml sports cap lid packs from a wide range of retail channels including grocery, independents and other outlets.

Rosella flies off with new branding

Rosella is set to unveil a new logo this November, which the company claims will be the most dramatic change in the company’s visual identity for 20 years.

According to Senior Brand Manager, Kristine Dalton, “The most immediate change is the rosella bird itself. We have revisited the grassroots of our original logo whilst preserving the distinctive, native Eastern rosella and have given it flight to represent the company continuing to keep pace with modern Australian eating.”

“We believe the change will be welcomed. The new design will appeal to a new generation of Australian families by capturing the essence of our Australian Spirit, our vibrancy, energy and our free spirit.”

Designed by Melbourne Design House Disegno, the logo represents the company’s colourful history in a modern and evolving style.

“As an organisation so engrained in Australian culture, we are excited for this change to continue our longstanding relationship between the Rosella brand and customers,” concluded Dalton.

The new logo will first appear on the 600ml sauce bottle, on shelves nationally in all Coles, Woolworths and Independents late November.

Have we finally entered the age of the Chato?

Potato has long been in the staple diet for the Australian diet. However, with rising global consumerism and increasing concerns over food security, the market looks to be turning towards alternative and more sustainable food sources.

Australian inventor Andrew Dyhin from PotatoMagic in Melbourne has claimed to have achieved a breakthrough to save wasted potatoes.

In 12 years of what he has coined as “intense research”, Dyhin has developed what he has coined the “chato” that looks like a block of cheese, melts like cheese but all potato. Furthermore, according to Mr Dyhin, the potatoes are peeled and processed with no added ingredients making it a reportedly eco friendly process.

The “chato” can be melted or sliced like a cheese, cut into cubes and served as a salad, or mixed with water and additional ingredients to make any consistency of liquid including dips, aoli and custard.

With over roughly 75000 tonnes of potatoes wasted annually in Australia, Dyhin sees an opportunity to push the “chato” product into a commercialisation phase and attract investors with a target to set up a pilot production plant within a year.

“Food security is a very important issue and we need to look at products that have more yield per hectare, like potatoes.”

“And also how we use that yield. Something like 25 per cent of all potato that is grown doesn’t make it to the plate, mostly because it’s not pretty enough for the shelves,”  Dyhin said.

“While he’s proud of the work he’s doing, he said the bigger issues at play are food security and the environment, and chato could help feed the future population of Australia and the world.”

“We need to find alternatives to animals and intensive agricultural practises. With chato we can take any potato, especially the ones that will just be thrown away, and make something that’s delicious and versatile. We can make the most of what we have,” added Dyhin.

South Australia banking on a brandy re-branding

Making brandy cool again and appealing to millennials with a growing appreciation for boutique spirits are the goals of a new distillery opened today by a leading Australian beverage company.

Bickford’s Australia has launched a craft range of spirits under the 23rd Street label at a reinvented distillery in South Australia’s Riverland.

The 23rd St Distillery, on the street of the same name in the town of Renmark, has launched two brandies, a gin and a hybrid whisky.

The former Renmano distillery will also produce craft spirits under its own label as well as well-known Australian label Black Bottle Brandy, Australia’s second biggest brandy brand.

It is about a kilometre away from the St Agnes distillery, the maker of Australia’s biggest selling brandy.

Bickford’s, established in South Australia in 1874 and historically known for its cordials and syrups, has grown strongly into the alcoholic beverage market in recent years.

It bought VOK Beverages in 2002 and has steadily built up a portfolio of well-known spirits brands including Beenleigh Rum, Real McCoy, El Toro and Vickers Gin.

It bought the Black Bottle Brandy label from Accolade in 2011 and has until now been making it out of its Beenleigh Rum distillery in Queensland. Vickers Gin and the new premium Black Bottle Very Special Australian Brandy will also be produced at the new Renmark distillery, which is about 260km northeast of the South Australian capital Adelaide.

Bickford’s bought the Renmark site from Accolade Wines in 2014 after receiving more than $2 million in Riverland Sustainable Futures Funding towards the establishment of a spirit distillery in the region.

The 23rd Street Distillery is the result of a $6.6-million transformation and rejuvenation of the century-old landmark.

“With research suggesting the younger millennials are a discerning generation looking to bring quality and premium products into their repertoire, our focus is very much on boutique products of exceptional body and taste,” 23rd Street Distillery’s Head Distiller, Graham Buller said.

“We’re blending our distilling knowledge and expertise – along with all the delicious local produce of the Riverland on our doorstep and those of the Adelaide Hills just a few hundred kilometres away – to create fun, exciting and prime sprits for the liberated palate.”

The new generation 23rd Street Not Your Nanna’s Brandy (AU $50) has spent two years ex- Chardonnay oak barrels to impart rich colour, smoothness and length.

It is described as having vanillin sweetness on the front palate that gives way to vivacious honey and apricot flavours before finishing with soft oak spiciness. It’s a brandy with a new flavour profile and proposition the distillery hopes will encourage a new, younger breed to the category.

Buller describes 23rd Street Prime 5 brandy (AU$80) as “the ultimate in refined character” and “a rich and complex fruitcake-in-a-glass”. Aged up to eight years, portions of traditional double pot distilled liquor deliver sophisticated richness and roundness which, combined with portions distilled by the single pot process, add liveliness to an outstanding limited edition craft brandy.

For the brand’s Signature Gin (A$80), Buller individually infuses 10 botanicals – including traditional juniper and coriander – and complements them with invigorating freshness from local mandarins and limes to create what he terms “a layered palate and full-bodied mouthfeel”.

The hybrid whiskey is, in Buller’s words, “the realisation of my dream to achieve the best of both worlds and create the perfect blend of scotch and bourbon whiskies”.

The barrels of Scotch and American bourbon – each with an average of five years’ individual maturation – are returned to bourbon barrels for finishing.

The new premium Black Bottle Very Special Australian Brandy is a blend of double and single pot distillation and matured for an average of eight years in a mix of French and American oak.

“We will also look to be creative and inventive, introducing new tastes and flavour combinations to the craft spirits industry that particularly resonate with millennials seeking maximum enjoyment by satisfying their sensory pleasures of savoury and sweet, bright and smooth, contradictory yet united,” Buller said.

“In addition, we hope to reignite brandy, give it a healthy dose of cool and engage consumers with a drink they thought was only for their nannas.”

Bickford’s Group Owner and Managing Director Angelo Kotses said the distillery was a chance for the company become a player in Australia’s booming craft spirits industry and leverage export markets.

“We looked at the international model where cognac all of a sudden became cool and consumption went up and markets such as Asia grew dramatically so it was an ideal time to look at that whole category again,” he said.

“Suddenly Renmark has become the centre of brandy in Australia and what we want to do is build the pie rather than take share from anyone else.

The new distillery’s production will centre on three restored vintage copper pot stills with the capacity to produce around 1500 litres – or about 11 barrels – of matured spirit during each run, positioning 23rd Street Distillery as Australia’s leading family-owned producer of branded spirits.

Kotses said having the marketing arm and manufacturing experience of a large beverage company, sufficient scale and existing buyers on hand globally was a boost for the new brands.

“What we’re seeing is the craft spirits guys can’t produce enough volume because of the equipment size and style,” he said.

“We’ve got this nice space where we can take advantage of scale and that also gives you a great quality product on a consistent basis that sometimes you can’t get with a small still.”

Published with approval from The Lead

Australian consumers demanding sustainably sourced seafood claims new research

Some 75 per cent of Australian seafood consumers believe in order to save the ocean, we have to consume fish and seafood only from sustainable sources, making it a top priority, reveals the Marine Stewardship Council’s annual report and independent research launched today.

This represents a significant shift in consumption habits as Australian seafood shoppers say they value sustainability over price, with 51 per cent willing to pay more for sustainably certified seafood, according to the report.

The new consumer data is the largest ever global analysis of attitudes to seafood consumption and was carried out by independent GlobeScan, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

“This research released in conjunction with MSC’s latest annual report shows Australian consumers are voting with their wallets to future-proof our oceans by opting for sustainably certified seafood.”

“This is not just a passing trend, it’s an evolution strongly driven by consumer demand that demonstrates greater engagement on traceability and consideration towards our food sources”, said Anne Gabriel, Oceania Program Director, MSC.

“With four out of five households (85 per cent) of Australians purchasing seafood on a regular basis, there’s an opportunity for consumers to make a tangible difference by choosing to source sustainable seafood.” In fact, noted Ms. Gabriel,

“Some 69 per cent of Australian seafood consumers state they want to know that the fish they buy can be traced back to known and trusted source.”

The consumer insights data also found that:

• A majority (54 per cent) of seafood consumers are likely to trust the source of the products if they are ecolabelled

• 71 per cent of Australians believe brands’ claims about sustainability need to be labelled by an independent org.

• Globally, 66 per cent of respondents are willing to pay more for sustainable goods, which is up from 55 per cent in 2014 and 50 per cent in 2013 (Nielsen’s The Sustainability Imperative, October 2015)

• 36 per cent of Australians say they are purchasing more ecolabelled seafood than a year ago

These figures support findings of the 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, which showed that over the previous year, sales of consumer goods from brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability grew by more than 4 per cent globally, while those without grew less than 1 per cent.

A full copy of the report can be found here

Manuka Honey makers all abuzz over poor imitations

With Manuka Honey top of the ‘must buy’ list for health and beauty benefits, consumers need to be sure that what they are buying is the genuine article, said a major Manuka Honey industry body today.

In response to their fears of counterfeit products, the guardian of New Zealand’s leading quality mark for genuine Manuka Honey – UMF – has come up with an online solution.

The NZ-based UMF Honey Association (UMFHA) has now launched a service on its website that carries a full list of names of licence-holders that can be easily checked for via a handy search function.

It has been designed for users to ensure they can now easily check the company name on product using just about any smartphone.

Overall, over 90 companies are licensed to use the UMF quality mark which represents the purity and quality of Manuka Honey.

The UMF classification and grading system is internationally recognised as the hallmark of premium Manuka Honey.

Keeping Modern (Food) Manufacturing Secure

In the classic factory of the 1950s, security was simple. Managers strolled from their offices on a floor that towered over plant activity, closely observing whether shift crews below were doing what they were supposed to do.

Because employees knew the eyes of a supervisor may be upon them at any time, they were less inclined to cheat the system – such as slipping any of the company’s property or product into their pockets, or sabotaging a machine out of spite. And motives were, on the whole, aligned: what was good for the business was good for everyone involved.

Fast-forward six decades and it’s a different story. With advancements in information and communications technology, the manufacturing industry has undergone significant transformation.

Today, manufacturing employees are more likely to operate advanced technology from their computers and mobile devices, rather than undertake physical work. They are empowered to connect remotely, set their own hours and even self-determine how to effectively perform assigned duties.

As opposed to their factory counterparts of prior generations, their tools aren’t welding machines, circular saws and drills; they’re tablets, smartphones and thumb drives. They don’t follow instructions from an assembly book stocked on a shelf; all best practices/guidance are stored in files on a server.

But that’s also where an abundance of sensitive, proprietary data about customers is kept, as well as information about electronic payments to both suppliers and workers.

With the rapid rise of sophistication and autonomy, it’s clear that something important has been lost: the protective eyes on the floor. And this has security implications for both the insider threat and external cyber security threats.

The Insider Threat

Years ago, those eyes made it more difficult for a disgruntled crew member to surreptitiously slip a blueprint into his lunchbox.

Today, it’s much easier for the same worker – perhaps unhappy after years of stagnant career progression – to abruptly quit, transfer the entire R&D library onto a thumb drive and deliver the stolen information to a competitor.

Without proper monitoring and auditing controls in place, the current level of empowerment – which ultimately serves a positive, productive purpose for organisations – can be abused.

That’s not good for the enterprise, and it’s not good for employees. But it’s fairly unfeasible to “watch” over everything when there are so many employees now connecting to manufacturing systems both inside and outside a traditional factory environment. Toss in an expanding influx of contractors, partners and other non-staff enterprise users, and you invite additional risk.

Especially since many of these parties aren’t vetted to the same degree of scrutiny as full-time personnel. It’s worth noting here that not all security breaches are the result of a malicious insider.

Personnel or contractors may play the role of the unintentional insider where they can be ‘tricked’ into downloading malware and introducing this into the network.

Or they can lapse into sloppy habits, such as sending corporate materials to their home computers on vulnerable, private email accounts.

Of course, they can also outright lose things (devices, USB flash drives, etc.) which can end up in the wrong hands.

To combat the insider threat, manufacturers need to empower the organisation to better protect the information and data that helps make it profitable. Whilst it’s important to give employees the latitude they need to do their jobs the business also needs to retain visibility into their actions.

A robust security measure that is able to do this includes three important pillars:

1. Data capture – implementing a lightweight endpoint agent can capture data without disrupting user productivity. A system like this can monitor the data’s location and movement, as well as the actions of users who access, alter and transport the data. Collected user data can be viewed as a video replay that displays keys typed, mouse movements, documents opened or websites visited. This unique capability provides irrefutable and unambiguous attribution of end-user activity.

2. Behavioural audit – understanding how employees act will help pinpoint unusual or suspect behaviour enabling closer monitoring for those deemed high risk.

3. Focused investigation – if a clear violation is detected it’s important to pinpoint specific events or users so you can assess the severity of the threat, remediate the problem and create new policies to stop it happening again.

The Outside Threat

With significant changes to the manufacturing landscape businesses also face significant threats from outside criminals. Over the last decade there has been huge uptake of technology and online systems to create new efficiencies and improve operational effectiveness through the sharing of information.

However with every opportunity comes risk; and given the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoTs) and big data it’s no surprise that cyber security has been elevated to one of manufacturers’ biggest risk factors. In fact, according to IBM, manufacturing was the second most targeted industry in the US for cyber-attacks in 2015.

So whilst networked products, known as IIoT in manufacturing, means there are virtually endless opportunities and connections that can take place between devices, it also means there are a number risks due to the growth in data and network entry points. In many cases, manufacturers have been quick to embrace the benefits of IIoT but still have some catching up to do in order to adequately protect their data, customers, products and factory floors.

Australian manufacturers need to consider multiple cyber security threats including factory threats, product threats and operational threats.

For example, if equipment controllers are not adequately secured it is possible for an outsider to attach malware ridden PCs to the OT network while performing routine maintenance. Similarly, manufacturers must take great care in preventing any products, like driverless cards or robotics, from being compromised as not all cyber-attacks are focused on the network but can also affect how a computer processor or piece of technology operates.

For manufacturers to fully realise the benefits of IIoT securely, it’s important they identify security weaknesses and put a process in place that can mitigate not just current but future risks.

This means any security system should be:

1. Simple and flexible – your security solution should be able to scale with your operations and be easy to use.

2. Unified – in today’s environment you’re likely to split IT functions between cloud and on-premise technologies to maximise the advantages of each approach. By implementing a unified solution you can eliminate the extra cost and duplicated work of systems that have separate management to consolidate cloud services and on-premises solutions in a single console with one visibility, policy and reporting system.

3. Fault tolerant – there’s no point in having a security system if it goes down when you need it most. Prevent interruptions in network security by having traffic rerouted to a trusted partner in the event that a security appliance goes offline.

Ultimately, even though the threat of cyber-attacks in manufacturing is a reality, there are multiple ways Australian businesses can move forward without fear.

 

 

Forcepoint

www.forcepoint.com